Lots of optimism on the board today, which is cool. Tough, tough day.
Here's my view - and my view only - from the film room:
The ONLY way the Celtics will extend their playoff run is by taking the level of defense played in the playoffs last year - and elevating it further.
This season ends in the second round, in my opinion, if the current level of on-again, off-again defense continues.
I'm talking every possession defense. Hand in the face on the three, switching the screens, boxing out, controlling the defensive glass defense - none of which has been happening with any degree of regularity.
I'm not talking Tony Allen locking a guy down on one possession, then leaping into the air at an upraised eyebrow on the next. I'm not talking about Kendrick Perkins and Baby Davis giving each other the "Oh, well" look when a guy slips behind them for a jam. I'm not talking about a foul a minute from Mikki Moore. I'm not talking about Leon Powe getting lost on a rotation.
I'm talking about Steph Marbury fighting through screens. I can't say I've ever seen that before now. I'm talking about the Captain refusing to concede any loose ball. I'm talking about Perkins sticking his butt in his man every time the ball goes on the glass.
No room for anything less. The margin of error was thin before. It is gone now. This team has to get serious about playing defense, and they have to get serious about it right now. No whining about fouls, no standing around on the glass, no fouls 40 feet from the hoop.
If this season is going to reach the ECF - which would be a tremendous achievement - the defense cannot rest. Not one possession.