ESPN's Zach Lowe admits Celtics maybe have ‘best defense I've ever seen'


The Boston Celtics defense has been showered with praise over the last few days, and it's well deserved.

Boston's defense, which led the NBA in defensive rating, opponents' 3-point percentage and opponents' 2-point percentage during the regular season, has been fantastic over the first two games of the first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Game 2 was a great example of the Celtics' defensive brilliance. They held Nets star Kevin Durant to 4-for-17 shooting and forced him to commit six turnovers. Boston also kept Nets star Kyrie Irving in check, limiting him to just 11 points after he scored 39 in the series opener.

The Celtics have a 2-0 series lead entering Saturday night's Game 3 in Brooklyn. It looks like this is going to be a fairly short series based on Boston's elite defense and the Nets' inability, at least so far, to make quality adjustments offensively. 

How good is this Celtics defense from a historical perspective?

ESPN's Zach Lowe gave a pretty interesting take Thursday afternoon on "NBA Today".

"For the last 45 games, 50 games, the Celtics have been maybe the best defense I've ever seen," Lowe admitted. "There are no weak spots to pick at. They switch everything. They don't make mistakes.

"When you give the Celtics two non-shooters away from the ball, which almost every Nets lineup has, whether it's Bruce Brown, Andre Drummond, Nic Claxton -- (the Celtics) help, they close space, they recover, they don't make mistakes. There's no place to go."

Lowe is not someone who often deals in hyperbole. He does meticulous research before writing his columns or appearing on television. So it's not like he just made this statement on a whim. 

He's also not the only notable basketball observer on a national level who's putting the Celtics' defense into a top tier historically.

ESPN's Michael Wilbon, during "PTI” on Thursday, compared the Celtics' defense to that of the famous "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The Celtics haven't played great offensively against the Nets in their Round 1 series. There's plenty of room for improvement on that end of the court. But they've been able to overcome these offensive inconsistencies with an incredible defense that is versatile, athletic, quick and long. It's been a nightmare for the Nets, and it's hard to envision that situation changing.

Note: Games 3-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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