Film School No Fun, But C’s Seek Focus
WALTHAM - Sometimes, it doesn't matter how you draw up a defense in practice, even if the play you're trying to defend is very familiar.
Doc Rivers spent a good portion of practice on Thursday showing the Celtics a pick and roll play that they failed to properly defend against the New Jersey Nets in Wednesday's game. It's a play the Celtics call "15-out". And they should know it when they see it. It's part of the Celtics' own playbook as well. Despite having about 20 edits of plays from the game he wanted to review, Rivers said he went over just a few key plays several times to make sure the team learned from its mistakes.
"It's frustrating, but it's frustrating for them too," said Rivers, who noted that like any other teacher, he can only show so much film before attention spans start to falter. "There's only a couple of plays that I just went over and over, I told Tony [Brown] to rewind, 'do it again, do it again.'"
How is it that a play the Celtics know so well from practice, shoot-arounds and even their own offense can be such a problem to defend on the floor in a game?
"[We went] over it in shoot-around. We run the same play ourselves, so we probably guard it every day," Pierce said. "You can have four guys on the same page, but if one of the other guys is on another page one time than it hurts the whole defense. It seemed like it was a different guy every time."
Pierce says that everyone understands the game plan, but executing it in a live game environment isn't always as easy as it was on the practice floor.
"I think it shows a lack of concentration for the full 48 minutes. The stuff that he showed us is stuff we went over, and it's about applying it to the game every single time. As soon as we do that, we'll be a consistent team," Pierce said. "It's good to see our mistakes, and hopefully we learn from it because a lot of things that we did last night as far as defense, are things we'll have to do tomorrow. Hopefully we can clean those things up."
When it comes to scouting opponents or reviewing your own mistakes, coaches will tell you that "the tape doesn't lie." And if you show them enough of it, the players will accept that as well.
"Today we actually watched how we messed it up on film," said center Kendrick Perkins. "If he points it out to you and you see it yourself, you really cant say anything but 'I messed up.' What can you say?"
More Free Throws
Despite hitting 81% of their free throws against the Nets Wednesday night, the Celtics concluded with a free throws drill at the end of practice, and the lower your free throw percentage was, the more you shot. 90% shooters (Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West) had to make 25 shots before leaving, and the scale went down to guys who are below 70%.
Perkins (33%), Rondo (60%) and Leon Powe (58%) all had to make 100 free throws before leaving the gym.
"This is my first time really struggling from the line. I don't know where this 33% stuff is coming from," said Perkins, who's never been an ace at the stripe, but he shot 61% last season and is just under 60% for his career.
Perkins, who tried to participate in practice but was sent off to the exercise bike by Rivers to protect his foot (plantar fasciitis), wants to practice but the team's medical staff is advising him otherwise.
"Perk wanted to go because he says he needs the practice. And he's right," said Rivers. "But I need him to play. So there's no way around it."