At this level within the season, we will be pretty assured in understanding the sorts of actions and schemes Joe Mazzulla likes his Boston Celtics workforce to run. For essentially the most half, we’ve seen a number of variations of every motion as Mazzulla appears to be like to maintain his teaching counterparts on their toes.
Nonetheless, it’s price remembering that Robert Williams has solely just lately returned to the rotation. As such, there can be actions or variations of actions that we’ve not but seen.
On Monday evening, because the Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls in a tightly contested affair, we acquired a glimpse of a brand new variation that might change into commonplace inside Boston’s playbook — assuming they persist with pairing Robert Williams and Al Horford for stretches.
The play we’re is out of the Celtics Spain pick-and-roll collection, one thing which has change into ubiquitous inside their offense, each as a direct level of assault and as a decoy set to create driving lanes for the ball-handler.
The fundamental premise of a Spain pick-and-roll is easy: you’ve got a normal pick-and-roll motion happen, besides you place a shooter within the screening place of the defending huge man, then when the second display takes place, the shooter pops out onto the perimeter, hopefully creating some confusion among the many screener’s defender and the large man.
Often, you will note a guard or a wing working because the ‘popper’ with an enormous man as the standard display and roll man. All through the season, the Celtics have put Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Malcolm Brogdon, and Sam Hauser in that ‘popper’ spot as they give the impression of being to extend the stress on their opponent’s protection resulting from both a driving menace or a respectable catch-and-shoot menace.
Nonetheless, towards Chicago, Boston determined to place each of their huge males within the motion, resulting in a defensive breakdown by the Bulls and an unimpeded roll from Williams to the rim. Be aware of how Ayo Dosunmu appears to be like to rotate over and tag Williams’ roll however bails out to get well to Brown simply as Tatum appears to be like to fireside off the cross. Given the urgency Dosunmu shows, one can solely assume that Tatum was Brown as he fed the rock to Williams, which is mightily spectacular given the pace the motion was unfolding.
When working a double-big lineup within the trendy NBA, guaranteeing one is a respectable perimeter menace is important, and with Horford at the moment changing his three-point makes an attempt at a 42.6% clip, Boston has that field effectively and really checked. It’s not a shock that Mazzulla went to a double-big Spain pick-and-roll, but it surely does show the power in depth Boston has in any respect 5 positions whereas giving a glimpse into a few of the creativity we are able to anticipate to witness within the coming weeks and months.
Of their first begin collectively this season, Horford and Williams the proper pairing, and Mazzulla added the icing on the cake when he started so as to add variance to an motion we’ve seen the Celtics run numerous instances over the primary half of the season.