To open the second quarter of play against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, the Boston Celtics ran an action that was designed to get Sam Hauser a clear look at a three-point shot.
This action is split into two parts: an Iverson cut, and a ‘rip DHO’, which when linked together, created just enough space for Hauser to get into a shooting pocket and drain a three in Zach LaVine’s grill, helping Boston close a five-point gap.
An Iverson cut is simply a cut across the court, where there is a screener situated on each elbow — it doesn’t matter if the cutter runs his man into those screens, they just simply need to be there, as it makes relocating to the second side easier. For this action, Tatum’s Iverson cut creates an empty corner on the strong side, which Malcolm Brogdon fills after giving the ball to Luke Kornet.
Brogdon's re-locating to the strong side corner allows the offense to have good spacing, while Tatum’s cut has ensured Chicago commits three of their defenders to the weak side wing.
That’s where the rip screen (a back screen) comes into play.
Chicago switches the screening action, putting LaVine onto Hauser and giving Grant Williams a mismatch in the post with Goran Dragic defending him. Following the ‘rip’ screen, Hauser curls towards Kornet, looking to receive the hand-off, allowing Boston’s big man to slightly bump LaVine, which creates the gap for Hauser to enter his shooting pocket.
LOVE THIS - Iverson Rip DHO pic.twitter.com/Ihr3yi5qMg— Adam Taylor (@AdamTaylorNBA) November 5, 2022
Actions such as this are multi-layered. Tatum’s Iverson cut puts the defense on alert that a superstar could be getting the rock in one of his favored spots on the perimeter, so they begin to react. A quick rip screen changes the dynamic of the action, because suddenly, the defense is switching while still being mindful of Tatum, and then boom, there’s a handoff on the other side of the floor, and Hauser sees some daylight.
Joe Mazzulla is doing a good job of stringing together actions like these, utilizing some of his star talents as decoys, before allowing the role players to shine as they finish off a play.
This one play wasn’t the only good set the Celtics ran against Chicago, but it was certainly one of the most telling — Boston trusts their bench players, and by the looks of it, we should too!