Celtics not straying from what they know on defense

Celtics not straying from what they know on defense
May 9, 2012, 1:38 am
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ATLANTA - The Atlanta Hawks trotted out a new starting lineup in Game 5, with Marvin Williams and Al Horford.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics' defense?

Same as it ever was.

"We are who we are (defensively)," said C"s coach Doc Rivers before the game. "We're not ashamed of that. When we do it right, we're really good."

They certainly have been in this series, limiting Atlanta to less than 41 percent shooting in every game.

But with Joe Johnson sliding over to the shooting guard position and having a huge advantage size-wise over 6-2 Avery Bradley, the C's had to tweak their defense slightly.

"That's not a matchup we love," Rivers said. "But it's what we have."

Throughout this season, making due with what they have has been the Celtics' way of doing things defensively.

"That's who we are; that's our identity," C's guard Keyon Dooling told CSNNE.com. "We're a defensive-minded team."

And it's not just the Hawks who recognize how strong the Celtics are defensively.

"They're especially strong with their half court defense, which is what the playoffs are all about," said an NBA scout. "And as we all know, the game slows down, a lot, in the playoffs. When you play great half court defense, it gives you a chance to win every night regardless of whether your best player or best players have it going offensively. That's why the Celtics are such a good playoff team."

Boston put that strong defensive play to work early in Game 5, limiting Atlanta to just 15 points on 6-for-21 shooting (28.6 percent) in the first quarter.

And while the C's didn't exactly shoot the lights out - they connected on 42.9 percent of their shots - Boston still had a 21-15 lead at the end of the quarter. The Hawks were better in the second quarter, connecting on 9 of its 21 shots from the field. But it still wasn't enough to take the lead, with the half ending in a 40-all tie.