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.
“We’ve got to play through Kevin a lot more,” Pierce said yesterday at the team hotel. “He’s one of our best passers. I mean he’s one of the most unselfish players, so we have to do a better job of getting him the ball, a lot more than he got it yesterday.
“Doc said he wants Kevin to be aggressive, he wants him to take 20 shots, but even when we run plays for Kevin, he’s so responsible that he’s going to find the open man and be responsible with the ball. He usually ends up getting four or five assists. So we have to do a better job of involving him because he’s good at doing a lot of playmaking duties.”
“We were trying to get the ball to Kevin,” Rivers said afterward. “I think we threw three passes from halfcourt to the post. I mean, you’re going to turn the ball over when that happens instead of just making the next pass, letting that guy make the pass when he’s in the passing area.”
I don’t want to get into the “if we had Rondo” discussion because, quite honestly, that doesn’t help us much. We know if Rondo was here he’d be able to command the half court offense. But it’s not like he’s benched and we’re begging Doc to play him. He’s out.
No, the Celtics need to find better ways to get Kevin Garnett the ball… and it’s not just Avery Bradley. Bradley had 4 turnovers in-game 1, but only 1 came trying to feed KG. In fact, the only other turnover that came from trying to make an entry pass to Garnett was Jason Terry. So the Celtics were not looking to him a lot on the blocks.
That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. He’s not on the blocks a ton anyway. Of his four assists, only one came out of the low post (a feed to a cutting Avery Bradley for a lay up in the 2nd quarter). The rest were out of the high post to Celtics on the perimeter for jumpers. So KG’s doesn’t like getting the ball with his back to the basket a lot.
So how do you get KG the ball in spots where he can be most effective?
Part of it is moving the ball around more. One of the hallmarks of the post-Rondo Celtics was the ball movement. I don’t remember the last time I saw the ball flying around the perimeter forcing the defense to work, and pulling guys out of position. Force the defense to work harder and you’ll start to see guys make mistakes.
The Celtics can also run a few more creatives staggered screens. They have a few plays in the play book where there’s not only a pick-and-roll play, but a second person comes up and screens for the original screener. You run the risk of clumping things up and drawing a bunch of defenders to the area of a weak ball handler, but you’re also forcing guys to make extra decision on D that could spring a guy like KG for a good look.
Doc mentioned floor spacing right away after Saturday’s game. That was a function of guys standing and watching and hoping for guys like Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett to save them. But by doing so, they made it difficult for that to happen because they allowed the defenders to play off of them.
Play harder and move without the ball… it might seem the most basic advice, but it’s something they didn’t do. Force the Knicks to make decisions on defense. Force them to move. Force them to work. And give your stars options to get out of trouble. Do all that, and you’ll be surprised how many more good looks Garnett gets out of a naturally flowing offense.
The rest of the links:
MWDN: (AP) Celtics’ veterans outplayed by Knicks vets | Herald: Doc: Terry’s trials an isolated issue | Kidd brings smarts, grit to Knicks attack | Globe: Knicks rely on veterans on the floor and on the bench | CSNNE: Scal: C’s must focus on execution | Looking at adjustments the day after |