Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them
here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite
as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In the fourth quarter after Portland cut Boston's lead
down to just nine points, Rudy Fernandez was able to penetrate into the
lane past his defender. Davis played the role of help-side defender, and
was able to draw two charges against Fernandez.
Not only did it
wipe out possible scoring opportunities for Portland, but it also led to
Fernandez being more hesitant to attack the lane.
such a good team on the ball [defensively]," Rivers said. "This year,
we've been pretty poor on the ball. Over [the All-Star] break, [we said]
let's give in on that and become a help-defensive team. What our guards
are doing, when our bigs are getting there, they're cracking back and
taking their bigs off the glass."
Center Kendrick Perkins said
the improved defense comes down to one thing: communication.
“We knew who we were, we just weren’t doing it,” Rivers said. “We know
the formula, we know who we are. It just helps to do it. We’re all doing
it and our bench has been fantastic. To me that may be the best part of
everything, our bench.”
Nice to see the Celtics making some adjustment on the defensive end to account for some of the team's new deficiencies. Can't defend on the ball as well as you used to? Fine, you help more. A coaching adjustment… and maybe a little attitude adjustment… and we're off.
The C's have really clamped down on D over the past couple of games. And that's the difference between blowing big leads and holding them. Even if they don't win by as much as they used to, that defense will at least lead to wins.
One stat that always shows how well the Celtics are playing defense is actually assists. The Blazers had 7 assists last night. They were not allowed to run any sort of offense. That leads to bad shots, hence the low shooting percentage (33.8%). And THAT leads to the Celtics with 27 assists on 39 made field goals… because the C's turned that defense into opportunities on the offensive end.
So if you make your first stop in the box score the assists column, you can get a pretty good idea of how the game went before you even see the score.
Coming up, Page 2… where players want to play for Doc Rivers
Associated Press photo
Like a prospective employee
interviewing with a Fortune 500 company, Robinson, who has yet to meet
up with the team, said all the right things. He talked about playing
defense, distributing the ball, and fulfilling whatever role Rivers
envisioned. He wanted to impress his new coach. Like many of the
Celtics’ free agent and midseason acquisitions before him, Robinson
realizes playing for Rivers will be an experience to treasure.Rivers has gained the reputation of being
a players’ coach, and that doesn’t mean he allows the inmates to run
the asylum. The perception around the league is that many players would
love to play for Rivers because of his affable style, defensive
philosophy, and not too long ago he played in the NBA.Boston historically may not compare with Los Angeles, Orlando, or Miami
as a desired free agent location, but veterans looking to win don’t mind
being traded here. And part of that lure is playing for Rivers.
“We’re a competitive team, and I’m not different than anyone else on
this team from being that,’’ Garnett said. “I listen to what Doc says.
If Doc says run through a wall headfirst, in my mind I am going to
question it, but I’m going to do it. But as far as confidence and as a
team collectively, that has to stay [strong]. As much as we preach it
and as much as we talk about it, saying it is one thing but actions are
another. It’s starting to come so we have to continue to preach it to
each other until we’re blue in the face.’’
Every coach has his problems. Doc has problems managing minutes. He practically admits it in post game press conferences when he says things like "I gotta be better at keeping Ray's minutes down."
But Doc might be the perfect coach for this team. On a team full of strong personalities, Doc holds his own. Lesser personalities could get overwhelmed. Doc also lets veterans handle their business. He gives them the respect they've earned while demanding the respect HE'S earned.
Doc might drive us crazy sometimes, but he fits here.
The rest of the links
Herald: Rumors no wrench in Allen's plan | For media, trade deadline tough deal | Illness sits Robinson | Globe: Allen, C's rout Portland | No better time to stop and rest | ESPN Boston: Postgame notes: Ray of Hope | First impressions | Robinson passes physical, targets Tuesday debut | WEEI: Ainge had interest in big trades | Ainge: "I'm a fan" of Robinson | Lex: Rivers to doubters – if you jumped off the bandwagon, stay off | Hardwood Houdini: What is wrong with Rasheed Wallace | Souza (on CSL): A very, very, very fine House