Improved ball motion continues towards Charlotte Hornets


Towards a depleted Charlotte Hornets group, the Celtics continued their resurgence. Boston completed the competition with 29 assists, making {that a} whole of 64 dimes within the final two video games.

For a group that’s struggled to seek out constant ball motion, the final 96 minutes of basketball has been a breath of recent air.

“Final two video games, transferring the ball’s been good. I feel we’re actually making an attempt to emphasise extra chopping, extra off-the ball cuts, extra motion. Within the final 4 weeks or so, we’ve had some rising pains alongside the way in which, however for essentially the most half it’s been fairly good offensively,” Stevens stated after 4 Celtics completed with 4 or extra assists.

By now, we’ve all heard (and mentioned) the Celtics’ over-reliance on the excessive pick-and-roll and isolation performs from the wing. But, prior to now couple of weeks, we’ve seen an increase in dribble-drive penetration and off-ball again cuts because the Celtics look to seek out their identification on the offensive finish of the ground.

“All of the chopping is designed to get threats on the rim. It’s simply one other solution to get threats on the rim. You possibly can drive the ball. You possibly can play off pick-and-rolls. Towards a group like this (Charlotte) that switches the whole lot, you could possibly seal often should you hit low and get a superb angle, nevertheless it’s exhausting to hit the paint off a roll. You’re doing extra off chopping. You’re doing extra off driving,” Stevens divulged when questioned on the group’s skill to create openings from their improved off-ball motion.

Curiously, the Celtics’ didn’t make the most of their inside presence to full impact towards the Hornets. As a substitute, they proceeded to pepper their opponents with kick outs for deep vary assaults. Within the third quarter, these onslaughts grew to become a bombardment of hellfire because the Celtics hit 61.5% of their three-point makes an attempt.

Right here’s an instance of Boston’s drive and kick sport. Kemba Walker begins by setting an inverted display (the place a guard screens for a wing or huge) for Jaylen Brown, who’s bringing the ball up court docket. Brown feeds Marcus Sensible on the sturdy facet nook. Sensible then drives baseline, forcing the Hornets protection to sink.

As Sensible arrives beneath the rim, Charlotte is targeted on Jayson Tatum within the weak-side nook, Robert Williams ghosting into the paint, and Jaylen Brown of the strong-side slot. Walker has re-located to his favored spot above the perimeter and is completely unchecked. Sensible makes the sensible learn, kicks out to Walker, permitting a straightforward three towards a scrambling protection.

Just a few weeks in the past, this play would have damaged down into a selection pick-and-roll, and featured quite a lot of isolation, which is one thing Stevens touched on post-game, too. “An excessive amount of pounding as we all know, isn’t profitable towards these finest groups as a result of they’re so versatile and athletic.”

The above play is a superb instance of Boston’s Miagyi-do strategy – side-to-side actions. Spraying the ball round on this method forces the protection to constantly scramble, basically bending the protection till you start to see cracks.

A swing cross, ball pretend, then drive-and-kick, all result in a straightforward three above the break.

Since Evan Fournier discovered his footing throughout the Celtics offense, the group has commonly appeared for him within the half court docket. Performs just like the one above present the Celtics discovering their newest weapon with sufficient time to make one thing occur – which on this case is an help to Jaylen Brown.

Robert Williams spoke about his position find his teammates of their scoring spots throughout his post-game interview. “I’m simply placing an emphasis on determining the place my teammates rating the ball. And now I have to determine that out for Evan.”

A good retort to the Celtics present offensive upswing can be that their successes have come towards a lowly Houston Rockets group, and a patched-up Hornets group lacking their two finest gamers and coming off a killer street stretch. That criticism is warranted to a sure extent. Nonetheless, we’ve seen Boston play all the way down to the competitors in latest weeks, and we’ve seen them depend on their isolation units towards non-contending groups, too.

With greater than twenty common season video games to go, the Celtics are wanting like they’re lastly figuring issues out and there’s motive for cautious optimism. “All the things we wish to do remains to be in entrance of us,” Stevens stated when discussing the groups probabilities of climbing the standings and constructing momentum heading into the playoffs.

Whereas neither the Rockets or Hornets video games had been excellent, the offensive execution resembles Celtics basketball once more. The group is pushing the tempo in transition, swinging passes, and utilizing their superior scoring expertise to power defensive collapses. And for these of you that need Boston to maintain up this model of play towards sterner opposition, you’re going to get your want on Tuesday with Philadelphia up subsequent.


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