This season, the Celtics have held their opponents to 90 points or less on eight occasions. Results of operations: eight victories. In today’s league, such a ratio, which is obviously not unique to the Celtics, is hardly surprising. Nevertheless, the C’s have marked the spirits in this area in recent days.
On Sunday, they outscored the Wizards by 29 points, limiting them to 87 points. Two days later, they went one better with a historic 53-point win over a restrained Kings of just 75 points. It was the best defensive performance of the year equaled for Boston which conceded less than 80 points on four occasions.
What do these four encounters have in common? Ime Udoka had his ideal five majors with Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams.
This five has the particularity of presenting the best “Defensive Rating” in the league (91 points conceded out of 100 possessions) for combinations used more than 100 minutes since the start of the season.
“There is a familiarity between these guys who have been here for a while”, notes Ime Udoka. “Obviously the physical intensity is higher with a strong playmaker, big wingers and two insides. We have a big advantage. I like our versatility, this physical dimension and the fact that they are welded. It looks like the last two games, with those guys back, we got off to a really good start. “
Witness, for example, a bulldozer-style first quarter (38-13!) iNFLicted on the Kings. Robert Williams, who has one of the best “Defensive Rating” of the team, is also impressed by the good defensive understanding (visibly better than that on the other side of the field…) of this five.
” Everyone keeps their rank and helps each other. I think that’s the most important thing in what we do. Even when we make mistakes in defense, I have the feeling that the second curtain is excellent to come in support “, Details the young pivot of the Celtics, author of his career record in rebound (17) against Sacramento.
The black point is that Ime Udoka could not rely much on this five, precisely. In just 14 games played with them, the Celtics have won nine times. Which makes Aaron Nesmith say that ” now that everyone is back, we can finally do what we want defensively and offensively “.