Doc Rivers is the single greatest designer of plays out of timeouts in the history of professional basketball as Brian proved with mathematical certainty in this post from December 2010. Today, we check in on something new in his arsenal from Friday night’s win over Indiana.
Late in the fourth quarter, Doc sent the troops off to execute this little masterpiece, which features that most unstable of Celtics offensive weapons, Avery Bradley.
It’s sort of crazy to use Bradley as a decoy because at this point in his career, it’s hard to believe anyone would deliberately burn a timeout so they could get him a look at the hoop while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are on the floor. Bradley’s like a suitcase nuke, more a threat than an actual weapon, but still very capable of obliterating a small city by accident.
But Bradley does a nice job here, first throwing the inbounds pass to Garnett who flashes to the high post as the referee starts his five count, and then getting out of the way.
After KG fakes the handoff and Bradley cuts cross-court, Mickael Pietrus sweeps around the arc to the strong side on a delayed action. Danny Granger chases him, taking the quick route, assuming Pietrus might be popping out to the wing for a three-ball (that may be an option on this play). The problem is that the quick route funnels Granger between Garnett and Pierce, who’s just standing there in the post, knowing all post-Bradley attention is on him. This may be why the clip above shows him grinning like a fiend.
Pierce steps up to set a (sort of) moving pick although he doesn’t really connect with it. It’s no matter though: Pietrus is free and KG finds him curling along the baseline for an easy dunk.
It actually seems like Pietrus could also have pulled up short on his curl and set a pick to release Pierce, but it works just fine as is.
Take a look at the replay. It’s even prettier from this angle.