Token Celtics defense nonexistent so far

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Token Celtics defense nonexistent so far

NEW ORLEANS The Boston Celtics don't look like the Boston Celtics we've come to know in recent years.

And it's not just because Wednesday's 97-78 loss at New Orleans keeps them winless this season.

The Celtics are a team that takes pride in their defense. But in their three games thus far this season, the Celtics defense has been defenseless against every team it has faced thus far.

Big men having their way around the basket. Guards getting to whatever spot on the floor they want to, when they want to. The Hornets gave the C's a little bit of both on Wednesday.Guards getting to whatever spot on the floor they want to, when they want to.

"We have to be better defensively," said Kevin Garnett. "We're a defensive team."

They have been in recent years. But this is a different season, a different Celtics team. And so far, it's one that can't defend anywhere close to the level Celtics Nation is used to.

One of the issues the Celtics have to come to grips with is that their defense, in a word, has sucked so far this season.

"Our team is talented enough," said backup guard Keyon Dooling. "We have to understand that our defense has been horrible for a team that hangs its hat on defense. We haven't been doing that. We have to embrace that and get better."

Just about any good defensive team has defenders who are good at disrupting the opposing team's ball-handler.

Although Rajon Rondo has been an all-NBA defensive team member, you wouldn't have known it by the way Jarrett Jack routinely beat him off the dribble in Wednesday night's loss to New Orleans.

Jack, playing in his first game of the season, had 21 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

"He killed us on pick and rolls," Rondo said.

Jack's dribble penetration seemed to open things up even more so for the New Orleans big men who were instrumental in the Hornets having a 46-24 advantage in points in the paint.

"Their guards beat us off the dribble most of the night," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "They lived in the paint. And in defense of the bigs, they were rotating. If they didn't get the block or the charge, their guy got the rebound so our crack-backs were terrible.We have to control the ball. We have to stop fouling. We had so many fouls in the first half; some of the silly reaching our guards did. It kept putting the bigs in a bad position."

The Celtics also have had their own set of issues offensively, which is only complicated by all the new faces still figuring out how to play well with and off, each other.

And when you throw in the fact that the C's are still considered a quality conquest if beaten, well it only stands to reason that they will be challenged by just about every opponent they face.

"Right now, we're getting everybody's best shot," Rondo said. "That's just part of the game; no excuses. We'll get it together, sooner than later."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.