I asked Jay… a.k.a. MrTrpleDouble10 for one thing after last night's game: Find me every missed Knicks shot that resulted in them retaining possession. I had heard KG talking about how the C's help D is responsible for being out of rebounding position.
But is that fact? Or spin? I figured I'd score each play: 0 if there was nothing you could do about the play. -1 for lack of effort. If by some chance they all put in 100% effort and they were just outfought, it's a +1
Here now… this the truth:
Play 1: Jermaine O'Neal block. Nothing you can do about that. 0
Play 2: Bill Walker misses a shot and Big Baby just turns and looks. No effort to box out or even look for a guy to box out. -1
Play 3: Long rebound off the missed free through. Tough to call on this because Delonte should have been there for that. But because of Melo's length and the long carom, I'll be generous and give this a 0. They're lucky I don't include the complete lapse on D that leads to the easy lay in.
Play 4: Delonte is covering Bill Walker. Walker starts in the corner. Rajon Rondo lets his man go cut to the corner and Delonte gets confused. Two problems here: 1) Delonte sees the shot go up and he still doesn't make an effort to get on Walker's body. Who cares about the guy in the corner. Stop pointing to him and just put a body on the guy running towards the rim. 2) What's Rondo doing? Is he doubling on Melo? Is he playing a zone? -1
Play 5: The jumper goes up. Baby's on the deck and rolls into Pierce. That puts him slightly out of position and he can't fully box out. Delonte does, and Pierce has a chance at the board. But instead of grabbing it, he slaps it back and Rondo, thinking Pierce had it, is running towards him for the outlet pass. I'll be generous again… and give this a 0 because it looked like Bill Walker had a hand on that ball too.
Play 6: Jermaine O'Neal helps on the Walker drive. Rondo is at the top of the key and he doesn't rotate over. This is a tough one because I don't know if in the Celtics defensive scheme he's suppose to do that or not. I would think so, but I'm not sure. Regardless… this is the type of play that KG is talking about. Another 0.
Play 7: Ok, I get help defense… but is this overkill? Pierce is guarding Carmelo, KG is helping to his left, and Jermaine O'Neal is helping to the right. Do we really need two people helping? Meanwhile, these guys leave both their men, Ronny Turiaf and Amar'e Stoudemire, free to roam around… leading to an Amar'e tip in. I'm sick of being generous. This is bad defense. One person helps and thats it. -1 for the lack of communication that leads to the offensive rebound.
Play 8: Pierce is guarding Melo and O'Neal is helping. Melo finds Turiaf, JO recovers, and Paul Pierce turns and looks. What he SHOULD have done is get back between Melo and the basket. He didn't. Melo gets to the ball, Knicks retain possession after the C's knock it out of bounds. -1
Play 9: The ball is swung around and it leads to a floater in the lane. By they, HORRIBLE defense by Rondo there to even allow the penetration. Terrible. Lucky for him we're not counting that. KG does get a body on Melo and Pierce gets to Turiaf. It could have been a foul on Turiaf there, but it wasn't. The guys were in position. A rare +1 on this.
Play 10: Jeffries drives on Baby… Baby challenges the shot and the momentum carries him under the hoop. Jeffries gets his own miss. Nothing that can be done. 0. I'll overlook how awkward Baby looks in this.
Play 11: Douglas launches a 3 from the right side. Rebounders know that those shots tend to miss long… and KG would actually be in a good position to get the rebound. He looks back a couple of times but once the shot is in the air, he's not looking at Shawne Williams at all. All that would take is one more glance back to get a body on him and then look for the ball where it should be. Lo and behold, the ball ended up in that spot, but Williams got a hand on it. -1 for KG for not finding his guy at all during the shot.
Play 12: Williams puts up the free throw line jumper, and Ray and Pierce are on the right block fighting off Knicks. Bill Walker just muscles his way past Paul Pierce… gets into position in front of him and Ray… and get the tip to Melo for the hoop and-1. Did Pierce find the guy? Yes… but that was hardly a box out attempt. Instead of a +1, I'm going with a 0 because I'm not completely sold on Pierce's effort on that… despite finding the man.
Play 13: Ray Allen does just enough to force the missed layup. And in comes Paul Pierce right behind to grab the…. oh… nope. Nevermind. Does Walker get away with a slight push? Maybe. But Pierce is in position and instead of staking his claim to the spot… which probably would have resulted in the over-the-back call… it looked like he was trying to rebound in stride. At this point, Pierce looks gassed. But that's not a good enough excuse. He should have had that rebound. -1
Play 14: Babe helps out on Melo who misses the layup and gets his own miss for the and-1. I'm going to give Baby the benefit of the doubt and say his momentum carried him away from the play just enough for Melo to get the put-back. But I will swear that he gave up on that play after it looked like Melo would lay it in. I can't prove it though… so this gets a 0.
Play 15: Baby helps on Melo, leaving Ray to box out Turiaf. He really can't, and even if he did, the rebound would have gone over his head. 0
Play 16: The Celtics get lost in transition, resulting in Glen Davis trying to contest a Melo 3, and Ray and Rondo just watching while two Knicks are under the basket. The C's are horribly out of position and are confused. Baby makes a big mistake in starting to leave a man with no one to pick him up. So of course Melo will shoot. This isn't about help defense, this is about no defense. Everyone needs to get back, check a guy, and then try to switch off the mismatches as soon as possible…. not stand around and point at guys. -1.. even though they got the steal after the offensive board.
Play 17: long rebound with the C's in good rebounding position. That's just going to happen sometimes. Very frustrating at the time, but completely not anyone's fault. 0
Play 18: After Baby doubles on the red hot Melo, it's swung to the wing where Ray over pursues, leading to a layup that's missed. KG is on the other side and, again, instead of finding a guy to box out, he watch the whole thing. He ends up under the hoop and he's not even pushed there. That's his own fault. And it ultimately gave the Knicks the go-ahead lay up. -1
That's a -7 by my count. 7 possessions that the Celtics lazily gave up an offensive rebound. You're not going to get every defensive board in a game, but you shouldn't be giving up that many second chances. The Knicks capitalized on a lot of those, and these plays alone resulted in a double-digit swing in the game. (there are some rebounds that count as offensive boards but are "team" rebounds that weren't pictured here)
So KG was right about a few instances where help defense pulled the C's out of position. But that's not the entire story here. The truth is the Celtics squandered chances to stop the Knicks and gave up extra plays where they should not have. The good thing is that this is correctable… IF… the Celtics choose to correct it.