Celtics compensate for low Total Rebounds (TRB) with high FG%

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm

The Celtics are 27th in the league in terms of team rebounding, with an average of 39.3 TRB/game.  However, they rank 11th in TRB differential — that is to say that the Celtics still out-rebound their opponents by 1.3 TRB/game.  …How can this be? If you aren’t pulling down a lot of boards, and your opponent isn’t pulling down a lot of boards, then one of two things is true, either: a). both teams are making a lot of their shots, or b). one team is shooting tremendously better than the other. In the Celtics case, it’s the latter.

The Celtics FG% is 7.6% better than their opponents, by far the greatest differential in the league. The Mavericks have the 2nd highest FG% differential with +4.4%.

FGA (league rank) FG% FTA FT% ORB TRB
Celtics 76.6 (27th) 51.3% (1st) 23.8 (22nd) 74.0 (23rd) 7.6 (30th) 39.3 (27th)
Opponents 77.1 (28th) 43.7 (24th) 25.3 (17th) 77.3 (9th) 9.6 (25th) 38.0 (29th)
Differential -0.5 (15th) +7.6 (1st) -1.5 (20th) -3.3 (20th) -2.0 (27th) +1.3 (11th)

Stats accurate as of 12/10/10; collected by Robert Holmes Pooley

Game-by-game look at the C’s on the boards. W indicates the C’s out-rebounded their opponent; L – their opponent out-rebounded them; T – teams had an equal number of TRB.

GAME // Opponent // C’s TRB // Opp. TRB // TRB Battle
Game 1: v. MIA           42        39        W
Game 2: at CLE           38        37        W
Game 3: v. NY             54        38        W
Game 4: at DET           36        38        L
Game 5: v. MIL            43        42        W
Game 6: v. CHI            43        31        L
Game 7: at OKC          40        40        T
Game 8: at DAL           42        38        W
Game 9: at MIA           35        37        L
Game 10: at MEM       32        38        L
Game 11: v. WAS        40        36        W
Game 12: v. OKC        31        37        L
Game 13: at TOR         36        41        L
Game 14: at ATL         50        30        W
Game 15: v. NJ            33        42        L
Game 16: v. TOR         35        44        L
Game 17: at CLE         49        45        W
Game 18: v. POR         30        28        W
Game 19: v. CHI          44        34        W
Game 20: at NJ            49        36        W
Game 21: v. DEN         42        34        W
Game 22: at PHI          33        39        L

The C’s are 12-9-1 in TRB battles.

The C’s contest shots as well as anyone; their opponents shoot very poorly (43.7 FG%; 24th in the league). They also play slow relative to the rest of the league; their 91.0 possessions per 48 minutes ranks 20th in the league, so their opponents don’t get many scoring opportunities (77.1 FGA/game; 28th in the league). It’s such a fundamental gameplan, yet it’s rare you’ll see it executed so well: limit your opponents shot opportunities, and tightly contest the ones they get.


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