“We worked on a lot of defensive stuff because the dribble penetration is just crushing us,” he said. “We showed film of the last three games, and you don’t have to talk a lot. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. Guys have the ball square and then the guy’s driving. You see the big (the forwards or center) running over to help and either it’s a foul, it’s a layup or it’s an offensive rebound.
“I don’t think that’s that hard to figure out. We just have to do a better job on it. That should never happen, especially on some of the plays when it’s happening. There’s no reason for you to get beat off the dribble.
“And then,” Rivers added, “our bigs have to do a better job of talking, because a lot of times, in the guards’ defense, they’re thinking that there’s a pick and roll coming — there’s nothing, but they don’t know. They’re guarding the ball.”
What is the deal with this team and the fundamentals? Not squaring up their guy on defense. Not shouting out screens. Not boxing out. These are junior high school level fundamentals.
NBA players often use their athleticism to mask flaws in their game. A player can grab a rebound without boxing out because he can out jump than his opponent. Or after gambling for a steal, he uses his quickness to get back in front of his defender.
But what happens when you lose a step of quickness or an inch on the vertical? I think we know the answer. It’s happening on a nightly basis with the Celtics.
On Page 2, Mickael Pietrus explains why he’s taking a lot of threes.
Sure, he’s battling a mini-funk the past three games, connecting on just two of his past nine shots and missing his past seven 3-pointers, but it’s hardly anything to get worked up about at the moment. Even still, it’s caused Pietrus to reflect a bit on his offensive contributions, particularly as he continues to work his way back from offseason surgery on his right knee.
“When you hurt your knee in some kind of way, you’re afraid that you’ll do the same thing again to hurt the knee,” explained Pietrus. “So you see me, I haven’t driven to the basket the way I want to, so I’m basically trying to be a spot-up 3-point shooter, but this is not who I want to be. I can make 3s, but I want to shoot more free throws. And the other part of my game, I have to get better guarding the ball, defensively. That’s the championship mind, and I want to give more. Even though [the Celtics are] happy, I’m not happy.”
I love everything Pietrus brings to the Celtics: energy, defense, fearless shooting and the team first attitude. He’s James Posey 2.0.
The rest of the links:
Herald – Doc’s self prognosis: Proud parent | Globe – Washburn’s Sunday basketball notes | CSNNE – Cs need mental toughness to bounce back | ESPN Boston – Is zone defense working? | Worcester Telegram – Celtics must prove worth on the road | CBS – Celtics/Pistons preview |