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The Sports Daily > Red's Army
Breakdown: precision & personnel make or break a play

My headline states the obvious: if you don’t have the right guys running a play the right way, the play won’t work as well.

Some might say… “well, how bad can it be?”

The answer is… pretty bad.

In the preseason the Celtics ran this play Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown.

Beautifully executed.

Last night, the Celtics ran the same play with Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye, and Smart.

That was not so good.

Key things to watch:

  • Hayward’s defender vs. Tatum’s defender int he left corner. Hayward’s guy never strays more than a foot away. Tatum’s is much more open and closer to the paint. There’s not enough space.
  • Horford sets the pick in the original play.. a pin-down for Smart. Rozier sets a back pick for Semi this time, but comes up too close to Theis vs. where Smart caught the ball
  • Smart went baseline from the right corner, a different read, but because Rozier didn’t hit the pick and the Tatum defender was withing reacting distance, that really wasn’t there.
  • Theis rolled the basket after setting the follow up pick for Rozier at the top (a future option I included in my original breakdown on Boston.com), but he rolled into the teeth of the defense rather than pop out to three. Why?

This is just a good example of how precise plays have to be in the NBA. A bad read, bad spacing, a bad decision… it can take a beautiful play and turn it into something not as great.