Time for Rob Williams and Daniel Theis to take control of the boards
The Celtics simply can not be pounded on the boards tonight against the Bucks, the top-ranked team in rebounds per game. Versus Phoenix, Boston lost the rebound battle, 56-37. With the current injury situation to Boston's big men, the pressure will be on Rob Williams and Daniel Theis to crash the boards.
Top-ranked Milwaukee averages 49.8 rebounds per game, while 10th-ranked Boston averages 46.1 per game. Both teams have 11 players grabbing three-or-more boards per contest, but the difference is that Giannis Antetokounmpo averages 12.9 RPG on his own. Nobody on Boston's roster comes even close to that.
The Time Lord could take some lessons from Bill Russell. The word is out that Rob is a shot blocker to be reckoned with - thus he does not need to go for every block. Merely the threat of him blocking a shot will alter many attempts. And that would put him in a better position to rebound on the defensive end. Russ altered more shots than he blocked, and the shots he did block usually stayed in play and not sent sailing into the stands.
Kyrie Irving has already stated that he likes playing with Williams, in large part because of the lob opportunities and the offensive rebounds that can be had. I consider Theis a classic rebounder. He is a natural. He needs to focus on that tonight.
And where was Terry Rozier's board work against the Suns. He only snagged one, as did Jaylen Brown and Semi Ojeleye. Three rebounds combined in 58 minutes of playing time. That needs to change tonight.
The Celtics season is now 36% history, and everyone should know their roles by now. But on a Friday night game against a top rival, roles be damned. Defensive rebounds shut down opponents' second chances and initiate fast breaks of your own. Offensive boards for second-chance points can be demoralizing to a foe. We need more of both for a win tonight.
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