Celtics Plan To "Outlast" Opponents This Season
WALTHAM, Mass. – We’ve all heard the old adage that the NBA season isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. That may be true, but the Boston Celtics are planning on turning each of their games into a race this season.
Boston believes that it has the necessary tools to out-sprint its opponents over the course of 48 minutes. The Celtics want to play non-stop, high-intensity basketball.
“We’re going to keep fresh bodies out there and kind of outlast people,” Brandon Bass stated. “Most teams around the league have a bunch of players playing [35 to 40] minutes a game. I think that if we can keep everybody at a reasonable amount of minutes, I think we can outlast teams.”
So does Brad Stevens. He believes that this Celtics team has enough talent across the board to keep players fresh, all while maintaining a high level of play.
“I think we need to utilize our depth,” Stevens said on Monday. “We have enough depth and it’s one of our strengths, and we need to use it as a strength.”
The second-year coach will use his team’s depth as a strength by dispersing minutes across the roster, a move his players support.
“I think we have more guys at multiple positions that we’re able to interchange and rotate, which makes the rotation a lot better so we can play at an up-tempo style and it doesn’t slow down the pace when you sub,” said veteran Gerald Wallace. “Our guys can come in and keep the same level of intensity that the starters have once [Stevens] subs.”
Wallace is referencing intensity at both ends of the court. Stevens has harped on playing with great pace on offense, but he’s also asking his players to bring it at the defensive end.
“We’re asking these guys to play at a pretty high octane defensively, especially the guys picking the ball up the length of the court,” Stevens said. “It’s more important to play hard and well and with great intensity than to tack on two or three more minutes.”
Stevens has already put his plan into action. None of Boston’s players have logged more than 33 minutes of action in a preseason game thus far. There have been only eight instances during the preseason in which an individual player surpassed the 30-minute mark. It doesn’t sound like that trend is going to change come the regular season.
“The rotation will be pretty similar to how it was the first three quarters (of Sunday’s game),” Stevens said.
Stevens utilized his team’s depth over the first three quarters of Sunday’s contest in Brooklyn. He did not give any of his players more than 26 minutes of playing time during those periods, instead opting to give six of his guys between 18-26 minutes of action.
What wound up happening? The Celtics erased a 17-point deficit and took an eight-point lead into the final quarter. End result: Celtics 95, Nets 90.
The victory was evidence of what Boston wants to do all season long: wear opponents down with high-intensity basketball while keeping its own guys fresh.
They want to turn games into a race – a race they hope will prove to be overwhelming for their opponents.