Any Which Way But Lose

One comforting trend I've noticed is the many different styles in which the Celtics have been able to win basketball games.  Or put another way, no matter what type of style the opponent tries to play, the Celtics can adapt and overcome.

The up-tempo, run and gun style of Golden State got the Celtics defense on their heels a little bit, but the offense made up for it by outscoring the Warriors.  On the flipside, the Blazers like to play more of a half court set to take advantage of their bigs (Oden, Aldridge, and the underrated Przybilla).  So the Celtics dug in and stopped them cold like a goal-line stand time and time again.

Opponents will often try to take away someone they think is a key player on our offense.  Sometimes that means limiting Ray's open looks, which leaves more room for Paul Pierce to drive to the basket.  Recently Paul has been struggling in part due to the attention teams are giving him, which leaves Ray Allen free to find open looks.

In fact, this is even more crucial in crunch time.  With the game on the line and just seconds left, who do you cover?  Look at what Indy Cornrows (Pacer blog) had to say about this:

But for a team like the Boston Celtics to have two late-game dagger throwers is actually cruel. What I witnessed last night from Ray Allen and Paul Pierce was as beautiful as anything I've seen in basketball, yet I still feel violated by the way they shot that game into overtime and then casually left the Fieldhouse with a W.

I'm sure teams have noticed that the Celtics really kick it into a higher gear when Rondo is playing well.  So I expect them to pay a lot of attention to knocking him off his game.  But teams have been trying to sag off Rajon for years, daring him to shoot.  First of all, he's so quick that he still manages to find his way to the rim.  Secondly, as Scott Souza mentioned on CSL this weekend, Doc has Rondo pushing the ball up the court before the defense gets set, which makes it very difficult to sag.

Getting a more consistent effort out of the bench would be nice, but so far the team has won with or without big games from the 2nd unit. 

Of course, one thing that makes all of this possible is the consistently outstanding defense.  Even when the team is having an off night on that side of the floor, they always seem to be able to find their groove for a stretch of the game that shuts the opponent down long enough for the offense to take or extend a lead.

That consistent defensive dominance as well as the impressive adaptability make this team so unbeatable.

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