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Scout's take on how to beat the Boston Celtics


A scout talked to SI's Ian Thomsen about the Celtics and the thing that jumped out to me was the gameplan for beating the Celtics.

Upcoming NBA tax threatens dynasty in South Beach - Ian Thomsen -

"Because Philly doesn't have a go-to scorer, you're going to see them going at the Celtics' worst defender. Right now that means they'll be attacking Jason Terry, Pierce and Bass. They'll be trying to drive it inside, which they always do, and they'll be pounding the offensive glass, which is what every team does against Boston.

We all knew that Jason Terry was a below average defender and that Pierce doesn't always have the lateral quickness that he once did. It is interesting to see Bass singled out. Interesting but not terribly surprising since he's not highly regarded as a defender. Still, the Celtics defense has a knack for taking questionable defensive players and either hiding them or working with them to create an end result that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Boston's defense, and really any respectable defense, is predicated on crisp rotations. Just because a guy drives past a guard doesn't mean that the guard was necessarily "beat off the dribble." The coaching staff works very hard on figuring out players' strengths and weaknesses and the plan is to force players to their weaknesses whenever possible. Sometimes that means letting them drive into the paint where (in theory) they'll get swallowed up with the bigs. However, it is critical for the second level defender to get to where they should be and for the rest of the team to rotate accordingly. Otherwise it is easy layups and "and-one's" all night long.

Opponents "pounding the offensive glass" is no new topic around here, so I'll me merciful and leave that alone. Suffice it to say, if you and I know about a weakness, it is well known around the league and they know 15 different ways to exploit that weakness.

Still, at the end of the day, you have to execute. You can gameplan all day long, but talent and execution wins. The Celtics have more talent than many (if not most) teams. If they execute consistently on both ends the way they can, it should be a win most of the time. But again, it has to be consistently, which is another subject we've gone over a few times.

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