|Posted by shawn cassidy on January 15, 2013 at 4:10 PM|
Things are going well for Boston, and it's even better when the team can get some quality practices in. Even if the C's are winning, they have much work to do, and especially continued focus on pick-and-roll defense.
Boston was set for its fourth practice in the last eight days on Tuesday, and Rivers said the C's have been working on sets and tendencies on both ends of the floor, with an emphasis still on pick-and-roll defense because of how prevalent it is in the league.
"With this rhythm, it's really a nice rhythm to have. Every other day you're practicing," Rivers said before Tuesday's session. "We usually pick one or two things -- one defensive thing, one offensive thing. The other day we did nothing on offense, it was an entire defensive practice. [Tuesday] we'll do one and one. So, every day is pick-and-roll, that can never stop because every team runs them."
While the Celtics battled their fair share of ups and downs on the defensive end over the first 30 games of the season, Rivers acknowledged that he's seen team-wide growth in important areas over the last week-and-a-half.
"Our pulling in defensively, our group, that's the biggest change I think we've made, where we've improved. Instead of guys hugging up on their man, I think we've finally figured out to shrink the floor," Rivers said. "It's taken a lot of games to get there, but I think we're there."
The defensive is back, and the savior has been Bradley. It's hard to call him that still, but the numbers suggest something different. Bradley came back at the right time. Who knows how much longer the C's could have gone with another loss or two. The Celtics are poised to compete for the Atlantic crown, and the second seed, or at least they have a fighting chance again.
Wilcox available: Rivers said forward/center Chris Wilcox will be available for Wednesday's game against the New Orleans Hornets, but that the big man's preference is to still engage in a handful of practices before seeing live action. Rivers expected Wilcox -- who's recovering from a sprained ulner collateral ligament in his right thumb -- to engage in more activity than he did during Sunday's practice.
"You know, [Wilcox] could have played [Monday], but we really didn't want him to," Rivers said. "[Head trainer Ed Lacerte] didn't want him to. And Chris just wants to have a couple more practices. So, he'll be available [Wednesday] for sure. Whether he plays or not, we'll see."
Great news, and now the Celtics can give teams a bigger look inside, and we have depth at the center position again. Stay healthy big guy.