The Celtics are on track to have the best offensive rating in NBA history, and it’s because of how they take advantage of the open space.

The Celtics generate the highest-quality shots in the league with efficient spacing.

Boston starts off games strong, leading to many blowout wins due to elite players and spacing.

The Celtics lead the NBA in blowout wins with a record-breaking offense, making them Eastern Conference favorites.

The Boston Celtics have far and away the best record in the NBA, sitting at 56 wins and 14 losses. And it’s no surprise why they’ve been so successful. They already had the second-best record in the league last year, and retooled this past offseason by adding Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.


These two additions have completely changed their offense. This new Celtics roster is capable of creating so much space, and the players are taking full advantage of that. The offense has looked much more dynamic and effective, and the team is on pace to record the best offensive rating ever.


All of their starters are averaging double-digit points, and the team as a whole is averaging 61 percent true shooting, the highest mark in franchise history. The Celtics’ starting lineup is a perfect example of why spacing is so valuable in the modern NBA.


The Value of Spacing in the Modern NBA

Celtics are generating the highest-quality shots in the league

Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum Kristaps Porzingis Jaylen Brown

The Celtics are generating the best looks in the league. 82 percent of their possessions result in either a three-pointer or a shot at the rim, the two most statistically valued shot attempts. Not only are they generating high-quality looks, they’re also capitalizing on them. They rank first in three-point attempts (42.6) and second in three-point percentage (39 percent).



The Celtics tend to run a five-out motion offense, as everyone in their starting lineup is capable of stretching the floor. In the play above, look how far up Derrick White and Holiday are, and how closely their defenders are playing them. Despite starting the play positioned nearly at the halfcourt line, they have the gravity to drag out their defenders.


This gives Jaylen Brown and Porzingis enough space to take advantage. Porzingis sets a down screen to allow Brown to curl and threaten an easy layup. The screen doesn’t connect because Scottie Barnes is able to chase Brown off of it, but as a result, he’s now behind the attacker. Jakob Poeltl drops to cover, but that leaves Porzingis open. Poeltl attempts to close out to prevent the open three, but Porzingis is able to blow by him for the easy dunk.


Had Poeltl not dropped, Brown could’ve still found an easy layup. In the case that the other help defenders collapse on Brown, he would’ve been in a good position to kick the ball out to either Holiday or Jayson Tatum, who would’ve been open for three.


The open space provides so many shot opportunities for the Celtics players. In the play above, the Celtics’ offense comes to a stop after White loses his dribble. He gives the ball to Porzingis, who briefly looks to reset the offense.


However, after noticing that his defender was playing him too closely and that all four other defenders were dragged out to the three-point line, he recognizes that he can just take his man on one and drives to the basket for a dunk. Just like in the previous play, the only defender that could’ve helped out in time would’ve given up an open three had they collapsed on Porzingis, and he’s good enough of a passer to take advantage.


This spacing allows the Celtics’ possessions to be so efficient. They’re generating the second most points per half-court play. Since there’s so much movement and spacing, it’s extremely easy for opposing teams to have defensive breakdowns, and the Celtics’ players are good enough to capitalize.


Boston Doesn’t Keep it Close

Most blowout victories in the league

Boston Celtics

The combination of elite players plus elite spacing means that games are going to get out of hand fast for opposing teams. The Celtics start off hotter than any other team in the league, averaging nearly 32 points in the first quarter, and an average lead margin of five points.


By the time the first half finishes, the game tends to be nearly unrecoverable for opposing teams. They’re 47-9 when leading heading into the second half, and the 47 first-half leads are miles ahead of any other team in the league

Gideon Canice

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