Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has a large challenge set before him. The New York Knicks are one of the best transition teams on offense in the NBA. Coach Mike DíAntoni has his team running and gunning led by Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton. The Knicks have run teams into the ground at times and it is a large reason that they have won eight straight games. However, Celtics fans should not be worried. The Boston Celtics have shown that they are the best this season at grounding high energy transition offenses.
Doc has done a great job getting the team ready to play the perfect game plan against teams like New York. Look at the teams that have been buried by Boston that love to run in transition. The Celtics have owned Miami this year by keeping them from running all over them. Guys like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade were frustrated at times by Bostonís suffocating defense. The young Hawks with Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford were beaten into submission early by Boston in Atlanta. The Bulls were also frustrated by Boston at times. The Celtics may give up points to these teams, but the transition offense is very tough to pull off against Boston. This results in Boston wins.
The plan is simple. Rajon Rondo controls the tempo. He makes sure Boston shoots a high percentage and that allows Boston to get into defensive position. There are no run and gun breaks for easy baskets against Boston. Rondo also limits the turnovers. This sets Boston up perfectly to be in position for transition defense. The defense has guys like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen sprinting back to cover and cut off any man looking for the easy score. The bottom line is rarely is Boston found to be lacking numbers defensively to cause an easy basket.
The execution of this defense will be crucial like it has all season. If Boston can handle the transition game of New York, they will win their eleventh game in a row. I like their chances as history has shown they are more than proven.