On this episode of Green With Envy, hosts Will Weir (@willbon13) and Greg Maneikis (@miniminoe) analyze the Celtics lackluster performance in a Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors. (0:00-8:00) Celtics drop defense (08:00-18:00) Mazzulla’s end of game lineups (18:00-23:00) Tatum’s struggles (24:00-31:00) Clippers preview (31:00-38:00) Lakers preview (38:00-48:00) White Lotus finale (48:00-END), and Will experiences an earthquake in Mexico City!
Where was Malcolm Brogdon?
After being one of the only consistent offensive forces in the first half, Malcolm Brogdon didn’t see much action in the second. He only played 8 minutes in the second half and just 2:26 in the 4th quarter. In a game in which Jayson Tatum was completely in his own head (hey, it happens), and Marcus Smart was making questionable decisions and just never seemed to have a pulse on how to get the Celtics easy looks, Coach Mazzulla seemed to forget he now has other ways to generate offense.
Plain and simple, Brogdon needs to be on the court when it matters most. It’s a tough decision to make as a coach, and maybe it’s too early in the season to bench a guy like Smart in such a big game, but if “nothing gets in the way of winning,” then Mazzulla needs to develop the confidence to play Brogdon over Smart in certain end-of-game situations. If a guy as talented as Brogdon is humble enough to end games on the bench, other guys should follow suit. I have a feeling it’ll happen at some point this year, and I believe Smart will respond as a leader should. This SHOULDN’T be a problem, but until Mazzulla does it, we’ll never know.
Derrick White’s Defense
Derrick White has been great all season, but over the last few weeks his defensive skill set is starting to shine. How many guards block a Kyrie Irving layup and a Steph Curry three? How many guards glass a hard-driving Draymond Green? His ability to protect the rim with timely rotations and long arms has made for some highlight plays, but it’s the endless motor that has impressed most. Re: the Brogdon conversation above, Mazzulla seemingly chose White over Brogdon down the stretch due to his defensive impact containing Steph Curry.
Dropping the Ball
How many times on the broadcast did the two former NBA coaches mention the insanity of playing a deep drop defense against the Splash Brothers? I’m okay with playing drop at times, especially when you need to deal with the size of Kevon Looney on the boards, but I’d also prefer keeping rhythm players out of rhythm. Klay Thompson looked like peak Klay and it’s not a surprise considering he walked into about 10 wide open jumpers and was able to play comfortable all night. I mean, just think about the end of the first half when the Celtics closed the gap. That was 100% the result of a more aggressive scheme, putting the Warriors on their heels. The next time the Celtics play the Warriors, I’d like to see that drop coverage a bit more shallow, or see Mazzulla switch strategies sooner than he adjusted in this contest.
Tune into today’s episode for a deep dive into all of these topics and more, and be sure to follow the boys @greenenvypod on social media. Drop a comment and leave a review!