Tag Archives: NBA condensed schedule

The Old Three and the condensed schedule

Lately, I’ve been arguing that older teams should rest their “more experienced” players as much as possible during the condensed season, especially in the fourth quarter of games that are out of hand. Regular readers might be shaking their heads at me after the Celtics’ games against the Cavaliers this week. In the first one, they gave up an 11 point lead in the last 4:24 of the game (they scored zero points). In the second, they nearly blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.

However, I think these games are just more evidence that the Celtics should rest the Old Three in the fourth quarter with large leads (or deficits). Not only will it help in future games, but it might actually help in the current game. The Celtics have a strong bench, and the Old Three are, well, old and tired. They are prone to blowing fourth quarter leads with long scoring droughts. Whether early or late, Doc Rivers needs to find time to rest his horses, or they will be burned out by March.

Edit: I actually wrote this yesterday before the Celtics thumped the Craptors. In that game, they led by 28 points entering the fourth quarter, the starters all rested, and they ended up winning by 34. Progress, I say!

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Changing strategy in response to the condensed NBA schedule

In the Celtics – Raptors game early tonight, the Celtics were up 73-55 at the start of the fourth quarter. Of the Old Three, only Garnett was on the floor. Both teams started the quarter cold, but Garnett got a couple free throws to push the lead to 20 with 9:15 left. In came Greg “the Dutch Steamer” Stiemsma, and that was the last of the Old Three for the evening. Needless to say, the Celtics won by 23. (The only bad news for the Celtics was a hard fall for Rondo, though he seems to be ok.)

I definitely approve of this strategy. There are multiple pros: Continue reading

(Lack of) Effort in the NBA and clock management

The lockout shortened NBA season is officially rolling, and everyone is talking about the demanding, condensed schedule. The Lakers start was a case in point: three games back to back against the Bulls, Kings, and Jazz. They should have beaten the Bulls but blew a 5 point lead in the last minute. Then came the predictable, tired-legs loss to an inferior team in Sacramento.

The Lakers came into the season in disarray. The league denied their trade for Chris Paul, Kobe hurt his wrist (a full ligament tear that will likely get worse, not better, this season), they traded extremely disgruntled Lamar Odom for next to nothing (he was part of the Paul trade offer), and Pau Gasol remains somewhat disgruntled (also part of the Paul trade offer). To make matters worse, the Clippers swiped Chris Paul instead and beat the Lakers twice in the preseason. New coach Mike Brown felt it necessary to assure the media that the Lakers would make the playoffs before their third game against the Jazz.

After their loss to the Kings, a lot of people expected an 0-3 start for the Lakers. The Kings game was close until the final 1:30, so they should have been especially tired against the Jazz. Instead, the Lakers came out and demolished the Jazz.

I have a different theory for what happened to the Lakers. Continue reading