Lawrence Frank met with the Houston Rockets for a second interview, according to Fox 26 Sports. The Celtics assistant coach is one of three finalists for the Rockets head coaching position, along with Dwane Casey and Kevin McHale. Oddly enough, all three have spent time coaching Kevin Garnett.
While Frank has earned his reputation as a defensive-minded coach who relates well with his players, looks like Doogie Howser and screams like a Banshee on the sidelines, I still wonder if the gap between Frank and Tom Thibodeau is wider than 5,000 Michael Sweetneys.
Keep in mind, opposing stars NEVER went off against Thibodeau’s defense. Thibs was harder to score on than Acie Green. My memory might serve me incorrectly, but I only time remember two times a superstar torched Thibodeau’s defense: when Lebron got out-dueled by Pierce, and when Wade became a superhero to single-handedly win Game 4 in last year’s first round. The Celtics almost always limited Kobe to bad shooting nights. Lebron, too. Wade scored a boatload of points last postseason, but it didn’t matter because his teammates stunk.
Then Kobe had 41 points against the Celtics earlier this season, Derrick Rose went berserk a couple times, and Lebron and Wade had their way with Boston in the playoffs. As a whole, Boston’s defense still performed admirably. But stars got off with ease, and they did it efficiently. That almost never used to happen against Thibodeau.
It may not be Frank’s fault. Boston’s stars were older this year, and it only makes sense that defensive rotations were a step or two slower. The Celtics also missed Kendrick Perkins in the middle and brought a few players off the bench (I won’t name names—*cough* Jeff Green *cough*) who weren’t accustomed to the defensive schemes. Plus, guarding Lebron and Wade in tandem is different than guarding them alone. Again, it’s not like Boston’s defense became horrendous overnight. The team could still get stops. But rather than making things uncomfortable for opposing stars, Boston’s defense let stars be themselves.
Meanwhile, Chicago just effectively made Lebron and Wade non-factors in Game 1 of the ECF (or at least as non-factor-ish as they can get). After that, one has to wonder how much impact Thibodeau and his gameplans had on limiting the opposition’s best players. Because Frank’s defense, though solid and mostly impressive, didn’t get the job done against the game’s brightest stars.