Last season, the Boston Celtics were among the best defensive teams in the league. Guess what: they still are. Outside of the fact that they are tops in the NBA with just 97.8 points allowed per game, the Celtics also have three players on top of the list of the league’s best marks in terms of defensive ratings, as noted here by sportscaster Sean Grande.
Your crazy-small-sample-size Celtics stat of the night…
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) October 27, 2018
It should be noted that the players on the list are averaging at least 20 minutes per game. Nevertheless, this clearly underlines how disciplined and deeply committed the Celtics are on providing the stoutest defense they can on an almost nightly basis.
Rozier leads the entire league with an 80.7 defensive rating, while Smart and Tatum have 85.9 and 89.4 clips, respectively. They are also the only players whose teams are surrendering fewer than 90 points per 100 possessions, thus far this season.
The fact that the three aforementioned players all play on the perimeter speaks volumes about how difficult opponents are finding to score outside of the paint. Celtics opponents have to bleed to make 3-pointers, as they are shooting just 29.6 percent from deep – the worst in the NBA. In addition, teams are knocking down just 41.5 percent of their shots opposite Boston’s defense, again the worst mark in the entire league.
There are plenty of reasons why the Celtics are among the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, and their defense is arguably the biggest of them all.