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Finishing games, defense and Brown's catch-and-shoot stats keys to success

 The Boston Celtics remain mired in the middle of the pack in NBA.com's latest Eastern Conference Power Rankings. The Green rank seventh, just after the New York Knicks and in front of the Bulls.


NBA.com's John Schuhmann cites the Celtics' lack of ability to close out close games - a drop in last-season's defensive stats - and Jaylen Brown's impressive catch-and-shoot stats as focal points for the Celtics this season.

"The Celtics played 43 games, most in the league, that were within five points in the last five minutes last season. They were 17-26 (0.395, fourth worst in the league) in those games and 19-10 (0.655) otherwise, finishing 36-36 with the point differential of a team that was 40-32."

Expect a lot of Jayson's-last-minute heroics once again in 2021-22. He is a master at getting a decent shot off under pressure. Now to defense.

"The Celtics’ defense saw the league’s third biggest jump in points allowed per 100 possessions, from 106.5 (fourth) in 2019-20 to 111.8 (13th) last season. They ranked 22nd in opponent 3-point percentage (37.4%), ending a streak of 13 straight seasons in the top six."

Frankly, despite being a fan of Jaylen Brown, I was somewhat surprised to see him competing with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Paul George in the catch-and-shoot category.

Jaylen comes in second (behind Curry) in catch-and-shoot points per game with 6.5 per contest. Admittedly, he also comes in behind the other three stars in C&S field goal percentage (43.7%). 

There you have it. Get the ball to Tatum at the end of close games. Restore that defensive intensity. And get the ball to Jaylen Brown more often, and in better situations, for catch-and-shoot opportunities. Sounds simple. Start of the season is in view!





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