Its pretty funny seeing the Celts complaining about the refs considering one of the main types of player they employ is the big "guard". These are big strong players with a defensive reputation who are used to guarding taller players using their strength and lower center of gravity to frustrate . These are not the most athletic but are usually some of the most crafty players around because they have to be to be effective.
So lets talk about how some of their players and some of our own bend the rules to their advantage but first let me explain one thing that seems to frustrate a lot of fans usually on the losing side. Does it seem like Wes , G Williams , Horford , Tucker , Semi or Draymond get away with a lot of contact on defense , its because they do. Does it seem like Giannis , Lebron and to a slightly lesser degree Tatum (but still quite a bit) get away with plays that would be called offensive fouls for other players , its because they do. Does it seem like Smart gets charges that others wouldn’t , its because he does.
There is a thing in basketball called conditioning the refs and it starts from the moment you step your foot on the floor. The way a player plays has a rhythm so when he does something off rhythm it will be noticeable and will get called. If you go out there and play hard defense to the limit of fouling they will start expecting that contact and will start calling it less and less and will only call the most obvious as the game progresses .If a player doesn’t but suddenly creates that contact it will get called every time. Similarly Giannis conditions the refs to expect that he will create a lot of contact going to the basket, its pretty much impossible to do otherwise considering how he is defended. This more often than not results to a non call for either team (and believe me this is usually better for the defense).
With that out of the way lets talk about some of the most common tricks this type of defender employs .
First and foremost as a shorter player most times the taller guy rises to take a shot you will not be able to actually contest the ball. The only point where you actually go for the ball is when its low and the shooter starts bringing it up (legal) or you can keep your hand in place where his off wrist is coming up making it easy to dislodge the ball or throw the shot off rhythm (not so legal). If you are not able to make a play there the next point is to put your hand in front of the shooters eyes to break his line of sight to the basket (legal) or to aim for the wrist as he is shooting (not so legal) as even a small contact will throw the shot off (usually short). If you are close to the shooters body you will get away with this a lot.
The other main tool is to give a lot of contact and take it away when the offensive player expects to find resistance. Push back , grab and keep your ground and when the offensive player prepares and goes for a hard bump get out of the way throwing him of balance basically pulling the chair (legal) or flop without putting resistance as even if this not called an offensive foul he will trip on you and will have a turnover (not so legal).This very rarely this will get called as a defensive foul as it seems like the offensive player creates the contact. Its not that easy to throw mini tanks like Grant Williams or PJ Tucker to the ground if they didn’t want to.
If they start to screen to get you off your matchup you still have a not so legal trick up your sleeve to cause turnovers. When the screen happens you can use the contact to hide either a bump on the hip throwing them off balance or a hand at the crook of the elbow to dislodge the ball.
If they keep getting in front looking to seal you off you can throw the shot off balance by staying close and creating contact on the side as they are going to shoot (from the back this doesn’t work that well) and when they start expecting it and compensating you take it away . Jrue is masterful at this and it is why players seem to miss a lot when he is behind them.
By the way the refs are not the only ones conditioned by the players , go for the wrist a few times and the shooter will start griping the ball harder throwing his shot off even when you dont, give hard contact and then take it away and the ball handler will start to become more and more passive at pushing back allowing you take advantage , drive hard and don’t swerve and some of the defenders will start getting out of the way, fall easily trying to get a charge and the offensive player will start getting off balance to avoid you.
Going against this type of defender requires a lot of mental toughness to not get frustrated and to keep making smart decisions without letting them get in your head. If you get frustrated the defender wins , if you become passive the defender wins , if you start second guessing the defender wins. Giannis has gone through it and has improved a lot at picking his points , Tatum still struggles to stay in the right mindset and settle down.
The refs allowing players like Williams, Horford or Wes to get away with a lot of contact was expected , allowing Giannis to drive on defenders and allowing them to get away with a lot was expected. The thing that wasn’t expected were the ticky tacky fouls that kept sending Boston to the line from off ball situations. And for those fans on the Celtics side wanting the game to be called like an international game allow me to introduce you to the flopping rule, it’s a technical foul to flop meaning free throws and the ball so maybe rethink it.