Chris Bosh is likely to return from a lower-abdominal strain in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but Doc Rivers says the Boston Celtics won’t require any strategic adjustments if he does. (ESPN)
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made himself perfectly clear on this topic when asked how much Garnett’s coverage would change if and when the seven-time All-Star takes the floor.
“Not at all,” Rivers said at Tuesday’s shootaround. “We’re not going to change our defense. We’re going to play the same way.”
The biggest difference that Rivers foresees is Bosh’s length and ability to shoot over the top of the defense. The Celtics have been able to neutralize Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony somewhat because they’re no more than 6-foot-8 but they have to play center. And they can’t shoot it like Bosh can; according to Hoopdata.com, Bosh led the NBA in shooting percentage from 10-15 feet.
“His shot and his ability to make shots will help them,” Rivers said of Bosh. “The difference is that because he’s a 7-footer, we’re going to do the same rotations, but when you rotate out to a 7-footer and the defender is not another 7-footer, it’s not going to affect their shot. With Bosh he’s going to get the shot off.”
The Celtics aren’t going to change their defense? Ehh, we’ll see. Kevin Garnett has spent the series guarding Joel Anthony (couldn’t score if left to himself in a gym for two hours), Ronny Turiaf (ditto) and Udonis Haslem (whose once-reliable jump shot spent the 2011-12 season clamoring for a divorce). If Bosh plays, Garnett at least has to respect him. And if Garnett has to guard someone, that will limit the way Boston defends LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
I don’t expect the Celtics to change everything. Their defense will be focused on Miami’s two-headed monster regardless of Bosh’s health. But Bosh will at least require a little of Boston’s attention, even if his lower-abdominal strain hasn’t entirely healed. As Wade put it: