When Is It Time To Ring The Alarm?

I understand it's preseason, but games matter, regardless of what stage in the season you're in. I'm not saying Doc should start playing people for 30+ minutes, but since Game 1 of preseason, there hasn't been improvement as far as interior defense. Defense is one area of the game that the Celtics take pride in, but they seem to be struggling so far this postseason.

From Bo McCalebb and Romain Sato in Istanbul Turkey, to Tyson Chandler and Chris Copeland on the Knicks, to Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young on the 76ers, the Celtics are allowing too many points in the paint.

During the 2011-2012 regular season, the Celtic's defense held opposing teams to 35 points in the paint. In the three losses to Istanbul, The Knicks, and The 76ers, the Celtics have given up an average of 45.3 points in the paint.

Against Istanbul, it was the 2 starting guards, Bo McCalebb and Romain Sato that lit the Celtics up. Both guards got into the lane seemingly at will, making lightwork of the Second-Team All-NBA Defensive point guard in Rajon Rondo, as well as the defenisive-minded shooting guard in Courtney Lee. They were attacking the rim so much that the two guards helped Lee pick up 6 personal fouls. Turkey finished the game with 40 points in the paint.

McCalebb and Sato made off like bandits, finishing the game with a combined score of 45 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds, shooting 59% from the field, and 80% from 3-point range in 72 minutes of playing time. McCalebb and Sato accounted for 47% of the field goals made against the Celtics.

The Knicks were the first NBA team that faced Boston this season, but despite the game being close, it was a game the Celtics could've won earlier in the game.

In the beggining of the game it was Tyson Chandler (A lot of it was Carmelo as well, but he scored 23 points on 16 shots, and 9 free throw attempts, that's something you can live with). Chandler kept getting alley-oop after alley-oop, beating his defender to the rim and simply jumping towards the basket to either slam it down, or get fouled.

Late in the game, it was Chris Copeland who seemed to have mastered the art of the Pick N Roll. He burned the rookies (especially Sullinger) when going to the basket. Granted, Mike Woodson kept Jason Kidd on the court, but I was never a fan of excuses, it was a winnable game regardless of who was playing at the time (the rookies' late-game turnovers also had something to do with the loss but like I said, we could've won earlier in the game).

Chandler and Copeland finished the game with a combined 37 points, and 11 rebounds, shooting an insane 65% from the field, in 45 minutes. The Knicks finished the game scoring 44 points in the paint.

The most recent defeat came at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. The "Big Two" in this case was Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young. Granted, Kevin Garnett didn't play, and he's of course the Celtics' best post defender, but neither did Andrew Bynum who's the Eastern Conference's best post player.

You could also blame the loss on the futility of the offense, however defense ultimately wins games. 8 out of the top 10 defensive teams (in terms of opponent point averages) were playoff teams, while only 5 of the top 10 highest scoring teams were playoff teams.

Spencer Hawes came off the bench, and gave the Celtics more than they could handle. Hawes stayed in the post most for the majority of the game, finishing around the basket with ease. Thaddeus Young's game was similar to Spencer Hawes in the sense that even though he made a few mid-range shots, he was deadliest in the paint. The 76ers ended the game scoring 52 points in the paint.

Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young combined for 32 points, and 14 rebounds shooting 54% from the field in 42 minutes.

I understand this is still preseason, but these games do matter. The records themselves have no value, but things such as offenisve and defensive schemes are the reason for preseason. Defense shouldn't be something you reserve for the regular season, and right now it looks like the defense is what's giving the Celtics the most problems. When I hear people say preseason games don't matter, I cringe because it's as if they fully believe whatever transpires in a preseason game has a 0% chance of carrying over into the regular season.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel as if the Celtics are being a little too carefree about this preseason? What do you believe are the weak spots in this Celtic team so far?

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