Celtics rebounding problem as bad as it gets

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Celtics rebounding problem as bad as it gets

BOSTON To see the Boston Celtics at or near the bottom of the standings when it comes to rebounds isn't all that surprising.

After all, it's not like it's anything Celtics fans haven't seen in recent years.

But what's disturbing about things right now is that as bad as the C's have been in recent years, there are signs that they are getting worse.

And that does not bode well for a Celtics team that's looking to rebound this week - literally and figuratively - against two of the top teams in the NBA, San Antonio on Wednesday followed by Oklahoma City Friday night.

Boston is currently ranked dead-last in rebounding this season, with 36.8 rebounds per game. Even more telling about their rebounding woes is their rebounding margin this season is minus-5.3 per game which is also last in the league.

And that 5.3 rebounding deficit per game marks the third straight season the rebounding gap for the C's has expanded from the previous season.

The Celtics have been given a pass of sorts when it comes to struggling to rebound, courtesy of shooting a high percentage and winning a lot of games.

This season, the C's are fifth in the league in field goal percentage which is exactly where they were last season.

But things are different right now.

The C's are just a game over .500 and while they remain a relatively high-percentage shooting team, it is clear that the problems they have had on the boards has been a contributing factor of sorts for some of their other problems.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers recognizes how rebounding-challenged his team has been this season. But when he looks around the NBA, he sees a number of the top teams also having their issues when it comes to banging the boards.

Miami is just ahead of Boston at No. 29 in rebounding this season, but the Heat rank 21st in rebounding margin.

The New York Knicks have come up on the short end of the rebounding game most of the season despite record-wise being one of the league's top teams.

They rank 26th in rebounding and 28th in rebounding margin.

"We want to be a better rebounding team; there's no doubt about that," Rivers said. "For us to win big, we have to be. Do you have to lead the league in rebounding? I don't know if that's necessarily the truth. But we have to be a better rebounding team."

Even in their struggles, rebounding margin in the past pointed out that the Celtics were a better rebounding team than their shear rebounding totals might have indicated.

Last year, Boston was the league's worst-rebounding team. But their rebounding margin ranked 28th in the league. In 2011, the C's ranked 29th in rebounding but were up to No. 19 in rebounding margin.

And in 2010 when they advanced all the way to the NBA Finals, the C's were next-to-last in rebounding but finished 25th in rebounding margin.

Even when they were a better-than-average rebounding team, their rebounding margin rank was still consistently better.

Boston was the eighth-best rebounding team in 2009, and were No. 2 that year in rebounding margin. In 2008 when they brought home banner 17, the C's were 12th in rebounds but were the third-best in terms of rebounding margin.

So what does this mean going forward for the Celtics?

Focusing on their rebounding totals is important to keep an eye on, but not necessarily vital to them being a great team. The margin of rebounds per game is a far more telling indicator where they are in terms of rebounding success.

And if the Celtics are to have the kind of season they believe they are capable of, they need to bounce back and rebound - literally and figuratively - from their current struggles on the boards.

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters last week that spending time with Bill Belichick can make you "feel pretty inadequate as a coach."

But Belichick raved about Stevens during a conference call on Sunday. The two spent time together on Friday night for the Hall of Fame Huddle fundraiser to benefit Belichick's foundation, and the Patriots coach explained that he's learned a lot from the Celtics boss.

"Got to know Brad ove the last couple of years," Belichick said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done, taking a young team, a team that we barely knew some of the players on the team, and in a couple of years has built them into a strong team last year and played very competitively in the playoffs. Fun to go over there and watch them.

"Brad and I have talked about a lot of things that are just coaching-related. Obviously the sports are different. I don't know anything about basketball, and he says he doesn't know much about football. It's really not about Xs and Os and that kind of thing. It's more the other parts of coaching: Prepartion, training, team work, team-building, confidence, communication, players and coaches relationships and so forth.

"Obviously we're in the same business in taking more people to training camp than we can keep on a roster, then managing a roster and dealing with things that happen during the year with that roster, whether it's bringing other guys onto the team, trades and so forth. We've chatted about a lot of those things. He's given me a lot of insight.

"I'd say some of the players they get are a little younger than the guys we get on average. Kids that are coming out of college after one year, we get them after three years or four. Just the trans from college to pro which he obviously has a lot of experience with. Coming to the New England area for most players, that's an adjustment, we don't get too many guys from this area. All of those things like that."

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters last week that spending time with Bill Belichick can make you "feel pretty inadequate as a coach."

But Belichick raved about Stevens during a conference call on Sunday. The two spent time together on Friday night for the Hall of Fame Huddle fundraiser to benefit Belichick's foundation, and the Patriots coach explained that he's learned a lot from the Celtics boss.

"Got to know Brad ove the last couple of years," Belichick said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done, taking a young team, a team that we barely knew some of the players on the team, and in a couple of years has built them into a strong team last year and played very competitively in the playoffs. Fun to go over there and watch them.

"Brad and I have talked about a lot of things that are just coaching-related. Obviously the sports are different. I don't know anything about basketball, and he says he doesn't know much about football. It's really not about Xs and Os and that kind of thing. It's more the other parts of coaching: Prepartion, training, team work, team-building, confidence, communication, players and coaches relationships and so forth.

"Obviously we're in the same business in taking more people to training camp than we can keep on a roster, then managing a roster and dealing with things that happen during the year with that roster, whether it's bringing other guys onto the team, trades and so forth. We've chatted about a lot of those things. He's given me a lot of insight.

"I'd say some of the players they get are a little younger than the guys we get on average. Kids that are coming out of college after one year, we get them after three years or four. Just the trans from college to pro which he obviously has a lot of experience with. Coming to the New England area for most players, that's an adjustment, we don't get too many guys from this area. All of those things like that."