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Brad Stevens inserting Semi Ojeleye into the starting lineup starting in Game 5 was truly a game-changer. His main purpose out there was to guard the Bucks phenomenon, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and to slow him down. In the regular season Semi showed us that he could do just that quite effectively.

On defense, Ojeleye takes a super-wide stance and moves his feet like Kyrie Irving dribbles the ball. His feet move like dual jackhammers and he almost always stays in front of his man. At 6'7" he certainly has the size to guard various positions, and once you add in his chiseled frame and strength, he has the tools to guard the almost-unguardable, super-athletic Greek Freak.

To see Semi's effectiveness, you can't look at simple stats or the game as a whole. You have to isolate the Giannis/Semi duo on the floor and watch the action. Ojeleye played 29 minutes in the Celtics 112-96 victory and scored five points on 2-of-4 on field goals and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc while adding five rebounds. The lone 3-pointer and the five rebounds show me he is getting more comfortable out on the floor with his starting status and increased minutes.


Giannis played 41 minutes last night and scored 22 points on 41% shooting. He was only 1-of-4 on three-pointers. The important statistics are the game and series wins. Boston takes on the Philadelphia 76'ers on Monday night, and the team may even be more short-handed with Jaylen Brown dealing with a strained hamstring. The key player for Philly is 6'10" Ben Simmons, and it will be interesting to see which Celtic will be given the task of covering him. Simmons may be The Ox's next assignment.




Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Tony Dejak/AP Photo


Tom Lane 4/29/2018 06:39:00 AM Edit
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