BOSTON (CBS) — The expectation coming into the new season was the Celtics would once again be one of the NBA’s better defensive teams.
But over the first six games of the season, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Boston is allowing 111.8 points per game, ranking 28th in the league, and they’re coming off an embarrassing home effort in which they allowed 127 points to the Denver Nuggets — including 77 points before halftime.
Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday to discuss Boston’s defensive struggles, and said they are far from the team that gave the ultimate effort on the defensive end last season.
“They’re not playing with the same cohesion they played with last year. That’s understandable because they were trying to work in Al Horford, but now he’s unfortunately down for a longer time than they expected. And then Jae Crowder, who is arguable their best defender with Avery Bradley, is out. So they were missing two starters against Denver, but that is no excuse for giving up close to 80 points in the first half. They just don’t seem to be playing with the same passion or the same sense of cohesiveness,” said Gorman. “When the Celtics are at their best defensively, yes you have Bradley, [Marcus] Smart and Jae as outstanding individual defenders, but it was their team defense that really led them to where they were in the defensive rankings last year. They’re just not playing as a team right now.
Boston’s offense has been firing on all cylinders, with their 110.2 points per game ranking fourth in the NBA. But that’s not what is going to set them apart from the middle of the pack, or get them to their ultimate goal.
“I don’t think the Celtics are going too far if they’re trying to be an offensive team. They need to get back to their roots and be a defensive team, and to do that, they need a healthy Crowder, a healthy Horford and 10-12 games of them playing together,” said Gorman.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Horford is going to be back anytime soon. Gorman said that the news of Horford’s concussion, which he suffered at practice last Monday, is not good.
“It’s not responding to the specific protocols he has to go through to get back at the court,” said Gorman.
Gorman also gave a quick update on Kelly Olynyk’s return from a shoulder injury, and also had some fun with Tuesday night’s election results. Listen to the full podcast below: