When one star isn't enough in the NBA playoffs


When one star isn't enough in the NBA playoffs

By JessicaCamerato

Carmelo Anthony was a one-man scoring machine in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. He looked he like he could do anything he wanted with the ball -- drive, fade away, pull up for an improbable jumper -- scoring 42 points along the way.

There was one thing he couldnt do, though -- get a win for the New York Knicks.

Over the last four years, the success of the Boston Celtics has been rooted in team basketball, fueled by unselfish ball movement and the contributions of every player on the court. The more players involved in the offense, the more shot options that open up, and the harder it is to defend against them.

One player isnt always enough. Anthony's offensive showcase is not the first individual performance that has been trumped by a balanced team effort in the postseason.

Take a look at remarkable individual feats in the New Big Three era that have fallen short to a team collaboration.

Game 2, First Round of 2011 Eastern Conference PlayoffsCeltics 96 - Knicks 93

Standout Performance
Carmelo Anthony: 42 points (14-30 FG, 4-8 3PG, 10-11 FT)
Total Team Points: 45.2

Next Up for Knicks
Toney Douglas: 14 points
Jared Jeffries: 10 points

Celtics Leading Scorers
Rajon Rondo: 30 points
Paul Pierce: 20 points
Ray Allen: 18 points


Game 5, 2008 NBA FinalsLakers 103 - Celtics 98

Standout Performance
Paul Pierce: 38 points (10-22 FG, 2-6 3PG, 16-19 FT)
Total Team Points: 38.8

Next Up for Celtics
Ray Allen: 16 points
Kevin Garnett: 13 points

Lakers Leading Scorers
Kobe Bryant: 25 points
Lamar Odom: 20 points
Pau Gasol: 19 points

Game 5, 2010 NBA FinalsCeltics 92 - Lakers 86

Standout Performance
Kobe Bryant: 38 points (13-27 FG, 4-10 3PG, 8-9 FT)
Total Team Points: 44.2

Next Up for Lakers
Pau Gasol: 12 points
Derek Fisher: 9 points

Celtics Leading Scorers
Paul Pierce: 27 points
Kevin Garnett: 18 points
Rajon Rondo: 18 points


Game 6, First Round of 2009 Eastern Conference PlayoffsBulls 128 - Celtics 127 (3OT)

Standout Performance
Ray Allen: 51 points (18-32 FG, 9-18 3PG, 6-7 FT)
Total Team Points: 40.2

Next Up for Celtics
Glen Davis: 23 points
Paul Pierce: 22 points

Bulls Leading Scorers
John Salmons: 35 points
Derrick Rose: 28 points
Brad Miller: 23 points


Game 2, First Round of 2009 Eastern Conference PlayoffsCeltics 118 - Bulls 115

Standout Performance
Ben Gordon: 42 points (14-24 FG, 6-11 3PG, 8-9 FT)
Total Team Points: 36.5

Next Up for Bulls
John Salmons: 17 points
Brad Miller: 16 points

Celtics Leading Scorers
Ray Allen: 30 points
Glen Davis: 26 points
Rajon Rondo: 19 points


Game 7, 2008 Eastern Conference SemifinalsCeltics 97 - Cavaliers 92

This heated battle is an exception as LeBron James and Paul Pierce battled to advance their teams to the next round. There could only be one winner in this one-on-one duel.

Standout Performances
LeBron James: 45 points (14-29 FG, 3-11 3PG, 14-19 FT)
Total Team Points: 48.9

Paul Pierce: 41 points (13-23 FG, 4-6 3PG, 11-12 FT)
Total Team Points: 42.3

Next Up for Cavs
Delonte West: 15 points
Zydrunas Ilgauskas: 8 points

Next Up for Celtics
Kevin Garnett: 13 points
P.J. Brown: 10 points

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA.She can bereached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.