Draymond Green Fires Off Blunt Assessment of Celtics After Warriors Loss

Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

After a summer of upheaval, the Boston Celtics came into the 2021-22 season full of hope.

Unfortunately, that hope quickly turned into despair as the Celtics stuttered their way through the opening months of the season, dropping games from winning positions and struggling to find an identity.

Fortunately, the team has been able to turn their fortunes around since the start of the new calendar year and currently find themselves fourth in the Eastern Conference after defeating the Golden State Warriors on March 16. Following that game, Draymond Green had some high praise for Boston’s head coach Ime Udoka.

“They did an incredible job and you have to give them a lot of credit. Ime’s doing a great job with that team, they started off pretty s*****, and the way they’ve turned their season around, they’re really putting it together. You have to give them a lot of credit,” Green said.

Green Details How Boston’s Defense Hurt the Warriors

Statistically speaking, the Celtics are the best defensive team in the NBA, and currently rank 1st for defensive rating. Against the Warriors, the Celtics ensured that their reputation was kept intact as they limited the Western Conference trendsetters to just 88 points on the night.

“You’ve gotta give their defense a lot of credit because they sped us up early. And then once you speed someone up early, those shots that are open don’t feel so open, because everybody is sped up and in a rush. If they did anything well, I think they did a good job of switching, making us take tough shots, and they had us in a hurry. And once you get in a hurry, it’s hard to get settled in.

I thought we settled in a little bit there in that third quarter, and we made a run. But for the most part, they had us sped and then we missed open shots. We got a lot of open shots, we just missed them, but’s also a byproduct of their defense,” Green told the media following the Warriors’ loss.

Before Green suffered an injury midway through the season, the Warriors ranked 1st in the NBA for net rating and also commanded a top-5 place for their offensive efficiency. So, for the Celtics to hold Golden State to under 100 points in their hometown arena, it goes to show the growth of the team on the defensive end of the floor this year.

Defense is The Driving Factor

It’s no secret that the Celtics are a poor offensive team, at least when it comes to knocking down shots from the perimeter. Sure, the roster is littered with slashers who can get downhill and attack the rim, but spacing is a potential issue once the post-season begins.

It makes sense then, that Boston is hanging their hat on defense. Unlike shooting, defense is reliant on effort and communication, and when the rock isn’t falling you can take solace in the fact that you’re going to make it difficult for opposing teams to get going.

We’ve seen the Celtics grind out multiple wins since January 1, especially in games where Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown have struggled to find their rhythm. And that’s the vision Brad Stevens had for this team coming into the season – a unit that can rely on their heart and hustle to get over the finish line – a team that Boston can be proud of.

Following the Celtics victory against his team, Steve Kerr offered his opinion on the team’s defensive upside, “I thought they played great defense, there’s a reason they’re number one in the league in defensive efficiency. They’re athletic, physical, they did a good job.

We did miss some open ones, but when you play a team that that’s physical and long, the open ones that you get sometimes aren’t as comfortable because you feel their defense. I thought we felt their defense early. They did a hell of a job getting into us, and when we did have open looks, we didn’t knock them down and that’s what keyed their first-half surge.”

Boston’s defense has been the driving force behind their surge up the conference rankings, and if the team can keep that level of intensity moving forward, they have every opportunity to solidify themselves with home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Read More