Cliché Warning: Defense Leads to Championships

Paul Pierce is going to be ok…the Celtics may not be. The Celtics do not like to play defense for 48 minutes. Now you could be thinking to yourself, “What if they play tough D for the second half of games?” or “Are they old?” Fair points. Problem is that it is becoming a murderous trend for the C’s to play that way before and immediately after halftime. Too many double digit leads, especially those in the 4th quarter against teams picked to win it all(Lakers) have been overcome by opposing team. Our greatest reference point is the championship season two years ago…
We know when that team had a double digit lead they were going to win that day, shown by the number of double digit wins that they had that season and the amount they had respectfully as defending champions last season. For some reason this year’s team, with many of the same components, has forgotten just how to maintain and won those games. The only real way to understand how this happens is to watch them play. The way they obtain those leads in games is obvious: Rondo with his youth is capable of out running any defensive player, leading to the transition defense of the opposing team being broken down resulting in an open 3, 15-foot jumper, or lay-up for the quickest guard in the league. We all see this happen, and get that feeling that we are unstoppable on the break. Then the moment comes. The Celtics get that lead they have worked so hard for and completely abandon what got them to that point. It is sad to say, but if there was a statistic (which there probably is) for the most productive half-court offensive sets in the league, the Celtics, by all observances, would have to lead the sub-categories of fewest shots in the paint, most missed field goals in the paint, most defended jump shots, shot clock violations, shots forced, and above all turnovers…keep in mind this category to my knowledge is fictional although after guessing at those statistics it seems so real.

What exactly happened that was so drastic as to make the defense disappear? You could argue KG’s injury last year changed their defensive schemes. You could say with Ray Ray’s inability to consistently knock down jumpers the team only has Rondo and a shaky not so typical Pierce to turn to. You can absolutely make the point that Rasheed Wallace is not giving the Celtics what they expected. Any way you look at it the Celtics are in a lot of trouble if they are not able to figure out their problems fast, as in very fast.


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