The Boston Celtics have now played 41 games in the 2018-19 season, so seeing as how they are officially at the halfway point it’s time for one of my favorite blogs of the year to write. I’ve done this the last few seasons, and at a time where everyone has a hot take about this team where things can sometimes be subjective, the beauty of this blog is everything you are about to read is 100% true. There’s no homer bias, no irrational love or hatred, just 41 stone cold facts to help sum of everything we’ve seen so far this season. Some might be weird, some might be bad, some might be awesome, because honestly that’s how I would describe this season so far, mostly a rollercoaster. Ready? Let’s go!
1. We can start with their current situation. Sitting at 25-16 the Celtics are on a 50 win pace which is certainly much lower than many experts predicted heading into the season. They sit in the 5 seed trailing PHI by 1.5 games and a full 5 games from the top seeded MIL. Not exactly the most ideal situation to be in
2. After having a bottom 5 offense for the first half of their games played, the Celtics now own the 9th best offense in basketball with a 110.8 Ortg. This is the highest Ortg of the Brad Stevens era and the 3rd time he’s had a top 10 offense
3. 40% of Kyrie Irving’s 3PM this season have come unassisted, which not only leads the team but is nearly double the next regular rotation player (Terry Rozier, 23.7%). 62% of all of his FGM are unassisted
4. Jayson Tatum makes the fewest passes on average per night of any starter at just 29.6 a game
5. Marcus Smart and Kyrie Irving are tied for the team lead with 9 charges taken a piece
6. Al Horford leads all Celtics with 406 contested shots, next closest is Jayson Tatum at 313
7. The Celtics find themselves 6-10 against teams .500 or better which is the second most losses among the top 5 seeds, and then 19-6 against teams under .500 which trails only PHI’s 20 wins.
8. Jayson Tatum has travelled a total of 94.4 miles this season on the court, which leads the team
9. Gordon Hayward is shooting 35/34% on catch and shoot situations so far this season
10. Their defense currently ranks 4th in the NBA and they are also owners of the 2nd best net rating in the league at +6.3
11. Jaylen Brown ranks 254th out of 474 total players in real plus-minus at -1.16. Last season, he finished 80th out of 521.
12. The Celtics are shooting just 26.9% from the right corner three which is dead last in the league
13. They currently rank 3rd in clutch time FG% at 49.6% and 4th in clutch time points at 11.0
14. When Jayson Tatum takes 3-6 dribbles, his shooting splits are 51.6/42.1%. When he takes 7+ dribbles those numbers drop to 40/40%. Kyrie Irving takes 7+ dribbles on 24% of his possessions and shoots 51/45%
15. Their pace of 98.8 is the fastest the Celtics have played since the 1985-86 season when they played at a 101.2 pace.
16. Against TOR/MIL/PHI/IND the Celtics are 5-3 but 2 of those 3 losses came on the road
17. The Horford/Irving/Morris/Smart/Tatum starting 5 is outscoring opponents by 11.4 points per 100 possessions. The original starting five lineup of Irving/Jaylen/Hayward/Tatum/Horford is getting outscored by 4.3 points per 100 possessions.
18. The Celtics have a net rating of just +1.7 when Jaylen Brown is on the floor, and a +10.0 net rating when he’s off. The biggest jump comes on the offensive end, where the Celtics Ortg jumps from 104.7 to 112.3
19. With 546 3PM on the season, the Celtics are 2nd in the league in makes and trail HOU by just 62 threes while taking 233 fewer attempts
20. So far on the second night of back to backs this season the Celtics are 2-5
21. The Celtics are the only team in the East that has played more than 1 OT game and remains undefeated (4-0)
22. Jaylen Brown is shooting 29/27% so far this season on “wide open” looks. That is the worst of any regular rotation player. Marcus Morris is the best, with 50.5/47.8% splits in those same situations
23. The bench is 9th in the NBA in scoring at 39.9 points a night. Their reserves do make the 4th most threes per night at 4.8 and are 6th in overall +/-
24. In losses, this team allows opponents to average 112.3 points a night which is more than 11 points more than what they give up in wins
25. When given 3+ days rest the Celtics average a ridiculous 119.7 points a night. They have had 3 of those games so far and are 2-1
26. With a 0.218 free throw rate, the Celtics rank 29th in terms of getting to the line. Only the Magic are worse.
27. Robert Williams has played in 19 games and a total of 173 minutes. He has a 14.6% BLK%. That is over 3x the next closest Celtic who is Horford at 4.4%
28. For a team that ranks 16th in rebounding, the Celtics rank 2nd in box outs with 30.1 a night. Make sense of that
29. The Celtics have 15 games of at least 30 assists
30. On average the Celtics put up 34.1 points off catch and shoot plays which is 2nd in the NBA and trails #1 GS by 0.3 points. Conversley, they are 26th in paint touch points
31. Al Horford has tied his highest Ortg as a Celtic with a 115 rating but also has his 2nd highest Drtg this season at 105
32. In the first four seconds of the shot clock the Celtics have the highest FG% in the NBA at 55.7%. They shoot 42.7% when they shoot with 7-4 seconds left
33. Marcus Smart is shooting 36.8% from the paint this season, while also shooting 35% from three
34. As a starter, Terry Rozier is averaging 14/5/5 in 4 starts. As a reserve those numbers drop to 8/4/2.5
35. Marcus Morris is the only player in the NBA who has played more than three games that is currently averaging 50/45/88 splits
36. The Celtics rank 13th in the NBA in passes made a game with 303.3 average
37. Don’t turn the ball over against this team as they average 19.0 points off turnovers which is 4th in the NBA
38. Kyrie Irving’s 28.1% usage rate is the lowest of his career
39. When Kyrie is on the floor the Celtics have a net rating of +9.1. When he comes off that number drops to +0.5. Their offense drops from a 112.8 Ortg to just 101.6
40. The Celtics currently have the 2nd best title odds of any team in the East at 14.8%
41. As of today, the Celtics have had the 24th hardest schedule in the NBA, which among the top 5 seeds is only better than PHI/IND who rank 25th and 27th hardest
So when you add all this up what do you get? A team that has pretty much underachieved through the first half, but one that does show signs of being pretty good. Consistency is going to be their main issue moving forward, but there is no debating a single fact in this blog. Like it or hate it, these 41 facts are their reality. Let’s just hope things get much better over the final 41 because things are only going to get harder.