Celtics are down 1 with one possession left in the game. What offensive set do you run (5-1 PnR with Horford and Thomas, give IT the ball and surround him with shooters, run Thomas off a bunch of screens, etc.)?
Keith Smith: I would run Thomas and Horford in a pick and roll set, with shooters spaced to the corners and off to the opposite wing. The key is to start it as high as possible. Ideally you get Thomas in a switch and he can go downhill against a big and get to the rim.
Alex Kungu: Iso’s are probably out of the question. I would come out in a small lineup, Thomas-Bradley-Rozier-Smart-Horford, have Smart start with the ball, run a DHO for Thomas followed by a screen by Horford, and from there hope that Thomas can make the right the play.
Bill Sy: The 1-5 PnR on the weak side with Horford getting the ball above the break.
Big Al is quicker than Marcin Gortat and stronger than Markieff Morris so getting him in that playmaker zone with space is Boston’s best option. Not only did he make 8 of 9 shots in Game 5, but Horford was aggressive in driving the ball or backing down his defender and finding open shooters and cutters. Washington has been successful in stopping Boston’s #1 option in Thomas, but Horford’s ability to work as a #2 and be the point center to find options #3, #4, and #5 lead to Wednesday’s blowout. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder were great either flaring out for open jumpers or cutting behind Horford’s penetration and getting looks in the restricted area.
Sean Penney: Who am I, Brad Stevens, master of the ATO? I trust the coach to draw up something none of us will see coming. If I had to guess, it will involve an IT-Horford pick-and-roll that Wizards will sniff out. IT will be forced to kick it back out to Al once his path is cut off and the big guy will make them pay, proving once and for all he's worth every cent of his max contract.
Jared Weiss: The best play involving Thomas is usually running him off a DHO from the corner to give him a head of steam to the paint, or space to pull-up for a quick jumper. But defenders are allowed to defend rough off the ball and getting the ball into Thomas’ hands early is the key. This worked with 27 seconds left in Game 2 to draw a foul on the floor for Thomas when he blew by Gortat on a switch.
The 1-5 high basic pick-and-roll between Thomas and Horford is the best alternative if the officials are allowing defenders to rough up on IT off the ball. When they blitz Thomas to the corner, he lobs it out to Horford to go 4-on-3. If they zone-up the screen, Thomas gets space to attack. It’s a win-win situation when Gortat is on the floor and works fine against Morris. We saw them run a give-and-go running pick-and-roll with 30 seconds left in regulation in Game 2, which could be a unique variation to make it less than obvious what’s going to happen. Stevens is often a master of subtle disguise and has always been great at running last second possessions with variations we’ve rarely seen from him.