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Leftovers: Eddie’s Loyalty, His Defense, In Praise of Thibs

I live in New York City, so I got the local broadcast of yesterday’s game instead of the Boston broadcast. For those of you who watched the latter, a couple of notes of interest from the MSG crew:

• In an interview with MSG sideline reporter Tina Cervasio (which we did not see, but which Cervasio described), Eddie House claimed that Celtic officials assured the team a couple of days before the trade deadline that no one was getting dealt. House said (again, according to Cervasio) that he was shocked to learn he would be traded to New York.

(Come to think of it: It’s unclear if Cervasio is referring to an exclusive interview she/MSG held with House, or if House said this to a gathering of reporters. I haven’t seen it elsewhere).

• But Eddie isn’t bitter. He’s sad, but he made it clear (according to Cervasio) that he will be rooting for Boston to win the title this season. We love ya, Eddie.

• Mike D’Antoni had some interesting comments about how House has developed since he last played for D’Antoni in 2006.

D’Antoni raved about how much House improved on defense in his time with Boston.

We have mounting evidence that individual defense is tied more closely to team defense than we had previously thought. So many players—House, Ray Allen and Mo Williams, to name just a few—have seen their defensive numbers and their general defensive reputation improve dramatically after being placed within a solid defensive system.

And it’s time to renew our appreciation for how important those systems can be, and how important Boston’s system is. The Celtics, going into last night’s game against the Knicks, were leading the league in defensive efficiency, allowing just 101.5 points per 100 possessions.

Think about that: Boston has been, by some measures, the best defensive team in the NBA this season.

Does that seem like it should be possible? With the well-documented struggles since Christmas, the health issues of their best defensive player and the more recent health issues of their captain and their best wing defender?

And yet the C’s still sit atop the league’s defensive rankings.

The individual talent of the players obviously has a lot to do with it, as does their willingness to commit to playing hard on defense and doing what Doc and Tom Thibodeau tell them to do.

But perhaps we’ve all begun to take the coaches (Thibs especially) for granted. The system—the way the C’s stop fast breaks and defend screen/rolls—just works, and it works damn well.

And it made Eddie House into a new defensive player, according to his old coach.

Nate Robinson played last night like a young player who had not played in Boston’s system before. Sometimes he went over screens. Sometimes he went under them. Sometimes he just got caught up in them. He looked like a guy playing without a plan, and if there’s one thing the C’s always have defensively, it is a rock solid plan.

It was Nate’s debut with the team, and it will take him a while to learn the system.

It will be interesting to see what Mike D’Antoni thinks of Nate’s defense in June.

  • john

    I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss Eddie. I don’t like seeing him in another uniform he’s a Celtic through and through.

  • hallik

    Ditto. That Orange and blue, sad…

  • Berkcelt

    Eddie will always be a Celtic to me.

    For all the kvetching about the defense by Doc and even the players at times, I feel like the offense has really dropped off which makes getting the defense set in the first place difficult. I guess it’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing, because I’ve heard Doc after one or two of the recent games say something to the effect ~Now that we’re getting stops, we can get into our offense~. But I do know our ranking defensive efficiency has maintained while our offensive efficiency has really dropped.

  • @Berkcelt: Yup, it’s the offense that has been shaky. And we all miss Eddie, but I think the Nate deal will work out and was too good to pass up.

  • I was sad to see Eddie in a knicks uni. Billy too. Felt weird to watch him popping shots for another team and too see bill dunk on our guys! I think bills happy to just get a chance to play. Eddies been one of my favorites despite his severe limitations as a player. He is sad and gone but still a Celtic at heart.

  • DeVelaine

    Zach, I caught the same broadcast (on the DVR, as I was away last night), and I could have sworn Cervasio said she had an interview with Eddie, implying that she was the only one who talked to him. Probably an MSG interview with didn’t get taped.

  • Rav

    But Eddie isn’t bitter. He’s sad, but he made it clear (according to Cervasio) that he will be rooting for Boston to win the title this season.

    Wow. Just wow. Love this guy, and I’m glad we got him a ring.

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