Playbook: Celtics broke the game open because they got high

Playbook: Celtics broke the game open because they got high

Red's Army

Playbook: Celtics broke the game open because they got high


Things didn’t look good in the 3rd quarter last night. The Bulls had suddenly figured out a way to frustrate the Celtics again. But then things changed…


We were gonna go down 3-1… but then we got high
We were gonna go one-and done… but then we got high
Now we’re tied going back home… and I know whyyyyy
Because we got high…
Because we got high…
Because we got high…

Of course, I’m talking about the Celtics pick-setting, which they started setting super high on the court… and it got Isaiah Thomas “downhill” as he said a few times after the game. Let’s look at some examples.

Isaiah is standing the Bull’s nostril here. Horford drops Canaan with the pick and IT just gets to rise up over the retreating Portis.

This starts just as high and it really shows the purpose of starting the play way out there. As we just saw, Isaiah will rise up for the 3 without hesitation, so Lopez can’t just sag. Chicago has packed the paint a ton this series trying to negate Isaiah’s finishing ability. With the play starting so high Lopez now finds himself having to guard Thomas on the perimeter.

That’s bad.

Caught flat-footed, Isaiah blows by him. He finishes really strong over Mirotic, but he also has a very wide open Al Horford for 3 if he wants it.

A little misdirection, then a change of direction and Isaiah’s got the whole Bulls D flummoxed. By the time he’s at the foul line, he’s got three defenders behind him. Again, it takes an amazing finish but that’s what IT does, and he’s got Crowder flying in to put back a miss.

Now the Celtics have shown Chicago a couple of looks to get Isaiah free. The stagger screen, which they didn’t use quite as much this time, and now the super-high pick and roll. Moving those few feet up on the court gave Isaiah a lot of room to use his speed and quickness to either out-run or out-maneuver defenders.

It’s yet another wrinkle in the playbook that Chicago has to account for, and like the last one, I don’t think they have the personnel. If the C’s go back to this again and Chicago overreacts, expect a bunch of kick-outs to shooters. Granted, the Celtics haven’t shot particularly well in this series, but I’ll take my chances with Boston’s shooters at home with as much space as this creates.

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