Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I had drawn up another play and Armond Hill walked over and — he rarely does it — he said, ‘Hey, listen, the play you drew up from the first half worked, let’s run it again,’” explained Rivers. “And so I switched to the play he wanted me to run. And it was great, it worked out perfectly.”
Rivers had debated going with a straight pick-and-roll with Green and Garnett, hoping Green’s size and athleticism could force a mismatch. But, with Hill’s prodding, he elected to run Green off a back pick from Paul Pierce, who perfectly pinned David West, allowing Green to curl free to the rim after giving Garnett the ball at the left elbow.
* Garnett: “I saw Jeff Green open at the basket, and then I saw help come across the baseline. I thought I had a little bit extra on it, but he was open off the initial [move]. I just had to make sure he took the corner and I hit him with the pass. The first time I did it in the first quarter, I noticed, obviously Hibbert is a very long guy. … I noted to myself to wait until Jeff turned the corner and the guy’s hands go down. Second time, I just did that. I pump-faked and his hands went up, I saw his adjustment … and threw it right over the top of his hands to Jeff. Jeff made a tough, difficult layup for the game.”
* Green: “I had to come down with it first. The pass was high and I knew I had to come down, gather myself and go up strong. … I wanted the ball. But I had to be a great decoy and, like always, all the attention went to Paul and Kev. They doubled Kev on the pass and Kev made a great pass over the double-team. I went up, tried to go up strong and win it. … I’m really happy it went in. Great pass by Kev, great execution by us. It was a great draw-up by Doc.”
Props to Doc Rivers for drawing up that great play [video below] and for listening to the advice of assistant coach Armond Hill.
I would have bet my children’s college fund (which currently sits at $37) on a Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett pick-and-roll/pop set on the final possession. Because we had to suffer through a Pierce isolation/contested jumper twenty seconds earlier, I had no reason to believe we’d see anything different.
But Doc Rivers wanted the ball in Jeff Green’s hands. Green wasn’t the hot hand (11 points, 5-14 FG), but Doc trusted him one-on-one against David West or Roy Hibbert.
Green deserves the trust. He’s averaging more than 15 points on 50% shooting in February and March.
And while I’m doling out gratitudes, how about Pierce basking in the role of decoy?
The fan reactions in that photo are priceless.
The Celtics team defense – execution and strategy – deserves recognition. CSNNE’s Sherrod Blakely sheds light on a new hybrid scheme:
Because for the second time in as many nights, Boston’s ability to mix its man coverage with zone principles — or man principles with zone coverage depending on which side of the coin you’re staring at — has been a big part of the C’s success of late and was certainly a major factor in their 83-81 win over Indiana Wednesday night.
Boston’s defense in the fourth was phenomenal in limiting the Pacers to 4-for-20 shooting from the field, and scoreless for the final 4:36 of play.
“We were laughing,” Rivers recalled. “Someone called it a man-zone. We were half-zone, half-man … it was almost silly, it really was but it was really good.”
Rivers added, “We went into a time-out (on Wednesday), any pick-and-roll, we’re man (defensively). Any ball swing, we’re zone. They (Celtics players) figured it out. We’ve been doing that a lot lately.”
Dare I say the defense (7th in overall def efficiency) is championship-caliber? I think so.
It’s the offense and depth that hold this team back.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics win out in end | ESPN Boston – Pierce battles bone bruise | Hanging around | Herald – Garnett hits Top 10 (rebounds) | CSNNE – Green, Bradley come thru in win | Doc: If you can get home court, you want it | Williams knows to stay ready |