Why rest might be the Celtics' one glaring weakness this season

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Forsberg: Is rest the Celtics' kryptonite? C's continue odd trend originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2022-23 Boston Celtics hate rest. At least that's what the numbers suggest nearing the halfway point of the season.

With one or zero days of rest between games, the Celtics are 24-4 (.857 winning percentage). With two days of rest or more, Boston is 2-7 (.222). In fact, consecutive days of rest might just be Boston’s biggest weakness this year. The Celtics fell to 1-6 in all games on two days rest with Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.

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Yes, the Celtics seem to prefer rhythm over rest. Boston shoots 38.8 percent on all 3-point attempts with one day of rest or less, and that number plummets to 32.4 percent with two days of rest or more. That’s essentially morphing from one of the three best 3-point shooting teams in the league into the worst.

Entering the season, a handful of back-to-backs seemed daunting for a Boston team that had its depth thinned right before the start of camp. What’s more, with 36-year-old Al Horford likely to sit out the second night of back-to-backs, Boston was going to be even more shorthanded in those no-rest instances.

Somehow, Boston is a spotless 6-0 this season with no days of rest between games.

Let 'em play

Celtics' winning percentage on one or zero days' rest (28 games)

85.7

Celtics' winning percentage on two or more days' rest (9 games)

22.2

Variation

Double

Is this just a team benefitting from young superstars or a statistical anomaly? Rewind to last season and the Celtics were 40-24 (.625) with one or zero days of rest, and 11-7 (.611) with two days of rest or more. They still preferred less rest but didn’t have quite the dive as Boston is experiencing this season.

Boston actually won its first occurrence of multiple days off by posting a win in Miami on two days' rest on October 21. The Celtics haven’t won a game on two days of rest since.

That includes two overtime losses against Cleveland (including the only game that Boston has ever lost when both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both score 30+ points) and a dud in a Finals rematch against the Warriors in December.

The good news: Boston’s next eight games are on one or no days' rest. The bad news: their next two-day break falls right before Golden State visits Boston on January 19.