Sunday, June 16, 2024

Defending house court docket: 10 takeaways from Celtics/Raptors


#1 16-0

Defending the house court docket has clearly turn into a spotlight this season. Even with a short-handed roster, the Celtics managed to increase their report at house to 16-0. It wasn’t simple, although. An enormous fourth-quarter run setup a nervy end for the Celtics. Nonetheless, as we’ve seen so many occasions this season, Boston stored their heads, stored plucking away possession after possession and have been in a position to squeak out a troublesome win.

Turning your property ground right into a fortress is the staple of a championship-level group. Making it so everybody who visits Boston is aware of that they’re dealing with an uphill battle towards one of the gifted rosters within the league, with a few of the most passionate followers and an unbeaten report staring down at them, can turn into extremely daunting.

#2 Kornet makes a distinction

Luke Kornet missed many of the West Coast street journey as a consequence of damage. Then, when he was cleared to play, his minutes have been being given to Neemias Queta. The identical factor occurred towards the Detroit Pistons, too. Nonetheless, with Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis out with damage, Kornet acquired his probability to shine.

20 factors and eight rebounds is a strong return. Particularly while you consider Kornet’s efficiency as a screener, defender, and rim protector, too. The very fact is, at this stage of Queta’s growth, Kornet is a extra useful large man. He doesn’t provide the power enhance you get from Queta, however he does offer you dependable minutes on either side of the ground. He’s additionally gifted as a roll man and regularly finds methods to affect the offensive finish together with his motion.

I actually preferred this short-roll motion from Kornet at the beginning of the third. He units a slip display for Jaylen Brown, will get the ball across the nail, waits for Scottie Barnes to assist off of Jrue Vacation, after which kicks the ball into the nook.

Kornet operates at a extra deliberate tempo than a few of his teammates, and at occasions, that may assist manipulate the opposing protection.

#3 The deep bench

We acquired to see a good quantity of the Celtics’ deeper bench rotation towards the Toronto Raptors. Svi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, Queta, and Oshae Brissett all acquired minutes. To start the season, my largest concern surrounding the deeper bench rotation was the shortage of offense. Positive, Brissett and Lamar Stevens are strong defenders. Sure, Svi can nail his jumpers, however lacks creation, and I wasn’t actually positive the place Queta would characteristic.

Nonetheless, each participant that checked into the sport for Boston made an affect. Svi had arguably the perfect play out of the deeper bench with this magnificence.

The way in which Svi offered the hand-off motion earlier than turning the nook was spectacular and created an thrilling end. He’s nonetheless unlikely to be a daily characteristic within the rotation, but understanding that scoring depth is on the bench is reassuring.

#4 The sharpshooters

Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard: Two key members of the first bench rotation and two reputable sharpshooters on the NBA stage. Each loved a great recreation in barely greater roles towards the Raptors. Hauser completed one level and one rebound away from a double-double whereas utilizing his scoring gravity as a weapon to get others open.

Pritchard’s velocity, penetration, and taking pictures left the Raptors with a problem on protection as a consequence of his skill to assault closeouts and create offense for others. Pritchard didn’t have the perfect taking pictures evening however discovered different methods to be efficient.

Take this play, for example. The Celtics run a weakside stagger actions with Hauser curling out of the nook. Because the protection locks in on the weakside motion, Pritchard drives the lane and forces the Raptors to separate their focus. As quickly as Toronto’s protection turns their backs on the weakside window-dressing, Kornet cuts to the rim and will get to complete the play.

Your entire offensive possession relies across the risk Hauser poses when curling off screens and the way Pritchard’s skill to “Nash” his dribble usually results in dependable kick-out passes to shooters on the perimeter.

Positive, Kornet is the one to complete the play. Nonetheless, it’s the specter of Boston’s two major shooters that created the confusion and generated the spacing that ended up with an open roll towards the bucket.

#5 Jaylen Brown, All-Star

Within the first half, because the Celtics pushed the tempo and took management of the sport, Jaylen Brown was on the forefront of the group’s offensive recreation plan. His function as a major scorer and slasher has helped elevate his recreation to new ranges. That is the perfect model of Brown we’ve ever seen. Issues cooled off within the second half, with Brown scoring seven factors over two quarters.

Nonetheless, with no Tatum, Porzingis, or Horford, Brown confirmed why he may very well be an All-Star choice once more this yr. He’s a reputable three-level scorer. He pressures defenses and assaults gaps, drives the seams, and is aware of how one can attain his spots.

His deal with has improved. He’s realized how one can fluctuate his velocity to create unpredictability, and his improved energy permits him to complete by way of contact persistently.

Right here’s a strong instance of how Brown’s physique management across the rim allowed him to safe the bucket and draw the foul. I’m an enormous fan of how Brown is enjoying in his new function and the way he can scale his offensive manufacturing relying on what’s wanted from him. Brown has additionally improved as a rebounder and his assists are coming throughout the circulate of how he approaches offense. Big developmental bounce from him this season.

Oh, and who can overlook this absolute hammer?

#6 Derrick White, additionally an All-Star

There actually can’t be an argument towards it at this level, proper? Derrick White is the last word connector. He does all the pieces and does it at a excessive stage. He ended the sport towards Toronto with 21 factors, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and a couple of blocks.

With such a flexible affect on the sport, I can’t assist however embody White in these takeaways. Each evening, he’s doing one thing new to impress or give the Celtics an edge. In opposition to the Raptors, he stepped up with an enormous bucket down the stretch, and as soon as once more, he excelled in his function and took on some further obligations.

#7 Gettin’ nerdy with it: Discovering counters

We’ve appeared on the want for implementing counters in different takeaways over the previous few weeks. Nonetheless, with three major rotation gamers out, the have to be higher organized in how one can assault a protection was clear.

I’ve already highlighted Svi’s function on this motion, however let’s take a look at the entire clip and the complete possession. It begins off with the Celtics going to a “21 reset” motion, which is a guard-guard handoff within the nook adopted by a kickout move to the massive man within the delay. From there, Kornet has choices to make a learn.

Hauser then units a slice display for Svi earlier than slicing to obtain the hand-off. Toronto cancels the motion by getting between Hauser and Kornet, so Hauser counters by persevering with his reduce and screening for the curling Pritchard.

From there, the ball pops round a bit in some hand-off actions earlier than getting Svi with the rock on the wing and permitting him to go faux a 3rd hand-off to create the house to drive.

The preliminary motion was purported to get Hauser the ball after his slice display. He doubtless would have pulled up whereas on the transfer. But, the Celtics remained fluid when the Raptors shut that motion down and stored working to seek out the perfect play potential.

#8 Gettin’ nerdy with it half 2: Flattening out the protection

I actually preferred Pritchard’s function on this motion. You’ll be able to see him directing his teammates alongside the baseline because the Celtics appeared to flatten Toronto’s protection as a result of taking pictures risk in every nook. With Hauser and Vacation making certain the nook spacing is nice and Queta within the dunker spot providing vertical spacing across the rim, Boston strains up in a 2-3 flat.

From there, Pritchard “ghosts” his again display, creating a transparent driving lane for Brown to assault. As he will get into the ache, Jakob Poeltl rotates over to guard the rim however can’t absolutely commit as a consequence of a possible dump-off move for Queta. Brown will get an easy-finger function.

Stable offense doesn’t all the time need to be a jigsaw puzzle with numerous items to suit into particular actions. Typically, it’s simpler to generate strong spacing and put the ball in the perfect participant’s palms.

#9 Hustlin’

Coming into this recreation, you knew the Celtics would want to win the hustle battles. Down three starters towards a Raptors group that has good dimension, size, and physicality, Boston must show they needed it extra. That’s precisely what they did.

The Celtics gained the deflections battle 13-11, generated extra display assists 13-6, and contested extra photographs 54-43.

It’s these gritty battles that may make a distinction all through a recreation. They’re not going to provide the lead, however they do set a tone. They guarantee everybody stays fired up and that nobody is taking possession off. They lead by instance.

This model of the Celtics is dedicated to profitable these little battles as a lot as they’re to getting up their threes or pressuring the rim. They seem to know the necessity for placing in full performances, and as a rule, they’ve succeeded. In fact, nobody will be excellent each recreation, however the effort is clearly there — because it was towards the Raptors on Friday.

#10 Some nice early protection

To wrap up at the moment’s takeaways, I needed to share two of my favourite defensive possessions. The primary one showcases some nice switching, ball strain, cross-matching, and passing lane strain, resulting in a late-clock jumper that clanks out.

The second is a possession that ends in a Hauser block and generates a transition alternative for Brown.

I loved each of those possessions and had a notice written right down to share them. Typically, I believe it’s enjoyable to have a look at how the Celtics are working defensively and the affect it may possibly have in permitting them to regulate their very own destiny on offense. Not a lot evaluation is required on both of those. Boston performed arduous and acquired rewarded for it.

A parting message

The Celtics are again in motion on Sunday. They face the San Antonio Spurs on the street and get their first style of Victor Wembanyama. I’m excited. For any of you who comply with the Inexperienced With Envy podcast, Will Weir and Greg Manekis will each be in attendance. If you’re on the recreation, make sure you say hello.

For me, although, effectively, this recreation is scheduled for 7 PM Japanese. That’s midnight the place I’m from. Which implies the Raptors recreation was my final recreation of 2023. That is my final 10 takeaways of 2023.

It’s been a enjoyable yr. I took my first journey to Boston and coated the Lakers/Celtics recreation as media. I took over these takeaways from the ever-inspirational Keith Smith. And I acquired a canine. Sure, he typically snores after I’m clipping movies (I believe I solved that difficulty, although – there’s a mute button!), however he’s been an incredible addition to the household and has helped me greater than I might ever clarify.

I’m not going to jot down out an inventory of excellent and dangerous that’s gone on. Everybody’s life is stuffed with twists and turns. What I’ll write, although, is a honest thanks. I’ve been with CelticsBlog since October 2019 — my first article was about Enes Kanter (now Enes Freedom.) I’ve all the time felt at house right here.

And I’ve all the time been grateful to Jeff for giving me a platform to jot down a few group that I like that can be learn by individuals who love the group, too. And to Invoice Sy and Keith Smith for his or her unbelievable assist. Nice, nice guys. And an incredible group of writers that continues to get higher and higher.

I hope you all have an incredible finish to 2023, and I can be again right here on January 1 with some takeaways from the upcoming recreation towards San Antonio.

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