The Celtics Continue To Be A Defensive Force
BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics started their West Coast swing with another defensive triumph, this time holding the always dangerous Golden State Warriors to just 88 points. It was the 11th time this season that Boston has held an opponent to 90 points or fewer.
The Warriors had just 32 points at halftime, with the Celtics holding them to an abysmal 29.4 percent shooting. Golden State lost Steph Curry in the second quarter, which obviously hurt their offensive cause, but the team scored just 15 points in the frame.
Had it not been for a third-quarter heater from Jordan Poole, who poured in 19 points in the frame to help cut Boston's 24-point lead to just 10, the Celtics would have cruised to an easier win. It was still pretty easy after Boston put the clamps back on the Warriors in the fourth, holding them to 19 points to waltz to the 110-88 victory.
Not bad against a team that leads the NBA with a plus-10.6 margin of victory at home. Golden State shot just 37 percent for the game, including a 23 percent clip from deep. Just another virtuoso defensive performance by the now-four-seed Celtics.
Boston continues to be the best switching team in the NBA. Though the key to their defensive success is no secret, Jaylen Brown summed up the performance nicely.
"Do what we do: Guard, make things tough, take away what we want to take away and live with the long shots and long rebounds and get out running," said Brown. "We executed that for the most part, I think. The third quarter might have got loose on us a little bit, but for the most part we kept everything under control."
Controlling the chaos is what the Celtics do best. Marcus Smart continues to lock down anyone and everyone who comes at him, while Brown and Jayson Tatum can really muck things up in passing lanes. And even when teams do beat Boston's switches, Robert Williams is usually there to swat away easy looks.
The Boston big man blocked four more shots on Wednesday night, including this Otto Porter Jr. layup attempt that led to a Brown three on the other end:
Those four blocks came in just 24 minutes of action for Williams, who continues to make incredible strides in his defensive game. He doesn't bite at fakes nearly as much anymore, and when he does, his improved recovery time helps him make those chase-down blocks.
While Williams is usually the last line of defense, it all starts with Smart. Tatum crashed the guard's postgame chat to give him a big hug and once again pitch Smart as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Celtics head coach Ime Udoka continued that push during his postgame press conference, adding Williams to the conversation as well.
"He sets the tone for us on a night-to-night basis. I think he mentioned how him and Rob not getting recognition on one of the top defensive teams in the league doesn't really make sense," said Udoka. "So, if that's the case, it's like MVP or All-Star voting, you're based on wins and your record, and I think defense should be in the same category."
The wins continue to pile up for Boston as the defense continues to pulverize its opposition. The Celtics are 15-3 over the last six weeks, surrendering only 101 points per game. The 103.5 points they've allowed over the season and their 105.5 defensive rating, both sit atop the NBA. So does the 43 percent shooting and 33 percent from three-point range they've held the opposition to this season.
The Celtics are a downright dominant defense, no matter the opponent. If they can continue to smother teams on that end of the floor, Boston is going to be one tough team to play in the postseason.
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