Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

We may be glad Danny Ainge rolled the dice on Theis

Frankly, I was not sure if Danny Ainge would ink Daniel Theis to a new deal, but it looks like a good move. Theis is signed for two years at a total of $10 million, with the second year non-guaranteed. With the departure of big men Al Horford and Aron Baynes, rolling the dice on Theis could work very well. In his first season in Boston, Daniel just kept improving. For the pre-All-Star stretch, he averaged 14.5 minutes/Game, 5.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG while shooting 52% on field goals and 30% on treys. Post-All-Star his minutes increased to 18.4 per game, his points to 7.8/game and his boards to 5.3/game. And he shot 68% on field goals and 40% on 3-pointers. Then a meniscus tear shut him down. His minutes and production took a hit last season, in part most likely due to lagging recovery from the injury. Right now he is playing on German's entry in the FIBA World Cup. In a game versus The Czech Rebublic, he scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, passed off for three assists and blocked tw

What Jeff Teague can bring to the Celtics offense

Bringing in Jeff Teague as some guard depth this year could end up being a monumental move for this year's Celtics team. Teague is a well respected veteran in the league, and having gone to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, knows what it takes to win tough games. Here's a brief look at why I think Jeff will be a great fit with the C's Every Celtics fan loves Marcus Smart , due to everything he brings to the table, from the defensive intensity to scoring outbursts. For all the good things he does, Marcus excels off ball, and can have his effectiveness diminished when he is forced to be a primary ball handler. He is often pigeon-holed into that role with the second unit (or when Kemba is out), and Teague's addition will hopefully allow him to play more off-ball and maximize his abilities.  At the deadline last year, Teague was traded to the Atlanta Hawks to play alongside Trae Young. His usage rate and effectiveness dipped considerably, as he