NBA: Celtics credit scrambling defense for overtime win in Utah
Excuse the Utah Jazz.
If it looked like they didn't know how to attack Boston's late-game defense, that's probably because the Celtics didn't know what they were doing, either.
Utah shot only 37.8 percent in the second half and missed eight of its final 10 shots in regulation as Boston scrambled its way to a 110-107 overtime victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
"We junked the game up," said coach Doc Rovers. "... We went zone. We started trapping all around the floor, and I just thought our trap was so bad it was good.
"We didn't know what we were doing, and they didn't know what we were doing. It created confusion, and it worked. But we had no clue what we were doing, and it literally caused confusion for both teams."
Against the Celtics' no-name defense, the Jazz had a difficult time punching the ball inside, where they hurt Boston during a 53-point first half. But Al Jefferson took only five shots in 21 minutes in the second half. Paul Millsap took six in 20 minutes.
"They were killing us at the beginning of the game in the post," said Rivers. "So we just said, 'We're going to deny every catch and pressure the ball and see how long it takes before it gets to the post.' And that really helped us because they ran so much clock off they didn't have time to post us."
Paul Pierce scored 20 points in the second half, including seven straight in overtime, when Boston wiped out a 101-99 deficit.
"He had an up-and-down game tonight," Rivers said. "He was struggling and all of a sudden he reached down. He's just a great player, and that's what great players do. He was exhausted, but he reached down and grabbed it from somewhere and made shots for us. We wouldn't have won without that."
Another star for Boston: guard Avery Bradley.
Playing in place of injured All-Star Rajon Rondo, he scored 10 of his 18 points in the opening six minutes and was the point-man on the Celtics' scrambling defense.
"He's had a great five games now," River said. "... At the start of the game, he gave us life with his scoring. Then I thought his defense was such a big factor. It took them so long to get into their set because of his pressure on the ball."