Brown also realized how the playoffs shine light on all flaws. If a player has troubles from behind the arc, smart defenses forever force the ball in that direction. If a defender can’t slide his feet quickly enough, the greatest isolation players, like James, relentlessly hunt down switches. The very best teams highlight every weak link and punish every shortcoming.
“Defensively, teams are a lot more engaged in the playoffs,” Brown said. “You’ve gotta find other ways to score, hit tough shots. That’s where some of the best players emerge, and some of the players you thought were really good don’t really show up.
“You’ve gotta out-perform the scouting report. That’s really what it comes down to. Every team has scouts, every team has a report of what you did all year. Outplay it in the playoffs and you’ll be fine.”
“JT, fresh out of college this year — I was telling him, you’re kind of living the dream, coming out of college and being a contributor,” Morris said before yesterday’s practice. “One of the best contributors on the Boston Celtics is a dream.
“I told him just do what he do and continue to play, and definitely take it to another level because it’s going to be tough. Prepare mentally for it.”
“I’m not going to get into comparing,” Stevens said. “Jayson can be a really good player right away. We don’t win the Washington series last year without Jaylen, and he was really good in the Cleveland series. It’s amazing what young guys can do when they come into this league. Everybody will ask, ‘Are you ready for the playoffs, ready for this, ready for that?’ but they’re not playing baseball. They’ve been playing basketball their whole lives, and they’ve prepared for this all year. They will be ready.”
This is it. In a matter of hours we’re going to start finding out just how ready these guys are.
This section doesn’t require many additional words. We’ve heard them all. We’ve read everything there is to read on this.
Young guys will learn lessons. Guys expected to play limited roles are now being asked to be major contributors. Almost no one on this team is going out there in their originally envisioned role to start the season.
But in the end, it’s basketball. It’s a tough version of basketball, but it’s basketball nonetheless. The Celtics still have the personnel to beat Milwaukee. The Bucks have flaws that can be exploited.
Youth and inexperience are roadblocks for sure. We’re going to find out how big those roadblocks are soon.
Game one is almost here. It’s been a wild season, there’s no reason the playoffs will be any different.
“It’s something I think about a lot of the time,” Monroe said of his unsavory experience in Milwaukee. “I definitely won’t forget it going into this matchup. I definitely passed that part in my career. While I was there, I enjoyed playing there. The people in the city were great. My teammates were great. But that’s behind me now. But it’s the business. I’m just focused on now, especially on this matchup.”
“I’m looking forward to proving everybody wrong,” he said. “Everybody is counting us out and that’s the main thing. This [is] about respect and I feel we’re not getting any respect. We’re going to have to take it.”
“Personally, I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m not with all the antics and all the talking, and counting somebody out before the game starts,” Morris said. “I’m about getting on the court and playing. All that other chit chat is not relevant, because no one has played the game yet. I’m going out there continuing to be me, continuing to be a bulldog, continuing to help my team do whatever it takes to win.”
These are two guys who will have to perform their best for the Celtics to win this series.
Morris is going to have to carry the scoring load often with bench units. Monroe is going to have to beast in the post and draw fouls. They’re both going to get big minutes and they both have to make the most of them.
Chips on shoulders and perceived slights are great for narrowing focus to help people execute. They’re also great for making people lose focus in an effort to do too much. They heighten emotions to a point where a player can elevate his game… and to a point where it can hurt a player’s game.
So while it’s great for Morris and Monroe to have this added focus, they have to be careful to not overdo it or else they’ll become counterproductive.
The Celtics can’t have excessive missteps and hope to win. If Morris and Monroe use this motivation to elevate their games, then this is great. If they turn it into an overly singular focus, then we’ll see some problems.
Celtics in 6.
Giannis is good enough to win them a couple of games but the Bucks are just not good enough as a whole to beat even a depleted Celtics team.
One major key to this series, I believe, is turnovers. The Bucks are long and, while not a good overall defensive team, they can will deflect a lot of passes. The Bucks want Giannis out in transition, so if the Celtics are sloppy with their passes, the Bucks will have the advantage.
The other key is the Celtics half-court defense. Whether they are switching, icing, or falling into a zone, the Celtics defense will have to keep Antetokounmpo away from the rim as often as possible. If they can do that, then Milwaukee will have a tough time scoring.
The rest of the links:
NBCS Boston: If any rookie can handle playoff pressure, it’s Jayson Tatum | Celtics-Bucks preview: Injury-plagued C’s out to ‘prove everybody wrong’ | Monroe, Larkin are thrust into big spots with Celtics | The key to Brown’s growth with Celtics? He points to Stevens | Al Horford is Celtics’ answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo | “Anything is Possible” – The Story of the 2008 Celtics
MassLive: Boston Celtics news: Brad Stevens plans to shorten rotation in postseason | Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics will guard Giannis Antetokounmpo with Al Horford & ‘everybody on our team’
View the full post at Red's Army: Your Morning Dump... Where the playoffs, and their lessons, begin today