Utilizing The 3-Point Arc With Many Options | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Utilizing The 3-Point Arc With Many Options

The three-pointer in today's NBA game has evolved incredibly since its inception in 1980.  For a while it was used merely as a last resort option to get back into a game quickly.  Over time it's developed into a rally killing weapon using assassins like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.  The Houston Rockets built their two championship teams (1994, 1995) by surrounding hall of famer Hakeem Olajuwon with quality spot up shooters surrounding the arc.  Nowadays, teams like the Orlando Magic have reached the NBA Finals using it as their primary weapon of choice on offense.  The Celtics will take a three no doubt, but they have been running some interesting options off of one set, utilizing the 3-point arc.

I have no idea what the official name of the offensive set is called, so I'll call it the "2-3 Arc" play.  So far they've only had Rajon Rondo run the set and essentially it involves Rondo and 1 other player isolated on 1 side of the court, while the other three players line up behind the 3-point arc on the opposite side, all adjacent to each other.  Sounds a bit complex I know, but luckily the videos below will provide visual examples of various options from this one set.

2-3 Arc: Option #1 (G1, Q4 10:00 vs Miami Heat) – In this option, Rondo and Big Baby line up on the left side of the court while Jermaine O'Neal, Paul Pierce and Nate Robinson set up behind the 3-point arc on the right side.  As Big Baby sets the screen for Rondo, he rolls to the hoop ready to receive a pass.  Pierce stays behind the 3-point line, JO cuts to the basket ready for a pass while Nate moves  the baseline ready to spot up.  Rondo opts for Pierce who gives the extra pass to Nate in the corner.  Nate misses the three but Big Baby gets the offensive rebound.

Option #2: Rondo basically demands to get it right and runs the exact same set on the same possession, this time just driving to the hoop for a lay-up.



2-3 Arc: Option #3 (G1, Q4 8:00 vs Miami Heat) – Rondo again sets up on the left side, this time with Kevin Garnett setting the screen for Rondo.  This time KG rolls to the hoop and Pierce comes over to set another screen for Rondo, Nate stays behind the arc ready to shoot and Big Baby cuts to the hoop.  For this option, Rondo lobs it to KG in the post who gets triple-teamed.  KG recognizes this and passes it to Big Baby for the lay-up.



2-3 Arc: Option #4 (G1, Q4 5:36 vs Miami Heat) – Rondo sets up on the left side again with KG setting the screen.  This is almost exactly the same as Option #1, except this time Ray Allen has taken Nate's place by moving to the baseline ready to spot-up.  Rondo opts to kick it to Pierce who drills the three.



2-3 Arc: Option #5 (G2, Q4 6:20 @ Cleveland Cavaliers) – Rondo brings the ball up the left side of the court as KG strolls up the middle to come and set the screen.  Ray, Big baby and Pierce all set up behind the opposite 3-point arc.  This is the same as Option #3, except this time Rondo goes directly to the cutting Big Baby who makes the driving lay-up.



2-3 Arc: Option #4 Redux (G2, Q4 4:52 @ Cleveland Cavaliers) – The same exact option that was run against Miami when Pierce knocked down the three, with one slight difference.  Pierce upfakes Jamario Moon, takes a step inside the arc and hits the mid-range jumper.


2-3 Arc: Option #6 (G5, Q4 6:00 vs Milwaukee Bucks) – The same 5 culprits are involved, all set up in the same spots, except reverse sides of the court.  In this option, Rondo elects to simply to blow by his man (Keyon Dooling) all the way to the hoop for two.


2-3 Arc: Option #7 (G6, Q1 8:26 @ Oklahoma City Thunder) – In this option, Rondo and KG are set up on the left side, with Pierce, Ray and JO on the right arc.  As KG sets the screen, Rondo opts to take the elbow jumper, and hits it.



2-3 Arc: Option #8 (G10, Q4 3:10 @ Memphis Grizzlies) – Rondo and KG are once again set up on the left, with Pierce, Ray and Big Baby behind the right arc.  As Rondo and KG execute a high give-and-go, Rondo heads to the hoop with the ball, drawing Zach Randolph as the helper to the trailing Mike Conley.  As Randolph is pulled from his defending position, Big Baby cuts to the hoop and Rondo finds him for the lay-up, avoiding OJ Mayo's block attempt.



So as you can see, these are several examples of how many options Rondo can utilize from one single set.  It's one of the many reasons that he has become one of the best point guards in the league by recognizing the defense and picking the best option to use.  The C's don't seem to run this set too often, but when they do they almost always get a basket out of it.

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  • james

    2 of the vids are set as private mate.
    great post though. cant believe i havent even noticed this set being run so much this year, seems like they did it about 20 times against the heat now!

  • Thanks for the heads up, they should be all set now.

  • ShawnCVD

    Great piece Mr Dub10! Your video posts have really enhanced the RA experience. Keep up the good work and thanks!

  • any one know who hit the first nba 3 pointer in the nba?

  • Chris Ford, of course

  • Gotta add to the Kudos for MrTrpleDouble10 on this. Amazing work

  • Jason

    I call this set Trips Right.

  • Amazing stuff MrTD10. I know you put alot of work into this stuff. Thanks.

  • KY Celts fan

    These clips prove two things.
    1) Rondo is a basketball genius. Or just plain genius. The guy could probably map the entire Human genome if he wanted.
    2) The Cs have so many offensive weapons that we have to be one of the hardest teams to guard. I think the only player who gets regular minutes who cannot be considered a threat would be Semih. Everyone elseust be accounted for.

  • nice

    just saved this post. damn! it’s a great set, for the perfect players.

  • Orb

    That is some fantastic work, thanks. I’ll be looking for that set tonight. I’m calling it the 2-3 Sideways.

  • All-
    Thanks to everyone for the kind words regarding my post. It’s all very much appreciated!

  • This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen not only on a Celtic site, but on the internet as a whole. I’m going to bookmark it for my own coaching purposes. Great job!

  • Dylan

    wow. amazing stuff. this is why I love RA.

  • Drucci

    Great analysis, very interesting! Thanks for the videos and the time you put in this article, I really love this kind of articles which explain some of the Celtics offensive sets.