No Shelter Here

       Pace     eFG   DReb   FTr  TOr
BOS    87.5    .480   76.3    21   19
SAC            .397   62.8    22   23

You won't find this in any box score, but the Kings were roughly -19 while Dustin Pedroia joined the broadcast table and +15 when Natalie Gulbis was on the mic. Free 3-Wil Gulbis!

I made a point to focus on the Boston defense during my viewing, and I think I figured part of it out.

  1. Kevin Garnett does not get beat. From what I could tell , KG got beat twice in the first half. One was Beno Udrih blowing baseline in semi-transition; Beno just abused Garnett there. Of course, it was a 30-year-old 7-footer guarding a 25-year-old 6'3 point guard on the perimeter... The other came on an impossibly vicious Ron Artest drive to the hoop from the top of the key, left side. I'm not prone to superlatives, I think, but Ron-Ron honestly looked like he vanished at the free throw line and reappeared a millisecond later under the rim. It was the most brilliant dribble-drive I've seen him execute all season, and maybe only second during his Kings tenure to that one ridiculous baseline move he put on Andrei Kirilenko in 2006. So KG got beat once on a mismatch and once on Artest's best move of the year. Every other possession? Either he filled gaps preventing ball movement or cuts, he dove out on pick-and-rolls, or he altered shots. He's an absolute nightmare.
  2. Boston's pick-and-roll defense is superb. There's not much to add on this. Rajon Rondo and all the bigs save Scot Pollard defended the pick-and-roll abnormally well. This is why 75% of Beno's shots came from the perimeter. This is why Brad Miller got to the rim on set plays zero times and had five turnovers. And the Celtics kept it up through the fourth quarter -- just a staunch, staunch defense there.
It's not as if the Kings got any easy shots in the third quarter (when they went on a 22-6 run). Boston's defense rebounding (very good usually) broke down a bit there, and John Salmons hit some tough shots. Beno had five assists in the quarter, but only one resulted from penetration as far as I remember. If you aren't hitting contested jumpers and you don't have an uberstrong post scorer, you aren't scoring much on the Celtics. If the Kings' hot three-ball shooting had stayed around, Sacramento might have been in the game. But all those made threes the past few games haven't been contested. A hand in the face makes quite a difference, no?

I should also note Ray Allen received more double-screens in the first quarter than Kevin Martin's gotten his entire career.

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