I often wonder what opposing teams, their beat reporters and bloggers are saying about the Celtics after playing the Celtics. Here's a dose of 'enemy chatter' from Orlando.
Orlando won't lose many games when it sinks 11 three-pointers at better than 40 percent, as it did tonight, but its lax defense cost it the game. Jason Richardson will certainly go under the microscope for his lapses, particularly in the fourth quarter. He plowed through a Garnett screen on a missed three-pointer by Allen, giving the veteran big man two free throws with 1:05 to play which proved to put Boston in control for good. On the Celtics' next possession, Richardson fouled Paul Pierce on a long two-point jumper attempt–which he canned, of course–to spot the Celtics an additional point, putting them up by three with 38 seconds left.
But as always, it's unfair to place the blame for a loss squarely on one player. Richardson will bear a lot of scrutiny, but he's hardly the only one who struggles to fight through Boston's screens trying to check Allen. Maybe J.J. Redick, who's more experienced defending Allen, will get the call next time, but Richardson's more explosive offense was needed late in a close game
Last but not least, Richardson’s defense — or lack thereof — was a big reason that the Celtics were able to come away with a victory. Richardson got butchered, for lack of a better term, as he tried to chase Allen around screens. On Allen’s two three-pointers in the fourth quarter, he was wide open on both of them because of Richardson’s inability to navigate through a maze of picks. Allen would have had a third three-pointer with less than two minutes to go in the game, but Garnett was charged with a moving screen that negated the shot. It became clear that head coach Doc Rivers tried everything he could to feed Allen on offense, knowing that there was little Richardson could do to stop him. From a schematic point of view, Van Gundy will need to find ways to fix that problem or else it’ll continue being an issue for the Magic in this matchup moving forward.
Until next time.
I'm a big fan of anyone not named J.J. Redick who guards Ray Allen.