A Rested Team is an Offensively Efficient Team

NBA players probably don't understand the luxury of the typical three day weekend. They work nights and weekends on most occasions, so three days with no games to them must be like Friday or Monday off for the majority of us.

Above all, we take advantage of the time off and based on the smackdown the the Celtics laid down on the Jazz last night, it seems pretty clear they made the most of their time off. One day of rest plus two days of practice was just what the doctor ordered for what appeared to be a very fatigued group of Celtics following Saturday night's "outlasting" of the Nets.

The Celtics followed up a sloppy and poorly executed game against New Jersey with a crisp, efficient (on both sides of the ball) and relentless display of teamwork, unselfishness and execution in a 105-86 thrashing of a very capable Utah team. The offense started in the paint, extended beyond the three-point line, eventually spread to the open court and Utah was subdued before it really had a chance to fight back.

The numbers from last night speak volumes:

41-77 shooting (53.2%), 7-19 3-point shooting (36.8% - a few were chucked up unnecessarily in garbage time), 16-18 free throws (88.9%), 105 points and 30 assists.

As impressive as the team's overall numbers were, the individual box scores help to paint a clearer picture (see below). Seven players scored in double figures, highlighted by Kevin Garnett's 18. Kendrick Perkins scored 10 and snagged eight rebounds. Rajon Rondo dropped 14 points and dished out 11 assists (with the exception of a few more rebounds, isn't this ideal production from Rondo right now?) Paul Pierce showed great balance with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Perk was the only starter to shoot less than 50 percent from the field for the game. As a five-man unit the starters shot 28-45 (62 percent). Every starter was at least +13 on the +/- scale, capped off by Ray Allen's +21.

"Rondo did a good job of finding everybody, consolidating the ball and being aggressive," Garnett said afterward. "It was just a good group effort tonight. You could tell the three days paid off in a big way."

That group effort was perhaps best on display with 8:24 left in the third quarter when Rondo fed Allen down low, who immediately kicked it back out to Perk, who tossed the ball behind his back to Garnett, who then found Rondo cutting to the basket for a lay up. The man who started the play ended up finishing it. It was a magnificent play and sums up the night this team had.

When you compare the numbers from last night to Saturday's game in New Jersey, the differences are somewhat frightening.

Vs. Utah: 41-77 shooting (53.2%), 7-19 3-point shooting (36.8%), 16-18 free throws (88.9%), 105 points and 30 assists. 7 players scored in double figures. 

Vs. New Jersey: 31-69 shooting (44.9%), 1-10 3-point shooting (10.0%), 23-29 free throws (79.3%), 86 points, 21 assists. Three players scored in double figures.

"During the stretch of eight games (in 12 nights), we rarely had any practice time so throughout that course you play, you play and you don't practice, (so) you lose some of the discipline that you had throughout the course of practicing before you play," said Pierce. "It's good to get out there, to get a couple days just to sharpen up, see what we needed to do, see what our mistakes (were), because there was a little slippage in those last three games, but fortunately we won two out of the three games and hopefully we can continue to play sharp basketball over this next stretch."

I assumed that the C's would use the practice time to fix things like their pick and roll defense, but clearly the team's offensive execution was highlighted as well. Based on the numbers from last night, I think it's fair to say the reps in practice carried over to the court.

"We're not perfect, (but) we might make it look perfect at times," said Garnett. "I think those were some of the focuses these last couple days of practice - ball movement, getting back to being a fundamental team. Tonight you saw that. I thought the ball moved well throughout everybody and it was more inside-out basketball, but energy was there and the things we did in practice we actually applied to this game."

 Starters Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts 
  R. Allen G 32:17 6-8 1-3 2-2 +21 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 1 15 
  R. Rondo G 30:37 7-11 0-0 0-0 +20 1 1 11 4 2 0 1 0 14 
  K. Perkins C 26:16 4-9 0-0 2-2 +17 3 8 2 2 0 0 1 1 10 
  P. Pierce F 32:25 4-7 3-5 2-2 +18 2 6 6 2 3 0 1 2 13 
  K. Garnett F 26:14 7-10 0-1 4-4 +13 0 4 1 0 2 0 0 3 18 
 Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts 
  R. Wallace 21:32 5-12 2-7 0-0 +6 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 12 
  M. Daniels 21:11 3-5 0-0 4-6 +3 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 10 
  S. Williams 19:32 2-5 0-0 2-2 +4 4 6 1 2 0 1 0 4
  E. House 17:42 2-7 1-2 0-0 +1 0 2 1 3 0 1 0 3
  L. Hudson 6:02 1-2 0-1 0-0 -4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
  J.R. Giddens 4:05 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
  B. Walker 2:07 0-0 0-0 0-0 -4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  T. Allen DNP - Coach's Decision
  G. Davis DNP - Coach's Decision
  B. Scalabrine DNP - Coach's Decision
 Totals 41-77 7-19 16-18 12 33 30 15 7 3 3 17 105 
 Percentages:   .532 .368 .889   Team Rebounds: 6

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