Photo via Michael Dwyer/AP
After the Boston Celtics game one loss, there is a multitude of questions surrounding the team.
Can the Celtics solve their rebounding woes?
The Celtics were outrebounded 53-36 by the larger and more physical Chicago Bulls. Center Robin Lopez (7 rebounds) and guard Rajon Rondo (5 rebounds) crushed the Celtics on the offensive boards.
In order to take full advantage of the Bulls inability to hit the 3 ball, it is crucial for the Boston will need to rebound the ball effectively.
How can the Celtics mask their rebounding deficiencies?
Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson rank near the bottom of the eastern conference in rebounding rating. Therefore, the best response would be to play small-ball and have more athletic players, like guard Jaylen Brown and forward Jae Crowder, play at the four and five spots.
This move should improve their ability to track down long rebounds that are a by-product of poor three-point shooting.
Are the Celtics a regular season team?
Many NBA teams, like the Cavaliers and Spurs, have the talent to cruise through much of the regular season and then turn up their focus once the playoffs come.
The Celtics, in the Stevens’ era, bring 100 percent effort for all 82 games of the regular season.
Guard Isaiah Thomas and forward Al Horford do not get the LeBron James and Tony Parker treatment, resting when healthy.
As a result, Boston suffers from fatigue that looked to negatively impact them in game one.
It is important that the Celtics make a statement in Game two in order to prove that their 53-win season was not a fluke.
Can the Celtics find a reliable 2nd scoring option?
During the first playoff game, it became clear, in the fourth quarter, that Thomas was the only Boston player who could consistently get to the rim.
Throughout the regular season, Brad Stevens employed a “Popovich-ian” type offense where fast-paced ball movement opened up an array of looks for consistent three-point shooters like Crowder and Avery Bradley.
However, the fourth quarter in a playoff series typically relies on an isolation offense and a players ability to get to the rim or free throw line. Crowder, Horford or Marcus Smart are going to have to step up by consistently getting to the rim if the Celtics want to win.
The Bulls are built well for the playoffs and might force this series to go seven games. However, the Celtics will be better prepared to handle the emotion of Thomas’s sister’s death and it is a must-win game at home. Those two reasons will help Boston get the win in game two.
Celtics 98 Bulls 91