Rondo: More talk needed on defense


Rondo: More talk needed on defense

BOSTON -- Given that Kevin Garnett's intense screams can be heard around the TD Garden, it's hard to imagine his team would struggle with communication.

But early on in the season, the Celtics (2-3) are trying to improve their talk on the court, something they hope will lead to a better end result.

"Kevin does a great job of talking," said Rajon Rondo. "I think just follow the leader. It's not as hard as it seems, but it's a matter of some guys don't talk. For us to win, I think we need guys to come out of their comfort zone and do something they're not comfortable with."

The Celtics are a tight knit squad and have little problems speaking with one another. Prior to Friday's game, Rondo, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and rookies Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, and Kris Joseph talked with one another at length in the locker room.

Effectively doing so on the court is different, though. With so many new pieces this season, finding cohesion is a work in progress, especially while Doc Rivers is experimenting with various lineups resulting in numerous roles for the players. In order to click, the Celtics have to talk to each other to understand keys such as defensive responsibilities and tasks in each play.

"We're a defensive team that usually can score the basketball. Right now we have indecision," said Garnett. "At points we have lack of communication and all the other things that come with the NBA basketball game. You're going to make some mistakes. We tend to be a little tentative at times."

Both Garnett and Rondo believe the Celtics will improve their communication through practices. Those, of course, are often hard to come by in a demanding schedule. For now they will have to stay patient and focused while making in-game adjustments.

"We've just got to continue to believe," said Rondo. "We won't have as many practices as we would like, so right now we have to do it with our talk. And that's what we're not doing. When we're small, we've got to learn it's not a specific man. It's just to get the guy in the area, and it comes from communication."

Echoed Garnett, "Practice fixes a lot of indecision. I think we've still got some guys that don't really understand nor do they know our system. But through practice time and repetitions, we'll get those things. Right now just grind. Just the grind days right here."

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.


And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”