I often wonder what opposing teams, their beat reporters and
are saying about the Celtics after playing the Celtics. Here's a dose
of 'enemy chatter' from Houston.
Pay no heed to the "Boston isn't a title contender" talk. All that
ever matters in the playoffs is one's ability to make it to the next
round, not whether or not you can beat the best team in the next
conference, or even the best team in your own. The Celtics
can beat great teams, they just haven't been pulling it off
recently, and so the NBA sphere wants to write them off.
So it shouldn't be surprising that the Rockets
lost last night. The Celtics can beat great teams, and the Rockets
aren't a great team. They're a team with a high-scoring backcourt and
some significant defensive issues. The Celtics, on the other hand, boast
one of the best point guards in the game, a collection of
aging-but-not-dead talent, and (most importantly) the strongest defense
in the league, built on the contribution of guys like Rondo, Perkins,
And Boston matches up well against the current Rockets squad. Rondo
and, surprisingly, Allen pulled off an excellent defensive game against
Brooks and Martin, keeping both from getting off shots for most of the
night. Their interior defense was just too strong for Scola and Co. to
do much against, though their efforts were generally more effective than
those of their backcourt counterparts.
People are always in a big hurry to make a call on something… just so they can be able to say they're the first to say it. And saying the Celtics were "done" was an easy thing to have said because (a) they looked done enough for people to just say it and (b) it happened early enough where everyone could rush to do it.
But they're not done. They're playing better. And people are starting to notice.
the Celtics have one of the few point guards who can match Aaron Brooks'
quickness, Brooks said the challenge is usually not about matching the
speed of the opposing point guard or losing that advantage in a matchup
with Boston All-Star Rajon Rondo.
is extremely quick, but it's not really about how fast the point guard
is,” Brooks said. “It's how fast the big guys are because when you come
off a screen and roll most of the time it's the big guy. I think that's
The Celtics have tightened up their defense lately, and that's the key to their win streak. The Celtics have had a tendency to get sloppy on the pick and roll defense in the slump… but they're doing a better job of things now, and it's paying off. In the 3 wins, they've given up 92 ppg while scoring a little more than 107.
Keep playing that good team defense, and the rest will fall right into place.
Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images