Three things from Celtics-Pelicans - CelticsBlog

Three things from Celtics-Pelicans – CelticsBlog


After two straight losses, the Boston Celtics got back on track on Saturday night with a 104-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. They gave up 37 points in the first quarter but held the Pelicans to just 55 over the course of the next three frames.

Boston’s offense was far from perfect, but despite the low scoring number, there were a few things that should bring hope for growth (especially late in games).

That said, let’s look at some fun clips.

Boston Celtics v New Orleans Pelicans

Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

1. Brown-Porzingis switch-ups

Derrick White brings the ball up on this play and feeds Jaylen Brown after he comes off a Kristaps Porzingis screen. Trey Murphy III got completely blown up by the pick, giving Brown room to drive and Porzingis time to slip behind Jonas Valanciunas.

That alone is a great play. It puts Brown in a position to either get an easy floater or find Porzingis in the paint, depending on what the drop big decides to do.

But what happens a couple of possessions later is what makes the duo of Brown and Porzingis so lethal.

The action is set up in a very similar way, but this time, on the opposite side of the floor and with Jrue Holiday as the ball-handler. However, Murphy reads it this time as he goes under Porzingis’ screen. But Brown sees it.

Instead of accepting the screen and driving, he pulls back, bringing the ball out to the three-point line. He drives toward the baseline instead of the to the middle of the floor, and once Murphy follows him, Porzingis is left open for a three.

It doesn’t drop, but this is a great example of how good Brown has become at reading and reacting to what defenses are giving him.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

2. White-Porzingis offense

There isn’t much analysis needed here. This is the offense that needs to happen at the end of games. No isolations. No dribbling out the clock. Just let White handle the ball, have Porzingis (or Jayson Tatum) set a screen, and watch magic happen.

Porzingis screens off CJ McCollum, forcing Zion Williamson to press up for a moment. So, when Porzingis rolls, Murphy tries to stunt and recover, but it leaves Brown too much time in the corner.

On this one, Porzingis goes to set a screen, but White rejects it. This leaves McCollum in no-man’s land, as he was anticipating the pick. He and Herb Jones end up double-teaming White on the drive, and by the time he kicks it back out to Porzingis, the Pelicans are in full scramble mode.

Porzingis ends up driving into open space and finding an open Brown under the hoop.

And to switch it up, White doesn’t even always need to be the one initiating the play.

Here, Porzingis posts up Jones on the wing, and White comes over to get the ball. Jones is forced to stick with Porzingis on the roll, and White gets a one-on-one drive against McCollum. That’s easy money.

More of this. All of this. Crunch time? White and Porzingis.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

3. Third quarter defense

The Celtics’ defense in the third quarter rocked.

New Orleans scored 11 points. Eleven. They made four field goals. Four.

After Williamson ran all over them in the first quarter, Boston switched up their game plan. At the core of it? Treat Larry Nance Jr. like Ben Simmons.

These two clips are a continuation of the same possession, so watch both back-to-back.

Porzingis completely ignores Nance’s existence above the three-point line, allowing the Celtics to stuff the paint. Even as McCollum and Nance clear the floor for Williamson, Boston remains laser-focused on the paint.

By the time Williamson gets into his shot for an attempt, there are three bodies completely focused on him. He misses his first shot, gets the board, and gets sent to the shadow realm by Porzingis.

This is the type of defense Boston should be playing at all times. Especially once the playoffs roll around. Connected, communicating at all times, and completely locked in.


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