Celtics "switch-one-through-five" lineup has a future
No Kyrie Irving. No Marcus Smart. No problem. With two of Boston's playmaking guards out with injuries in the 103-73 win over the Knicks, Coach Brad Stevens was not deterred. He decided to go with a no-guard line-up for a portion of the first half, and it worked nicely. Celtics Assistant Coach Walter McCarty gave some analysis on the lineup in the video/tweet below, but his key point may have been that the best thing about the fivesome was that "defensively we can switch one-through-five".
We used a guard-free lineup during th first half?! Assistant coach Walter McCarty explains.
That first-half group consisted of Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye and Abdel Nader. Stevens went with a similar lineup in the third period, replacing Horford and Tatum with Aron Baynes and Jaylen Brown. We certainly will be seeing these lineups again against certain teams. The advantage on being able to switch on any opponent without a significant size-based liability cannot be overstated. It may serve well against the Warrior's Death Squad for portions of a game.
Current Celtics lineup: Morris, Brown Nader. Ojeleye, Baynes. Yup.
Also of note was that Boston went 11-deep in the win with six rookies playing a total of 112 minutes, scoring 36 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Brad Stevens his known for his X's and O's strategies, but he seems to also have a real grip on sending out the right lineups for specific situations. The video below shows the no-size-liability lineups in the first and third quarters.
Brad Stevens is an experimenter and innovator. He is not afraid to try something different. Last night's win against New York showed the experimentation, innovation and successful result. We will be seeing more of the same, and different, lineups in the future. Also expect any Celtics acquisitions to possibly include players with size combined with scoring and playmaking ability. They are out there, and we know who they are. As with Brad's innovative lineups, nothing is off the table for Danny Ainge and potential moves.
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Photo via Kelly Wilkinson/Indy Star
Video via XimoPierto