Post-game Reactions

The last thing I expected in Game 5—well, other than the ejection of Kendrick Perkins and the 8th round TKO of Glen Davis—was for the Celtics to show a brand new wrinkle in their offensive playbook. But they did: On the first three possessions of the game, the Celtics set up their offense with Rajon Rondo stationary at the left elbow, acting as some sort of high post distributor.

They ran their offense from this set at least six times in the first half alone. I don’t remember Boston every using this set with any regularity in any game this season. I am still trying to figure out why did it in Game 6.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

And one more, from later in the 1st quarter:

Again, I can only guess at why Boston ran plays from this set so many times. But I do have guesses:

1) It forces the other four players to move around instead of waiting for Rondo to penetrate and draw the defense;

2) A related guess: Rajon is hurting and/or tired, and this is a way to preserve his role as Boston’s distributor without having him dribble and drive into the paint so often. It also recognizes the reality that he is going to have move around a lot on defense. (Side note: I think Rondo is hurting. I have no proof, though there is obvious circumstantial evidence. He seemed to have problems changing direction on a dime last night).

3) It puts Nelson in a position where he has to stay right on Rondo’s back, so that he can’t play several feet off of Rajon.

That’s it. I’m out of guesses.

What do you guys think?

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Zach Lowe

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  • wazzup

    Game 5 not 6.

    It did seem strange in game, I remember a play where TA brought it up and being surprised, was Rondo at the elbow there too?

    I’m taking 2 as the best guess.

  • @wazzup: Thanks. I checked out of Game 5 mentally and moved onto Game 6 with about 8:00 to go in the 4th last night.

  • DeVelaine

    @Zach: You waited that long? I saw the first two foul calls of the third quarter, and promptly decided that there was no reason to watch and 8-on-5 game.

  • Eran

    Rondo must be hurting or tired. If he can’t be more effective than Nelson again we’re screwed. Where are those days of rest when you need them most…?

  • Coolin

    I’m sorry to all these Rondo MVP fanatics, but come on his defense has been sub par. He goes for way too many steals when he should be trying to keep the defender in front of him and he is having a hard time doing even that.

  • Coolin

    I know we are talking about offense, but it is his defense on Jameer that is killing the Celtics in their losses. I thought he was a top 5 defender, but I am not seeing it. When he sells out on trying to steal the ball from Orlando they are getting about 15 points just off of his sell outs. Other than that his offense is fine except his FT shooting.

  • I agree on Rondo hurting, obviously it’s only a guess but he’s grimacing a lot on the court and his energy level is down significantly. He’s laying on the sideline when he comes out instead of putting on warmups and sitting with the team. I think it’s safe to say something is going on with him… he looks like he’s dragging himself up and down the court sometimes.

  • NC

    I agree that Rondo doesn’t look right. Maybe it’s a ‘viral infection’?

    It was a weird setup because Rondo doesn’t have any size advantage over Nelson. Why post him?

  • Eran

    I agree his defense on Nelson, more than the offense, is the most important issue. He really hasn’t been delivering in that respect in the last couple of games. Maybe it’s energy (but why now suddenly?), maybe it’s fatigue (isn’t he the youngest of the bunch?), maybe it’s some sickness or muscle problem.. Maybe he still didn’t get over Pierce not passing him the ball at the end of the 4th game (if that’s true he and the Celtics truly deserve to lose).

  • John

    This set does open some backscreen/backdoor opportunities for Pierce (as seen in the second video) that could force the Nelson/Barnes switch that they stopped getting with the 1-3 pick and roll. I’m satisfied with both those looks (well, Pierce should have gone up stronger vs. Howard or found Perk, but up until the shot I was happy with how the play progressed).

  • sacbobv

    My guess would have to be Doc probing the Magic defense and seeing how they react. Scouting to come up with an even better wrinkle on Friday.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Totally agree with Collin & Eran @ Rajon

    If Rajon is hurt then you have to consider trying Nate for more minutes or even Oliver. We are not looking for anything fancy or miraculous, just someone to stay in front of Nelson, block him off the boards, & run him off the 3pt line. Maybe Oliver could be a wild card there for some solid minutes (not a whole game). I’m not sure if TA (assuming he is healthy) has the speed to stay in front of Nelson. TA has been way too block happy out there on the perimeter instead of staying down & staying in front of people.

    I thought Rajon looked fairly good into the 2nd quarter of the last game. Later in games it looks like Rajon is lagging. I know Nelson gets REGULAR BREAKS resting over there on their bench. This is giving Nelson a great edge in the 2nd half when other guys are spent.

    I’m really tired of watching guys help too much off of 3pt shooters, especially Paul. NO double teams on Dwight & even bring in Shelden to keep Dwight going to the foul line. Seriously, Shelden has 6 fouls which we are not taking advantage of. If Dwight has the slightest amount of rhythm I would much rather see Shelden in there fouling him hard & sending Dwight to the line then Dwight dunking on Perk or Sheed because their fouls are piling up. I think we have gotten away from the HARD foul on Dwight. I’m not talking flagrant, just really hard hits to his hands & arms. We were definitely in his head with the hard fouls in the early games, but now Dwight has turned the tables & gotten into the Cs heads with his elbows & physical play.

    I think the #1 thing for Boston to shut down is the 3. Then, layups & offensive rebounds. If the magicians want to shoot non 3 pt jump shots then so be it. You have to concede something on defense. Let it be the non 3 jump shot. I don’t think they are going to jump shoot their way to victory if we can dominate the boards & hold them to ONE shot per trip.

    I am REALLY DISGUSTED with Perk or Sheed or Glen or whoever Dwight is guarding. Why? Because EVERY TIME DWIGHT LEAVES TO GO BLOCK SOMEONE THEY SHOULD BE RIGHT BEHIND HIM WITH THEIR HANDS READY FOR THE PASS AT THE FRONT OF THE RIM. We see over & over Dwight leaving his man to try & block a shot…….This means Dwight’s man is UNGUARDED. NOBODY is going to the front of the rim to get the pass & dunk it. EVERYONE is standing away from the basket where Dwight left them initially. When Dwight goes for the block on someone else THAT IS THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR BIG TO ATTACK THE RIM!!!!! Dwight totally embarrassed the Cs with that full court rundown block of Rondo. Our bigs DID NOT run the floor like that (especially KG–who normally will run the floor VERY HARD at least a few times for layups & dunks). It is clear that, RIGHT NOW, DWIGHT WANTS IT MORE THAN ANYONE FROM THE WHOLE CELTIC TEAM. If ONE of our bigs had been running behind Dwight chasing Rondo they could have gotten a rebound off the block. There was a time when a guard could, at the very least, get their big to step in front of the other team’s big to keep them from blocking a shot. We can’t even get that minimal effort on Dwight.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Will we ever see KG in the post again??? Even 1 lob to KG ??? Dwight is an absolute block addict. If we went to KG low & Dwight came to block SURELY Perk or Sheed or Glen could have just enough energy to cut to the rim for a pass from KG. KG is a good passer when SOMEONE will cut to the rim. Is KG relegated to 15′ jumpers??? Will we ever see KG in the post or at the free throw line again???

  • Jared

    The Rondo post-up shares similarities with Orlando’s 1-in 4-out with Howard. Rondo can beat his man anywhere on the court, so why not start in the post? Either Rondo beats Nelson for an easy deuce or, more likely, they collapse on him with a double. If Howard comes over, Rondo’s a good enough passer to find an open Perk; if anyone else collapses, someone’s wide open for a jumper. It’s potentially more dangerous than anyone else drawing the double because you’re having to double Rondo, not double off of Rondo. Maybe that explanation is confusing, but it makes sense to me. I see lots of value in this set.

  • DRJ1

    I vote for #2, with caveat: Cs understood early that this game was probably going to be hopeless, and Rajon took the opportunity not to run himself ragged (again) for naught. Hope to see another Game-3-type performance on Friday.

  • Sophomore

    In the first two series that Orlando played, D Howard wasn’t able to stay on the court – constant foul trouble. Why haven’t the Cs been able to get him in trouble?

    The Cs seem to have figured out Gortat, and taking DH out of the game would give them a huge edge.

  • inolongerhatemarquisdaniels

    Rondo isnt hurt

    or not significantly more hurt than hes been throughout the regular season… I’ve watched almost all the games the Cs have played this season and countless times Ive seen Rondo limping, icing, or having trouble with his mobility while off the court

    on the court, he always seems to be at the same level athletically no matter what issues he is dealing with

    I think people would like to believe he is hurt because hes numbers are down a little bit from the Cleveland series… Dwight Howard is all that is wrong with Rondo

  • Chris

    I was at the game last night and I remember seeing Rondo wincing in pain a few times. He looked like he was hurting, but kept running through it.

  • “I am REALLY DISGUSTED with Perk or Sheed or Glen or whoever Dwight is guarding. Why? Because EVERY TIME DWIGHT LEAVES TO GO BLOCK SOMEONE THEY SHOULD BE RIGHT BEHIND HIM WITH THEIR HANDS READY FOR THE PASS AT THE FRONT OF THE RIM. We see over & over Dwight leaving his man to try & block a shot…….This means Dwight’s man is UNGUARDED.”

    You are failing to consider passing angles.

    When Dwight leaves his man and comes from weak side to ‘help’, Dwight is coming baseline AND IS BETWEEN THE BALL AND THE BASKET.

    A pass to Sheed or whomever would have to be an almost blind lob over dwight or low percentage bounce pass in traffic.

    The better option (visualizing Dwight and his man as two points in the base of the triangle) would be a cutter coming in from the top of the triangle who is moving toward the rim, gets the pass, then as Dwight recovers, either continues onward to draw the foul/make the shot or drops it on to Dwight’s man

  • cam

    Trying to get jameer in a little foul trouble