And while ESPN.com has Boston ranked 27th for rebound differential per game, the Pacers are 25th and the Bucks are 23rd. Yet not only have both teams looked much better against better competition, the Bucks might actually make it to the second round.The Raptors are outrebounding the Bucks. The Pacers are playing the Cavs who are also a poor rebounding team (and the Pacers differential is 1.5 rpg). I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Boston is getting crushed on the glass, it isn't close. You can't be -11.5 rgp and consistently win games unless you are shooting 60% or holding your opponent to 30%.
But the problem with this team is NOT that they've just played one bad and one terrible game in the wake of the IT tragedy. The problem with this team is the flaws it has displayed all season long. Yes, rebounding is one of them but so is defense. Boston did not have a -11.5 rebound differential all year long. They would have barely won 20 games if that were the case.
The Lakers and the Knicks both had better rebound differentials in the regular season than Boston. What did that get them? And if a team must completely implodes, it makes no sense to put the blame on just one thing.
I focus on defense because the effort and accountability at the core of that problem bleeds over into many other areas.
Boston played Chicago three times in the regular season, Chicago was 2-1. In the two Chicago wins, Chicago outrebounded Boston by 19 and 20. In the Boston win, Boston outrebounded Chicago by 11.
The Bulls had the 3rd best rebounding differential during the season. That is why Chicago was a bad matchup for Boston especially when you couple their great perimeter defense (Rondo, Butler). They can take full advantage of Boston's greatest weakness (Detroit was also an excellent rebounding team and Miami was in the top half of the league).
Being a great rebounding team on its own doesn't mean all that much, but having watched Boston all year, it was clear that rebounding was the team's biggest weakness and if it couldn't make up for it by being super efficient offensively it would spell doom in the playoffs (that is why a great rebounding team like Phoenix was one of the worst teams in the league, because it was horrid offensively). The Bulls have played good defense and are destroying the Celtics on the glass. If that doesn't change, Boston will get swept.