BOSTON – There are many factors you can point to in the regular season as indicators of what may happen when two NBA teams meet in the playoffs.
You don't have to be inside the Chicago Bulls' locker room to know that when it comes to the Celtics, they were fully prepared to face a team that took a lot of 3's but wasn’t necessarily shooting them at a high percentage.
That reality has certainly come into focus in Boston’s first-round series against the Chicago, one the C’s lead 3-2 as they continue to try and 3-point shoot their way on to the next round – without giving a damn how many long-range shots it takes to get the job done.
In five playoff games, Boston is shooting 45.3 percent from the field, which puts them in the middle of the pack (eighth overall) among the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason.
But when it comes to the long ball, they are on the back-nine of playoff teams, ranking 10th while shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range while leading all postseason clubs with 38.7 3-point attempts per game.
In the regular season, the Celtics ranked 16th in field-goal percentage (.454) and 14th in 3-point shooting (35.9 percent) while attempting 33.4 3's per game, which trailed only Houston (40.3) and Cleveland (33.9) this season.
Boston's shooting from the field mirrors what it did in the regular season, but they know all too well that their shooting percentage in this series should be much higher due to the high number of open shots they have missed.
Take a look at Game 5.
In the 108-97 win, the Celtics shot an impressive 53.1 percent when their shots were contested.
But let the Bulls have a defensive breakdown like a failed switch, or a guy gets beat for what turns into a great opportunity for Boston to score with no resistance, and instead of burying the open shot, the Celtics have consistently blown those opportunities. That’s evident by the C’s connecting on just 30.8 percent (12-for-39) of their uncontested field-goal attempts in Game 5.
Even the usually reliable Isaiah Thomas had issues making uncontested shots in Game 5 and this series as a whole.
He had 24 points and shared game-high scoring honors with Avery Bradley on Wednesday night, but Thomas probably should have led everyone outright in scoring when you consider he had five open shots and wound up missing four of them.
That’s why when it comes to Boston’s offense, the last thing Thomas or any of his teammates complains about is getting the shots they want.
“I’ve been getting good open looks,” he said. “My teammates have been getting me open. We just got to knock down the shots. Coach [Stevens] keeps saying one day soon we’re going to knock down the open shots that we are missing and it might be [Game 6].”