The Celtics only are six games into their 2022 NBA playoff run, but they’ve already made two all-world players look human on more than one occasion.
Kevin Durant largely looked like a shell of himself over the course of Boston’s first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets. Giannis Antetokounmpo was more effective than Durant in his last two games against the Celtics, but nothing came easy for the two-time NBA MVP at TD Garden.
Boston’s defense continues to impress NBA guard-turned-analyst JJ Redick, who raved about the group Wednesday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
“Giannis obviously struggles at times in this game, especially in the first half,” Redick said. “He struggled at times to score efficiently in Game 1. We witnessed four games of Kevin Durant struggling. I really believe this Boston Celtics defense is specifically built for the playoffs. They have size, strength, length. They switch things, they make it tough on you, they build a wall. It’s such a luxury to have great individual defenders and be able to game plan and build a wall against players like Giannis.”
How good is the Celtics’ team defense? Well, the second-seeded C’s were able to beat the reigning league champions by 23 points on Tuesday without the Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart. That should frighten the remaining teams in the playoff field.
Boston will try to build off its Game 2 win and take a lead in the best-of-seven set against Milwaukee on Saturday when the Eastern Conference powerhouses meet for Game 3.