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Breaking down every shot in Jason Terry’s hot streak

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) February 5, 2013 Celtics News, Jason Terry 27 Comments

Jason Terry hasn’t been shy about mentioning how much he loves the new spread offense the Celtics are running.  You can say that’s a shot at Rondo for how he had been playing or at Doc for the offense he’d installed… but the fact remains, Terry is thriving.

And in this wild week of “We’re better off without Rondo” vs. “We’re not better off without him,” Terry has been one of the poster boys for the anti-Rondo argument.

But why is Jason Terry on fire lately?  Why is he shooting 14 of 22, including 5-11 from 3, over the past 3 games?  The theory is he’s getting better touches in better spots.  So let’s take a look at every one of those 22 shots and see.

(Note: I’m not counting the Miami game as they had prepared for the game with Rondo, and got late word they’d be without him.  Besides, Terry shot 4-12 in that game including 1-7 from 3.  This is an analysis of the “new” offense, and Terry’s 3 game burst.)

Game 1:   January 30.  Celtics 99 – Kings 81.
Terry’s line:  12 pts, 5-7 fg (2-3 3pt).

Shot 1: 2:23, 1st quarter.  Made 15 footer from right baseline.

Avery Bradley is the ball handler.  He is pressured just over half court and he whips a high pass to Terry at the right wing.  His defender goes for the steal.  Terry takes one dribble to the right baseline and nails the jumper.

Shot 2:  :31, 1st quarter.  Missed 4-foot floater.

Terry starts the play off as the ball handler.  He gets a staggered double screen which he uses to get to the right elbow.  He swings a pass over to Brandon Bass at the left elbow.  Bass drops it to Wilcox on the block who gets it right back to Terry, now on the left wing.  Wilcox comes up to set a pick and Terry splits the defenders to get into the lane.  He puts up a floater that is challenged just outside of the semi-circle and misses.

Shot 3:  7:22, 2nd quarter.  Made 3 from top of the key

Terry is the ball handler and he plays pick and roll with Pierce at the top of the key.  The defender goes under the screen (why, on Terry, you go under the screen… I don’t know), and JET pulls up for 3 about 2 steps to the right of the top of the key.

Shot 4:  6:39, 2nd quarter.  Made 15 foot jumper

Pierce and Terry play pick and roll with Terry as the ball handler at the right wing.  Terry gets around the pick and swings a pass over Brandon Bass, who is to steps inside the three point line on the left wing.  Bass dribbles down to the post, drawing 2 defenders.  Terry runs up the left baseline and gets the catch-and-shoot jumper.

Shot 5:  4:46, 2nd quarter.  Made lay up

Paul Pierce hands off to Brandon Bass at the left elbow.  Bass finds Terry on the right wing.  Terry up-fakes Tyreke Evans, who goes for it.  He takes 2 dribbles and gets an uncontested lane to the hoop as no one rotates over.

Shot 6:  2:57, 3rd quarter.  Made corner 3

Jeff Green has the ball at the top of the key.  Leandro Barbosa comes off a screen on the left block from Jason Collins.  Barbosa gets the ball on the left wing, but Terry’s man is lost.   He goes to the corner, gets the pass from Barbosa for the catch-and-shoot corner 3.

Shot 7:  1o:55, 4th quarter.  Missed 3 from right wing

Barbosa sets up at the top of the key.  Terry uses a Garnett screen to get the ball at the right wing.  Jimmer Fredette catches up to him.  Terry up-fakes, takes one dribble right and takes a contested 3 and misses.

Verdict:  Terry has one play where he makes the shot as the primary ball handler in a pick-and-roll… which is what people have been noting is how he played in Dallas.  He had two catch-and-shoot makes, and one that was just an escape dribble off the catch… nothing that he hasn’t been taking all year long.  This game appears to be about 80% Terry making shots he’s gotten all year long, sprinkled in with a classic Terry pick-and-roll play.

Game 2: February 1.  Celtics 97-Magic 84.
Terry’s line: 12 pts, 4-8 fg (1-4 3pt), 3-3 ft.

Shot 1:  1:25, 1st quarter.  Made 3 from right sideline

Courtney Lee starts as the ball handler as the C’s walk it up the court.  Lee gets it to Green at the right wing who swings it over to Terry in front of the Celtics bench. Terry’s man is off him so he launches the 3 and makes it.  I should note, Terry literally walked from half-court to his spot, caught and shot the ball.

Shot 2:  :43.7, 1st quarter.  Made 20 footer from left wing

Terry inbounds the ball from the baseline and lobs a pass up to Chris Wilcox a step in from the 3 point line after he’d set a pick for Barbosa.  Barbosa loops around the left wing and uses a Terry screen on the baseline.   Wilcox dribbles down and hands off to Terry who uses the hand-off screen to bury the jumper.

Shot 3: 2:34, 3rd quarter.  Fast break lay up

Orlando botches a pick and roll as Gustavo Ayon can’t handle a low pass.  Pierce picks up the loose ball at the top of the key and gets it ahead to Terry who finishes the break with a lay up.

Shot 4:  8:10 4th quarter.  Missed 3 from top of the key

Terry rebounds an Orlando miss and pushes the ball up to Courtney Lee on the right side.  Lee’s path is block and he dribbles back out to the corner, but finds Terry wide open behind the arc.  When Terry shoots, the closest Orlando defender is at the free throw line, but he couldn’t connect from just right of the top of the key.

Shot 5:  6:41 4th quarter.  Missed three from top of the key

The Celtics were in a half court set.  Lee gets into trouble on the right wing and gives it up to Barbosa in the corner with 3.3 on the shot clock.  Barbosa drives and finds Terry just to the left of the top of the key with 1.6 on the clock.  There isn’t an Orlando defender in sight and he comfortably steps into a 3, but misses.

Shot 6:  4:35 4th quarter.  Made jumper from left sideline

The Celtics set up in the half court again with Lee as the ball handler just to the right of the top of the key.    They run a play where Terry sets a pick at the left block for Green.  Brandon Bass picks Terry’s man and Terry flares out to the sideline.  Lee skips a pass over to Terry who catches-and-shoots for 2.  It would have been a 3 but his toe was on the line.

Shot 7:  3:56 4th quarter.  Missed jumper from left elbow

Celtics jog it up and set up in the half court with Barbosa as the ball handler on the high right side. They get it to Lee at the top, while Terry starts at the left baseline.  He gets a staggered screen from Green and Bass and curls around to the left elbow for a catch-and-shoot that misses.

Shot 8:  2:28 4th quarter.  Missed 3 from left wing

Barbosa brings the ball up and Terry uses a double screen from Lee and Jason Collins to pop out to the left wing for a catch-and-shoot 3 attempt that misses.

Verdict:  There was nothing in this performance that would suggest anything about “being free” with the offense.  There was one fast-break opportunity that was caused by Orlando’s sloppiness.  His first shot of the game was one where the ball was literally walked up the floor (a major complaint lately), and almost all the others came off set plays.

Game 3: February 3.  Celtics 106-Clippers 104
Terry’s line: 13 pts, 5-7 fg (2-4 3pt) 1-1 FT.

Shot 1:  3:55 1st quarter. Made 3 from left wing

The Clippers turn the ball over and Brandon Bass leads the fast break.  Bass crosses the free throw line, turns and finds Terry all alone at the left wing for a 3.

Shot 2:  11:38 2nd quarter. Missed left corner 3

The play starts as a side out for the Celtics.  Terry runs the baseline and uses the Green screen to catch the ball at the left wing, but he gives it back up to Barbosa.  He runs pick and roll with Wilcox, and Wilcox gets the ball deep under the basket.  Terry’s man collapses, leaving Terry wide open in the left corner for a catch-and-shoot 3, which he misses.

Shot 3:  5:10 2nd quarter.  Made left elbow jumper

This was a jumbled mess of broken plays.  It started as a side out.  I’ll pick it up with KG on the left block after getting the feed from Terry with 13 on the clock.  He tries some moves and kicks it back to Terry with :11 left.  Terry fakes, dribbles in to the left elbow and gives it up to Bass at the right elbow.  Bass fakes, dribbles, and gives it back to Terry, now behind the 3 point line, with :07 left. Terry fakes, his man bites and flies past him, he takes 2 dribbles in and makes the J.

Shot 4:  3:31 2nd quarter.  Made left wing 3

KG tips out a Clippers miss, which Bass gets at the top of the key.  He turns and fires to Terry, who catches it just over half court, takes one dribble, and drills a transition 3 from the left wing.

Shot 5:  2:19 3rd quarter.  Made floater in the lane

Paul Pierce jogs the ball up the court after a Clippers make and gives it up to Terry to set a half court offense just over half court.  As Pierce comes up to set a screen, Terry beats his man left and gets to the middle of the lane very easily, where he makes a little 4-foot floater.

Shot 6:  1:10 4th quarter.  Made right elbow jumper

Pierce walks the ball up and dribbles the clock down to :10 and then makes a move.  KG sets a pick at the top of the key.  KG uses it, gets around Matt Barnes and into the paint.  He finds Terry at the left wing with :06 left on the shot clock.  Terry gets a pick from KG, dribbles over to the right elbow and makes a contested fadeaway jumper with a second on the shot clock.

Shot 7: :42 4th quarter.  Missed 3 from left sideline

Pierce brings the ball up after a Clippers make.  KG goes up to set the pick just past the jump circle, but Pierce doesn’t use it.  Instead, he beats his man left, draws the defense, and kicks it to Terry in front of the Clippers bench for a catch-and-shoot 3, which he misses.

Verdict:  This more of the “free” stuff Terry was talking about.  There are no set plays.  There were a couple of transition 3′s in there.  There were a couple of Pierce drive-and-kicks.

Overall Verdict:

You’re not going to win a case in court that life without Rondo is truly benefiting Jason Terry with this evidence.  Sure, you can build the circumstantial case over the past few games by trying to say A (Rondo’s injury) plus B (Terry’s play) equals C (IT’S ALL RONDO’S FAULT!).  And Terry is sitting there telling you how much better he feels about freely roaming around in a spread offense… but the Orlando game had none of that and the Sacramento game had almost none.  And we can have a nice, healthy debate on whether the Clippers would have turned the ball over as much as they did without Chris Paul if Rondo was in the line up.

To me, though, the key piece of evidence is the fact that in 22 shots since Terry got hot in the last 3 games, there was only one… ONE… pick-and-roll basket with him as the ball handler.  That’s what so many people have been saying he’s been able to do… that he’s been able to play more of “his” game.

But, looking at all of these shots, it’s hard to truly make that argument.  The simple fact is Terry is getting a lot of the same shots he’s been getting all season.  Let’s look at the simple facts.

The 5-7 shooting games are nothing new.  Those were his 3rd and 4th of the season.  And he had a couple of 6-8 shooting games too, which were his two best shooting nights of the season.  Rondo was on the floor for both of them (one of them was OKC, in which Rondo found him 4 times.  The other was Phoenix, in which Rondo found him twice).

Per Synergy Sports, 31.9% of Terry’s shots are spot-up.  19.6% come off screens.  18.7% are in transition. 11.9% are as the pick-and-roll ball handler.  Take a look at the breakdown of plays I just put up there… are there any wild variations in these numbers?

No.  Most of them are spot-up shots.  A few came off screens, a few came in transition.

He’s not getting more shots, either.  He’s averaging 8.4 shots per game this season.  In this burst, he’s taken 7, 8 and 7.  He’s had 19 games this season with more shots than that.

The only thing he’s getting is a few more minutes a game.  Literally.  He’s averaging 28 mpg this season and in the 4 games without Rondo, he’s got two 30+ minute games, a 28 minute game, and a 22 minute game. (Add them all up, and they average 28, by the way)

It’s not that I don’t believe Jason Terry when he says he feels like he’s playing some kind of free-wheeling basketball that feels better.  I’m betting he really thinks he is because he’s getting a couple of extra minutes.

But he’s getting the same shots.  They’re just falling right now.

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  • Danno

    I already knew the outcome of this article before you wrote it.

    What you’re not mentioning is the big pink elephant in the room. You need to read between the lines. Terry’s “sudden” ease and comfort level isn’t because they are playing a vastly different style of ball. As your breakdown pointed out – they aren’t. It’s simply because he’s not playing with Rondo. None of them are going to come out and directly say it, at least not until Rondo is gone through a trade – but they are a better team without him because lots of the guys just plain don’t like him. Or better yet – don’t like being on the floor with him. You can see it in their body language. You can hear it in their on court jabbering. You can feel it in the lackluster play they put out when Rondo was running the point.

    As much as you might think “It’s all Rondo’s fault” is a preposterous idea and can’t be true, it’s not less ridiculous than trying to claim that it’s simply a coincidence that all of a sudden whole team is playing much improved since Rondo is out. It’s not a coincidence. It’s a consequence. The Dynamic has changed, for the better.

    • Kendra

      I can also agree with this. I don’t think Rondo is like an asshole or anything, but I get the feeling he’s one of those guys that’s going to do what he wants to do regardless. Can rub you the wrong way.

      Yes. You can argue that these guys are pros and need to get over it, but they’re still human. Guys can be teammates. And it’s obvious Rondo doesn’t trust anyone other than KG and PP. Oh and maybe AB.

      You can make it about stats all you want, but I’m pretty sure it’s much more than that.

      • Stephanie

        Definitely think it was a trust issue for Rondo. Him and Doc mentioned “trust” a lot.

    • Stephanie

      There may be some truth to that, never know. I do know that winning covers up a lot of problems, but when they went on that losing streak you could see changes.

      I think with the new guards it was if they were too passive to make a play while Rondo was on the floor, and I don’t think Doc or Rondo trusted them enough to do it.

      • Kendra

        right. and people keep saying, oh we’re winning because they’re FORCED to play better. but how about Doc is FORCED to trust these new players now?

        I just really believe Doc was underutilizing. And RR is great, but I don’t think he left some things in the locker room. I’ve literally seen him look off Jet and Jeff before. If I notice it, they can, too.

        I don’t see why that’s not a factor in basketball. It always has to be just stats.

        • LA Flake

          Yup. How many times has Rondo refused to advance the ball to streaking Green, Lee or JET? Every single time. And it’s not just this year. Rondo’s been looking off Ray Allen for at least two years before he left. Why? Who the hell knows. But I do know this:

          John or Chuck once posted something here about how when Ray shot more than a dozen or so times per game, we won 9 out of 10 times. Or something close. Yet Ray was often our third or fourth option because Rondo inexplicably looked him off.

          The bottom line is Rondo’s been playing with a selfish agenda that was counterproductive to winning. Now that element is gone, we’re playing old Celtics basketball and most importantly winning again.

          • Stephanie

            I did notice that with Jeff the most.

  • http://Twitter Jacob Doolittle

    Well executed my friend. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

  • Stephanie

    Of all the players that people have talked about benefiting from Rondo being gone, Jet was the main one that I wasn’t buying. I could see AB and Lee benefiting, but not Jet.

    His normal shots are starting to fall. When Rondo was on the BENCH and Jet was out there with the 2nd unit he was still stinking it up earlier in Jan. That had nothing to do with Rondo.

    Besides, the 2nd unit (where he’s been majority of Jan) has been playing the same “free-style” offense the entire season, it’s just that the starting unit is playing it now. Nothing has changed for Jet, except that his shot is finally falling, and they’re trying to incorporate some PnR for him.

    Barbosa is the one benefiting the most, only because he’s now able to play more consistent mins instead of 2 mins one game then sit for the next 3.

  • Kendra

    i think you’re looking too much at the actual shot and not whats happening through the course of the game. he’s not really running those ray plays. he’s not really the ‘ray’ back up any more. he’s playing with OTHERS who are playing more freely, as is he. maybe it’s an attitude adjustment as well.

    i think some people really want to make it seem like Rondo’s absence isn’t making a difference. But there’s a clear difference in eye test and in locker room morale.

    Jet is working with the ball more. Being trusted more. Probably touches the ball every time down the court. I’d like to think that makes a large difference.

    • LA Flake

      I never believe what I see with my own eyes. I prefer to trust what others tell me to believe.

  • Deezy

    Not until I read this article did this point cross my mind, but perhaps teams are playing more relaxed off-ball defense since there isn’t a distributor like rondo on the floor? The threat of cross court and behind the back assists is gone. Maybe players are doing a bit more ball watching than they were before. Just a thought…

    Great article though John

    • Danno

      This is part of it too, and it makes sense, because Rondo isn’t out there trying to make crazy/flashy/stupid pass attempts. They’re just playing solid hoop, not risky highlight reel stuff.

      • LA Flake

        And our spacing is much, MUCH better because nobody’s sagging off anybody the way they were sagging off Rondo. Lee, AB, JET and LB aren’t great shooters but they’re Ray Allen-like compared to Rondo.

  • paul

    Listen, this is the same guy who was praising Rondo to the skies three months ago, and now he’s pretty much trying to hammer a dagger into Rondo’s back, or let’s just say he doesn’t mind if what he says makes Rondo look bad. You’d almost think that Terry, if he was a nice and fairminded kind of fella, might be a little bit apologetic about how badly he was playing earlier in the season, frequently being set up by Rondo for gimmes WHICH HE PROCEEDED TO BRICK AT A HIGH RATE. Nope. All Rondo’s fault.

    And here’s something no one has been pointing out: all these guys (Terry, Bass, Lee, Green) are pretty much saying that they couldn’t be themselves when Rondo was here. EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM SIGNED ON KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF PG RONDO IS.

    Shall I repeat that? They all knew exactly what they were getting into, and they couldn’t sing his praises loudly enough. now listen to them.

    You tell me that there isn’t some very weird back story to this team that we are getting no more than glimpses into. Remember too that these guys were brought in here partly to run with Rondo, or so we thought, but isn’t it funny that Wilcox ended up being really the only one who actually ran with Rondo?

    • Danno

      And Ray Allen, arguably one of the best 2-guards in the history of the game, and noted for being one of the best educated, most intelligent and conscientious players in NBA history, left Boston last season for much less money and a bench job, to go to play for a bitter Conference rival – all because of Rondo.

      How many coincidences do you guys need to see before you do the math?

  • KY Celts fan

    Aack! I am so sick of this conversation! It’s almost becoming as unbearable as the Perkins trade conversation. And it is seriously the only thing that get’s talked about anymore on this blog!

    I get why you and Chuck do it, John. I really do. This conversation generates a lot debate, which creates multiple page views, which creates revenue for you. Totally understandable, it’s good business. But you guys are starting to remind me of Skip Bayless or Piers Morgan or Bill O’Reilly, saying controversial things for the simple purpose of pissing people off and by virtue get more people talking about your site.

    Is there really no other topic than be brought up for conversation other than Rondo or no-Rondo?

    • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

      We don’t sit around and say “let’s milk this thing for more page views.” This is the topic that continues to be the topic of discussion throughout Boston. So we’re digging deeper to find the truth about things.

      I’m sick of hearing things too… but we also can’t gloss over this growing noise of “better off without Rondo.” So I looked at one thing to see if that was true. It’s what blogs do.

      Trust me… I don’t expect a 2200 word breakdown of 22 jumpers to be a big page view post

    • Chuck – Red’s Army

      If web traffic/ad revenue was our SOLE motivation for content, we’d be posting every single damn trade rumor – baseless or not.

      • LA Flake

        I prefer pictures of half-naked chicks. In case you guys wanted to know…

    • Danno

      Wow. You really think this is about page views? What a dick. I’ve never, EVER known John & Chuck to be the kind of bloggers to post junk just to get views.

      • Stephanie

        I don’t think so either. Nick may post some stuff, just for the “controversy” factor, but Chuck and John seem to post some solid stuff.

  • Stephanie

    Just to expand on the “Trust Factor”, I’ll leave Jet out of it because he just talks to much for me.

    Let’s look at the ATL game. That loss was just as much Doc’s fault as it was the starters. We watched the bench build a lead only to have it decimated by the starters. But did he sit any of them, NO. If I can recall Lee didn’t even play in the 3rd qtr and he was a main contributor to the lead. Had that been the bench that lost a lead like that, he would’ve sat them immediately.

    When we went in offensive lulls, you’d think he’d put our instant offense (Barbosa) in, but he wouldn’t until it was too late.

    The only reason these guys are getting any type of burn on the floor now is because Doc was FORCED to use them.

  • JimmyG

    In no way do I want this to happen, but if the Celtics go on a losing streak (as they’ve done several times this year), it will put an end to this discussion.

  • G4L

    I do not understand why ppl think Rondo is a Jerk in the locker room and his teamates dont like him? I mean what do you have to base that on… Ray Allen? He doesnt get along with one guy & thats it.

    KG doesnt talk to rookies or give them the time of day if they don’t listen to his instruction ONCE.. ONCE!! but yet he is looked upon as an awesome locker room guy(which I think he is by the way) & ppl would say its just tough love. Turn the table & say Rondo did the same thing he’d be the worlds biggest prick! My point is Rondo perceived as a prick and not a great teamate. But I hear other wise from KG, Pierce, Perk &Dooling maybe those are his buddies. But that argument has no merit.

    My point is Rondo rubs some ppl the wrong way & they will never like the guy. I’ll call them Haters! I mean What else is there to call them. You HATE a Super talented Allstar Point gaurd, who is a triple double machine, Plays Huge in big games and yet you dont like him cuz he rubs you the wrong way.

  • john

    A lot of half assed amatuer psychologists on here.I guess that`s what people without lives do; speculate about how people they don`t know feel about other people they don`t know.Fascinating analysis, shrinks.

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