clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How To Beat The Celtics?

nba_g_thibodeau_200.jpg Randy Hill of Fox Sports tries to figure out what no coach in the league was able to figure out last year - how to beat the Celtics' defense.  (Hat tip to Red's Army)

A way to exploit Boston's style of defense (often referred to as Pack Line in high school and college) for the long term is to adopt a drive-and-kick philosophy that's all the rage at basketball's lower levels.

With the world's best dribble-penetration practitioners working in the NBA and league rules that prevent defenders from mugging ballhandlers, this seems like a natural evolution. Although the Cs did well defending the ball last season, it was easier for Rondo and Pierce to prevent dribble penetration because help-side commitments limited the attack options of the players they were guarding. A complete spread-offense philosophy and drive-kick tactics make it much more difficult for help defenders to be factors.

But NBA coaches, who often micromanage possessions, would have to advocate exaggerated spacing and trust role players to optimize the subsequent open looks.

Isolation and screen-roll — the staples of NBA offense — have difficulty thriving against a defense as compacted and faithful to structure as Boston's. Until their opponents break free from the offensive tyranny of set plays, the best bet is to station the player Garnett is guarding above the free-throw line extended.

That would, at least, limit the Celtics' longest and most active help-side defender in his efforts to patrol the lane.

And it just might save Boston the trouble of planning another parade.

So in other words, if John Calipari brought his dribble-drive motion Memphis offense to the NBA, he might have a shot at disrupting the Celtics D.  That is assuming Tom T. wouldn't figure out a way to counter that attack. 

I'm no coach, and I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on this, but you have to wonder why the dribble-drive hasn't found its way to the pros yet.  Perhaps because, like the option in football, you just can't get away with that stuff at the pro level.

Bottom line is that until someone proves on the court that they can score at will on the Celtics, this is all just theory.  And until someone knocks off the Celtics, they are still the Champs (nope, it still hasn't gotten old writing that).

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog