Terry picks apart zone defense


Terry picks apart zone defense

BOSTON Jason Terry has no idea how well he will perform numbers-wise from one game to another.

But if it's a team that plans to use zone defense for an extended period of time, let's just say Terry's fantasy league owners might be in for a bit of a spike in points that night.

The Raptors' use of a zone put Terry in a comfort zone unlike any he has experienced thus far in Boston, and the result was a season-high 20 points and the Celtics pulling away for a 107-89 win.

"If you are going to go zone, you need Jason Terry on the floor," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He's a zone breaker."

Not only does Terry's prowess at shooting 3s make him an ideal zone-buster, but his time in Dallas under current Mavs head coach and former Celtic Rick Carlisle has only enhanced his familiarity with zone defenses.

"In Dallas they played a lot of zone defense," Rivers said. "So that would tell you, he's practiced against it. You can see that."

Terry, who ranks fourth all-time in NBA history in 3-pointers made (1,803), nailed four 3-pointers on Saturday that all came at a time when the C's needed a basket to get on track or cement a strong surge to put away a pesky Toronto team.

"Terry Stotts (head coach in Portland), Dwane Casey (Toronto head coach), Rick Carlisle (head coach in Dallas) ... all the guys I know are going to play zone, I get extra excited (about playing against)," Terry said. "As you know, in the zone they're going to pack it in. They don't want to give up anything inside. Shooters are going to be wide open."

And if you're talking about one of the all-time greats, being left wide open, the result in that is clear - buckets.

In addition to the volume of shots made by Terry (he was 7-for-10 shooting), the timing of Terry's baskets was even more instrumental in the Celtics win.

After the Raptors cut Boston's lead to 63-61 in the third quarter following a pair of Andrea Bargnani free throws, Terry hit a 3-pointer to push the Celtics lead back to five points.

That set off a 16-3 run by Boston to close out the quarter, a run that included two additional 3-pointers by Terry.

"Knowing the offense we were running, it's a tough situation (for opposing defenses)," Terry said. "When our bigs roll hard, they have to be honored. As you see at the rim, they're catching, their finishing with dunks or lay-ups. When that happens, the defense has to suck in, they have to help. As a shooter, you love it. Your man has to tag, the ball comes; just be ready to shoot."

And that - being ready to shoot - has never been a problem for Terry.

"I don't think there will ever be any hesitation with Jason Terry," Rivers said. "Which is nice."

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.