NBA.com’s John Schuhmann had a very interesting piece today about quarter-by-quarter differentials. In it, he called the Celtics the most inconsistent team in the NBA from quarter to quarter.
In fact, only two teams, the Nets and Sixers, have more losses than the Celtics do when leading at halftime. Boston has led 52 of their 71 games at the half, but 16 of their 25 losses have come in that situation.
Is it an age thing? Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace all shoot worse in the second half than they do in the first. Wallace’s dropoff, from 47.8 percent in the first half to 33 percent in the second half, is by far the largest of any player in the league who has attempted at least 200 shots in each half this season. Yet, for some reason, he’s attempted more shots in the second half (294) than he has in the first (278). Pierce suffers the next worst dropoff of the four Celtics vets, from 49.9 percent to 44.2 percent.
He then gave the table below to illustrate the inconsistencies. Boston, as you can see below, is the best second quarter team in the league, but very average — or even below average — after halftime. (For the table, offensive rating is how many points scored per 100 possessions, while defensive rating is how many points allowed per 100 possessions.)
Boston Celtics by Quarter
|Quarter||Off. Rat.||Rank||Def. Rat.||Rank||Diff.||Rank|
Those stats are alarming, but I’m not too worried about them. For most of the season, Boston hasn’t been itself. The team these stats are mostly based on is a version of the Celtics that no longer exists. The C’s rode a strong fourth-quarter against Dallas to victory, fended off a fierce Nuggets run with a fourth-quarter run of their own, and now seem to be making plays down the stretch of games to pull out W’s.
Barring a second-half disaster against Utah, the Celtics are starting to put together complete performances unlike they have all year long. So, in my eyes, take those stats and throw them out the window. If the Celtics continue to show second-half problems the rest of the way, they’ve got issues. But I don’t think they will. As Doc Rivers said, this is now a completely different team.