Post-game Reactions

There were a lot of numbers in yesterday’s box score that probably made you do a double-take if you’re anything like me. In fact, we could do a quick laundry list of them right now to show you how much we have to work with:

A season-low 72 points for Miami.
—28 points in the second half for Miami
—0 assists for LeBron James for just the second time in his NBA career.
—Miami shot 11-of-41 from outside the paint.

I could go on and on here, but there’s just one number that really stood out to me after the C’s concluded their masterful defensive performance: 17

That being only 17 free throw attempts for Miami during the entire afternoon. To give you some perspective, here’s the Heat free throw tally in their last seven games against Boston (including last year’s postseason).

26, 32, 36, 19, 28, 38, 36

Uncoincidentally, the Celtics went 1-6 in those games, with the one win coming in (you guessed it) Game 3 against the Heat in last year’s postseason where Miami managed to get the line a mere 19 times.

As a whole, Boston has not been a good team this year keeping teams off the charity stripe, coming into yesterday’s game ranked 22nd in the league in opponent’s free throw rate. However, like most areas for this team since the All-Star Break, this is a part of their the C’s have improved dramatically over recent weeks.

When you include yesterday’s win over Miami in fact, over the past 12 games Boston has held opponents to 21 or fewer free throws for seven of their past 12 games. That’s no small feat for a team ranked in the bottom third of the league in allowing opponents to get to the line, as any NBA team goes to the line for an average of 22 free throw attempts each game.

The formula that goes into beating a team like Miami involves a number of things, but keeping them away from making a living at the free throw line is a major component. When LeBron James and Dwayne Wade combine for just seven free throw attempts in any game, you give yourself a chance. And amidst the endless list of things that went right for Boston yesterday, their improved discipline in keeping top-notch opponents like Miami off the line is as encouraging a development out of anything we can take out of yesterday.



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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • noche

    Unrelated post –

    Looking forward at the schedules of the Sixers, Pacers, and Hawks – each of them really only have six games that you could argue they might lose. Assuming they end up going 3-3 in those games – that puts the Sixers at 40-26, the Pacers at 42-24, and the Hawks at 40-26.

    Meanwhile the C's have 9 games that they easily could lose. Assuming they end up going 4-5 in those games we have the Celtics at 39-27 battling for 7th and 8th with the Knicks (The Knicks would have to go 12-1 for the rest of the year to tie Boston at 39-27)

    Looking at this hypothetical situation – all the Celtics have to do is beat the bad teams and pull out a 6-3 record against playoff contenders to maintain the lead in the Atlantic. IF they continue to play the way they did yesterday they will be fine. If January and February Boston comes to play then Hello 7th seed.

    • Anthony

      You didn't mention ORL who has 7 games remaining against .500+ teams. Not to mention an injured DHoward and Ryan Anderson. And they already have been playing poorly as of late.

      * IND also has 7 games against .500+ teams and 2 against a MIL team fighting for a playoff spot.
      * PHI has 6 games against .500+ teams of which 2 is against IND. Also has been mediocre as of late.
      * ATL has 6 games against .500+ teams, is probably the least consistent of the bunch, and still has to play the Celts two more times.

      With all this being said I see the records being:

      IND – 39-27
      ORL – 38-28
      ATL – 37-29
      PHI – 37-29

      I think going 9-5 would assure the Celts the Atlantic division. 8-6 might get it done also if IND can beat PHI twice and if PHI continues to struggle a bit.

      Mighty tall task to go 9-5 with such a tough remaining schedule but I BELIEVE!

  • skeeds

    It's a safe bet to say Lebron won't be so "out of it" as he was last night, probably for any game against us until he retires. Holding Lebron to 0 assists is damn near as impossible as holding MJ to single digits or Bird to 0 rebounds.
    So even though I expect of him to have a monster game against us before the season ends, it's fun to see that there's still something about the Celtics that scares the sh*t out opponents, even LBJ.

  • Switcharoo

    After yesterday’s game it’s hard not to believe in these guys. We see that they can do it,they know they have it in them to do it, now they just have follow through. Man I love this team! GO CELTICS!! Your fans are behind you 100%

  • lucidsportsfan

    Another crazy stat: Lebron's +/- of -30 http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_04_01_archive….