In the Celtics’ first 30 games this season without Bradley, when he was rehabbing his shoulders, the team’s defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) was 102.1, the 13th-best mark in the NBA at that time.
But in the 27 games since Bradley has returned, the Celtics’ defensive rating has skyrocketed to 97.2, the second-best mark in the league in that span behind Indiana.
Truth be told, Rivers didn’t believe Curry faced much defense against the Knicks. When asked who would guard Curry, Rivers quipped, “Everyone — or if he plays [like he did against New York], no one.”
When it was suggested that the Knicks did a decent job of guarding him, Rivers said, flatly, “That’s debatable.”
The issue, Rivers said, is that defenses can’t really keep the ball out of Curry’s hands because, as a point guard, it’s usually already in his hands.
Defenses were once trapping Michael Jordan so much that former Bulls coach Doug Collins moved Jordan to the point position so that he’d have the ball to open the possession. That made it that much harder to stop Jordan.
“That’s how you feel with Steph,” Rivers said.
A Celtics win won’t depend solely on Bradley’s defense on Curry. Other factors matter. But few factors will be as crucial. On an interpersonal scale, it’s a classic case of immovable object meets unstoppable force, of offensive might versus defensive will, with reputations and victory at stake.
. . .
Forward D.J. White has officially signed a 10-day contract with the Celtics . . . Rivers said he wasn’t sure but he believed the Celtics would sign Terrence Williams to another 10-day contract; Williams’s current 10-day contract is set to expire Friday . . . Pierce said that pain in his neck is partly to blame for his up-and-down play this season. He expects that pain to linger the rest of the season.