There is a timely post here on Basketball Prospectus of Boston's defense this year through the 14th of January. There is some really good content. For those not familiar with Basketball Prospectus it is a fairly new endeavor including Ken Pomeroy of kenpom.com,a college statistics maven for years. This one is by Kevin Pelton on the NBA side.
In light of tonight's game this reading illuminates the defense and its philosophy.
The article attributes the drastic change in Boston's defense first, not to KG (he is 2nd) but to the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as assistant coach. Tom was Jeff Van Gundy's long time lead assistant and a defensive guru. Here's a taste:The Celtics have led the league in Defensive Rating throughout the season. In fact, their performance has been nothing short of historic. Through Saturday, Boston had allowed 96.8 points per 100 possessions, a mark 10.9% better than the league average. If the Celtics keep it up, that would be the best mark since the NBA started tracking team turnovers in 1973-74, allowing us to rate defenses on a per-possession basis.
Year Team LADRtg*
2007-08 Boston 110.9
2003-04 San Antonio 109.3
1992-93 New York 108.5
1993-94 New York 108.5
2003-04 Detroit 108.2
*LADRtg is Defensive Rating adjusted for league average