With a 116-110 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies last night, the Boston Celtics completed a difficult four-game road swing that stretched from Sunday, November 7 through Saturday, November 13 with an impressive 3-1 record. The team's lone loss of the trip came at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, who defeated the Celtics 89-87 last Monday. Here is a collection of stats from the trip.
Some Basics: For the trip, the Celtics averaged 101.75 points per game, while their opponents scored 97.25 points per game. Boston shot exactly 50 percent from the field (162-324), and its opponents weren't too far behind, as they shot 48.9 percent from the floor (145-296).
Snipers: The Celtics shot a blistering 52.2 percent from three-point nation over the course of the four-game trip. They hit at least 40 percent of their three-point field goal attempts in all four games, and shot a trip-high 58.3 percent (7-12) against the Grizzlies last night. Ray Allen was particularly effective, as he shot a scorching 60.8 percent from distance over the four-game stretch. His best performance came against Miami, when he made his first seven three-point field goal attempts, and finished 7-9 overall.
Charity Stripe Success: As a team, the Celtics shot a very respectable 75.6 percent from the free throw line over the course of the trip. It usually helps when you have two guys shoot at least 95 percent from the line, and the Celtics got that production out of both Paul Pierce and Allen. Allen made all six of his free throw attempts (100 percent), while Pierce made 20 of 21 attempts from the line (95.2 percent).
Off the Glass: Overall, the Celtics were out-rebounded by their opponents on the trip by four (153-149). What's interesting is that in the lone game the Celtics out-rebounded their opponent, they lost (Boston out-rebounded Dallas 42-38). In all three of Boston's wins it either grabbed as many rebounds or fewer rebounds than its opponent. Not having a full rotation of big men most likely hurt the Celtics in this area. The C's were without Shaquille O'Neal for the first two games of the trip, and Jermaine O'Neal was limited in the first two games against the Thunder and Mavericks because of his aching left knee (he couldn't return for the second half against the Mavericks because of discomfort in the knee).
Kevin Garnett was the Celtics' best rebounder over the course of the four-game stretch, which is something I'm sure we all love to hear. Garnett ripped off 45 total rebounds, good for an average of 11.25 per game. He recorded two double-doubles in the four games, and practically posted a third last night, but was one rebound shy of it. Strangely, Garnett's posted a season-high of 15 rebounds twice so far this year, and the Celtics have lost both games. I'm assuming this is just an unusual coincidence.
Valuing the Ball: The Celtics turned the ball over 52 total times over the course of the four games, good for an acceptable average of 13 turnovers per game. This stat's encouraging, as, turnover-wise, the Celtics were on the wrong side of 15 far too often earlier in the season.
Sharing is Caring: The Celtics handed out 102 total assists on the road trip, good for an average of 25.5 per game. If you'll recall, the Celtics made 162 field goals over the four-game stretch, meaning 62.9 percent of the Celtics' baskets were assisted on. Boston was a mere two assists away from averaging a 2 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Rajon Rondo continued to post ridiculous assist numbers throughout the four games. He tallied 58 total assists (14.5 per game), and posted three double-doubles. He turned the ball over 14 times during the four games (3.5 per game), which brought his personal assist-to-turnover ratio to slightly better than 4 to 1 (4.14).
Fast Starts, Slower Finishes: Boston scored at least 27 points in three of the four first quarters they played, and overall, averaged 25.25 points in the first quarter throughout the road trip. Their opponents, meanwhile, averaged 22.75 points in the first quarter. In the fourth quarters, however, the Celtics averaged just 21.75 points, while their opponents averaged 23.25 points. The Celtics either had the lead or were tied for the lead heading into the fourth quarter in three of the four games, and only trailed by one heading into the final frame against Dallas.
The Truth Brought It: Paul Pierce had a fantastic road trip, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. He averaged 23.5 points per game, shot a blazing 56.4 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from three-point nation, and (as previously noted) a nearly flawless 95.2 percent from the free throw line. He did the majority of his damage from the field in the first three quarters, as he only averaged 2.25 points in the final period. He's still playing the classic Paul Pierce game: A steady mix of drives to the hoop, free throws, mid-range jump shots, and three-pointers. He's looked spry on a number of occasions, including last night at the 7:51 mark of the third quarter, when he half-heartedly faked right on Rudy Gay in the left corner - who bit completely - and drove left for a baseline slam.
Bench Mob: Overall, the bench was productive for Boston over the course of the road trip. The pine guys chipped in 25.75 points per game, with the majority of those points coming from Glen Davis and Nate Robinson, particularly in the last two games. Robinson posted 12 vital points against the Heat on Thursday, and followed it up with a 15-point outing against the Grizzlies last night.
The Celtics don't take the court again until Wednesday, when the John Wall-led Washington Wizards come to Boston. The exciting point guard matchups continue, as Wall's leading the NBA in steals, while Rondo's right on his heels, tied for fourth. Wall's passing isn't too shabby either, as he's averaging 9.8 assists per game - good for fifth in the league. The Celtics will welcome back Delonte West, who finished his league-mandated 10-game suspension last night.