Celtics Block Parties Appear To Be on the Rise
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics might be throwing a few more block parties this season.
Boston, which has won its first three exhibition games, has shown a heightened propensity for blocking shots throughout this preseason. It has already logged at least nine blocks during two of its three games, whereas last preseason it never logged more than seven. It has also already blocked 23 shots through three games, after blocking a total of 26 during four exhibition games a year ago.
Seven players - Robert Williams (five), Marcus Smart (three), Jayson Tatum (two), Jaylen Brown (two), Daniel Theis (two), Grant Williams (two) and Tacko Fall (two) - have blocked multiple shots through three games.
So what’s leading to this spike in swats? A combination of roster construction and defensive construction, according to the team.
“We’ve got some guys with some long arms: JT (Jayson Tatum), Gordon (Hayward), Rob (Williams), me,” Brown said Monday afternoon to Celtics.com. “The wingspan, length and height is incredible.”
Those traits carry on to other defenders as well, such as an All-Defensive guard Smart, a shot-blocking center Theis, a promising rookie Grant Williams, and others. All of these players have a strong grasp on where to be, when to be there, and what to do when they get there.
“These guys are really intelligent, really smart,” said newcomer Kemba Walker, who has been facing off against these tenacious defenders on a daily basis for two weeks now. “They’re showing their hands, and just knowing when to jump; they’re timing their jump really well.”
What makes these Celtics even more conducive to blocking shots is they’re showcasing these skills while executing the defensive principles they’ve been taught.
There is a certain approach Brad Stevens and his staff are teaching their players with regard to challenging shots. Teaching the players the right way to contest has been a “major talking point” this season, according to Stevens. He elaborated on that message Monday afternoon.
“We want to challenge everything without fouling, so that’s the key, and without taking yourself out of position, especially with our bigs,” said Stevens. “You have to be appropriate as the ball comes to you, or you’re on help-side, or you’re the next helper.”
In other words, be in the right spot, and then make the right decision. Walker said the coaching staff has been constantly reinforcing those rules through drill work. It’s paying off in the form of execution and clean blocked shots.
“That’s part of flying around,” said Theis. “We don’t want to give up on any plays.”
And they aren’t. Instead, these Celtics, with their incredible wingspans, size and intelligence, are giving maximum effort and are attacking opposing shots.
These Celtics are planning on throwing more block parties this season. This article serves as your formal invitation to join in on the fun.