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Celtics Morning Joe: Who are the Celtics?

Posted by shawn cassidy on November 23, 2012 at 6:05 AM

The Celtics have played 12 games so far, and they sit at 6-6. What have we figured out? The defense is half of what it use to be. But why is their such a difference this season. KG is here, and Rondo is here. Bradley is out, but Lee is a suitable defender to hold down the fort. The numbers are the worst in this era of Celtics basketball. I discussed that yesterday. Every single defensive stat that the Celtics were on top in, or in the top five last year.  They sit near the bottom so far. The Celtics allow 46% from the field. In a nutshell the C's defense is need of some big help. I think Paul in the comments  yesterday had suggested that the Celtics defense is still built around Perk as if he was here.

I agree with that,but I also ask the question how did the Celtics survive on the defensive end last year. They had the best defensive numbers last season. I think you can thank Bradley first of all, and what about the tough defensive outings by Dooling, and Pietrus. Are we missing that toughness on defense?  Because I don't know if Green has been the defensive player that the Celtics need. Barbosa,and Terry have been great on the offensive end, but what about the defensive end? They've been hot, and cold on defense. We need them to be more consistent as well. I think the Celtics miss the coaching that the defense received with the likes of Tom Thibodeau, and Lawrence Frank. The Celtics need to fix their defense. Do they have the personal to have a good defense? Yes they do.

One of the other major issues is the small ball game Doc has been playing. He seems hell bent to be like the Heat. Were also a team built around shooting three's, and jumpers. The Celtics need to get the ball inside, and outside of Rondo taking it inside. The Celtics need to hit the paint. But I think the offense needs minor tweaking. The bottom line is the defense. They need to worry about stops.

But what if the real problem is Doc? I love Doc, and I think he's a good coach for this team, but does it mean he's always right? Or does it mean he doesn't need help. Celtics Town writer brought up a good point.

Celtics Town

But last night was a perfect example of the subtle differences between the two coaches.  While Thaigo Splitter scores 23 points off the bench and seems to fit seamlessly into the offense, Celtics fans are forced to watch Courtney Lee score four points with four turnovers in sixteen minutes, or a 2-7 shooting performance from Jeff Green.

It’s not that there is a great talent discrepancy between the two teams; its how the rotation is established, and how egos are managed.  Pop ripped into his team recently for their lack-luster play, and yet they still play with a sense of confidence.  Rivers and the Celtics higher-ups continue to preach a philosophy of ‘this is a growing process’ while the players that were brought in to bolster bench scoring seem skittish and uncomfortable on both ends of the floor.

I've said for the past couple of seasons that the Celtics need to follow the Spurs model. They've tried, but the issue is that they don't execute it. Splitter scores 23 points within the offense. I believe it's how the rotation is established as well. Doc has the players coach philosophy. But does it always work. Greg seems to know when to play his team . I'm growing a little tired of the growing process myself. Doc needs to work as hard as the players to get this thing going.


Categories: Celtics Morning Joe

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Reply paul
9:05 AM on November 23, 2012 
I don't want to see the Cs follow the Spurs model, because I don't like Pop. I don't like authoritarians. Think about the way Pop goes after Rondo verbally. It's clear, I think, that he despises Rondo. Hates him. I don't think it's hard to figure out why. Rondo is a free spirit. Can you imagine how he and Pop would clash, if Rondo was on the Spurs? Rondo's career would have been crushed had be been brought in by the Spurs. Or he'd have been turned into a clone guard. Pop should be coaching on the college level, I almost think.

Everyone's strength is also their weakness. Pop turns players into cogs in a machine. I'm exaggerating a little, but not that much. Doc is the player's player. There are problems with that approach too. Doc makes excuses for his players. He can't get them to change things they are stubborn about changing. It's to the point where he sings different tunes on different days. One day it's Rondo's team. Next day it's Pierce's team.

The good side of all this is that a player like Rondo has been able to develop and flourish as a unique player because of Doc. Doc even defends Rondo when other coaches might throw him under the bus, and Rondo needs that. But he sometimes defends Rondo when he shouldn't. KG called out Rondo's defense after the Spurs game, saying that part of the reason Bigs have trouble rebounding is that they have to help out the guards so much. Just two weeks ago Doc was saying that Rondo had to save energy on the defensive end because he has to come up big on the offensive end. That's nonsense. Another day he'll be telling us that defense leads to offense, which is closer to the truth.
Reply paul
9:05 AM on November 23, 2012 
I used to call Doc Smarm-master Doc. He tries to please everyone. There's good and bad to that. But if I had to choose between Doc and Pop, I'd choose Doc easy. Easy easy easy.

Three things happened with the D last year. Have you ever noticed that it takes a while for changes in personnel to catch up with a team? How did it take, after Rose went down, for the Bulls to stumble and fall? They played like they still had him for a year, really! There is a momentum that carries on. Similarly the Celtics D played like they still had Perkins long after he was gone. Not quite as stout on D, but still strong. Moving KG to center helped with that. The rise of Steimsma helped a lot. Also, informally, the Cs began to shift their defense to a guard oriented defense. I don't think Doc had anything to do with this. It was really Bradley who did it. He showed that if the guards harrassed opposing guards, the Cs' defense could be strong. Different but strong. Rondo bought into that, and so did Pietrus and Dooling.

The sad thing is that Doc is too stubborn to see this. He thinks 'no matter, we'll just keep doing things the way we've been doing them'. One thought this summer that Lee was brought in precisely because Doc DID get it that the guards had to carry a lot of weight on the D. But that turned out to be a mirage. OUr guards, especially Rondo, are very very passive on D, and opposing teams have figured this out. When we had Perkins, it actually worked, because they could channel the ballhandler into the bigs who would snuff out what they were trying to do. Perk, bless his heart, is a terrible basketball player. Just terrible. He's so bad, he should not be in the NBA. In the seventies, I believe he would have been a solid backup at best. BUT, he is very determined about controlling the paint, especially on defense. He constantly watches the guards, and if he sees one penetrating, he plugs their lane. Then you have KG and other bigs swooping in to completely smother them, and Rondo sniping at the ball from behind, and the result is defensive hell for other teams. But Perk is gone now. WE DO NOT HAVE A PAINT CONTROLLING BIG ANYMORE. We have to change the way we play defense to one where the guards are more aggressive. Doc still doesn't get it.

He doesn't get it about offensive rebounds either. Man you can really see how stupidly stubborn Doc can be when it comes to offensive rebounds. The idea that they don't matter is utter screaming nonsense. A team that sacrifices offensive rebounds consigns itself to a fate where they have to shoot lights out all the time in order to be offensively effective. Great teams ride out bad shooting spells by giving themselves second chances.

Ok, at least we could understand Doc's reasons. This was an old team. It could not be expected to hustle back on D. That's why we became a team that did not one but two things that great teams don't do. We gave up offensive rebounds. We also gave up on attacking the basket. We did this because we are old. We needed the old legs to have a chance to get back easier, and set the D.

But as Rondo became more important to the team, the need to change our approach grew. Rondo is a player whose game revolves around attacking the basket, yet we mostly eschewed attacking the basket. It also needs offensive rebounds, because Rondo is a player who breaks down the D, which creates lanes for offensive glass crashing, but he also is not a high percentage finisher, relatively speaking. He's a guy who can hit more circus shots than Kobe, but he'll also miss a lot of shots others wouldn't miss.

Even as the team got younger, Doc refused to budge on offensive rebounding, In fact, he doubled down. It became at times sickening, but also funny, to watch the Cs make no effort to go to the glass after a shot went up. They would all turn tail like the offensive board was a wildfire. Only, they still couldn't defend well in transition.

A magical thing had begun to happen. See, Doc, opposing teams can watch film too. They began to realize that the Cs would not make even a token effort to contest their offensive glass. They realized that the Cs would retreat en masse as soon as a shot went up. They began to figure out that they could get into their offense a lot quicker, knowing that there would never be any disarray or uncertainty due to having to fight for their defensive rebounds. Just grab and go. Pretty soon the whole concept of abandoning the offensive glass, in order to get back and set the D, didn't even make sense on its own terms.

We need to make some changes, but Doc is too stubborn.
Reply Greg
11:09 AM on November 23, 2012 
I agree about Pop. But he's far and a way a better coach than Doc. Doc needs to find a balance. But I'm sure he'll find something. The Celtics will turn this around.
Reply Franklin
11:25 AM on November 23, 2012 
I see how we can blame Doc. But I also believe its the players. A two way street.
Reply paul
7:09 PM on November 23, 2012 
Still have faith in this team

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