In just a few short hours the Celtics’ post season will start and everyone can start hootin’ and hollerin’ for what will surely be an exciting playoffs. In case you are a casual NBA fan and do not know a lot about the Knicks or what to expect,the following are a few videos clips to give you perspective. Also be sure to check out Sebastian Pruiti’s must-read blog NBA Playbook for both an offensive and defensive breakdown for the series. Pruiti’s blog falls under the “best blogs you’re not reading category” and has been referenced by Mark Cuban and Mike Fratello numerous times.
You could also consider the following clips as a semi-response to Pruiti’s breakdown as Bassy selected some breakdowns of what the Celtics and Knicks do to other teams. My clips are of the March 21 matchup at MSG, otherwise known as the “Blood Bath”. At that time, the Knicks hadn’t been playing their best basketball and the core had only been together for about a month but I still don’t expect much to change in terms of offensive philosophy.
From the Knicks perspective, they run a ton of isolation plays which draws double teams and free three point shooters. The one problem they have is that their superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire aren’t exactly the best at passing out of these good defensive stops. Check out this isolation play for example:
It takes five passes for the Knicks to setup a bad isolation play with Anthony on the left wing. When he realizes he’s not going to be able to make the move he wants, he has already wasted a good open look from Roger Mason (who was open for at least a 2 count) and the Knicks are forced to swing the ball to Shawne Williams who in turn has to take a difficult shot on a collapsed Celtics’ defense.
This next clip is a great example of a how Carmelo Anthony is a “ball stopper”, a term you’ll hear all series.
Anthony tries to get position on Paul Pierce and tries to get into his own offensive set but is met with some solid one-on-one defense and the showing of help defenders. Anthony proceeds to pass out the ball to regain position and Billups bails him and the Knicks out by making a three over Ray Allen. You don’t want to respect this kind of offense but the Knicks have chosen to live and die by it and you have to give them credit when they knock them down. Luckily for the Cs, they want the Knicks to take these shots. You could actually characterize this possession as a successful defensive trip from the Cs.
While this next clip does show Stoudemire as the screener and potential assist man, Amar’e is much more comfortable screen and rolling into a “No Regard” dunk or 15 footer instead of handing off for a semi-open three.
This is a hard set for the Celtics to defend because the Knicks have a couple of knock-down shooters (Tony Douglas being one of them) and the Cs want to go under screens to dissuade Stoudemire from attacking. Still though, there is still have a shot clock left and the Celtics are ultimately okay with giving up this shot.
* * *
Among the many, two of the Celtics more distinct advantages include their size inside and Ray Allen. What better way for Ray Allen to get on track than to have the ability to shoot wide open jumpers. Let me show you what I mean:
The Knicks are no defensive juggernaut and one of the their better defenders, Landry Fields, is great on the ball, but still learning off of it. Just see how he gets completely pinned by a Paul Pierce screen. Allen could really get himself going in this series if he sees these kinds of looks.
This next clip shows the Celtics advantage inside. No matter who the Knicks throw at Kevin Garnett (Shelden Williams, Jared Jeffries, Ronny Turiaf), KG feels like he shoot over top all of them. Stoudemire can block shots, as Pruiti notes in his defensive breakdown, but he can also be a revolving door and does not like to get into foul trouble. Look for KG to do a lot of this:
All in all, I believe the next clip will define the series:
Lots of isolations from the Knicks and great defense and hustle from the Cs.