Last night's game against the Atlanta Hawks felt more like a street brawl than it did a basketball game at times. It was ugly to watch for bout 3 1/2 quarters where both teams turned the ball over and couldn't score a basket even if it meant a free vacation for a week. It was gross, it was brutal and it got ugly. The Celtics seemed to bottom out when Jeff Teague went coast-to-coast and threw one down on Ray Allen. Then he gave him a stare down and got T'd up. From that point on, the C's gladly accepted Atlanta's bar-fight challenge and won both fights, much like they did when the LA Clippers attempted the same tactics.
There were two key out of bounds plays the seemed to trigger the run, one at the end of the third quarter and one at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Both were sneaky and deceptive in their own way, hence the naming of "The Decepticons."
Decepticon Play #1 – After Teague intentionally fouls Rondo (Hawks had a foul to give) to chop the clock down to just 1.2 seconds, it seemed like the only viable play would be some sort of lob at the basket. For some reason the officials allow Rondo to bark and direct traffic like a mad scientist for an extended period of time. He's essentially telling Atlanta that he's about to lob it to KG, and the Hawks all fall for the deception. Note that he also tells Ray to get closer to him as well and as he pump-fakes the lob with the passing motion as if he's tossing a lob, Josh Smith is tricked and attempts to help on KG to break up the play. In one passing motion, Rondo transforms from a lob motion to a quick toss to Ray for the buzzer beating three.
Decepticon Play #2 – Roughly one minute has gone by in the fourth quarter and the Celtics have a chance totake the lead. Paul Pierce, who has been in foul trouble all night is making the inbounds pass. He notices that Tracy McGrady is playing defense on him like that old security guard viewing monitors in an office lobby. KG sets a screen for Avery Bradley to get open up top and the Hawks think he's getting the ball to set up the offense. Instead, Pierce deceives them by lobbing to a streaking Pietrus who cuts by his man (the even older security guard, Jerry Stackhouse) and Air France flies all the way to the basket for the jam.
When you're old, slow and tired these are examples of the type of deceptive and sneaky ways you can win. These plays won't work every time, but the C's can be smart enough when to try them.