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.
Based on Synergy Sports numbers, which are tracked on a standardized per-play basis, the Celtics rank 26th in overall defense (0.947 points per play), 30th in transition defense (1.459 ppp), and 16th in half-court sets (0.87 ppp) through 12 games this season.
By comparison, the Celtics ranked second in overall defense (0.856 ppp) last season, including 19th in transition (1.155 ppp) and first in half-court sets (0.813 ppp).
As their core aged, the Celtics made a concerted effort to move away from the offensive glass — leading them to post the league’s worst offensive rebound percentage of all time (19.7) last season. Even with an influx of young bodies, Boston has maintained its philosophy this season, but confusion reigns.
The Celtics are having difficulty matching up once they get back on the defensive end, forcing mismatches that opponents have exploited. When Boston has matched up correctly, guards are getting abused by dribble penetration, forcing the big men to help and breaking down Boston’s entire defensive system.
Worse yet, the Celtics are trying to force a half-court game and yet they’re still slow at times to get back, allowing teams to feast on them when they do have transition opportunities.
The numbers are nasty enough to ruin your appetite.
I’m befuddled by the inability to execute. There were several plays in the 4th quarter where the Celtics defense flat out broke down. They looked like a college team that had switched from zone to man-to-man for the first time. They were getting beat with simple passing.
I don’t give a crap about the lack of offensive rebounding and neither does Doc Rivers. It’s the defensive rebounding that concerns me. It’s been a problem that the Celtics have been able to overcome since 2008, but we may be reaching rock-bottom.
KG gives some insight into the rebounding woes:
I know you sit back and watch the games and notice we are getting beat, but what you don’t know is we do a lot of helping. Our bigs do a lot to help our guards out.
We strategically have different schemes we throw at teams and what we get hit at is offensive rebounding. It’s one of our flaws.
We’re a help team, that’s what we are and I don’t think Doc’s going to change that.
We can’t take everything away… we will get better.
There you have it. If the Celtics bigs didn’t have to help so much, the rebounding numbers would be better.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE – Pierce takes loss to Spurs personally | Rondo: We’re making the same mistakes in our defense | Doc: We need to do our coverages better | ESPN Boston – Rapid Reaction: Spurs 112 Celtics 100 | Globe – Spurs, poor defense sink C’s | After taking a shot, Parker made his points | Herald – Rondo adds to streak, but Celtics fall | Uninspired Celtics get trampled | WEEI – Celtics undergoing defensive identity crisis | Spurs outwork, overpower C’s |