BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out.
Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings.
Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers.
Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA.
This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA.
You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s.
The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.
"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."
And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league.
One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time.
And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken.
“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”