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Celtics Basketball: Enjoying that 9 pass play

That’s Celtics basketball that makes Brad Stevens smile.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate that 9 pass play that resulted in a Terry Rozier corner 3. That was glorious Boston Celtics basketball.

First, watch the video in all its glory here.

It all starts with an out of bounds play (Gordon Hayward inbounds to Terry Rozier). It develops slowly as Rozier dribbles toward the middle of the court and hands off to Tatum. Rozier cuts into the paint, drawing both his defender and Hayward’s in with him. That frees Hayward up to take a pass off an Aron Baynes pick which he uses to curl into the paint.

Baynes rolls to the hoop and Hayward tries to lob it up to him. Baynes gets bumped off his jump but still manages to corral the pass on the baseline. He sees Rozier open for the kickout at the bottom of the screen. Let’s pause for a moment and remember where Rozier ends up eventually taking this shot (at the top of the screen).

Rozier’s defender swipes at the pass which gives Terry room to drive. He uses hesitation and his man’s overaggressive defense to set up a fancy spin move. He drives to the hoop and is met by both of Cleveland’s bigs so he knows at least one teammate is open. He kicks out to an open Gordon Hayward.

At this point Hayward could have taken the shot but Osman is doing his best to close out and multiple Cavs defenders are overcommitted so he looks for an even better shot.

Over it goes to Jayson Tatum who sees enough daylight to drive into the paint. He spins his defender around and kicks it out to an open Marcus Smart. Again, he could have shot it but he pumpfakes the guy closing out and attacks the paint again. At this point all 5 Cavs players are converging on the paint and Smart finds Terry Rozier in the corner.

Credit the Cavs defenders for at least giving effort throughout this play. Even Terry’s shot is somewhat contested by the defender trying his best to close the gap. Even so, if he didn’t take that shot, Hayward was waiting with arms poised to catch and shoot. Time was running out on the shot clock though so Rozier had to get it up soon. It splashes through with 1.6 left and you can almost hear the Cavs spirit break.

That’s 10 passes in all, 3 aggressive drives into the paint, all 5 Celtics touching the ball, and 3 points on the board. Just a beautiful play.

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