Defending D Wade
|04.16.10 at 5:25 pm ET|
However, if they are going win four over the next two weeks they know they have to do a better job of defending Wade.
“We’ve won the games but he’s been way too successful,” Doc Rivers said. “If he’s that successful in this playoff series it’s going to be a tough series. It’s not that he’s scoring 33.7, it’s that he’s shot over 50 percent. It’s that he shot 32 free throws. He’d had low turnovers and he’s had high assists. Other than that, I don’t know what else you want him to do. If he does all that then it will be one tough series for us.”
This is nothing new for the Celtics. Their entire scheme against the Magic, for example, is predicated on matching up Kendrick Perkins on Dwight Howard without help. If he scores 50 points that’s fine with the Celtics, provided the other Magic players don’t go off on their own.
But Wade is a different task because everything revolves around him.
“It’s a tough matchup,” Rivers said. “If it was easy he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade. I think he’s a great offensive player, but what he’s really improved on is getting everyone else involved, as well. That’s the tough part. He’s a great ballhandling guard, he’s strong and he can pass.”
The Celtics said all the usual things about making Wade work harder for his shots, but it seems clear that they intend to devote a team-wide effort to try to neutralize him. That, and a healthy dose of Tony Allen.
“Try to contain him, just keep him off the foul line,” Tony Allen said. “If you can do that and have your help-side bigs and your help-side guards alert when he’s driving, I think it will be more of a team concept than one-on-one.”
Ray Allen is likely to start the game on Wade, and while it would be nice if he returned the favor and spent his time on the defensive end chasing Ray Allen around the numerous picks the Celtics set for him, that probably won’t be the case.
“If [Wade] guards [Rajon] Rondo, we probably anticipate that he will, then you still have to chase Rondo,” Rivers said. “Even though you use guys on Rondo so you can be the rover, that’s still work.”
Interestingly, Rondo will be matched up with Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers who are more perimeter-oriented and thus he can help try to wreak havoc with his weakside ball-hawking skills, provided he can also recover in time to disrupt the shooters. “I think Rondo is the key to this series,” Kendrick Perkins said.
There will also be an onus on the big men, who will be tasked with stepping into the driving lanes when Wade goes to the basket.
“You have to show team defense first,” Perkins said. “Obviously he’s going to make plays. You can’t worry about if he’s making tough shots, make him work and all that, but at the same time it’s all about your pride.”
However they defend him, they know it won’t be easy.
“He’s quick, he’s aggressive and he’s a big guard,” Tony Allen said. “Therefore, that makes him Dwyane Wade.”