Improved ball motion continues towards Charlotte Hornets

Improved ball motion continues towards Charlotte Hornets

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

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

“Last two games, moving the ball’s been good. I think we’re really trying to emphasize more cutting, more off-the ball cuts, more movement. In the last four weeks or so, we’ve had some growing pains along the way, but for the most part it’s been pretty 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. Yet, previously 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 the cutting is designed to get threats at the rim. It’s just another way to get threats at the rim. You can drive the ball. You can play off pick-and-rolls. Against a team like this (Charlotte) that switches everything, you may be able to seal occasionally if you hit low and get a good angle, but it’s hard to hit the paint off a roll. You’re doing more off cutting. You’re doing more off driving,” Stevens divulged when questioned on the workforce’s potential to create openings from their improved off-ball motion.

Interestingly, the Celtics’ didn’t make the most of their inside presence to full impact towards the Hornets. Instead, they proceeded to pepper their opponents with kick outs for deep vary assaults. In 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.

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

As Smart arrives beneath the rim, Charlotte is concentrated 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. Smart makes the good learn, kicks out to Walker, permitting a straightforward three towards a scrambling protection.

A number of weeks in the past, this play would have damaged down into a selection pick-and-roll, and featured loads of isolation, which is one thing Stevens touched on post-game, too. “Too much pounding as we know, isn’t successful against these best teams because 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 persistently scramble, primarily 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 workforce has commonly appeared for him within the half court docket. Plays 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 to find his teammates of their scoring spots throughout his post-game interview. “I’m just putting an emphasis on figuring out where my teammates score the ball. And now I need to figure that out for Evan.”

A good retort to the Celtics present offensive upswing could be that their successes have come towards a lowly Houston Rockets workforce, and a patched-up Hornets workforce lacking their two greatest gamers and coming off a killer highway stretch. That criticism is warranted to a sure extent. However, we’ve seen Boston play right 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 purpose for cautious optimism. “Everything we want to do is still in front of us,” Stevens stated when discussing the groups possibilities of climbing the standings and constructing momentum heading into the playoffs.

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