Boston Celtics post historically bad shooting performance in loss to LA Clippers

BOSTON — The old adage about the NBA goes that at its core, it’s a make-or-miss league. If ever there was a game that proved this, it was the LA Clippers’ 91-82 win over the Boston Celtics Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Boston (16-19), who have now lost three straight games and four of their last five games, had one of their worst shooting performances not only of this season but of recent memory as the Celtics shot 4-for-42 from 3 points -Range – including missing shots with wide open shots – when losing a second straight game against a severely undermanned team.

“I think so,” said Jaylen Brown, who scored 30 points but shot 13-36 for the game, when asked if shooting, good or bad, can be contagious. “We missed a lot of shots and I thought we had a lot of open looks.

“We were moving the ball and we were… I know they were playing zone but we made a lot of great shots I felt like. Wide open looks. And they didn’t sink.”

The numbers support it, at least in part. Here’s a quick rundown of the gory details, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

  • The Celtics’ 4-for-42 shooting performance from 3-point range was the second-worst performance ever by a team that shot at least 40 3s (only behind a 4-for-45 performance by the Houston Rockets on Feb. 28 ). Season).

  • Boston went 1-18 in the fourth quarter, including missing their last 15 3-pointers of the game. Those 17 errors in the quarter were the most by a team in a single quarter in at least the last 25 seasons.

  • Boston’s 82 points from 101 field goal attempts is the lowest total in a game with at least 100 field goal attempts since the 3-point line was introduced in the 1979-80 season.

  • Boston’s 4-for-39 performance at catch-and-shoot 3-pointers is the worst night a team has had at catch-and-shoot opportunities since Second Spectrum used tracking in the 2013-14 season -Data has started using at least 35 trials. Including Wednesday’s game, there were 482 such games, and Boston’s was the last.

  • The difference between Boston’s effective field goal percentage (36.63) and its expected effective field goal percentage (56.68) was 20.05 — the worst mark ever by a team this season.

  • Brown’s 36 unassisted field goal attempts is the most by any player since former Celtic Antoine Walker, who hit that many shots in a January 7, 1998 loss to the Washington Wizards. However, Brown also had eight potential assists — tying the most players this season in a game he finished with zero assists.

In summary, the Celtics were getting tons of wide-open, quality shots — and missing virtually all of them.

However, none of that changes the fact that Boston has now relinquished back-to-back games to teams ravaged by a combination of injuries and COVID-19. The Clippers were so understaffed that they had two players arrive in Boston hours before the game – including James Ennis, who played them in a win over the Brooklyn Nets in Los Angeles on Monday – to fill out their roster.

After the losses, Boston sits 10th in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors. More importantly, the Celtics were looking for answers on how to get out of a funk that has sent the recent upbeat performance in the opposite direction during the toughest month of their season.

“I think we got a lot of open looks despite what the stats would say,” Brown said. “I don’t think we forced shots. I thought we got a lot of open looks that didn’t go under.

“I think it’s unfortunate timing because we wanted to react to the last game. A lot of these guys came out ready to fight, and we came up short. We came up damn short.”

In contrast to the game Brown was pointing to — Monday’s loss to the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the worst performances of Boston’s season — coach Ime Udoka said there are some positives to take away from the performance.

Boston mauled the Clippers on the glass, grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and made 20 more shots. The Celtics made just eight turnovers compared to 14 for the Clippers, keeping LA on 91 points.

But that wasn’t enough to weather a bad night of shooting – one that sends Boston further down the East rankings, another disappointing night in a season full of such.

“We’re getting 20 more shots and we’re keeping a team at 91 points…that’s a game we should win,” Udoka said.

Or as Grant Williams put it, “I think shooting is something we need to get better at, I think.”

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