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Celtics may go small, but expect more points in the paint

Sep 12, 2012, 4:29 PM EDT

Brandon Bass,  Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo

We’ve talked plenty about the trend of going small in the East and that Boston is right in the middle of it after their playoff run. You can expect Doc Rivers to start Kevin Garnett at the five spot and for the Celtics to try to be quicker than you.

But don’t think that means they are abandoning the paint — they may actually score more points inside next year than last.

Seriously. Marc D’Amico breaks it down at Celtics.com.

Chief among the reasons why Boston’s interior scoring should drastically improve this season is the fact that Kevin Garnett will be playing center for an entire season. Garnett takes a lot of jump shots, but he can and will continue to get it done on the block when Doc Rivers calls his name.

The Celtics also get Chris Wilcox back from injury, which should help provide some depth of scoring up front. Then there is rookie Jared Sullinger, who showed a deft touch scoring inside at Summer League. That’s more depth and more offensive firepower in the paint.

Then there are the guys on in the backcourt.

Rajon Rondo can slash into the paint with the best of them, but last season he shot just 58.9 percent at the rim, a five percentage points below the year before. Expect that number to bounce back up.

Two other additions are more likely to create points in the paint while they’re facing the hoop. Courtney Lee and Jason Terry were both acquired this summer and both are much more proficient at scoring in the paint than the departed Ray Allen.

None of this means the Celtics are going 76ers with their plans, but all this combined should help provide balance. Last season after the Celtics moved KG to the five they averaged 36 points per game in the paint, look for that number to jump a little. And if they can get points inside it will open up the outside looks.

And if Boston can score they will be hard to beat, because we know they will bring it on defense.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Sep 12, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    The issue then becomes, where does the floor spacing come?

    In February, the likely starting lineup is:
    PG Rondo
    SG Bradley
    SF Pierce
    PF Bass
    C KG

    Pierce is the only shooter that has to be honored behind the 3 point-arc – nobody else is better than 33% at that range).
    If KG is setting up in the low-post, that means besides Pierce, the only guy with a jump shot that can hurt opponents is Bass, and even then, he’s more likely to take a 12-15 foot jumper.

    Right now, if I want to defend that proposed lineup, I have everybody sag to the paint whenever Rondo or Bradley drive to the hoop or if KG catches the ball in the low-post, with only Pierce being a good enough long-range shooter to stop his defender from helping.

    This is one of the reasons why if Courtney Lee plays well, don’t be surprised if he gets more minutes than anyone expects, even with Bradley back, due to his solid 3-point shooting.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM

      With Rondo-Allen-Pierce-Bass-KG, the Celtics had 2 very good/elite 3 point shooters (Allen+Pierce), 2 solid jump-shooters up to 15 feet (Bass+KG), and Rondo slashing to the basket.

      Rondo is able to beat one defender and get to the rim OR fire off a perfect pass if a second defender comes to help, so having multiple shooters around him made him near unguardable. That’s one of the reasons why I could see the Celtics offense doing so well with Lee in the lineup that Bradley might, MIGHT, be stuck being a backup, since Lee is a solid defender but much better jump shooter.

      • jjordannba - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        Bradley shot 50% from the 3 in his starts post all-star break, most of them coming from the corners

  2. bozosforall - Sep 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    The writer conveniently forgets that the Puh C’s are a year older. Watch them not get past the first round this year as the decline begins.

    • jjordannba - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      The writer conveniently forgets the C’s are older? Are you stupid. I don’t think he purposely avoided that topic considering he’s a Heat fan, not a Celtics fan so why would he conveniently forget that

      • bozosforall - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:05 PM

        Jordan, you are an idiot, plain and simple.

  3. scalfor3 - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    how many years in a row have i heard that?

  4. paulhargis53 - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    A quick look at the roster proves bozo wrong.
    Yep, Garnett, Pierce are older, but Rondo, Bass and Bradley are all 27 or younger.
    Yep, Terry and Collins are 34 &,35.
    The rest of the bench 32 (Dooling)30(Wilcox).
    Everyone else is 27 and younger….

    Garnett and Pierce played at all star levels last year. Terry doesn’t need to play starters minutes. Collins and Dooling aren’t seeing major minutes.

    But yeah, this team is built to fall apart.
    Bozo, what a fitting name.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say you are lakerluver in disguise. Neither one of you know a thing and you’re both Lakers fans.

    Nice try dope, but obviously you know nothing of the revamped Celtics roster.
    As a Lakers fan, you are right to be very afraid of this team. They got a whole lot better this year.

    • bozosforall - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:53 AM

      Keep dreaming, pudhummer53. No one is “afraid” of this team, least of all me. But enjoy continuing to slurp the nuts of the Puh C’s as they begin their inevitable decline.

  5. rocirius - Sep 16, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Has anybody ever read a post by bozosforall and thought it was intelligent, witty or clever? All this clown ever does is resort to grade school insults.

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