The Celtics lost their season opener at MSG to the Knicks by just two points. The final play was a missed KG jumper as he was moving, which is not a typical shot for him. Still, they were able to execute a 27-point turnaround, coming from down 17 points to take a 10 point lead early in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony drilled a three to tie the game with roughly 3 minutes to go. From there, check out the videos below from the GreenLab to see what went right and what went wrong.
Play 1: 2-3 Arc Rondo to KG Jumper– This is a late game staple in the Celtics offense, especially against the Knicks. Last season they finished off the Knicks in Game 4 by running this exact play two consecutive times. Yesterday, this worked the first time as you'll see here. Basically, Rondo and KG form the "2" portion of the play by setting up what appears to be a standard screen/roll with Ray, Bass and Quis compiling the "3" portion behind the arc. As KG goes to screen Rondo's man (Toney Douglas) Rondo instead drives to the hoop, drawing both his man and KG's man (Tyson Chandler) to him. Rondo then tosses it over his head to KG who drills the jumper, with Melo trying to help out on KG.
Play 2: KG Missed Jumper – It looks like it will be the same setup as the previous play, but instead, Ray and KG pull the double-screen for Rondo. Rondo uses Ray's screen, and was hoping to get it back to him for a jumper. Douglas covers Ray, so KG re-screens for Rondo. This works out well as a second option, as it gives KG another jumper right in his wheelhouse, but he comes up just short.
Plays 3 and 4: 2-3 Arc KG Missed Jumper/Ray Missed 3 – Again, the C's go to the 2-3 Arc play, with the same setup as Play 1. This time, Rondo gets Douglas caught in a switch guarding KG. KG does his best to use his height advantage, backing him down, then missing on a pull-up jumper just as Chandler steps up to help. Not a bad shot to take here, given the mismatch. Following the miss, Rondo fights off Melo for the board, and the ball goes off of Melo. On the ensuing out of bounds play, Rondo is inbounding from just to the right of the hoop, on the baseline. KG sets a nice screen on Ray's man, Melo, and Ray takes an off-balanced three from the left baseline. It airballs and isn't even close. Tough to argue with this play, although Ray did rush the shot a little bit.
Play 5: 2-3 Arc Rondo to Quis Lay-up – Same setup as play 1, except this time Rondo goes to the right of the KG screen, so the middle of the lane instead of the left side. As he does this, Bass cuts to the hoop, hoping for a lay-up but New York snuffs it out. Rondo does get the mismatch again with Douglas guarding KG. As KG backs him down, Quis cuts to the hoop, KG kicks it back to Rondo who is at the top of the key. As Chandler switches back to KG, Douglas loses Quis, and Rondo finds him for the lay-up.
Play 6: 2 Man Blitz Screen – Using a staple from last year's playbook, Rondo sets up at the top of the 3-point arc, as KG and Bass both come up and set 2-man blitz screen for him. Rondo uses KG's screen and goes left to the lane. As he does this, Bass rolls to the hoop and is able to get a lay-up attempt, but Amare is there for the block. Ray does track down the loose ball, but also loses the ball. Again, a solid play here that NY just defended well.
Play 7: Quis Missed Baseline 3 – Setting up out of bounds, Quis passes it to Rondo who waits for Ray to come off a Floppy play. Ray is covered, but able to get by his man. As three Knicks defenders met him at the baseline, Quis sneaks to the opposite, weak baseline and is wide open for a three that is just short. Rondo again attacks the offensive glass and is able to secure another possession. Quis is able to hit that shot in pressure situations, but is typically not a 3-point threat. This is where Pierce would have been the option.
Play 8: KG's Missed Buzzer Beater – After the Knicks called timeout to get a glance at what the C's were running, they ran the same play anyway. Rondo inbounds the ball to KG, who fakes the hand-off back to Rondo. As Bill Walker and Chandler run into each other, it gives KG a few inches to step away and create a jumper off the dribble. Moving to the right/baseline, he fires and misses. KG is better at the pick-and-pop jumper or taking one dribble and a step in. He typically doesn't take many jumpers moving like that, but it was still a good look given the amount of time left.
The C's ran several solid options within the last three minutes in a close game, but simply failed to execute. New York gets some defensive credit, but clearly the Celtics got several good shots to knock down, but simply couldn't make them. Naturally, Pierce has killed the Knicks (and lots of other teams) in such situations and would have helped. But going with what they had, they did a solid job of running the plays.