Keeping it Simple: Re-Visitng the ‘2-3 Arc’ Play | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Keeping it Simple: Re-Visitng the ‘2-3 Arc’ Play

By now, most Celtics fans are well aware of Doc's plan to simplify the playbook during the playoffs.  In the first round sweep on the New York Knicks, this approach paid off.  When the Celtics had their lulls on the offensive end of the floor, it was usually attributed to poor execution of their basic sets.  Resorting to broken down isolations or hero ball, the C's would allow the Knicks to make their runs.

Clearly, the Celtics won't execute perfectly every time they keep things simple.  But more often than not, those sets tend to work out in their favor.  They might not score, but they usually get a good shot out of it at least.  One of their bread-and-butter plays this season has been what I've most likely mis-named the '2-3 Arc' play.

It typically is used only with the starters (with either Big Baby or Jermaine O'Neal as the center) and has several options off of the single set.  To freshen up a bit, check out my previous post from November, and you can see that they've been using it since opening night.

When the Knicks cut the Celtics' 23 point lead down to 4 during the fourth quarter of Game 4, they ran this play a few times, executing it to perfection on KG's pick-and-pop jumpers from the left wing.  Take a look at the video after the jump.

Breakdown: Rondo brings the ball up on the left wing with KG setting up on the left low block (they make up the '2').  Ray Allen, Jermaine O'Neal and Paul Pierce set up on the right wing, behind the 3 point arc (they make up the '3').  In this option (both options actually) KG sets the screen for Rondo who uses it to get to the basket and hopes to lure his man along with KG's with him.  He's successful at it, which allows KG to create enough space for Rondo to kick it out for the pick-and-pop jumper.

In this option, JO cuts to the hoop as a third option for Rondo (the second option is for Rondo to attempt a lay-up).  Other times (including a botched version in between these two plays), Rondo has passed it out to Pierce who either launches a three, or up-fakes his man, takes a step in and takes a jumper.  Along with my post from November, you can see how difficult it is to defend this set.


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  • I wonder where you got that Hero Ball term? haha my post over at ?

  • Not likely, sorry. I got it from watching Doc’s post game press conferences.

  • well i think you just confirmed that either A. Doc reads my writing or B. Great minds think a like.
    haha, either way, its a great term.

  • Yeah, Doc uses the term “Hero Ball” all the time.

  • Doc used “hero ball” all last year at least. We heard it in huddles whenever he was “wired” on national telecasts (particularly in the playoffs) and in pressers. The term has been a favorite of Doc’s all year since training camp. It’s not unique to Doc. I’ve heard several pro and college coaches use it the term in the last few years. Previously, the more preferred terms seemed to be: “Don’t try to be a hero,” “Don’t try to do it all by yourself.” “Play together.” ” Make the extra pass.” etc. It seems that Dic’s inspirational exhortations during the finals made an impression on more than just his players.