WALTHAM, Mass. -- Since the Boston Celtics looked disinterested in generating defensive stops during Wednesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder -- one in which coach Brad Stevens suggested they looked like a "sieve" in the second half -- the team got an extended practice session focused on that very task on Thursday afternoon.
After watching film of their defensive miscues, players hinted that they spent most of the on-court practice going through drills aimed at emphasizing the defensive side of the ball. Jared Sullinger noted how Boston's starters were thrust on the court and needed to stop the bench squad three consecutive times in order to end their defensive turn.
"We’re just working on getting consecutive stops," said Sullinger.
That's been a problem early in the season. Yes, Boston has played some of the league's top offenses, but a Durant/Westbrook-less Thunder team was not one of them. And Boston made Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson look like All-Stars at times on Wednesday night.
Boston emerged from that loss tied for the 27th worst defensive rating in the league while allowing 108.6 points per 100 possessions. And even if he knows his defense hasn't been quite as bad as it seems, that's unacceptable to Stevens.
"I think we wanted to talk [Thursday] about some things that we were doing defensively, and not doing defensively," said Stevens. "We watched a lot of film of that. And we’ll see what the carryover looks like. But it clearly was a defensive-oriented film session and review session."
A couple more quick hits from practice:
• Not so Cavalier, this year: Stevens was asked about the new-look Cavaliers and their revamped lineup with LeBron James and Kevin Love. "They’re really good. My in-laws are from Cleveland and, for some reason, they decided to fly in this season," he quipped. "Shocker. I didn’t see them last year."
• Thornton back on the floor: Backup guard Marcus Thornton, who twisted his ankle in Tuesday's practice and sat out Wednesday's game, returned to practice Thursday and expects to play on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "[Practiced] from start to finish; should be good by [Friday]," said Thornton. Echoed Stevens: "He’s good. And he practiced and he was fine. That was a welcome sign. We could have used him [Wednesday] night."