Posted by John Schuhmann
ORLANDO – There’s always lots of talk about adjustments during the course of a playoff series. But if you’ve followed the Celtics this postseason, you’ve noticed that Doc Rivers brushes most of that talk aside.
Rivers believes that if the Celtics just play the way they’ve always played and play well, they’ll be just fine. After a loss, it’s rarely about adjusting to what the other team is doing. It’s about just playing better.
And that’s how Rivers is looking at the Magic pick-and-roll that was a big key to Orlando’s Game 4 win on Monday.
“I thought our pick-and-roll defense was horrible in stretches,” Rivers said before shootaround this morning. “I didn’t think we supplied a lot of ball pressure.”
Rivers says he wants his team to “get into their bodies” more when the Magic run the pick-and-roll. And he’s clearly putting the onus on his guards to defend it better, noting that Dwight Howard’s five offensive rebounds and Orlando’s 17 second-chance points were mostly a result of the Celtics’ big men having to help too much on the ballhandler.
“That allowed Dwight to roam and get to the basket, because our bigs were too busy guarding Jameer [Nelson],” Rivers said. “Our guards have to guard him, and then our bigs can get back to Dwight. If we’re in help position again tonight as much as we were the other night, they’re going to score more points. We have to do a better job of staying in front of our own guys.”
But that’s not a strategy adjustment, because that’s how the Celtics defended in the first three games. Rivers acknowledged that Nelson was more aggressive in Game 4, but he isn’t ready to change the way his team defends the pick-and-roll.
“It’s not an adjustment, because we don’t know yet,” Rivers said, “because we never got in to them. Now if we get in to them and they’re still hurting us, then you have to make an adjustment.”
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.