After a loss in Boston, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins talked about what makes the Celtics so good on defense.
“We ran up against a team that played probably as well as they’ve played in a long time,” said Collins. “I talked to Doc after the game, 29 assists, they executed brilliantly, they had two or three really great defensive spurts.
“They just lock in on you, the one thing they do is they guard the paint, and they’re going to make you make contested two’s. That’s what our goal is to be as well. But they make you shoot those jump shots, they do a good job of rotating. Quietly they’re the second or third best team in the league in steals. They’re efficiency, they just know where to be, and they cover each other. They’re very very good at pick and roll, they can swarm, their big guys get out, they challenge shots, and they don’t give you anything easy.”
The Celtics clamped down on the Sixers in the third quarter, holding Philly without a field goal for almost six minutes to start the second half.
“They flood the strong side, they make you have to reverse it,” said Elton Brand. “They have three or four guys in the paint on their strong side. If the ball is there, there’s a lot of guys over there so it makes it hard for you to make one on one moves. You have to pass that ball, move it to the other side, and come back to that side.”
Said Andre Iguodala, “They’re on the same page, and they have veteran guys who all understand what it takes to win basketball games. And we wanna have a solid defense.”
The Celtics probably don’t want to face Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs, though you wouldn’t know it by tonight’s score. The Sixers can play defense. The Knicks — Boston’s other possible playoff opponent — haven’t proven they can. But if the Celtics play defense like this in the postseason, it isn’t going to matter much.
— The Celtics weren’t guarding very well in the first quarter when Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday was 4 of 4 from the field.
“When [Rondo] decided to guard and he decided to slow Holiday down then their whole offense slowed down also,” said Kevin Garnett. “Point guard position is probably the most difficult. He probably has the most responsibility on both ends of the ball. Tonight was evident of that.”