Celtics’ Starters Playing too Many Minutes?
Boston’s starters played a whopping 213 combined minutes out of 265 during Game 2′s overtime loss. Boston’s starters were on the court for 80.4 percent of the game.
Miami started Ronny Turiaf and played him just four minutes, so the Heat’s percentage was obviously much lower. But if you take Miami’s other four starters ((LeBron) James, Dwyane Wade, (Shane) Battier, Mario Chalmers) plus Udonis Haslem, who played 29 minutes off the bench, you get a similar percentage: 79.2 percent. The two teams are both knocked for their lack of depth but they’re hardly facing the same circumstances here.
First, there’s an age difference. Boston’s starters average 31.8 years while Miami’s top-5 average 29.4, plus Boston has the three oldest players out of the 10 ((Kevin) Garnett, (Paul) Pierce and (Ray) Allen). Consider also Allen’s ankle injury, the loss of Avery Bradley, Garnett’s up-and-down production during the postseason, the game-every-other-day schedule with no extra off day, the fact that Boston needed seven games to defeat Philadelphia and the overtime on Wednesday night. Then there’s the fact that Boston’s reserves combind to score just 7 points in 58 minutes of playing time in Game 2 even though the Celtics scored 111 as a team. This after combining for 14 points in 57 minutes in Game 1.
In other words, Boston’s starters are older, carrying a heavy load and dealing with plenty of contributing factors that make carrying that load more difficult. When you acknowledge how unlikely it is for (Rajon) Rondo to repeat his huge night, it’s all enough to make you wonder whether Boston can scrounge up the energy for a few more big nights or if Game 2 will wind up being Boston’s best effort of the series.