Admiral Ackbar would lose his voice calling out all the traps on the Celtics by the Knicks this series. Paul Pierce, primarily, and Jeff Green have been double-teamed and trapped with great effectiveness most of the series.
While the trapping has been effective, it can also leave you vulnerable. The Celtics have an opportunity, like this guy, to turn his opponent’s greatest strength around on him.
Doc says that in order for the Celtics’ offense to improve, the team must take advantage of New York’s traps on Paul Pierce and KG.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 30, 2013
In the first play of this video, you see how putting two guys on one opens up holes on the floor. Paul Pierce beats the double team by dribbling away from it, and finding Garnett (who has set up in a gap). From there, KG finds Bradley. Now, Bradley misses the shot, which is a different story. After the upfake, Bradley could have attacked and forced further rotations… but the point here is that the Celtics got a decent shot and could have gotten a better one despite the double.
The rest of that video is just a depressing series of examples of how the Celtics offense suffers at the hands of Knicks doubles and traps.
Here are a few quick thoughts about turning the tables on the Knicks and using their aggressiveness against them.
- Don’t use Pierce as the pick-and-roll ball handler.* You can use him as the pick-setter. But if he’s handling the ball, they’re not even bothering with the roll guy after the pick. All you’re doing is helping the Knicks double Pierce.
*The only exception to this is with Kevin Garnett. KG’s defender is usually unable to keep up with Pierce on the dribble, so that’s ok.
- Spread the offense. The Celtics spacing has been terrible. Look at this:
That’s 4 guys on one half of the floor. Where the hell is that pass supposed to go? The Knicks can clog every passing lane with almost no effort whatsoever. This resulted in a tipped pass and steal. Guys need to get proper spacing, and set some picks for each other off the ball to force some mismatches and confusion. The only way to create any gaps is if a couple of guys are on the other side of the floor with the defense forced to at least respect them out there.
- Help a brother out. This goes with what I said at the top of the post. Just look at this…
Avery Bradley is standing, KG is standing, Green is cutting down the lane, and Jason Terry is practically stepping on someone’s beer. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce has been backed into a trap on the opposite sideline and a ton of real estate available to help him and force the Knicks to rotate. Yeah, they need to spread the offense… but SOMEBODY has to go help the guy.
These are just a few little things the C’s can do to make the Knicks pay. It’s not rocket science. You don’t need to be Tex Winter creating new offenses (yeah, HE created the triangle, not Phil Jackson… I wish people would remember that) to beat double teams and traps.
The concept is simple: The opposition is defending one player with two guys. That means someone else somewhere is available to make them pay. The Celtics have been helping the Knicks out a lot by letting the traps happen with no help. If they want to have any shot at a miraculous comeback, they have to use the Knicks aggression against them and make them pay for double teams. If they can beat the traps, force a lot of rotations, and get easy baskets, it will not only lead to better offense, it will tire out the Knicks and make the defense a little easier too.