Celtics

A new defensive strategy for Kyrie, Jayson Tatum’s touches and more leftover Celtics-Warriors thoughts

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(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A mix of leftover thoughts and observations after the Celtics fell to the Warriors on Saturday night. 

1. A new way to hide Kyrie Irving on defense: There is no good place to put the All-Star defensively when the choices are Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, particularly when Irving is carrying a very heavy load on the offensive end. In response to this problem, Brad Stevens used an interesting wrinkle for much of the second half by putting Irving on Draymond Green in the halfcourt, while slotting Jayson Tatum on Thompson during crunch time. The decision worked fairly effectively down the stretch, as Tatum did an admirable job sticking with Thompson off of screens, despite losing him on a couple key possessions in transition. Irving likes to take gambles as a defender and he’s far better set up to do that against a non-shooter like Green or Andre Iguodala as opposed to Thompson or Curry, who has the potential to make him pay much more with their jumper after a poor contest or a late closeout. The Celtics used smart defenders on Iguodala/Green for most of the game and those guys did a nice job of providing support to teammates and sagging off those non-shooters. It’s one of the few ways that a defense can slow down this Warriors juggernaut and the C’s did it effectively for much of the night in the halfcourt, making the Warriors play in a crowd.

2. A surprising commitment to the offensive glass: