Tuesday, February 25, 2014
What happened to the Celtics defense?
Utah led Boston by just five points despite shooting 60 percent from the field and 66.7 percent on 3s. The Jazz have ranked among the NBA's bottom five in just about every statistical category on offense. In the game, Boston allowed the Jazz to shoot 55 percent from the field. Just not a number you can live with if your Brad Stevens, especially against the poor shooting Jazz.
The Celtics have lost 22 of their past 28 games. The once strong defense that started the season, has become missing in action. Boston at one point this season held the top spot in the NBA guarding the three. Now they rank 13th, allowing .355% from three-point land. The Celtics do rank 10th in points allowed, giving up 99.0 points per game. During Boston's four game road trip, they gave up 100 plus points in each game. The Celtics gave up an average of 104 points on the trip, that's five more points than their season average.
Maybe the struggles start with the loss of Bradley. He's become the defensive spark plug for the Celtics, and without the All-NBA defender Boston has been flat on the defensive end. The Celtics have lost these games on the defensive end. The offense hasn't been stellar either, but sometimes a better defense will set up a better offense. The Celtics are not forcing turnovers, which creates extra offense. They forced just 12 against the Jazz, and that won't cut it on some nights.
The defensive mindset needs to become a focus again, especially if the Celtics want to end their current losing streak at 5 games. With Bradley out, Rondo must pick up his defensive game. He doesn't play man to man, and he's still gambling, which pays off at times, but not when your down Avery Bradley. The wins will follow if the defense returns. It's as simple as that.