Defense has been an area of concern for the Boston Celtics to start the season, especially over this past week, where they fell to two straight defeats before bouncing back against the Washington Wizards on October 30.
However, when speaking to the media in a post-game press conference following the Celtics’ latest win, Mazzulla was quick to defend his team’s defensive record, sharing some stats that he believes prove they’re on the right track.
“I saw the same effort we’ve had over the first, however many games we’ve played. I saw a commitment to the details and commitment to execution on every possession we talked about before the game. Guys are always going to play hard, we just have to continue to execute and be detailed, and be more consistent than we were tonight…I’m not as concerned with the defense. We’re fourth in shot selection defense, and we’re last in mid-range points per shot, and we’re first in mid-range frequency. So, some of the stuff, we just have to a better job,” Mazzulla said.
After six games, the Celtics currently sit 22nd in defensive rating – so, while they’re forcing teams into difficult and unfavorable shots, they’re not going a great job of shutting down second-chance opportunities or impacting shooters enough to force misses. Of course, the Celtics didn’t figure out their elite defense until midway through the 2021-22 NBA season, so there’s still plenty of time for them to put things right.
Grant Williams Details Boston’s Defensive Gameplan
After the Celtics’ victory over the Wizards, fourth-year forward, Grant Williams spoke with the media while dressed in a full batman costume. In true commitment to the bit, Williams spoke in a low register as he tried to mimic Batman from the movies.
Nevertheless, Williams did provide some solid information regarding the Celtics’ priorities on the defensive side of the floor – although he ensured to stay committed to his role as Batman while doing the explaining.
“As much as we can, we try to prevent as much crime as possible. The crime to us is on the 3-point line and then layups, so whenever we can, we try and funnel everything into the team that we are. We protect each other, and in the midrange, no one scores. No one,” Williams said.
Boston held the Wizards to just 94 points on October 30, showing a vast improvement on the defensive end throughout the game.
Jayson Tatum Calls Out Williams
Williams was clearly enjoying his role as Batman when speaking with the media, and at times, was drawing chuckles from those around him, however, Jayson Tatum couldn’t resist the opportunity to mock the 23-year-old.
“Yo, what the f*** are you doing?” Tatum joked with Williams mid-way through his post-game media availability.
The Tennessee native probably didn’t hit the Boston streets to fight crime after the game, but while he was on the TD Garden parquet, he put in a solid shift, finishing the contest with 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists while shooting 66.7% from deep on two-of-three shooting.
Williams will enter restricted free agency next summer after failing to agree to a contract extension this past off-season.