From the GreenLab: The Backstabber | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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From the GreenLab: The Backstabber

One of the staple offensive sets that the Celtics run is called "Floppy."  We covered it quite extensively last season, but essentially the main play is to set a back screen (or two, or ten) on the baseline for Ray to curl or "flop" around and get open for a jumper.  But it also has several options on it as well, including a new wrinkle this season that I've named "The Backstabber."

Why did I name it this?  If you watch each example below, you can see that with each opponent, their defense gets "stabbed in the back" because they are expecting a Ray Allen curling jumper off a screen, instead a cutter (KG) sneaks through the backdoor and kills the defense.  Beautiful death of a defense expecting one thing and getting killed with another.  I present to you, "The Backstabber."

Backstabber Play 1: Rondo to KG vs Washington – Rondo brings the ball up the middle of the court, and Ray begins his floppy cut on the right side.  Stiemsma sets the first screen on Ray's man, Nick Young, and as Ray keeps cutting through, Young tries to shoot the gap on KG's second screen.  As he does this, KG cuts backdoor, backstabbing the defense with a dunk off of the pass from Rondo.


Backstabber Play 2: Rondo Catches McGee Sleeping on D – Same exact setup as the first play, except Ray is now cutting from the left side of the court.  This time, Rondo notices that McGee isn't even looking, and KG once again back-stabs the Wizards defense for the lay-up and the foul.


Backstabber Play 3: Dooling to Bass vs Detroit – One of the rare glances of Keyon Dooling running a set play comfortably (it will come with time).  Acting as Rondo, he waits for Ray to make his floppy cuts.  Ray starts in the middle, then cuts to the left wing as JO sets the first screen on his man, Rodney Stuckey.  Then, as Ray continues, Bass sets the second screen (sort of sets it anyway) and simultaneously cuts back door to stab the Detroit defense in the back and slam it home for two and a foul.


Backstabber Play 4: Out of Bounds Set Rondo to KG at Washington – Ray inbounds the ball to Rondo who sets up behind the arc on the left side.  As he does this, Pierce acts as the floppy cutter, and JO screens his man.  Instead of shooting, Pierce passes to the back-door cutting KG for the lay-up, once again backstabbing the Wizards defense.


Backstabber Play 5: Rondo to Stiemsma at Washington – Rondo is setting up in the middle again, and Pierce is acting as the floppy cutter.  The small wrinkle here is that instead of coming off the screen and looking for the pass, Pierce sets a screen for Rondo.  Rondo then drives down the middle, drawing the defense and allowing Steimsma to cut back door for an uncontested slam.  Wizards, backstabbed again.


Backstabber Fail vs Washington: This is essentially the same play as the first example, except it fails only because KG can't catch Rondo's pass.  Otherwise it would have worked just as well.


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  • Great break downs.
    Ray should get half an assist for opening these plays up for easy buckets.

  • aka east coast version of phil jackson’s triangle offense

  • Thanks for the great break down! Wish CSN had this level of analysis. Please keep it up!

  • Good breakdowns. But it’s not new, nor something exclusive to the Celtics. The “floppy” is known as a great screen and/or backdoor roll play. Its just another option. I’m sure you can find plenty of times where the Celtics have went with that option in the past in previous seasons. A good question is, why is the backdoor more open this year? I think teams are way overplaying Ray because he has killed him with that play for so many years. Also, the teams that left the backdoor so open have been pretty horrible defenses. Also, as Rondo grows he’ll start to see more and more smaller holes.