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.
“We’ve got to do a better job at talking to each other,” the captain said. “Transition defense is No. 1, matching up with our guys. I think that’s where it starts.
“Once we shoot the ball, whether we make or miss, we’ve got to make sure we get back and match up with our guy and talk to each other a lot better. You know, that’s something that we emphasized here this morning. We’ve got to have better communication.”
Nodding out to the practice floor, where some teammates were working loudly, Pierce added, “You see everybody talking to each other right now? That’s how we’ve got to be out on the court.”
I’ve sat at the top of the rafters, and I’ve sat a couple of rows from the court, and there’s something great about both. Up top, you can see plays develop. It’s almost like watching a coach’s film. Down near the court, you get to listen to the game. It’s a symphony of sneakers squeaking against the floor, the grunts of large humans jockeying for the same two-square-foot section of space, and, when a team is communicating well, the almost “military platoon in mid-battle” barking of directions between players.
Players in the back call out positions and anticipate plays… guys are calling out picks and switches… there are yells for help… it’s quite amazing to hear.
But break-downs in communication lead to break-downs in defense. There are few things worse in basketball than getting blind-sided by a pick no one told you was coming. There is little more embarrassing than two guys on defense going to pick up the same player while another slips by everyone for a basket. And when things like that pile up, it gets emotionally taxing as the frustration of it all builds up.
A team like Miami will make you pay dearly for it by doing things like dropping 120 on your head while the best player on the planet gets a massage in the back for half of it. The Milwaukee Bucks might not be able to do that, but there are few NBA teams that won’t take advantage of a defense as messy as what the Celtics trotted out there Tuesday night. And if the Celtics aren’t careful, their home opener might not go so well.
The Celtics defense has been a problem since the pre-season started. It’s a work in progress, and it will get better when Avery Bradley gets back, but even with new guys in the mix, it needs to be better. But the leaders on this team need to set the tone.
“It wasn’t just those guys, it was myself, Kevin, who was thinking a lot,” Rondo said. “That stretch in the third quarter, I was thinking too much. It’s not just the new guys, it’s the core as well. We’ll get better, starting tomorrow.”
Doc had mentioned that he and his staff may have overloaded guys for the opener…
“From a coach’s standpoint, we had way too much time to prepare for it and we put way too much stuff in their head,” Rivers admitted while speaking of his players. “I thought they were thinking more than playing on instinct.”
…but the simple act of talking to each other on defense will make a world of difference.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Rondo, Doc, fire back at Wade for “punk” comment | Micah Downs joins Maine Red Claws | ESPN Boston: Ainge: “Our team is going to be good” | C’s-Heat rivalry just tipping off | Rondo’s flagrant upheld | Herald: Rondo, Wade exchange more barbs | Globe: Rondo downplays foul on Wade | Garnett’s return was critical factor to C’s retooling