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Practice Report: Pick-and Roll Practice, Waiting on Avery Bradley


The C’s wrapped up their second straight Tuesday practice this afternoon in Waltham, readying themselves for a rematch with the Brooklyn Nets. After getting torched on the defensive end for large sequences of the past three games, Doc Rivers made no secret what his team was doing to prepare for the visiting Nets, fresh off a nice win over their New York rivals.

“Pick and roll defense. A long time on it,” Rivers told reporters. “Teams take steps, too. To win titles, you take a lot of steps. The first step for us was buying in, and I think we’ve done that. But now we’ve got to get it right, and the second step is pick-and-roll, and it never stops.”

We’ve already covered the team’s pick and roll issues here at CelticsHub,but with Deron Williams coming to town and Jameer Nelson having lit up the C’s for an entire quarter with the play Sunday night, the emphasis on the team’s consistent play needs to be there. It’s refreshing to see that’s one of the things Doc knows that needs plenty of attention at this juncture. Rivers continued on about how much the pick-and-roll play call has become more useful because of rule changes and foul calls in the the league:

“You can’t touch anybody,” said Rivers. “You can’t touch above the free throw line. It’s brought the small guard back in the league, it’s brought the quick guard back in the league. I watched a game the other night and they never ran another play besides the pick and roll, and they won. It was unbelievable. The other team couldn’t stop it.”

Needless to say, it’s more important for the C’s to get this figured out sooner than later.

A quick update, or lack there of on Avery Bradley’s progress was addressed, with no real timetable in effect for the guard, who continues to watch practices.

“Honestly, he’s not been in anything,” Rivers said. “We are doing some things before shootarounds every once in a while where we just run our plays so he can have an idea. But, if I’ve learned anything, it doesn’t matter how much you do skeleton offense; when you put the defense on, if you haven’t played, the game, it just goes too quick and you can’t remember anything. It’s going to take time, even when he comes back.”

Kris Joseph and Fab Melo were also down in Boston from Maine to attend today’s practice before re-joining the Red Claws. The quick hour and a half commute each way makes it a nice perk for the C’s to have both guys around whenever needed. Joseph was out taking reps with the second team, while Melo stayed on the sidelines due to the high number of bigs Boston has in their rotation.

  • The Cardinal

    Nice update. Now it's time to play devil's advocate – Drew Gooden – good fit for the C's or not? The pros: He always looks like a first team all star against us, he's apparently available, his contract isn't outrageous and has at least two years remaining. The cons: Bass or Lee would have to be part of the deal unless we feel he'll remain with the Bucks until the trade deadline when he'll probably be bought out. Yay or nay?

    • CelticsBIG3

      Not for Bass or Lee

  • Sophomore

    Thanks for the updates. Glad they're working on the P and R defense. To me, some of the biggest challenges are created by Rondo. I've never seen a good, quick player get stuck on screens for so long – it feels like an eternity before he gets away from a pick. That makes the big-man hedges and rotations much harder, I'd imagine. And, not to hate on Rondo, but when he's playing straight-up defense, he has a very hard time staying in front of his man. Just makes me scratch my head. Compare him to Lee, or even Barbosa. Rondo has much more trouble in both areas.

    • CelticsBIG3

      I don't think it's as much trouble as it is his desire to reach in and try to poke the ball away from guys from behind.

    • CG12

      For all of Rondo's gifts, his defense has been overrated, and majorly so, for years now. The next time you see Rondo in a genuine defensive crouch will be the first time in 5 years. He is the master of stand-up defense. He just doesn't care about staying with his man over a pick. He either gets stuck or doesn't bother trying to get over, letting the other team force a disadvantageous switch. By contrast, if you watch Bradley or Lee, he is going super-hard to get over a pick and recover to his man. Bradley is particularly good at catching up to a guard pulling up for a J after coming over a pick, thinking his in the clear, only to have Bradley challenge or block the shot using his quickness and hops. That is a huge reason why Bradley's D is so good – he plays smart, effective team defense by focusing more on controlling his man, rather than going for the steal. You win on defense by forcing bad shots, not by getting steals, something Rondo shows no regard for.

      Rant over.

      • CelticsBIG3

        Exactly my point. He definitely plays a lot of straight up D, but on occasion, in the right match up (like if he is on Lebron) he really gets into defense. http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0213/nba_g_ljrrts

        More or less the tendency to try to poke the ball away from behind transfers to being lazy on D.

        • CG12

          Yep. That is the most irritating thing about it. It isn't that Rondo CAN'T play really great defense. It's that he just doesn't care to.

      • Josh_5

        Completely agree CG. This was superbly explained. Rondo does not play defense, plain and simple. He does not recover on screens and he does not stay in front of his man. He simply likes to roam and go for reach behind steals. I love Rondo, but until he starts playing legit defense, KG will be my fav.

        BTW, I think this earns us a scolding from Janos.

  • ronny

    With the over/under at 190 points, consider going with the under, as the Celtics have been better defensively at home than they have on the road.

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