The C’s have a lot of kinks to work out before taking on Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks. How will the resilient Boston Celtics overcome their most recent slump?
There is no hiding the fact the Boston Celtics are an undersized team and still don’t have the dominant All-Star type of center we’re accustomed to seeing around the NBA.
Daniel Theis has been a great surprise this season for the Celtics, as he is ranked in the top 10 in the league in defensive plus/minus and block percentage.
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Enes Kanter is skillful in regards to scoring in the paint, but he becomes a huge liability on defense. It should come as no surprise the Boston Celtics are missing what Marcus Smart brings to the court.
With respect to the recent emergence of Sabonis (who is averaging a double-double this season), the Celtics were forced to double-team him at times; especially in the paint.
The problem with doubling up on Sabonis is he is skilled enough to look for the open man and earn himself an assist. Sabonis was also very aware of his matchups and took advantage of every one of them.
The Celtics can benefit greatly from a unit consisting of Daniel Theis paired with either Kanter or Robert Williams. With Theis being a true power forward, it would give the C’s an opportunity to run with two bigs on the floor.
The Celtics are losing the battle in the post because of the lack of size within the units. One big-man on the court isn’t going to get the job done when the opposition has a whole unit of towers on the floor at once.
Although Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have been exceptionally better on the defensive end this season, they just can’t handle the power of guys like Sabonis and Turner in the low post; and the same goes for Gordon Hayward.
The away-to-home back-to-back games are difficult to overcome in the NBA. After taking the loss in Indiana, the Celtics didn’t have much time to prepare for the 76ers on the following night.
Just like the Pacers, the 76ers have a towering lineup. With the help of Al Horford, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, the 76ers average the tallest height among NBA starting lineups with 6-foot-8.8 inches.
The Philadelphia Inquirer ranked the Boston Celtics on the lower end of the league, averaging 6-foot-6.2 inches tall (22nd in the league). Despite the height differences, the Celtics and 76ers are actually a great team match up.
Theis and Kanter played great and showed a type of dominance when defending Embiid we haven’t seen in a while. Although the whistle was blown quite often from the referees in the direction of Theis, he did what you need to do against guys like Embiid; play hard body, man-to-man defense. Theis has been doing most of the dirty work for the Celtics this season.
For the first time this season, the offensive duo of Kanter and Theis rotating in at center is what kept the C’s afloat in this game. Theis and Kanter combined for 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Even though the Celtics lost this game, the positive takeaway should be how Theis and Kanter are capable of producing big for the team against elite competition. It should be noted Kanter was the only productive bench player against the 76ers.
Heading into this game against the Mavericks, the Celtics will be without the services of Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Vincent Poirier. With the lack of big men on the roster, the historic franchise has recalled Tacko Fall from the Maine Red Claws for at least the next few days.
For the Celtics to be successful Wednesday night they will need to get off to a fast start and it starts with Kemba Walker. When Kemba is rolling the Celtics look to be running like a well-oiled machine.
On top of his own production, Walker can get the most out of his team and that’s what ultimately sets the Celtics apart from most teams in the league.
The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks will tip-off at 9:30 on Wednesday night.