The key to victory for the Boston Celtics isn't much of a secret: it's good ball movement. The Celtics are 6-2 in games they assist on over 60% of their made field goals. But they're only 3-5 when they assist on 60% or less.
The Celtics unsurprisingly score more points when the ball is flashing around the court. In those games with over 60% of assisted field goals, they score 107.5 points per game, compared to just 97.5 points per game in the others.
"We gotta play as a team. We did a really good job of that tonight on both ends," Brad Stevens said after Boston's supremacy over Washington. "We need all five guys playing together all of the time. I thought they did a pretty good job of that; 28 assists to 15 turnovers is better than what we are on the season, and it's more towards what we need to be to have a chance to be successful."
With 28 assists and 15 turnovers, the Celtics had a 1.86 assist-turnover ratio against the Wizards, which is closer to their mark last season after Rajon Rondo was traded (1.82).
Their assist-turnover ratio is currently hovering around 1.48, which absolutely needs to improve. In wins, it's 1.71, compared to 1.25 in losses.
"[Against the 76ers] we didn't ever penetrate them. We were like windshield wipers going back and forth, and not getting into the paint and making plays," said a poetic Stevens. "Today we got into the paint, and that ball was moving quickly, and with authority, right from the get go."
Here's a clip of the Celtics carving up the Wizards using an excellent mix of ball movement and off-ball actions.
Avery Bradley sets a back screen for Amir Johnson, which puts John Wall totally out of position. This gives Bradley the space to penetrate and hit Jared Sullinger with a perfect pocket pass. Even if Sullinger had been covered, Crowder and Thomas were wide open.
Referencing to the play above, Stevens said, "That attack, and that mindset is very helpful to get the defense scrambling. Once you get the defense scrambling, you're gonna get better looks, and you have a better chance at offensive rebounds."