The new look Boston Celtics wrapped up their preseason with another dominant performance, beating the Charlotte Hornets 127-99 last night. The Celtics finished the preseason 4-1 and looked like a juggernaut throughout most of it. With Marcus Smart and Grant Williams departing, the new additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have been impressive and have fans excited for the regular season.
Now with the preseason officially wrapped, I wanted to give my 6 biggest takeaways from watching/listening and working the preseason.
My first takeaway from watching the Celtics in the preseason is their clear emphasis on getting back to their defensive ways of a few seasons ago. Led by Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis, the Celtics have the chance to be the best defensive team in the league. Joe Mazulla wants to get back the defensive mindset of the 2022 NBA finals Celtics team,
“Defense is what gets you in the door, defense is the admission ticket,” he said. “You just have to do it, you don’t really have a choice. That’s how I can get better as a coach. When something is obvious to me, I have a tendency to not emphasize it as much. Maybe because I sucked at offense, so I had to play defense, nobody had to remind me because I couldn’t do anything else.”
The Celtics should have no problem scoring with all their offensive firepower, but if they can get their defense back to the level it was a few years ago, they should walk to the Eastern Conference finals.