Celtics improving on the boards as of late

Celtics improving on the boards as of late
October 17, 2013, 5:00 pm
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TORONTO — The relevance of data (better known in the stats world today as analytics research) played a role in Butler's success under Brad Stevens, and it certainly has a place in his new gig as the Boston Celtic's head coach.

But after a recent video edit with his players, Stevens had some bad news for them.

When it comes to the Celtics rebounding this season, the numbers will lie.

"The guys that block out aren't going to get much credit (for rebounding) this year," Stevens told them. "Because the ball is going to land in somebody else's hands. But know that the reason it's landing in our hands is because of you."

Rebounding, much like scoring is considered an individual endeavor when it's done at a high level.

But the Celtics know all too well that whatever success they have on the boards, will have to come about collectively.

The idea of Boston being a respectable team on the boards seems far-fetched.

Even when they were among the NBA's top teams, rebounding remained the bane of the Celtics' existence for most of Doc Rivers' nine-year reign as Boston's head coach.

In that time, Rivers' teams finished in the bottom half of the league in rebounding differential six out of nine seasons which includes each of the last four.

After getting out-rebounded 46-26 in Stevens' preseason debut against Toronto earlier this month, the Celtics have literally been neck-and-neck since then.

In the last five games, Boston has grabbed a total of 210 rebounds.

Their opponents?

210 rebounds.

And then there's the intangible dynamic that rebounding as a collective group rather than individuals, creates.

It forces a team that's still learning about itself, to in some ways become a closer group with the knowledge that their success in rebounding let alone in games, has to be done together.

"It's part of it," Stevens said. "It's part of being a team, part of being unselfish."