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How ‘Bout Them Celtics: Post-ups are king and the perfect Celtics offensive possession

Boston took down Brooklyn and the offense is looking crisp.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

And we are back with another edition of HBTC Tri-Weekly.

The Boston Celtics took down the Brooklyn Nets, Derrick White is (almost certainly) having another kid, and Luke Kornet finally cooked.

Sam’s Pick: Post-ups rule

Through five games (all wins, don’t worry about it), the Celtics have had the NBA’s best offense with an offensive rating of 124.7, which is 4.9 points clear of the second-best Dallas Mavericks.

The calling card for Boston since Joe Mazzulla took oven, and even before that, has been three-point attempts. However, they’ve added another wrinkle to their scheme this season by incorporating post-ups into the offense. More specifically, Jayson Tatum has gotten to work and improved his game out of the post and it’s worked wonders.

His overall playstyle has become more efficient, with his splits increasing from 46.6/35.0 last season to 55.0/45.2 through these five games. The quality of shots he’s getting has gotten much better and because he’s playing out of the post more, he’s having an easier time setting up his talented cast of teammates. Instead of flying down the lane to draw multiple defenders, all Tatum has to do is catch the ball on the block to make the opposing team uncomfortable.

The offensive firepower that the Cs have out there around Tatum or anyone else operating out of the post, makes it impossible for defenses to overhelp on any mismatch.

Jack’s Pick: The perfect Celtics offensive possession

All the Celtics have done this season is win. At 5-0, they are the only undefeated team in the NBA, and while there have been a couple of close calls, Boston has, for the most part, gotten by on the sheer talent of their roster.

In most cases, relying on mismatches for consistent offense is impossible. It’s a concept oft-saved for the postseason. But with how many high-level players the Celtics employ, they can effectively seek out mismatches on every possession and turn it into a constant source of offense.

Watch this play, initiated by a beautiful entry pass by Jrue Holiday to Jaylen Brown:

Brown finds himself guarded by Cam Thomas, a subpar defender, and he draws two on the ball. He then immediately whips the ball to Al Horford, who swings it to Jayson Tatum. Tatum drives to the rim, and the ball finds Holiday, the guy who started with it, for a wide-open three.

Holiday missed the three, but focus on the process, not the result.

What started as a simple mismatch turned into a wide-open three because of how much talent the Celtics have on the court. The Nets can’t afford to leave Brown in a one-on-one situation with Thomas, but as soon as they send help, the Celtics are talented enough to make the right read and create an open shot.

This possession is what every Celtics possession should look like.


Those were just a few of the main talking points from Sunday’s podcast. Also featured were Aaron Nesmith’s motivation after leaving the Celtics, the NBA In-Season Tournament, and the famous “Rat List.”

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