It has been the lack of performance from KG that has made victories hard to come by early on in the season.
This isn’t exactly how we Celtics fans expected our team to come out of the gate. Especially not with promises from Jason Terry of a championship and overall confidence beaming from the entire team. And let’s not forget the trip overseas that supposedly bonded this group closer together. Why is it, then, that through three games the Boston Celtics have barely gotten a win and gotten outplayed by teams like the Bucks and Wizards? The answer is simple: they haven’t played defense anywhere close to the level they’re capable. Just why their defense has looked so porous is another story. Traditionally, when new teammates attempt to play with each other for the first few times, things don’t always mesh the way they should. Miscommunication happens, human error plays a factor, confusion ensues, and a defensive breakdown happens. The same can be said about running offensive plays. Different players have different opinions on the game, and when one reads something on a play another person could have a completely different thought entirely. These differing opinions and schematic errors have often caused the C’s to not get over to help on pick-and-rolls. The opposition have often gotten wide-open looks on this simple yet effective maneuver when, typically, they would be under duress from a defender that cycled properly along with his teammates. Doc Rivers has to get these switches drilled into the player’s heads, coaching the closest defender to at least get a hand up when closing in on the shooter. Being that he is a defensive-minded coach, I expect him to make some adjustments and find a way to seal these defensive loopholes until he can get his players properly coached up. After all, he does have some pretty good defenders on his squad.
Defensive supremacy ultimately begins with the players on the floor, however. And right now, the Celtics ace-in-the-hole Kevin Garnett is not living up to his billing on that side of the ball. Like his teammates, his pick-and-roll defense has been poor, and at times he’s even left the middle of the lane wide open for an easy bucket. Given KG’s defensive reputation and his like-minded connection with Doc, I expect his issues to subside very quickly. As is the case with his defense, Garnett’s offensive struggles have also served to doom the Celtics. The team feasts off the energy he provides at both ends of the floor, and the fact that his intensity has been low due to poor play has made it difficult for his teammates to be motivated. The only way to improve one’s offensive output is to get him good looks at the basket, and right now the Celtics have not been getting him enough of those. KG has not gotten many touches inside the paint despite the fact that he primarily occupies the low post. The responsibility to get your playmakers touches falls on the point guard, so Rajon Rondo has to get Garnett more of those easy looks. A little more intensity from Rondo, especially on the defensive end, along with him attacking the basket more frequently would also be a big help to this team.
Yes, the Celtics are 1-2, but it is still very early and I am far from panic mode, as you all should be. Our team still has a plethora of talent, as well as depth on the bench in case the injury bug starts knocking. Plus, they can build off the fact that they just got their first victory over the Wizards by closing the game out with defense. All in all, the C’s should be just fine. So fret not, Celtics fans, and look at our situation this way: at least we have a better record than the Lakers (1-3).