Boston Celtics: 3 Reasons the Team is Finally Hitting Their Stride

Boston Celtics (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Boston has Found Their Groove Offensively

Following a rough start to the season, the Celtics have carved out an offensive scheme that has worked wonders.

The team currently ranks in the top 10 in the league from an offensive standpoint, according to NBA advanced stats. They are doing this despite sitting next to dead last in points in the paint, and 28th in free throw shooting.

How? While the Celtics lack a dominant interior big man, they boast an abundance of shooters and shot creators. Boston ranks in at number 3 in shooting the long ball, with over 13 made per contest. They trail only the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets in the category.

The team has thrived in outside shooting primarily due to their ability to create separation.

According to NBA advanced stats, Boston is the second best team in the NBA at generating wide open shots (nearest defender 6+ feet away). A whopping 27.3 percent of their shots are considered ‘wide open’ while over 30 percent are classified as ‘open’ looks. Those figures add up to an absurd 57 percent of shot attempts being with a defender at least 4 feet away from the shooter.

The Celtics generate these open looks by playing unselfish basketball. Making the extra pass has been a staple of the offense since the Brad Stevens era began, and it hasn’t changed this season.

Boston is sixth across the NBA in total assists, and fifth in assist percentage. As the group gets healthier and individually settles into their roles, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Celtics finished the season as the top passing group in the league.

Nobody knows the Celtics better than their head coach, and Brad Stevens has had nothing but positive takes on his team’s offensive production as of late. Per Masslive, when asked about where he feels his group is compared to his expectations, he had this to say:

"“Probably not too far from what I thought,” he told reporters at practice Sunday. “Our offense has been good in the last two months. We’ve had moments defensively where we haven’t been. I think when we come back to full health, that will be a positive, but at the same time, I’m more encouraged than discouraged. The record being what it is, I think we’ve got a lot of room to still improve, but we also have shown that we can do a few things.”"

Coach Stevens has been known to be a bit of a realist when it comes to his opinion on his team’s play. He sees improvement on both sides of the ball, and likes the direction the group is heading.

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Despite all of the struggles, there is a lot to like about this Celtics squad. As the team gets healthier, the offense continues to develop, and guys like Gordon Hayward continue to step up they will only become more lethal as Boston vies for Eastern Conference supremacy. Make no mistake about it, the Boston Celtics are heading in the right direction.