A 22-second summation of what the Boston Celtics face without Kevin Garnett for two weeks:
What that clip shows: A skinny wing player, Iman Shumpert, stealing a rebound from two Boston front-line players who have initial inside position on him. Those two Boston players are Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, and the Celtics have allowed 106.6 points per 100 possessions when they’ve shared the floor, per NBA.com. That would rank 25th overall for the season, which is a problem, since the Celtics as a team have actually allowed 99.8 points per 100 possessions — the sixth-stingiest mark in the league.
Of the 43 two-man player combinations that have logged at least 250 minutes this season for Boston, only the Courtney Lee–Chris Wilcox combo has been worse — and only by a smidgen, at 106.8 points allowed per 100 possessions in about 450 fewer minutes than the Green-Bass combo.
The Celtics are 4-0 without Rajon Rondo and have scored 102.4 points per 100 possessions in that stretch, a mark that would rank 12th overall — about a dozen spots and 2.5 points better than what Boston’s putrid offense has done for the season, per NBA.com. This has resulted in a predictable rush of instant analysis and debate about whether the Celtics, a below-average offensive team for nearly four seasons, might be “better without Rondo.”
Walking down the back hallway of the TD Garden toward the media scrum arranged around Doc Rivers before Monday night’s Celtics-Sixers game feels a tiny bit like being in an unpretty NBA version of one those long Wes Anderson panning shots crammed full of highly detailed mise-en-scene and all that. Looking to the rooms on my right, there’s Chris Webber, his tie hanging loose around his neck, kibitzing with the TNT crew; Lavoy Allen, on his stomach, a trainer on top of him jerking his ankles up toward his thighs; David Aldridge and Mickael Pietrus chatting off to the side; and the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, trudging the other way and muttering something about how’s he gonna need an extra pen tonight, as a cameraman rolls tape while walking backwards in front of him.