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Isn't it great to be 18-4? Isn't it wonderful to have a coach and coaching staff that is always coming up with new wrinkles and sets to keep the opposition consistently confused? It is so good to be a Celtics fan.

Anyway, I don't post on here nearly enough as I work at Dime Magazine directing their grassroots initiative, Chain Link Fundamentals, but I also create some content for the site. One of the segments I work on is called "Ballers Blue Print" where we simply breakdown key plays or sets in big moments of games and post them for our readers. I couldn't think of a better time to get this going on Celtics Life.

Last night in Philadelphia the Boston Celtics found themselves down one with 6.6 left on the clock. We have seen this situation many times in the past where the ball always seems to find it’s way into the hands of either Paul Pierce or Ray Allen for the chance to win the game. But last night both teams played small lineups for most of the game, as Shaquille O’Neal was not active last night for the Celtics. With the game on the line the Celtics had Nate Robinson, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett on the floor along with Pierce and Allen. The Sixers are very small with Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala.

1. With KG set to in bound the Celtics already have the floor spread with Ray Allen in the right corner who is being blanketed for obvious reasons, with Rondo towards the top and Robinson and Pierce on the left side. You can tell there is going to be some serious movement here as the entire middle of the court is open.

2. Rondo is allowed to catch the inbounds pass without much trouble which is the first bad sign for the Sixers. As the ball goes to Rondo, Pierce and Robinson exchange, which the Sixers play well and don’t switch.  Pierce and Garnett are now lining up ball screens on either side of Holliday for Rondo to use to attack.  Allen remains in the right corner occupying Meeks and Robinson stays left wing occupying Williams, which leaves the middle wide open.

Rondo chooses to use the Garnett screen to his right and the Sixers are forced to switch to keep Rondo from turning the corner. This now has Holliday on Garnett with no one remotely close enough to come help in the paint.

With Robinson, Allen and Pierce all around the three-point line all KG has to do is roll down the lane behind Holliday. This is an easy read for Rondo who throws a safe lob over the top to KG. Holliday is in a truly helpless situation as KG catches the ball with plenty of room to finish without anyone contesting him.

KG kisses the ball off the glass to put the Celtics ahead by one, as Philadelphia never had a chance to react. Thanks to three shooters spacing the floor, a terrific decision maker in Rondo and KG the Celtics execute another terrific set out of a time out in the clutch. This is a play they had been working on recently and last night it came up big on the road. 

The Coach 12/10/2010 02:11:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice way to break down 6.6 seconds!

    That was a great play. I was expecting either a Paul Pierce isolation or Ray running off some screen to get a 3 pointer for the win (like he did against the Bulls a few years ago).

    I KNOW im not the only one who thought the ball would be in Pierce or Allen's hands (Sixers thought that also!)

    Great decision making by Doc in the timeout. Perfect timing on that pass from Rondo - Great finish by KG - he had the game winning shot, and the game winning steal! ;)

  2. RoswellSounds says:

    Nice post, Coach. It was a lovely, precise execution that gave the C´s (and all of us!) an emotional win.

    I was insulting Phily´s D all night long. It seemed that they didn´t understand the fundamentals of switching, rotation, and on top of that, they moved slowly through the game. This doesn´t look like a pro team at all. Meeks covering Ray was the last example. Obviously, he needed to stay close to the best SG in the league, but not THAT close! Meeks gave all the space KG needed to sink that easy layup, instead of being ready to help (and maybe foul). Ergo, your team adds another L in the calendar.

    You can´t defend like that in the NBA. What the hell is Collins doing over there? Do they watch the videos after the game? Because if they do, they´ll see how pathetic their defense is...

  3. Three Toe says:

    Roswell, Meeks was covering Ray really close like that because he was in the corner. If you look at the second picture, you can see that nate, by comparison, was being guarded from further away. This is because he could have gone left or right, had he been given the ball, and they know he's not taking a 3 for the win. Ray could do this. So they stayed close to him and prevented him from being able to drive baseline, thus making his only play dribbling away from the basket.

    To me, Lou Williams probably had the only chance to stop this play, by sprinting towards the basket as soon as he saw KG roll, and basically trying to play cornerback. He's gotta recognize the mismatch in progress, understand that Robinson isn't taking the shot from where he's standing, realize that he'll still be between Robinson and the basket if his man gets the ball, and concentrate on disrupting the upcoming pass from KG. That is no easy assignment, by any stretch of the imagination, and also why Robinson is so far away from where the play develops.

    If Meeks comes to help after KG's roll, he's got less distance to cover, but there would have been enough time for KG to pass to Ray who would have had space to drive. Lose-lose for any team that's as short as the 76'ers.

    Ahem, great article!

  4. JR says:

    Been lovin' your Blueprints on Dime Coach. Thanks for bringing it here.

  5. tb727 says:

    Great stuff, I feel like this is Doug Collins breaking down the play on TNT but alas! He was their coach last night lol.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I remeber Ray shot a buzzer from the side against the 76ers one time

  7. JR says:

    I wonder if Doug Collins went home and broke it down to his wife. the play that is. lol.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @Anon.
    I remember that game! It was last year! Ray is so clutch!

  9. Jenda says:

    Ray totally needed to be covered like that. I mean this is his signature situation.
    Lovely article, keep 'em coming!

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