The Celtics’ Post Game Has Been Dominant This Season

Porzingis, Tatum, and Holiday

Getty Porzingis, Tatum, and Holiday

The Boston Celtics have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining in the regular season. They have dominated on both ends of the court all season and currently lead the league with an offensive rating of 122.5.

The Celtics’ offense is built around shooting 3-pointers. They shoot more than any team in the league (42.7 per game), make more than any team in the league (16.7) and make them more efficiently than any team in the league (39.1%).

With that being said, one of the lesser-talked-about keys to the Celtics’ historically good offense has been their play in the post.

Player Level

At the player level, the addition of Kristaps Porzingis unlocked so many things for the Celtics’ offense, one of them being creating mismatches in the post.

In 49 games played this season, Porzingis has scored 203 points in 155 post-up possessions, which is 1.31 points per possession (PPP). That is the most efficient scoring season on post-ups since the NBA began tracking play types (2015), among players who post up at least 3 times per game.

KP Post Ups


It is easily the most efficient scoring season on post-ups of Porzingis’ career, after establishing more of a post game during his time in Washington.

KP post ups by year

@AOP_NBAKP post ups by year

The 7-foot-2 unicorn is not the only Celtic who is playing exceptionally well in the post this year. The Celtics are the only team in the league who have three players who post up at least twice per game. More importantly, among players who post up at least twice per game, the Celtics have three players in the top 10 in PPP, Porzingis, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

KP, Tatum, Brown post ups

@AOP_NBAKP, Tatum, Brown post ups

Tatum was absurdly efficient when posting up last season, generating 1.22 PPP on such players. However, he only posted up 1.4 times per game. This season, he’s at 2.5 possessions per game, while still generating an incredibly efficient 1.12 PPP, tied for fifth in the league among players with at least 2 possessions per game.

Brown, on the other hand, is averaging 1.08 PPP on 2 post-ups per game, a new career high.

Team Level

At the team level, the Celtics post up the second-most in the league behind the Denver Nuggets. They are second in the NBA with 8 possessions per game, as well as second with a post-up frequency of 7.3%.

What stands out, however, is not the Celtics’ volume of post-ups, it is their efficiency on those plays. Out of any team with 4 or more post-ups per game, the Celtics lead the league with 1.13 PPP. They are second in the league on points scored on post-ups, with 9.1.

When comparing those numbers with the previous season, the growth is staggering. Last season, the Celtics were 24th out of 30 in post ups per game, and generated 1 PPP on those plays.

As noted above, the Celtic’s recipe for success is perimeter shooting. That will remain the case come playoff time. However, in games where shots aren’t falling, and players go cold, having three players who can get you a bucket in the paint is invaluable.

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