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"Scrappy" D, ball movement, "Average" Al, easy hoops & more on Celtics 95-78 win over Heat

 Here's some revelations from Boston's convincing victory over Miami last night - all from a guy that has seen it all over more than six decades following The Green.

Easy Hoops

Nothing I haven't broached before. The Celtics work too hard for most of their scores. Not last night. A lot of that had to do with Rob Williams. You can call him a "basket hanger", but that's where he gets his offensive boards, tip-ins, follow-up jams and rejections. His four points came from a tip-in of a Tatum miss and a Tatum-to-RWILL jam. And of his 10 rebounds, five were offensive.

RWILL's Defensive Havoc

It pays to have long arms, quickness and leaping ability. Rob Williams has all three qualities, and he gets a lot of deflections, steals, blocks and loose balls. He had two steals last night, and as a defender of Ime Udoka's two-big lineup, I want that experiment to continue.

Dennis Schroder's Change of Pace

DS can walk the ball up court like he is taking a stroll around Boston Common, or he can take off like Hell down court and lay the ball in - as he demonstrated at the 2:10 mark of the third quarter. His line vs. Miami? 14 points - 5 boards - 6 assists - team-high plus/minus of +26.

Payton Pritchard Sightings Remain Scarce

Pritchard logged less than three minutes in Miami. Why? See above paragraph. Schroder has turned into a valued addition, but the downside is that we see little of Payton - for now at least.

Tatum's Rebounding

Read the above as a "double entendre". I love Jayson Tatum's rebounding. He had eight of them last night. But he also rebounded in my estimation. His shooting was off once again (10 points in 3-of-13 FGs), but he didn't persist in going one-on-one to any significant extent. He was into team ball.

"Scrappy" Defense

That what one of the game's announcers call it - "scrappy" defense by Boston. It was time. And it worked. Both Rob Williams and Marcus Smart (of course) went to the floor at the 4:36 mark of the first quarter. The third period saw both Schroder and GWILL hit the wood, with Smart watching in an upright position because there was no more room in the "pig pile". 

Udoka's KC Jones-like cautionary approach to playing 3Smith

Rookie Reggie Lewis only logged 8.3 minutes per game in the 1987-88 season under KC Jones. Jones explained he was going with the vets so as not to give opponents any hint that they could take out his team. Ime Udoka seems to have taken that approach with young Aaron Nesmith. That may change. Coming away last night with 13 points (5-of-8 FGs, 3-of-5 on 3s), 3 rebounds and one assist in 18 minutes of action could alter the trend.

Never "Average" Al Horford Me - I love the Guy

The Celtics lead the NBA in blocks at 7.2 BPG. Never Average Al mans the NBA's top spot in blocks per game, and his other half of my favored 2-big lineup, Rob Williams comes in fourth. Not blessed with incredible athleticism or towering height, Horford manages his blocks with terrific timing. He even played a bit of point guard last night. He is a complete player. That hardly makes him "average".


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