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.
For a team that prides itself on playing great man-to-man defense, asking – no, expecting - them to play zone is not something that's embraced quickly.
That initial reluctance has certainly played a role in Boston's struggles at times in a zone defense.
"Our guys are starting to buy into it," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who added that there are still a couple who "don't get it yet."
In a Twitter conversation with fellow Celtics blogger Jay King, we deemed the 2-3 zone the Celtics are now resorting to is THE perfect encapsulation of what this team has become.
The Celtics are going to the zone because they have to. They have to for a couple of reasons, and both have to do with their age. The C's are too old to sustain the defensive effort they used to… ESPECIALLY with this stupid lockout schedule… and they're too old to be put through grind of chasing people around in a man-to-man D… ESPECIALLY with this stupid lockout schedule.
And let me tell you, there are few blows to a basketball player's ego quite like when the coach says "ok, we have to go zone." It's a kick in the balls. Man to man is a macho thing.. and being told "you are not good enough to guard that man by yourself"… well… that hurts. Think about Doc telling that to Kevin Garnett with KG's level of pride in his defense.
Zone is the admission that the C's just can't get it done the way they used to. The sooner everyone on that team just admits that is the case, the sooner everyone on that team can make adjustments and play a crafty old-man game and try to win. Stubbornly clenching onto the way things used to be won't get the Celtics anywhere.
On Page 2: Doc still likes the team
“It’s been a frustrating year,’’ Rivers said. “We’ve got to keep fighting through this maze and it’s going to turn OK, and I really believe that. We’ve got some missing parts, too. We just have to keep hanging in there. I like our team. I like the way we’re starting to play, but we’re not winning games.’’
Who knows if it would have made a difference, but the Celtics have been without Brandon Bass recently and that has severely hindered bench production. So I get the "missing parts" thing. Bass probably would have helped.
I put this out on Twitter the other night after the loss: This Celtics regular season is all about survival. The post season will be a different story. Equally challenging, but the story will be different.
I'll harp on this lockout schedule because it's a huge factor in a lot of this. If the Celtics can survive the regular season, the playoff schedule eases up. You can prepare for the same opponent, you don't have to travel as much… it all matters.
So there is reason for some positivity…. IF you can sift through the bullshit. If Doc Rivers is making a checklist of the things the C's need to start doing, and checking some of those things off, then I can see why he's saying what he's saying. But you have to be prepared to focus on the little things going right. String enough of those things together and the huge things going wrong will go away.
The rest of the links.