The Problem With Starting Joel Anthony

Joel Anthony is starting at center for the Miami Heat in Game 4, and while the theory was to put a better defender on Kevin Garnett, things haven’t worked out on that front. There are a couple problems here.

For one, the Celtics aren’t posting up Garnett at all. All those lobs from the high post to Garnett around the rim? They aren’t a part of the Celtics’ early game plan. Instead, we’re seeing a lot of actions for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, with Garnett being used as a screener. Anthony traditionally shows hard on those plays, but he is over-pursuing now, and his teammates aren’t helping him by providing lazy help on the backside.

For another, Anthony’s presence frees Garnett to roam defensively. Ronny Turiaf is very limited, but he at least rolls hard and can find people with the pass. Anthony is completely limited offensively, resigned to only being a screener and offensive rebounder. That has allowed Garnett to help on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and roam to also cut off the drives of Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier after the ball is swung around.

This isn’t the only reason Miami is down 14-4 early, but it’s a big factor.

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