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Will Celtics small-ball work in the post-season

Make no mistake about this! Brad Stevens is a huge fan of small-ball and sometimes appears reticent to put the bigs out on the floor. The general feeling among NBA analysts is that putting five little guys out on the hardwood for the playoffs is a fool's errand. But maybe not.

Houston Rockets coach, Mike D'Antoni, is a small-ball, run-and-gun advocate. In his team's 121-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers last night, his tallest starter (Danuel House) is listed at 6'6", and Mike had 6'5" P. J. Tucker at the center spot. The Lakers put out a starting front court of 7' Javale McGee, 6'10" Anthony Davis and 6'9" Lebron James.


The numbers speak for themselves. The Rockets out-shot the Lakers 45%-to-29% from beyond the arc and almost matched Los Angeles on rebounds, 37-38. But what does this have to do with the Boston Celtics?

While D'Antoni's scheme for success is to ram the offense down the throats of opponents using a bunch of little guys that can hit from distance, Brad Stevens adds tough defense to the mix, and he has the weapons - long-range marksmen that play in-your-shirt defense. Brad has four players capable of racking up 20-plus points on an assortment of attempts, including the 3-ball. And the Jay Team has learned to add rebounding, defense and facilitation to their repertoires - Gordon Hayward supplies virtually whatever is needed - and Marcus Smart is capable of landing the Defensive-Player-of-the-Year award this season.


There is no evidence that a small-ball attack won't work in the playoffs. Boston's Core-5 ranges in height from 6'0"(Kemba Walker) to 6'8" (Jayson Tatum). Kemba, Jaylen, Jayson and Gordon all shoot roughly 38% from beyond the arc, while previously-errant 3-point shooter, Smart, is hitting 35% of the long-balls this season. Boston's Core-5 shoots well, handles the ball, rebounds, passes and defends. There is nothing written or spoken that derails this length-challenged crew from going far into the playoffs - and even bringing home Banner #18.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, CausewayStreet and Facebook

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