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.
The Boston Celtics rank first in the league in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 31.9 percent beyond the arc this season. Asked about the reasons for his team’s success, Celtics coach Brad Stevens couldn’t resist a joke targeting one of his team’s most glaring weaknesses.
“The cynic in me would say when we throw the ball to the other team, they lay it in usually instead of shooting a 3,” cracked Stevens, highlighting Boston’s turnover woes that have created easy points for the opposition this season.
But Stevens admitted that defending the 3-point line has been a focus for his team.
“I think we’re doing a pretty good job of identifying guys that make shots at a high rate… and we’ve been guarding the 3-point line good as a result,” said Stevens.
ESPN Boston – Examining C’s league-best 3-point defense
As you wake up this morning and try to move from all of the tons of food you ate yesterday, try chewing on the morsel of information above. In today’s NBA where three-pointers are raining from the sky at a rate higher than ever, part of a solid defensive foundation is no doubt defending that line. Whether it’s close-outs or forcing your man to take a step or two in (or keep passing the ball), defending that line is imperative. And currently, no team in the NBA does it better than you Boston Celtics. Chris Forsberg continues in his post:
Maybe the biggest secret to Boston’s success is this: The Celtics have discouraged teams from taking 3-point shots as opponents average a league-low 16.2 attempts per game beyond the arc. Some of that might be a product of the easier buckets that Stevens joked about, but it also suggests Boston is doing a good job of getting out to the perimeter to either deny 3-point attempts or at least forcing the opposing shooter to move inside the arc for a lower-efficiency shot.
That’s a staggeringly low number when you consider a team like the Philadelphia 76ers resides at the other end of the spectrum allowing 27.5 3-pointers per night. The league average settles around 20.5 3-point attempts per game.
Let that sink in for a moment. The C’s are only allowing barely 16 three-point attempts per game, a number that fans of the late 1980’s would surely love. Sure, there is truth to the Celtics allowing tons of points off turnovers as well as routinely giving up points in the paint. But the foundation of a good defense have to be built somewhere. And much like today’s offense seems to be built outside in, the same approach on defense might as well be looked at also. Now, clearly they need size and more team experience in defending the paint and limiting turnovers, but ranking at the top from the outside isn’t so bad. It’s especially impressive to see guys like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green rank high individually in this area. They don’t always get their due on the defensive end, so it’s nice to see them get highlighted there.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe – Brad Stevens seems to be using Butler schemes with Celtics | Boston Herald – Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens bridge gap | CSNNE – Sullinger finding his shooting range | Celtics players are thankful for a lot