Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Get the broom: 10 Takeaways from Celtics/Knicks


#1 Taking part in at a excessive stage

It’s at all times straightforward to say this after a win, however the Boston Celtics have begun taking their manufacturing to a brand new stage. With the All-Star break behind us, it is smart that Joe Mazzulla’s staff would start discovering a brand new gear. It’s anticipated. It’s required.

Discovering that gear in simply your second sport after the break, although? Nicely, that’s encouraging, to say the least. The Celtics manipulate groups. They put them in binds on either side of the ground. After which, they wait. They strike as quickly as they see the opposite staff’s heads begin to drop or really feel the momentum start to construct.

In opposition to the New York Knicks, that strike got here within the third quarter. The Celtics outscored the Knicks by 9 factors. They dished out 7 extra assists. And so they torched New York from the three-point line, going 9-of-13 from deep with six gamers scoring a minimum of one three-ball.

All through the published, there was a lot discuss surrounding Jayson Tatum’s endurance. He was incomes reward for the way he feels the sport and let’s it come to him. I agree. He must be receiving reward for that.

However I feel the whole Celtics roster is taking part in a cerebral model of basketball. We noticed it from the opening tip in opposition to New York, and we are going to most likely see it once more when Boston faces the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

#2 Jaylen Brown appeared unstoppable

Jaylen Brown’s first-quarter scoring has been a subject on these takeaways all season. When he’s aggressive from the leap, we see the very best model of him all through the sport. Heading into the All-Star break, Brown took his foot off the gasoline in these early exchanges, with Kristaps Porzingis choosing up the slack. Nonetheless, in opposition to the Knicks, he was again to his finest.

For me, that is when you realize Brown is cooking. It’s not the three-point pull-ups. It’s not the graceful finger rolls across the rim. It’s the mid-range fadeaway jumpers. That’s his go-to counter. That’s his “I’m feeling myself” transfer. And, when these photographs fall, the protection begins to query how finest to protect him, opening up his bodily drives to the rim, just like the one beneath.

His scoring outburst didn’t cease within the first quarter, although. Brown his 5 extra photographs within the second, three within the third, and one within the fourth. Solely three of his makes got here on the perimeter, which, given his inside scoring capacity and his function as a featured scorer, is simply advantageous.

I appreciated this play. Not due to the dunk however due to how easy Brown appeared along with his crossover and the way he angled Isaiah Hartenstein out of the possession. The dunk was only a good exclamation level on the end.

Outdoors of his scoring, Brown was additionally an element on the glass, grabbing eight boards, and he dished out three assists. But, I actually appreciated his general protection. He rotated effectively, jumped passing lanes and dealt with himself effectively on switches. It was a whole efficiency from Brown from begin to end. He gave the Celtics a dependable scoring possibility at any time when they appeared to strain the rim or assault the mid-range.

#3 Kristaps Porzingis is a nightmare matchup

Knicks followers know Porzingis all too effectively. They know what he can do. Nonetheless, this model of Porzingis is a model that Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and Washington Wizards followers hardly ever get to see. Why? As a result of he’s loving life with the Celtics. He’s taking part in as a 3rd possibility that may scale right into a secondary or major possibility, relying on what the sport’s calling for. His function is fluid, and that’s permitting him to have fluidity in his general efficiency.

That’s a 7-foot-2 large man hitting a Dirk Nowitski fadeaway through a one-dribble step-back within the mid-range. That’s Porizngis having enjoyable. That’s a type of photographs the place you ask your self, “How is anybody supposed to protect this?”

Throughout the sport, Porzingis scored two across the rim; he had one on the nail, one on the elbow, and three from deep. Scoring versatility is what makes Porzingis such a singular weapon, and it’s why he’s made the Celtics’ offense so unpredictable.

Then, on the opposite aspect of the ground, Porzingis offers you rim safety and measurement. He boasts good hip flexibility, so he can change instructions at tempo. He excels in drop however may also be dependable in guarding the perimeter. He contests photographs with out leaving his ft, making it simpler for him to get well when opponents drive a close-out.

All of these wrinkles in his sport have been on show on Saturday night time. And that’s earlier than we even start speaking about his passing out of the submit and the endurance he reveals when drawing two and searching for the cutter.

Taking part in the Knicks undoubtedly comes with somewhat further spice for Porzingis. But, he handles it effectively and performs inside the confines of Boston’s system. He’s a real X-Issue. I doubt this would be the final time I say that between now and the top of the season.

#4 Gettin’ Nerdy With It: “Chin Ricky”

There’s fairly a little bit of X’s and O’s terminology sprinkled into the remaining takeaways. Please be at liberty to take a look at the glossary should you’re keen on any of the issues we talk about in these takeaways.

The final time I noticed the Celtics run this motion was in opposition to the Knicks, and even then, it was through a slice display screen moderately than a “Chin motion.” It was their second assembly of the season, which occurred again on Nov. 14. Since then, I haven’t noticed it being run — which doesn’t imply it hasn’t — it simply means I haven’t famous it down.

However, I just like the motion rather a lot. It offers the Celtics optionality off the catch and might create scoring alternatives on a number of ranges of the ground.

To start with, right here is an annotated model of the play from that sport in November so we will have a superb really feel for the way “Ricky” works.

Now now we have that down; right here’s the way it appears to be like when coming through a “chin motion.”

Credit score to Bojan Bogdanovic; he defended the motion effectively and navigated Al Horford’s re-screen with a veteran’s poise. As such, among the benefits this form of play would create rapidly dissipated. Nonetheless, Tatum discovered a approach to make issues work. He put the ball on the ground, created area and drove the hole.

Tatum’s shot didn’t fall, however his willingness to assault and embrace contact allowed him to safe the foul name and get to the road.

#5 Horford performs his function

Generally, it’s straightforward to miss what Horford brings off the bench. He’s by no means been a “leap out of the display screen” performer. He performs his function. He does the little issues. And every so often, he has a flurry of possessions that will get the gang fired up.

In opposition to the Knicks, Horford had a typical Horford sport — quiet however efficient. He rebounded effectively. He managed the angles on protection. And his screening created the separation his teammates wanted, each across the perimeter and on the inside.

But, he additionally acquired himself some buckets. With out Mitchell Robinson, New York is working with a make-shift big-man rotation. That allowed Horford to remind everybody that he can nonetheless rating with ease, particularly out of the submit or when attacking the rim.

Right here, Boston goes with an empty-side pick-and-roll between Horford and Payton Pritchard. Horford mirrors Pritchard’s drive, will get a dominant place within the submit, and finishes the play after receiving a dump-off go after the protection has dedicated to Pritchard’s probing penetration.

This time, Horford faces up on Bogdanovic, drops his shoulder, creates a driving angle and finishes with a nifty reverse. He’s 36 years previous, keep in mind. But age doesn’t appear to be an element for Horford in the meanwhile, as he’s nonetheless a dependable member of the rotation on either side of the ground. The Knicks discovered that out the arduous means.

#6 Jrue Vacation’s swiss-army knife strategy

Jrue Vacation’s function is difficult to pinpoint. One minute, he appears to be like just like the defensive quarterback and designated defensive event-maker. The subsequent, he’s flattening threes in transition or recognizing up within the nook. Or, he’s orchestrating play within the half-court. That versatility is extremely robust to cope with.

How do you guard a participant whose function is persistently morphing all through a sport?

It might have been early within the sport, however this defensive motion was one in every of my favourite moments from Vacation. The Knicks go into one thing out of their “floppy” collection. Vacation is tasked with being the “chaser” on Jalen Brunson. He sticks along with his man, will get proper onto his hips because the DHO is about to happen, and pokes the ball free. Earlier than you realize it, the Knicks have seven seconds to get into a brand new set and rating. Nice protection.

Then, on offense, Vacation’s nook three is turning into a reliable weapon, particularly when he’s on the weakside and the protection over-commits to the motion in entrance of them.

Vacation ended the sport with six dimes to his title, too. He managed the tempo when working because the ball-handler. He saved the rock transferring when taking part in inside the system. And he wasn’t afraid to assault gaps as they introduced themselves. You possibly can’t understate how he’s helped elevate the Celtics this season, or on this occasion, all through their win over the Knicks.

#7 Gettin’ Nerdy With It Half 2: “Chin Break up”

This was an fascinating play. We all know the Celtics wish to run a bunch of various variations out of their “Chin Sequence.” Including within the principals from a cut up lower after the display screen to set off the chin motion is wise. It’s additionally easy: Brown chin cuts towards the submit, Vacation splits off across the perimeter and receives the DHO.

From there, Vacation assaults off the dribble and powers his approach to the rim for the lay-in.

#8 Derrick White, additionally a Swiss military knife

If we’re going to reward Vacation for his versatile function and efficiency, each for this season and in Saturday’s sport in opposition to the Knicks, now we have to do the identical for Derrick White. At occasions, it appears like the 2 are a package deal deal. They each scale their roles. If one has it occurring offense, the opposite turns into extra defensive minded, then, when obligatory, they swap.

White ended the sport with 13 factors, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and a couple of steals. He shot 3-of-5 from deep and 5-of-8 general. He defended. He rotated. He lower. He screened. And he performed his sport. There’s no hero ball with White. It’s simply straight-up hoopin’.

Right here’s an ideal instance of how White can affect an offense.

He begins off by “UCLA Chopping” from the perimeter. He then units a “Flex” display screen for Tatum on the strongside nook. As Tatum cuts and his defender follows with him, White pops out onto the perimeter. He receives the go from Vacation, along with his defender now guarding on the three-point line.

A display screen from Porzingis triggers an empty-side pick-and-roll motion. White rejects the screens, assaults the area from the empty aspect (which he helped clear with the Flex display screen) and will get a floater off to punish his defender, who’s taking part in too tightly on his hips.

White, like Vacation, brings variety to the Celtics. His presence is a relaxing issue. His protection and shot-contesting capacity remains to be underrated. He’s a core member of the rotation. At occasions, the Knicks struggled along with his motion and flexibility. It’s nice to observe.

#9 A stable shot weight loss program

The Celtics took 81 photographs in opposition to the Knicks. 35 of these photographs got here from three-point vary. The remaining got here from the mid-range and across the rim. For many who have been calling for somewhat extra steadiness in how the Celtics strategy offense, this sport is probably going what they have been speaking about.

In any case, the Celtics have been cooking from deep. Their photographs have been falling at an unimaginable price. But, they continued to strain the rim and punish any area within the mid-range. They attacked gaps, they punished area, they usually took the very best shot obtainable, no matter the place that was on the ground.

Boston Celtics shot chart vs. New York Knicks

Boston Celtics shot chart vs. New York Knicks
stats.nba.com

The analysis of Boston’s shot weight loss program is encouraging, particularly if they will stick with it transferring ahead.

#10 Defensive rebounding must be a spotlight

At occasions, it’s straightforward to see why the Celtics are the very best rebounding staff within the league. Then, you should have a sequence or a few sequences the place they’re giving up a flurry of boards on the identical possession. It occurs. You possibly can’t be good on a regular basis. Nonetheless, making a degree of controlling the glass has been a key a part of the Celtics’ success this season.

As such, it is smart that they proceed to double down when defending their rim and attempt to restrict these flurries as a lot as attainable. If they will try this, they’re going to be extremely robust to beat on a night-to-night foundation, which, let’s be sincere, they already are.

Trying forward

The Celtics are again in motion on Tuesday. They face the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid remains to be out with harm. However, Boston can’t take their foot off the gasoline. The most effective factor this staff can do is preserve stacking wins and constructing momentum. As at all times, I’m excited to see how the sport unfolds, and I’ll be right here on Wednesday morning with the takeaways.

Till then, take pleasure in your Sunday and have an important begin to the week!

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