In a bounce back win, the Boston Celtics defeated the Washington Wizards 112-94 on Sunday night. A big theme in Boston’s win was their offense, as the team shot a sizzling 21-of-47 from deep, in comparison to 15-of-32 from within the arc. Through their first six games, the Celtics are first in the league on made three pointers (16.2 3PM/game), third in attempts (40.5 3PA/game), and third in three-point shooting percentage (39.9 3P%).
“I love three pointers. I like math,” said head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Celtics’ shot selection and quality against the Wizards.
“I like open threes, I like space, and I think it’s a huge strength of our team. So, the thing we have to learn on the offensive end is exactly what you said. Just making sure we’re getting the best actual shot every time down, and regardless of if it goes in or not, it’s a good shot. We did a great job tonight of, when the shots weren’t falling, continuing to compete defensively. I thought that was great.”
Boston’s offense has been one of the best in the league so far, whereas their defense had taken some steps back from being the elite level it was under Ime Udoka in the second half of last season. There were some strides made against a lesser team in Washington, as the Celtics held an opponent to under 100 points for the first time this season.
When asked if he noticed anything different about Boston’s defensive approach in the win, Mazzulla said, “I saw the same effort that we’ve had the first (five games), but I saw a commitment to the details, and a commitment to the execution on every possession like we talked about before the game. Ya know, our guys are always going to play hard, we just have to continue to execute and be detailed, and more consistent, and we were tonight.”
Rebounding has been an issue with the absence of Robert Williams, specifically on the offensive end where Williams would clean up the boards for a put back or swat the ball back out to the perimeter to keep possessions alive. “Just continue to stress that all five guys have to rebound,” said Mazzulla on how Boston can improve on the offensive glass. “It’s something that we talked about, we just can’t have guys leaking out, we can’t have guys in the paint. It’s everybody’s responsibility, and we just have to make that commitment.”
There’s a general concern about Boston’s defensive numbers so far this season, but for the most part, Mazzulla and company aren’t stressing out over things so far. “Like I said, I’m not as concerned with the defense,” said Mazzulla, “You know, we’re fourth in shot selection defense and we’re last in mid-range points per shot, and we’re first in mid-range frequency. Some of the stuff we just have to do a little better of a job, and like I said, our effort is always there. We just have to execute consistently. The rebounding is a piece to that, and we could do a better job at defending without fouling, but the overall defense is something that we have to be patient with, and at the same time, get better every game.”
The Celtics will look to keep things rolling as they take on the Cavaliers on the road Wednesday, 7:30 pm EST tipoff.