JANUARY IN REVIEW
The Celtics went 9-7 in January, which counts as a small mercy considering how poorly it started. A strong 6-2 finish brought Boston’s record up over .500 and suggests the team isn’t nearly as done as it seemed just two weeks ago.
The problem is that January was supposed to be when the C’s got fat on a long stretch of home games and their previously-typical strong start. Instead, they’ve squandered one of the few advantages they had in the condensed schedule.
BOSTON’S STATISTICAL PROFILE
Entering February, the Celtics have shaken off the early season statistical anomalies and look very much like the team they’ve been the last couple of years: a great defensive team that plays at a slow pace, struggles to rebound and struggles to score without crisp ball movement. All told, it has to be disappointing for Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers as they’ve been unable to move this team beyond the profile of the one that lost in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
The Celtics are:
19th in the league in offensive efficiency at 99.2 points/100 possessions. Last Month: 8th at 105.0.
4th in the league in defensive efficiency at 95.7 points/100 possessions. Last Month: 26th at 106.9.
9th in eFG% at 49.7%. Last Month: 4th at 52.6%.
5th in TS% at 53.7%. Last Month: 2nd at 57.5%.
4th in assist ratio at 15.9. Last Month: 4th at 16.0.
19th in defensive rebound rate at 72.8. Last Month: 16th at 72.7.
29th in offensive rebound rate at 22.5. Last Month: 22nd at 23.5.
24th in total rebound rate at 48.4. Last Month: 25th at 47.2.
26th in pace at 91.2. Last Month: 20th at 93.0.
27th in turnover rate at 27.2. Last Month: 28th at 28.6.
After the jump, the February schedule and a few predictions.
The next two weeks are crucial for the Celtics. They have another mass of home games before the schedule gets ugly and doesn’t let up for the rest of the season (starting with a 13-day road trip). There are four SEGABABAs, including one against the Chicago Bulls.
(HOT STOVE) PREDICTIONS
Last month’s predictions were less inaccurate than usual. I feel almost proud. Let’s go again:
Safe Prediction: Trade rumors will be plentiful. Either the Celtics will be staggering and teams will be circling over the decaying carcass to pick clean the good meat, or they’ll be playing well (ish) and Ainge will be looking to add pieces to position this group for one last run.
Bold Prediction: A major deal goes down, and Ray Allen – Boston’s most marketable part not named Rajon Rondo – is shipped out of town for picks and/or prospects and the rebuilding begins in earnest.
Ridiculous Prediction: Ainge goes all in on 2012, dumping future picks, Avery Bradley’s alleged potential and whatever remains of Jermaine O’Neal to acquire a center that can 1) stay healthy 2) rebound and 3) score. The Celtics play with renewed swagger and start looking like a championship contender again.
Predicted February Record: 7-7