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Sports

November 2, 2009

C's defense is priceless

Quite frankly, this, what the Boston Celtics have done since opening night last Tuesday, is what professionals are supposed to do.

"Bring it" every night.

Of course, in the times of six-month schedules, playing on back-to-back nights and 10-day road trips, plausible excuses always get in the way.

The 3-pointers by Eddie House, Ray Allen and newbie Rasheed Wallace bring everyone, including the home crowd to their feet. The alley-oop dunks to from Rajon Rondo to Kevin Garnett are almost seamless. And Paul Pierce's fade away jumpers are still as smooth as the driven snow.

But what's happening on the other end of the floor, when the opposition has the ball, in this billion dollar industry, is priceless.

Save for Chris Paul's vintage run in the third quarter (6 for 6 from the field) and Peja Stojakovic's 25-foot range in the fourth quarter (3 for 5 on 3-pointers), the Celtics defense was stout.

Again.

The Celtics beat the Hornet 97-87 last night.

Four games in and the Celtics have allowed 81.3 points per game. Of the 16 quarters they've kept the opposition under 20 points in seven of them.

It hasn't really mattered who's playing either, be it the first unit, the second unit or some hybrid of the two.

"I've always prided myself on defense, but around here every guy has pride," said Celtics backup shooting guard Marquis Daniels. "You should see our practices. All 15 guys want to play defense. Guys are all over the floor on loose balls. Defense is fun around here."

Defense is fun?

Maybe for the 1985 Chicago Bears. But apparently not as much in the NBA.

"It's what I admire about the Celtics," said Hornets coach Byron Scott. "That talk on defense. They communicate. They are committed to playing defense, everyone in the organization. Until we do that, we're not going to be consistent. When you play like they do, you're not going to be up and down. You're going to be in every game."

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