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Your Morning Dump..Where the C’s are tightening up on the defensive end

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.

Mark Murphy-Boston Herald:

“Celtics tighten up on defensive end”:

 During the five games since that infamous Nov. 28 night, when coach Doc Rivers branded his players a bunch of softies, the Celtics have allowed an average of 87.4 points per game. They didn’t allow more than 95 points during that stretch, and that total was the result of last Friday’s overtime loss in Philadelphia.

That’s progress for a team that in the 14 games prior to their Nov. 28 caning by the Nets allowed opponents to score more than 100 points seven times. The modest improvement has the Celtics ranked 13th in the NBA in scoring defense (96.7 ppg) and 15th in field goal defense (44.4 percent).

So it appears Doc’s “soft” quotes really have made an impact on this squad. But I think fans would like to see a nice stretch of wins and some consistency before jumping the gun. Kevin Garnett feels the same way:

“I don’t want to say that,” Garnett said when asked if the Celtics had turned the corner defensively. “I want to see how we are after another four or five games, so we can put together a nice defensive stand. Then I can come back with a little more of an answer.

“But for right now, we’re just going one day at a time, one practice at a time and one game at a time. Hopefully, then we’ll be more consistent with what we’re doing.”

The one guy who we all agree will help this team seriously in regaining it’s defensive prowess is Avery Bradley. He became the Celtics’ “stopper” last season, and Doc must be salivating at the thought that he is so close to a return. But in the meantime and in between time, guys like newcomer Courtney Lee have been welcome additions.

“The pick-and-roll defense has improved dramatically. Our rotation still is not there, but they’re much better. Without Avery (Bradley), we just kind of backed off of pressuring the ball. So I know that’s an area we’re going to get way better. Because when he does it everyone does it and it helps your team. Right now, it’s just hard to do.”

Bradley, though, hasn’t even been cleared for contact and practice yet, let alone games. So in the short term, the Celtics have to improve without help from their best wing defender.

“We’re confident, we see we’re getting better day in and day out on tape, but when we see it when we lose we kind of look back at it like, ‘Are these things working for us?’ ” said Courtney Lee. “But like I said, you can see us coming together. Our rotations and everything is getting better, so we just have to stick with it. I think we’re pretty close, man, we can start with (Sunday’s win). . . . A lot of it is doing your work early, being there on pick-and-rolls, rotating, talking to each other and being in the right spots.”

It’s very clear that getting “STOPZ” as I like to call them on Twitter, will be key if this team wants to even sniff a conference finals berth. The defense’s Robin to KG’s Batman coming back will play a huge part in that. Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer…

The rest of the links:  CSNNE: Celtics recall Fab Melo | ESPN Boston: Sullinger shines on glass

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  • LAF

    I really don’t understand Doc sometime. Sullinger is clearly our best rebounder and one of our smartest players if not the smartest yet Doc continues to play Bass ahead of him. Why? If he’s got a thing against giving PT to young players, couldn’t he at least start JG over Bass? If I were Doc, I’d tell Sully he’s playing 30 minutes every night so he’d better average 10+ boards. Our rebounding woes partially solved, right?

    • KWAPT

      I agree. Sully has been fantastic on the boards, and I think he definitely will be a great bench player. He just fits the mold perfectly of a guy who comes in and hustles & throws his body around-definitely a spark, especially on nights when the team comes out flat and really needs it. But we all know Doc has always been reluctant to play rooks-Sully’s PT time this year is unprecedented. I still think we see Ainge go after a big man/rebounder before the trade deadline too..

      • LA Flake

        If Ainge goes after a big, Bass will be traded and should. We have too many 6’8, 6’9 guys who are all limited in certain ways but Bass really is the worst of them all. We need a Perk-like enforcer or a post presence. Would love to see Perk get amnestied and picked up by the C’s. Or Big Al back in green under KG’s tutelage would be a dream-come-true scenario.

        • LA Flake

          Just to clear, I really don’t “hate” Bass. I think he’d be a nice spark off the bench for this team. But right now, we’re asking him to start which is just BAAAAAD. I have nightmares of Bass with the ball in the paint. Oh, Gawd…

          • Roy

            It seems like the ball always stops when its passed to Bass, and it’s messing up the flow of the offense. He is good at either hitting an open jumber or on an inside pass with penetration from the pg. He can’t create his own offense, which he tries to do one too many times a game, and his rebounding is average. He would have to be moved in order for us to acquire a big.

          • LAF

            yeah but no one’s gonna give us a gortat for bass. so we need to sweeten the pot. i was all for including terry or lee in any deal but i’ve since come to love lee’s hustle and terry’s shown he can bounce back from a bad game, so……i don’t know. but i wouldn’t be surprised if rondo gets dealt.