Boston’s biggest disappointment? Defensive dropoff from last season

The Boston Celtics have started the 2022-23 season on fire, picking up  where they left off at the end of their 2021-22 campaign. Except they swapped an historic defense under now-suspended head coach Ime Udoka for an historic offense under interim head coach Joe Mazzulla.

As a result, there is not much to criticize this team about save for, perhaps, that defensive decline, a topic of focus for Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley as he highlights every team’s biggest letdown so far this season.

“When the Celtics hit their stride in late January last season, there was a stretch in which they held nine out of 12 opponents below 100 points,” writes Buckley. “By year’s end, they had catapulted themselves atop the Association’s defensive efficiency ranks.”

“This season, 12 of their first 13 opponents have all reached triple digits,” notes the B/R analyst.

“While two of those games went to overtime, the opposition had cleared 100 before the extra session tipped,” added Buckley. “Boston suddenly finds itself 22nd in defensive rating.”

“The absence of Robert Williams III, an All-Defense second-teamer last season, clearly hurts, but Boston didn’t figure to lose this much ground without him.”

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire