The Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers every playoff series has a defensive challenge come playoff time. This opening round series of the 2012 NBA playoffs will be no different. The Atlanta Hawks boast one of the most underrated scorers in the NBA in Joe Johnson. Johnson is much like Paul Pierce in regards that he can score in just about every way possible. The three point shot is no problem for Johnson. The midrange game is Johnson’s specialty. The man like Pierce is also very fluid in moving to get the switches on defense for the smaller man to shoot over or drive on. If Johnson is allowed to get hot, then he can steal this series for the Hawks.
The great news for Boston is Doc has built a career on shutting down or at least slowing down good offensive players. Doc has a lot of pieces to give Johnson a lot of different looks. Doc can use the tenacious Avery Bradley and have him pressure him for a spell. Guys like Mickael Pietrus (should he play) can use his length to get under his skin. Energy players like Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels can also be brought in to give Johnson a different look to figure out. Doc can also throw Paul Pierce on him to give him a different look. Pierce had great success against Kobe Bryant and does not do too bad against a larger LeBron James. Joe Johnson should not be a stretch for Pierce to cover. The other great piece is of course Kevin Garnett. KG is one of the best help defenders in the league. Johnson will not have easy baskets off pick and rolls or drives tot he baskets with KG manning the middle. Heck, even backup center Greg Stiemsma is a solid defender and shot blocker in the paint. The bottom line is he can make Johnson work for his offense and wear him down with this group of solid defenders.
The NBA playoffs are never easy. The Boston Celtics have a challenge in one Joe Johnson. The great news is Boston has the tools to get the job done on Johnson. I believe this means Doc and company will be moving on in round to round two. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!