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Red's Army

3 Ball, Corner Pocket

Jay April 30, 2010 Uncategorized 2 Comments

3 ball 

As the Celtics prepare to take on the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, there are plenty of aspects to focus on.  LeBron James, bruised ego (oops, I mean elbow) and all will clearly be the focal point of the Celtics' defensive schemes.  The man is not really a man, he's more of a cyborg.  It's a fairly safe bet that LeBron will put up his usual near triple-double numbers that he seems to do every night.  So what are the other possible offensive battle plans can the Celtic defense zone in on?

One of the more recent Celtic killers has been none other than Anderson Varejao.  For starters, it's imperative that the Celtics have a live body guarding him at all times.  If he has the ball man up on him.  If he's roaming around getting ready to fight his way inside for rebounds (offensive OR defensive) establish inside position first.  In fact, don't even play the ball when a shot goes up if he's checked into the game.  Just find him, and keep him away from the glass.  He's absolutely devastated the Celtics the past few seasons.  There is however one smaller, stealthier, almost ninja-esque aspect of the Cavs' offense that has burned the Celtics consistently.

During Doc Rivers' radio interview this morning on WEEI, he discussed how important it was for them to defend the three point line.  Delving into the defensive three-point formula a bit, one can notice that the Cavs are in love with the baseline three pointer.  It wouldn't even be an overstatement to suggest that it is Anthony Parker's sole reason for being on the Cavs.

Here's some data to ponder over before we watch the rematch from 2008 take place (BL3PTM = Baseline 3-Pointers Made | BL3PTA = Baseline 3-Pointers Attempted | O3PTM = Other 3-Pointers Made | O3PTA = Other 3-Pointers Attempted):

These are all 4 Celtics/Cavs matchups this season

Date of Game

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

10/27/2009

3

5

60

3

12

25

2/24/2010

6

7

85.7

4

11

36.4

3/14/2010

5

12

41.7

2

7

28.6

4/4/2010

4

6

66.7

2

10

20

Totals

18

30

60

11

40

27.5

Cavs breakdown of Game 1:

10/27/2009

Player

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

Mo Williams

0

1

0

0

1

0

Anthony Parker

2

3

66.7

0

0

N/A

LeBron James

1

1

100

3

8

37.5

Jamario Moon

0

0

N/A

0

1

0

Delonte West

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

Antawn Jamison

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Cavs breakdown of Game 2:

2/24/2010

Player

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

Mo Williams

4

5

80

0

2

0

Anthony Parker

1

1

100

0

1

0

LeBron James

0

0

N/A

3

6

50

Jamario Moon

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

Delonte West

1

1

100

0

1

0

Antawn Jamison

0

0

N/A

0

2

0

Cavs breakdown of Game 3:

3/14/2010

Player

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

Mo Williams

2

2

100

0

0

N/A

Anthony Parker

1

3

33.3

0

0

N/A

LeBron James

1

2

50

0

0

N/A

Jamario Moon

0

1

0

0

0

N/A

Delonte West

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

Antawn Jamison

1

4

25

0

3

0

Cavs breakdown of Game 4:

4/4/2010

Player

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

Mo Williams

2

2

100

1

1

100

Anthony Parker

2

2

100

0

0

N/A

LeBron James

0

2

0

0

7

0

Jamario Moon

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

Delonte West

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

Antawn Jamison

1

1

100

1

2

50

Compiled Breakdown Totals:

Totals

Player

BL3PTM

BL3PTA

BL3P%

O3PTM

O3PTA

O3PT%

Mo Williams

8

10

80

1

4

25

Anthony Parker

6

9

66.7

0

1

N/A

LeBron James

4

5

80

6

21

28.6

Jamario Moon

0

1

N/A

0

1

N/A

Delonte West

1

1

N/A

0

1

N/A

Antawn Jamison

2

5

40

1

7

14.3

Totals

21

31

67.7

8

35

22.9

Note: The first and last totals are slightly different due to omitted players as I keyed in on the main three-point threats.

Obviously the Cavs tend to attempt just as many threes from the perimeter as they do from the baselines.  But the key number to focus on is the percentage from each spot.  They own the 3-Ball from the corner pocket, especially against the Celtics.

This isn't really anything new if you've watched a fair amount of Celtic games.  The Celtics have been getting killed by the corner threes all season long.  Sometimes they focus too strong in the middle and simply fail to close out in the corner.  Other times they get screened out of the corner.  Either way, this might seem like a minuscule aspect to focus on, but those threes add up quickly, especially at a clip of 67.7%.  In fact, many times these threes have been used by the opponent as a run stopper, or dagger if you will.

For the season, the Celtics ranked tied for fourth (with Miami of all teams) at defensive 3PT%, holding teams to 34.2%.  The Cavs ranked 2nd in offensive 3PT% at a healthy 38.1%.  It would be a small change that could yield large results.

So if LeBron, Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison plan to emulate the roles of Fast Eddie Felson, Ga Young Kim and Minnesota Fats respectively, then Doc needs to take the initiative and block those corner pockets.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5826886970b twitter.com/KWAPT

    Fascinating Jay. You must’ve put alot of work into getting these numbers/stats. We’ve watched many a wide-open 3 from the corner kill us this past year. Will be very interesting to see how the C’s approach keeping tabs on Parker, Moon (who has been shooting the 3 very well this postseason) and ‘Bron, who is also shooting it at a good clip.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mrtripledouble10 MrTripleDouble10

    Jamey, many thanks as always my man. It did take some time to research, but like you and I have discussed many times during halftime at the Garden, it’s a set that every team in the league runs against the C’s.
    Cavs have just done it more often, and at a MUCH higher rate. It’s just another little thing that could make a huge difference.