everyone expected the Miami Heat to make a change to their defense of Kevin Garnett, and that’s exactly what they did. Rather than a minor change in how they defend Garnett on pick-and-rolls — which could be coming — they made a fairly major change, inserting Joel Anthony as the starting center in place of Ronny Turiaf.
Anthony has already been logging more time, averaging 20 minutes in the first three games of the series. Turiaf has averaged 18-1/2 minutes per game, and has been replaced by Anthony for long stretches in the second half. Anthony is averaging 3 points and 3 rebounds and represents a more athletic defensive option than Turiaf, who is averaging 3 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Garnett will enjoy an even greater size advantage against Anthony, who is one inch shorter and five pounds lighter than Turiaf. the move was announced after Miami coach Erik Spoelstra’s typically brief pregame press conference.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t overreact to adjustments made by the opponent.
“For a staff we try to decipher what they feel worked in doing all the things they did, and try to take it from that,” Rivers said. “we just try to prepare for change, but you never should make a change first before they make a change. you almost have to play off of each other.”
Rivers also spoke about Paul Pierce, who is shooting just 34.5 percent during this series but is averaging 18.7 points while playing tough defense on LeBron James. Rivers said he thinks Pierce’s knee is improving, though most people don’t appreciated the speed at which Pierce plays.
“I don’t think he ever gets the credit that he probably deserves, because he’s not flashy,” Rivers said. “he doesn’t look like he can jump and he can. he doesn’t look quick, and he is. But he just kind of keeps going along and playing well.”
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