Doc Rivers believed Kevin Garnett was human, and last night’s 5-19 shooting (yuck) confirmed that suspicion. But Garnett’s shooting will likely return for next game, and the Celtics need not worry about their starting power forward. A more urgent matter illustrated by last night’s loss was Nenad Krstic’s interior defense, which still needs some work.
“He’s got to hold his ground a little bit,” said Doc Rivers.
Criticizing Krstic, after 20 points and nine rebounds, sounds harsh. But Rivers tells the story well. (WEEI)
Rivers would like Krstic to, in coach-speak, “Do his work early. You can see he allows a big to catch it deep and then he tried to defend. With his size, that’s just too late.”
On one occasion, Chris Kaman bullied through Krstic for a two-foot hook shot. On approximately fifteen hundred occasions, DeAndre Jordan worked loose for a dunk. The Celtics bottled up Blake Griffin, almost entirely, but Kaman and Jordan combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds. That said, Rivers believes Krstic’s mistakes are correctable. He’s capable of forcing big men into tougher shots, but — whether because he has never been taught to, or because he doesn’t have the proper defensive focus — does not always succeed in doing so.
Still, Krstic’s early days as a Celtic have elicited far more smiles than frowns. As Ray Allen noted yesterday, Krstic has fit in since day one. He already knows where to find his offense, and his polished skills have given Boston a new wrinkle.
“Krstic, he’s been fine,” said Rivers. “Listen, he’s been better than I knew.”