Post-game Reactions

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of attending the C’s practice over at their facility in Waltham. It was a longer than expected session for The Green, with the media being allowed into the practice a half hour after what was anticipated originally. Once we were allowed in, Doc spent several minutes speaking to the media gathered about a variety of topics. At the end of this session, as the rest of the media contingent headed over to hear Uno Uno speak, I was able to grab Doc and had the opportunity to talk to him one on one for what I knew in all probability would just be for one question.

This I figured could be big. Here, I had the opportunity to ask Doc anything and I didn’t want to throw it away. What would I go with? KG’s return and its effect on the team? Marquis Daniels’ role when he returns? Trade rumors? The possibilities were endless!

Well, I have to say I apologize in advance to let you know I asked about the relatively unexciting subject of the C’s defensive rebounding. Really B Robb? Defensive Rebounding? I know…..and I understand it’s really not that sexy a topic. However, it is one that I thought could be valuable to talk to Doc about for a couple reasons.

1) It’s something we have talked and worried about in great detail here at Celtics Hub. Zach Lowe has dug deep trying to dissect why this team has become a middle of the road defensive rebounding team as have I in recent weeks. The two of us have had trouble coming to a conclusion that makes sense, so why not go to the top dog himself for answers?

2) Doc is someone, in my opinion, who will give you legitimate answers to basketball questions. In a region here in New England where we get overly generic answers from coaches in other sports, Doc is a nice breath of fresh air who won’t pull any punches with you when discussing the C’s strengths as well as weaknesses.

With this in mind, I dove in and posed the question to the coach:

CelticsHub: Doc, you guys have been an elite defensive rebounding team the past couple seasons, but seem to have dropped off to a middle of the road team in this category this year. Are you concerned about this regression or do you think it is a problem that will be helped out with the return of KG on a full time basis?

Doc’s surprising answer along with some final thoughts on the matter, after the jump.

A couple highlights of Doc’s response

* He is concerned about the defensive rebounding.

*And it what came as somewhat of a shock to me, Doc acknowledged that the return of KG would not solve the defensive rebounding problem. He wisely pointed out to me that the C’s were having problems with the defensive rebounding even before KG went down in December.

*The problem, Doc believed stems from poor positioning by the team on the blocks down low. The guys need to do a better job of boxing out and a better job of positioning themselves to do so. He said it was a team wide problem, not a problem with the big guys.

Given this information, I inquired about the positioning and team wide problem comment. What could the guards do better to help? Does he want them to hit the glass more and help out the big guys?

* Doc emphasized that he does not need the guards on the glass more, he just needs them to do a better job of keeping their man in front of them. When the guards let their men by them, the bigs have to recover to help them and in turn can be left in poor rebounding position, due to the rotations. Doc essentially emphasized that the guards cutting down on these kinds of rotations would do wonders in helping to solve the problem.

Doc’s analysis of the situation was very enlightening and honestly makes a lot of sense. Given Ray’s age and Rondo’s capacity to gamble on defense, opposing guards have been getting into the lane with great regularity this year against the C’s. Penetration like this forces the big guys to come over and help. The C’s bigs are great at doing this, but it also leaves them out of position, which forces guys like Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to try to box out talented big rebounders like Marcus Camby, Al Hortford, etc.

So does seem like a problem the C’s can solve or at least improve upon? In the case of Rondo, you would hope so. He did a much better job with Baron Davis on Monday night in this department. With Ray, given his lack of speed at this juncture in his career, he is always going to have problems keeping more athletic guards in front of him. He is a savvy defender though, given his limitations so look for him to find ways to stay ahead of the opposition.

I guess the best news here though is that Doc is fully aware of the problem, and has a plan to combat it.

Stay tuned to Celtics Hub later this afternoon for additional Celtics Hub perspective on yesterday’s practice, along with some pictures.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • Tebucky

    Good choice going with the nuts and bolts question, there are plenty of reporters in Boston you can leave the trade speculation/Big Baby re-nicknaming to! I feel like Doc would be a big boxer-brief guy, but I guess that question can wait til the offseason…

  • Sweeney

    I agree with Tebucky. Nuts and bolts from you are good, leave the other fodder for the other farters.

  • Jason

    “team wide problem” and “the guards need to keep guys in front of them” because “bigs are getting out of position”

    I believe these are my exact points here http://celticshub.com/2010/01/25/anatomy-of-an-offensive-rebound-portland

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Brian, did you tell Doc to read Celtics Hub & take notes so, with all of our help, he can win coach of the year & another banner? Doc could do a whole lot more golfing & flying off to see his son play games if he would just listen to us….Help us help you, Doc

    Jason, you did Nail that one. That was a really good post.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    nuts n bolts. meat n potatoes. solid Q&A. doc rocks.

    and wise choice for not talking to “uno uno”. boycott until “big baby” is back…..one of the greatest names in sport.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    We should bait teams into taking deep 2s. Guards should play to stop the penetration. When the opposition’s guards drive it’s like a 2 for 1. You get a higher percentage shot PLUS if you miss you have a great chance of getting an offensive board because our defense is out of good rebounding position. That’s 2 bad things going on . Closer shots & Second shots. You could say 3 bad things going on if you count our bigs getting into foul trouble. The guard who drove into the lane acts as an additional rebounder because our guard (Rondo or Ray) never chase him into the lane & try to block him off the boards. If you give up the outside jumper the bigs should have a much better chance of rebounding since they are not rotating out of position to stop a drive. An open deep 2 is the much lesser of 2 evils here.

  • Trav

    What still doesnt make sense is guards were getting into the paint with as much regularity the last 2 seasons, the bigs have become less capable of recovering…the bottom line to me is KG has regressed dramatically in rebounding, whether hes been “healthy” or not, his rebouding was always based off leaping ability more so then positioning like tim duncan who without a vertical still averages 10+ a night, KG was the best rebounder of the the last decade, and to me hes a shell of his former rebounding self…but as usual he never gets called out and its somehow, some way pinned on rondo, who is a better defensive player then he was the last 2 seasons

  • In watching the tape, I am convinced that Sheed and Ray Allen are huge problems. Sheed is problem #1

  • @ Jason. Good work on unearthing that earlier. I will have to send Doc your email address.

    @Capt. Bubbles. That was going to be my next question. I will have to save it for next time, but you guys will have to keep delivering terrific analysis in the comments in the interim.

    @ Zach: I’m right with you on Sheed. Hopefully he can and will kick it into gear with these big games coming up…..but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jason

    @Brian. Please do, I could use the consulting fee (or at the very least, some free tix) … unless you’re being sarcastic, then bite me. (That’s a joke, not serious, for the record. Except for the tix; seriously, I’ll take some.)

  • lol come on doc that is a bunch of bullshit trying to blame it on the guards. we all know that rebounding is a desire a want a need and you have to have the heart to put in the effort. ya maybe sometimes you can say that about the guards but when you have rhondo getting 11 reboundss and garnett, pierce, rayray gatting 4 or 5 each thats sad. perkins can rebound, trust me kevin and paul and ray ray are not putting up a fight on the boards, kevin aint doing jack shit or paul in the department. there running out no blocking out cant even identify there man to block out. other teams have 4 guys fighting off perkins and rhodo. man i call it as it is a worthless effort from the big three please dont call them that anymore. those other guys were and are legends. they died on the court because thats what it takes to win.

  • Tom

    Ray Allen doesn’t box out. Big Baby/KG gets jumped over. Perk is always in bad position for rebounds….

  • travis i agree with you totally the bigs are not getting back in position like a few years ago. i dont think this defense is no way close to the championship team. its notthe guards its our bigs who have let the team down. shit rhondo out of position getting 11 rebounds and perkins getting 10 or more, how come they can rebound and the supposed big three cant tell me that doc.

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