A six-game win streak has come to an finish. The Boston Celtics dropped a sport to the Charlotte Hornets in disheartening style on Monday night time. Al Horford and Derrick White each missed the sport. Jaylen Brown was in foul hassle. And the Hornets clearly didn’t learn the script.
Nonetheless, because the tune says: “Nothing lasts without end within the chilly November rain.”
#1 Fatigue must be taken under consideration
This was a nasty loss. Not as a result of it was towards the Charlotte Hornets. Effectively, perhaps, form of as a result of it was towards the Hornets. However moreso as a result of it got here through a 9-point collapse within the closing two minutes of the fourth, and the Celtics couldn’t get it achieved in additional time.
Nonetheless, we have to hold issues in context.
This sport was on the second night time of a back-to-back, the third sport in 4 days, and the fourth in six. Finally, that kind of schedule will catch as much as you, particularly while you issue within the journey related to such a detailed stretch of video games.
I’m in no way making excuses right here. It’s important to execute to win on this league. Nonetheless, fatigue/schedule needs to be a qualifying issue when levying criticism on the efficiency stage we witnessed on Monday.
#2 The controversy
Okay, now onto the sport. There’s no higher place to begin than the place the place all the pieces just about ended.
Tatum misses his free throw, a scramble ensues, a foul happens, however the clock continues working. On the time, you’re pondering, “Oh, they’ll add that point again in a second,” but the ball will get inbounded, and there’s nonetheless nothing added to the clock.
Would the Celtics have received the sport with a couple of additional seconds on the clock? We are going to by no means know. But, it might have been good for the chance to search out out. The league’s L2M report will probably have an evidence for the error. Nonetheless, that’s not going to vary the end result of the sport.
After all, the entire state of affairs might have been averted if Tatum had hit the ultimate free throw. You make some, you miss some, and simply harm that particular shot was one of many latter.
#3 Hornets had a plan for Porzingis’ rim-protection
Kristaps Porzingis’ rim-protection has been spectacular to start the season. His measurement and size across the rim is a real detterance on the defensive finish. It was solely on Sunday that he recorded 6 blocks towards the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Hornets got here into the sport with what appears to be like like a transparent plan. They wished to interact Porzingis off the dribble earlier than discovering secondary cutters for simpler appears to be like across the basket. That approach, Porzingis has to attempt to guard the rim in rotation, lowering his capability to be efficient.
Charlotte did this by “Nashing” their dribble. That’s dribbling from one facet of the court docket, immediately below the rim, and onto the opposite facet of the ground — or just maintaining the dribble alive when going below the basket. We noticed it persistently all through the sport, and for essentially the most half, it yielded good outcomes.
Above is a clip of how “Nashing” the dribble can create alternatives for a cutter from the wing, on this occasion, Gordon Hayward.
Right here is one other instance. This time, the preliminary entry is a “Nash” dribble earlier than the second drive engages Porzingis, who appears to be like to chop off the baseline; as such, he steps out of the paint, and Mark Williams makes a fast dive to the rim for the pocket move and dunk.
Steve Clifford’s plan was good course of. It put Porzingis in troublesome spots and helped restrict his effectiveness across the rim. After all, there have been additionally possessions the place the Celtics defended it effectively.
On this play, it’s Luke Kornet’s rim safety the Hornets try to bypass. The important thing to defending the motion on this occasion is that Kornet didn’t enable himself to turn into engaged on the dribble-drive. He stayed throughout the restricted space and known as for the change.
Nonetheless, the Celtics have to be cautious of this tactic shifting ahead.
#4 Jayson Tatum loves taking part in in Charlotte, apparently
Jayson Tatum ended the sport towards the Hornets with 45 factors, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and a pair of blocks.
For his profession, he’s averaging 30 factors, 7.9 rebounds, and three.5 assists when taking part in in Charlotte. His final journey to the Spectrum Heart noticed him drop a 50-piece on the Hornets’ heads, too.
Each participant has sure groups they like to face on the highway, Charlotte is clearly one among Tatum’s.
Nothing particular in regards to the shot within the clip above. Only a good depiction of Tatum’s confidence stage.
#5 Tatum had some powerful spells, too, although
Don’t let the field rating idiot you, although. This wasn’t a flawless sport from Tatum — or anyone else on the roster. There have been moments when he fell to sleep on the defensive finish. Two of these lapses ended up in Gordon Hayward again cuts.
Tatum additionally went a mixed 2-of-6 in the course of the fourth quarter and additional time, as his sizzling taking pictures started evading him within the sport’s closing portion. It’s all effectively and good dropping 40 or 50 factors on a group, however that you must present up down the stretch — a part of that’s on the Celtics for not feeding him extra (11 pictures within the second half + OT), and the opposite half is on not sticking to the method that’s been working: stepping into the publish, discovering your spots, and many others.
#6 Gettin’ nerdy with it: Second unit cut up actions
I didn’t anticipate the Celtics to go to second-unit cut up actions mid-way by means of the fourth quarter. We’ve not seen that from this group to start the season. Nonetheless, right here we’re, and to be trustworthy, I form of appreciated what I noticed.
A cut up motion works like this: You get the ball right into a post-up participant (Kornet on this occasion,) the passer units a display screen for a shooter (Hauser for Pritchard), and each gamers cut up off after the display screen. The Golden State Warriors are well-known for this motion.
Boston tried to provoke the above play on the elbow, however Kornet was pushed increased up the court docket. Nonetheless, it ended up having a useful impact on the Celtics. Hauser flares to the weakside slot. Pritchard receives a move and display screen from Kornet. Play ends in an incredible learn to search out Svi Mykhailiuk on the weakside wing.
The Celtics additionally went again to the motion on the following possession.
Similar motion once more. Pritchard slips on the drive. Nonetheless, seeing that there are some designed actions for when a few of the bench gamers are within the sport is a enjoyable and inspiring signal. It stood out to me after I watched, so I wished to share.
#7 Payton Pritchard steps up
Pritchard has endured his justifiable share of criticism to start the season. Rightly so. So, after a very good sport, we must always, as the youngsters say, “Give him his flowers.” He ended the sport with 21 factors, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a pair of steals.
Prtichard’s three-ball was falling, and he in nice rhythm. But, it was the under end across the rim that I discovered most satisfying.
Pritchard dislodged Brandon Miller on this drive. He dropped his shoulder, reached his spot, and dislodged the larger defender earlier than nailing the bunny. When his three isn’t falling, we have to see extra of this from him as a result of, as we’ve seen along with his offensive rebounding, Pritchard is extra able to taking part in larger than his function.
#8 A have a look at Jaylen Brown’s function
Brown had a troublesome sport. Foul hassle restricted his capability to be aggressive at instances, and his shot wasn’t falling in any respect, going 5-of-17 from the sector. At instances, it looks like Brown could be “sticky” as a result of he hyperfocuses on getting his shot off.
Personally, I don’t suppose Brown is being egocentric or that he’s calling his personal quantity. a few of the statistics, it’s turning into evident that he’s being tasked to play the function of a scorer, which I’ve advocated for on a number of events.
Some indicators that Brown is being utilized in extra of a score-first function this season:
1st on the C’s in factors per contact
2nd in utilization fee
sixth in passes made per sport
third in passes acquired
2nd in pull-up jumpers
1st in drives
C’s are asking much less of him when it comes to creation and… pic.twitter.com/I6azGLsg8r
— Adam Taylor (@AdamTaylorNBA) November 21, 2023
This potential function change has caught out over the previous two video games and felt prefer it was staring me within the face towards the Hornets.
Are there instances when Brown forces the problem as an alternative of constructing the correct learn? Sure. However can’t we are saying that for each star participant within the NBA? Doesn’t Tatum have moments when he appears to be like for his shot exterior the offensive construction?
Brown has had some powerful nights to start the season; there’s little doubt about it. But, he’s the participant who’s present process the largest function change on the roster. There shall be moments when it appears to be like nice and when it’s a tough watch. Over time, he’ll turn into accustomed to when he’s anticipated to spearhead issues and when his gravity is meant to be a decoy.
I’m not involved within the slightest. Nonetheless, it’s price noting that the function change seems to be an actual factor, and long run, it can most likely deliver the very best out of him.
#9 Gettin’ nerdy with it half 2: Creating out of set actions
Generally, a group will run a set motion as a decoy. Groups will react to what’s unfolding on the ground, whereas the offensive gamers have one thing completely totally different in thoughts. I wish to see this as creating offense out of the motion quite than creating with it.
Above, the Celtics run a floppy motion with Mykhailiuk. The motion creates some spacing for Jrue Vacation within the paint and generates a straightforward entry move for the post-up (a move right into a post-up is named “punch.”) Charlotte now has two defenders increased up the ground on the weak facet, limiting the quantity of assist protection the Hornets can ship at Vacation.
The veteran guard is dependable when taking part in larger than his function and will get the bucket over Miller.
The Floppy motion didn’t create an excessive amount of confusion, however it did take away a few of the assist protection, and that was an vital a part of the play.
#10 The collapse
A nine-point lead within the closing two minutes of play, and one way or the other, you discover a method to lose the sport. We’ve seen this earlier than. It’s been the script to numerous powerful losses in recent times. Boston’s closing two went like this:
- 1:59 – Mark Williams suggestions in a bucket
- 1:41 – Brown misses a jumper
- 1:32 – Ball hits a 3
- 1:09 – Brown misses a 3-point jumper
- 00:56 – Tatum misses a layup
- 00:34 – Williams hits a layup
- 00:11 – Vacation smokes two free-throws
- 00:07 – Ball hits a layup to tie the sport
- 00:00 – Hauser misses the game-winner
Unhealthy protection. Poor offensive execution. And smoking your “gimmies” on the charity stripe. There’s your recipe for blowing a nine-point lead with two minutes remaining within the sport. Once more, we’ve to consider fatigue. But, regardless of the way you slice it, collapsing within the clutch is a nasty look, particularly when you’ll be able to’t repair the errors in additional time.
Hopefully, any such implosion received’t turn into a development shifting ahead. I doubt it does.
The Celtics are again in motion tomorrow after they face the Milwaukee Bucks in a conflict of the Jap Convention titans. A house sport with probably a full-strength roster will give the group an opportunity to redeem themselves of their largest sport of the season up to now.
Milwaukee shall be an incredible litmus check for this Celtics group, and I’m right here for it.