It’s just a couple of weeks into the season, but the Celtics have the second-best offense in the NBA to this point, scoring 110.7 points per 100 possessions.
They also have the 29th ranked defense, giving up 110.2 per 100.
The defense was the reason the Celtics dropped a 123-107 game to the Nuggets in the Boston Garden Sunday. Denver is an underrated team, but Boston’s defense has been bad and after the game Isaiah Thomas owned it, as you can see in the video above courtesy CSNNE.com.
“We’re not as good as we thought we were. When we don’t come out with a sense of urgency, we’re not a good team, and that’s what happened tonight….
“At this point, we’re all talk (about a good defense). That’s all we’re doing. So until we put it together in a full 48-minute game and show what we can do at that end, we’re not gonna be a top defensive team.”
To be fair, injuries are a part of this. Al Horford has been out with a concussion, while Jae Crowder remains sidelined with a sprained ankle. Marcus Smart missed time with an ankle injury of his own, and Avery Bradley has been playing through shoulder pain.
But that doesn’t explain 29th. This team played much better defense last season (100.9 points allowed per 100 possessions), and the core of it is back this season. There is a lack of focus and effort, something we’ve rarely seen from Brad Stevens teams.
The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it, so at least Thomas and the Celtics have taken that step. Expect to see the defense improve over the coming weeks (especially as guys get healthy).