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.
Mind you, the Celtics have thrived off their help defense system build off a man-to-man backbone during the Big Three era. In fact, the Celtics played zone defense on a mere 1.8 percent of all plays during the 2010-11 season, according to ESPN Stats and Info. But Boston was in desperate need of something to change the momentum of Tuesday's game against the Heat, so zone it was.
The result? The Heat shot just 28.6 percent and averaged a measly 0.54 points per play against the zone (as opposed to 61.9 percent and 1.17 points per play against man coverage).
"I love our team, I will say that. I love the way they fight," Rivers said. "We’ve been working on that zone since the beginning of training camp, [but] never shown it [in games]. I told them at some point it was going to get us back into a game because no one thinks we’ll ever play zone. It did, it was terrific tonight. It kind of pushed [the Heat] back on their heels, so that part of it worked. But we had such a big hole to fight back, it was difficult."
This is what great coaches do, they make adjustments. Credit Doc for anticpating that his aging starters would have trouble guarding super-athletic teams like the Heat (I'm being sincere, not sarcastic).
Was the zone effective because it was a surprise? I'm sure that was a factor. But as the Celtics make their way through the condensed schedule, I bet Doc will use the zone to help with fatigue.
Related links: CSNNE – Cs find success with zone defense |
On Page 2, is Erick Dampier the answer at center?
For all the talk of Jermaine O'Neal looking great in camp, he's been flat-out awful in the Celtics first two games. He churned out 0 points, 1 rebound, 0 blocks in 22 minutes last night. His knees may be healthy, but he plays as if he's wearing cement shoes.
Erick Dampier averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes last season for the Heat. Those pitiful numbers qualify as an upgrade over Jermaine O'Neal. Joel Pryzbilla is also available. His agent thinks Pryzbilla is leaning against retirement.
I don't think Danny Ainge will make a move yet. He'll probably give JO a few weeks to find his game before looking for another corpse a replacement. Let's hope he finds it tonight. A shoulder sprain will keep Chris Wilcox on the bench for tonight's game in New Orleans.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Cs comeback falls short | Jeff Green plans to return stronger | Herald – Same old story for Celtics | Turnovers leave bad taste | Poor starts doing in Celtics | Heat playing it cool when sizing up Cs | CSNNE – No fine for KG not surprising to Doc | ESPN Boston – Bouncing back-to-back | Cs concerned about slow starts | Celtics didn't value the ball |