Last Wednesday night San Antonio went into Boston and pretty much did whatever they wanted against the Celtics, winning easily 112-100. They did it for a few reasons — Tim Duncan is moving like he is 25 again, for one — but in large part it was because the Spurs players stuck to their roles while Boston was less disciplined.
The tables flipped Friday night when the veteran Celtics went into Oklahoma City and beat the Thunder. Boston dictated the pace and controlled the flow of the game.
Kevin Garnett told the Boston Globe it all stems back to a talk coach Doc Rivers had with the team at shootaround.
Garnett said the key was the morning meeting, where Rivers reemphasized every player’s ’ role, and the cohesion was apparent.
“San Antonio left a bad taste in our mouth, I know we can play better than that. I told them I know we can play better than that,” Garnett said.
“Doc set us aside and broke us down as a team and I thought it was very helpful. It kind of clarified the air on guys’ responsibilities, their roles, and we came out and played like it.”
Those kind of undisciplined moments happen over the course of a season, it’s a smart coach that recognizes and corrects it early. The Boston players know what to do, it’s just a matter of getting them back in their groove.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.