The Boston Celtics are in the middle of one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in NBA history. There are many things that you can attribute the turnaround to, but it would be hard to point out anything above their league-leading defense.
Boston led the NBA with a 106.2 team defensive rating in the regular season, and have backed that up by leading all remaining playoff teams with a 106.7 team rating this postseason. Some, including former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, would go as far as saying that those numbers are great.
“We’re witnessing a team that has defensive greatness written all over it.” Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Friday. “Championships are won on the defensive end, and right now what I’m witnessing from the Boston Celtics is a championship caliber defense.”
It’s hard to argue with Perkins, as 13 of the last 21 NBA champions have been among the five best teams in defensive rating in their championship year. That doesn’t bode well for the three teams remaining with Boston in the playoff field.
“Whether it’s the Miami Heat, the Golden State Warriors or the Dallas Mavericks, I don’t see any one of those teams being able to get their offense off against this stellar defense, and this clinic that this Boston Celtics team has displayed throughout these playoffs.” Perkins said.
Boston will look to prove Perkins right on Saturday when they return home to TD Garden to face the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.