|Posted by shawn cassidy on March 2, 2013 at 2:45 AM|
With Avery Bradley sidelined by foul trouble for much of the second half, Rivers had no choice but to go with the seldom used zone defense. The Warriors responded by shooting 30.2 percent and mustering a mere 40 points on 53 shots after the intermission. Bradley set the tone early, and Curry never got a thing going.
"We almost had to [go zone], because we had Courtney [Lee] in foul trouble -- and Avery," said Rivers. "This morning, my thought was, 'How many times are they ever zoned?' I just thought that, they shoot the ball so well, I don't think they've been zoned that much and I think [assistant coach] Kevin [Eastman] looked it up; it was 70 minutes this year. So we just went with it and it worked. I mean, they missed some shots in it, but I thought the switching and the zone was really good for us."
The Celtics don't resort to zone defense usually. But Doc was covering all angles Friday night. He was ready for a hot Curry, and ready for foul trouble if that scenario played out, and it did.
"That's something that we've been working on," said Bradley. "Not only that, I think our communication -- we got a lot better as a team in the zone, and it showed tonight. We played great zone defense."
But you're not supposed to be able to disrupt a quality shooting team with a zone.
"That's why we did a great job talking," said Bradley. "We were switching; everybody was pointing and talking. That's why we were able to run the shooters off their shots tonight."
"[The zone] was a different look. Good shooting teams, you've got to be very, very talkative in the zone," said Garnett. "I was kind of leery of it, but it was a different look. I thought it was a great call on Doc's part. He and [assistant coach] Mike [Longabardi] made a great call and I thought it slowed them down and I thought they went to a more individual game. I thought that played into our favor. More importantly, we got stops when we had to get stops. We rebounded together and just came out with a win."
"I think it really bothered them," said Pierce. "They're a great one-on-one team that really thrives on taking you off the dribble, making an extra pass, shooting the 3-ball. ... I think it altered their offense a little bit once we got into the zone."
The Warriors were visibly frustrated when the Celtics started to play zone defense. If I'm not mistaken the Celtics have used it against the Heat. KG wasn't comfortable with the change up, but it worked, and the Celtics will use zone when they can.