Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 11/18/14
57


Perhaps you missed it as you focused on Paul Pierce’s swoops to the tin, which were often finished with left-handed layups. It’s possible you were too busy wondering what in the world Chris Wilcox had eaten to fuel his 14-point, six-rebound, one-absurd-heat-check-that-airballed-by-a-mile-but-didn’t-matter-much-because-it-was-his-only-mistake-of-the-night performance.

Or maybe you did notice the Indiana Pacers’ heinous outside shooting, as Frank Vogel’s team shot 1-19 from behind the arc, including 18 consecutive misses to finish the game.

If the Pacers shot another 19 threes, it’s almost assured they would miss fewer than 18, even if the ghost of Bruce Bowen stood underneath them, waiting with his foot extended in hopes of twisting every goddamn ankle on the Indiana roster. But don’t take that to mean the Boston Celtics had no part in forcing Indiana’s 5.3 percent three-point shooting. Boston rotated quickly, making an effort to contest shots even when blocking them was impossible.

Perhaps the best example of Boston’s dogged effort to defend its perimeter came with the Celtics leading 90-80, the game well out of hand and less than a minute to play. Brandon Bass made an initial mistake, gambling while trying to steal a pass, which allowed David West to penetrate into the paint. Bass did not sulk after his error, sprinting full bore at an open Paul George to contest his three. Bass did not block the shot. He did not force an impossible attempt. But he did add a little discomfort to George’s release, perhaps contributing to the miss.

Or maybe Boston’s defensive effort could best be described by one possession in the third quarter, when Avery Bradley dug to help Paul Pierce defend Danny Granger in the post, then sprinted 12 feet to recover in time to contest a Darren Collison jumper, while Marquis Daniels sprinted from the other direction just in case he could beat Bradley to Collison.

When the Celtics are defending at their finest, they have always been characterized by a determination to leave no shot wide open. Watching all 19 three-point attempts by Indiana on Synergy sports, I determined that 14 of the threes were contested. Three of those were tightly contested, Boston forcing Indiana into miserable shots, and two additional threes were unfathomable pull-ups by Danny Granger.

Of the five shots the Celtics did not contest, one was designed that way, with Dahntay Jones left open in the corner while Boston’s defense metaphorically knelt ten feet away from him and prayed that he would shoot. On all but one of the other uncontested shots, the Celtics were either chasing Pacers around screens to attempt a contest, or a Celtic could be seen in the Pacers’ peripheral vision, sprinting from across the court in a late (but still noted) attempt to force a tougher three.

View an example of what I deemed an uncontested shot in transition, where the Celtics defended the basket as they were supposed to, then attempted to close out to George before he could fire while unmolested:

Defending the three-point arc is generally considered one of the two most important aspects of an NBA defense, along with guarding the painted area. The Celtics won’t always force teams into 1-19 long-distance shooting, but if they continue to exert such effort to hunt down shooters, Boston’s defense will remain stout like it has been during the team’s current four-game winning streak.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Should Texans consider moving on from Arian Foster?

Dice-K begins comeback bid, makes first start in Japan

Report: Teams think Suh to Dolphins is ‘done' deal

Adrian Peterson still has ‘concerns’ about Vikings

LSU S blasts Tigers fans for leaving game early

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Houston Texans are moving on from Andre Johnson

Top landing spots for Darrelle Revis

Mets: Murphy will no longer discuss his religious beliefs

Randall Cobb rejects contract proposal from Packers

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts after DeAndre Jordan doesn't shoot

WATCH: Ridiculous foul called on Penn State

WATCH: Westbrook throws down huge dunk in return

Cowboys hang out at Duke game, pose with funny poster

Report: Peyton Manning's contract incentives tied to Super Bowl

Bean responds to Murphy's homosexuality comments

Haynesworth to Suh: Skins ‘took my love away from the game’

Five teams that should consider signing JaVale McGee

MLB local streaming is unlikely for Opening Day

Ronaldo sends his hair stylist to check on his wax figure monthly

Arizona Diamondbacks unveil 'The Churro Dog'

Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts

UFC must make Rousey vs. Cyborg happen

Suh to Dolphins a 'done' deal?

Why haven't brands shown love to James Harden?

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.