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The Read & React: defensive lapses bury Boston in the Big Easy

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Late in New Orleans, Boston’s league’s best defense broke down and The Brow took over.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Sy: On Friday night, the Celtics were plumbers in Orlando, shutting off every leak in their defense and holding the Magic to 83 points on 39.1% shooting. For nearly three quarters in New Orleans, Boston almost repeated that feat, but the dam broke late in the game. Here’s Al Horford on the Celtics’ defensive lapses.

Anthony Davis is a load. He’s turned himself into a darkhorse MVP candidate since DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles and the Pelicans have gone 13-9, including a ten-game winning streak. Paired with the underrated duo of Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo, they make a formidable pick-and-roll trio. But realistically, that’s about it for New Orleans. Efficiently guard those PnR’s and you have a good chance to beat NO. Unfortunately for the Celtics, their D wasn’t as tight as it should have been.

Here’s Ian Clark coming off a dribble hand off from The Brow. Semi Ojeleye does a decent job staying on his hip, but nobody on the off ball side tags Clark or rotates to the protect the rim.

This savage Davis crossover doesn’t come off screen action, but it again shows Boston’s late reaction to penetration. Marcus Morris is late to rotate and fouls AD for the and-1.

Finally, here’s AD coming off a back screen to the corner. Horford calls for the switch and Aron Baynes does, but then Horford doesn’t switch himself. He lets the ageless Emeka Okafor slip the over play and Davis makes the perfect lob pass to Okafor for the dunk.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Doxy: I absolutely love how aggressive Tatum has been. A lot of criticism has come his way over his propensity to lose the ball, but what should be commended is his willingness to not settle for 3-point shots. Tatum has been willing to probe into the paint, and even though he settles for mid-range shots, that’s his bread and butter right now. Tonight with 23 points, he showed the willingness to attack consistently, and that’ll be a huge help for the bench units where he’s featured, particularly in the playoffs. If he can hold onto that mentality for the last stretch of games, it’ll lead into what promises to be a strong postseason for him.

Jeff Clark: Abdel Nader missed 4 straight free throws on the same trip to the line. I’m not sure what else needs to be said.