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Stop right there: ☘️ Baynes, Smart, Rozier, Brown lead NBA’s still-#1 defense

Aron Baynes Marcus Smart Jaylen Brown Terry Rozier - top 10 NBA defenders - Celtics number one defense - photo credit: NBA.com

Despite what might be called a “defensive slump” in February, four Boston Celtics crowd the NBA’s list of top-10 defenders.

Aron Baynes slipped to number two among all players for the NBA’s top ranking, but trails behind Dejounte Murray of the Spurs by only 0.2 points. Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown continued to box their way into the Top 10.

And the team as a whole still tops the league by a full point over the Spurs and (still under-rated) Toronto Raptors.

Kyrie’s leadership

Kyrie Irving summed up the Celtic post-London bout with adversity well, and in a Celticesque way after another close-but-no-cigar game against the Houston Rockets. One reporter noted the team appears to be “right there” with the league’s best after down-to-the-wire losses to Golden State and Houston.

“Right there isn’t good enough,” Irving smiled. A very Celtics-esque answer for the team’s #BannersAreFlat leader.

(Irving, along with Al Horford and Jayson Tatum, rank among the NBA’s Top 30 individual defenders among players with a minimum of 1500 minutes.)

The good news is, you can always play good defense. It’s not just a make-or-miss league (Man, that cliche is awful.) It’s also a get-a-hand-up-or-not, get-a-steal-or-not, and get-the-loose-ball league. (See for example Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers‘s comments on Paul Pierce’s greatest play… a jump-loose-ball recovery against LeBron James.)

The offensive improvement of Smart and Rozier continues. The Boston Celtics bench (cc: Daniel Theis, Greg Monroe) is rising.

In short, the Celtics still have a shot at playing teams like the Rockets or Warriors again this year.

Yes, we said this year. This young team isn’t there… yet. But it’s close.

Discussions, discussions

Comment below, or on twitter, the NBA boards at IGN, or the prestigious Boston Celtics page on Reddit or at “BestOfCeltics.”

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Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff is composed of fans, journalists, disbarred attorneys, people laid off by ESPN, and other disreputable types who spend too much time watching basketball -- and loving it. If you'd like to join our merry band, you can post a comment, tweet us at @Celts247, or email us (see the contact page.) The only requirement is that you bleed green.
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  1. Pingback: Smart flips, Chicago flops, Stevens quips, Bulls stomped - Celtics247

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