Celtics missing open shots to take down Bulls


CHICAGO -- You hear players and coaches in the NBA talk all the time about this being a make-miss league.
Looking at where this first-round series between Boston and Chicago is, without question the Bulls’ ability to make shots has been the difference.
Boston, which trails Chicago 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, has shot 44.6 percent from the field in the first two games compared to the Bulls’ 46.9.
But there are a number of contributing factors that have contributed to this unexpected role reversal of sorts when it comes to shot-making.
One of the more notable differences?
Chicago has done a significantly better job at freeing up its shooters with screens at various points on the floor, which is in stark contrast to how the Celtics fared against most opponents during the regular season in that category.
During the regular season, Boston had 156 more screened assists than the Bulls. But after the first two games of this series Chicago has a 30-20 advantage in screen assists, led by Robin Lopez who has 10.
And while there have been questions raised as to what role coach Brad Stevens has played in the team’s struggles in the first two games, the statistics show that a lot of Boston’s troubles offensively stem from the players simply not executing when in position to do so.
In Boston’s 111-97 Game 2 loss, Boston shot 46.3 percent from the field, converting 38-of-82 shot attempts.
Of those 82 field-goal attempts, exactly half of them (41) were uncontested shots.
According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, the Celtics shot just 16-of-41 on those uncontested shots, or 39.0 percent.
The Celtic player who stood out for all the wrong reasons along these lines in Game 2 was Avery Bradley who missed 8 of his 11 uncontested shots.
Meanwhile, the Bulls were 27-for-43 on uncontested shots, or 62.8 percent.
And among the Chicago players who saw at least 10 minutes of action in Game 2, only one of them (Jimmy Butler, 3-for-7) shot less than 50 percent on uncontested shots.
So as much as the narrative thus far focused on Boston’s poor rebounding, the Celtics clearly need to do a better job of making open shots -- something that as much as any one factor, has contributed to them being in this 2-0 series deficit.

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