1. No Al Horford. No Malcolm Brogdon. Second night time of a back-to-back with journey (albeit brief), after a recreation of heavy minutes on Sunday. Sloppy first half. Shaky officiating all through the opening two quarters.
This staff simply retains profitable video games. The celebs do what they do. The position gamers play their roles completely. And, when mandatory, somebody sudden at all times steps up.
This was among the best wins of the season, and arguably one of the best one, as a result of Boston overcame all that was listed above. They floor the Toronto Raptors down till that they had nothing left. Toronto made a mini rally late, however Boston obtained this win by doing the stuff the Raptors do. They hit the offensive glass. They compelled turnovers. And Boston did it their approach by hitting well timed photographs and sharing the ball. The Celtics gained by beating Toronto at their very own recreation and by doing what the Celtics do too.
2. It wasn’t a kind of tremendous dominant offensive nights, however the Celtics nonetheless scored 116 factors. A part of how they obtained there was they obtained again to their ball motion methods. Boston tallied 27 assists on 44 baskets. Right here’s a sampling of a number of the good ball and participant motion.
Drive-and-kick and hitting the paint a number of instances ends in good things. Good persistence by Jaylen Brown to not over-drive this ball and to hit the easy floater:
Blake Griffin is an effective passer. He is aware of precisely the place he desires to go together with this ball as quickly as Jayson Tatum kicks it out to him. Derrick White’s confidence as a shooter is sky excessive, so he lets it fly proper off the catch:
Griffin and Brown work some gravity right here. It’s an improvised DHO right into a roll for Griffin. As a result of Toronto had been placing two on the ball on display actions, Fred VanVleet has to drop to take Griffin on the roll. Brown sees it and hits Marcus Sensible for the triple:
NBA video games usually change into ISO-based as a result of defenses lock in and it’s about one of the best gamers making performs. Boston is at their greatest when the ball retains shifting. Drive-and-kick, adopted by one other drive-and-kick, adopted by a fast swing move. That is lovely basketball late within the fourth quarter:
3. Al Horford is an excellent participant and an ideal match for Boston on each ends of the ground. He’s not a rim runner although. Horford does most of his work on pick-and-pop performs lately. With Blake Griffin and Luke Kornet holding down the frontcourt with Horford resting and Rob Williams nonetheless out, the Celtics made a concerted effort to get the bigs concerned on the basket.
If two are on the ball, somebody is open. Fred VanVleet doesn’t wish to go away Jaylen Brown open within the nook. Jayson Tatum places the move proper on Griffin for the simple one on the rim:
One other pick-and-roll and this time it was Jaylen Brown organising Griffin. It is a good move, good catch and a tricky end:
The Raptors don’t change this off-ball display, however Thaddeus Younger is clearly anxious way more about Brown than he’s Kornet. That left the backdoor open for Kornet to complete the alley-oop off a great learn by Brown:
This one got here off a stagger display. It’s one other good move by Brown to Kornet on the delayed roll:
Eight assists for Brown on this one. Even higher? Again-to-back video games with zero turnovers for Brown. That’s big-time stuff.
4. Slightly extra from Blake Griffin, as a result of he performed a terrific recreation for Boston. He’s in all probability not leaping over any extra Kias, however this can be a very explosive end by Griffin for the and-1:
Late within the recreation, the Celtics have been looking for that one bucket to place the Raptors away. Griffin delivered with the tip-in:
13 factors and eight rebounds in 32 minutes for Griffin instead of Al Horford. That’s the veteran depth exhibiting up.
5. Luke Kornet additionally did an amazing job off the Celtics bench. He completed with 11 factors, seven rebounds and a block. That is nice positioning and onerous work by Kornet to get the and-1 off the putback:
Kornet does a great job with the delayed or late roll/minimize to the rim. It is a good move by Derrick White to seek out him too:
Within the second half, Boston solely had two turnovers. One was late within the third quarter and the opposite was early within the fourth quarter. Contemplating the Raptors lead the NBA in forcing opponent’s turnovers and factors off turnovers, that was an enormous accomplishment for the Celtics.
7. The Celtics normally have 4 or 5 gamers on the ground who’re a menace do one thing good with the ball of their palms. That helps their late-clock offense fairly a bit, as a result of virtually everybody could make one thing occur.
The most effective of that bunch is Jayson Tatum. He fairly frequently will get to a great shot. Christian Koloko is 7-foot-1. Doesn’t matter for Tatum on this rise-and-fire step-back three:
8. We’ve written lots about Grant Williams driving closeouts, and we’re going again to it once more. It is a good job to separate the defenders earlier than utilizing his physique to guard the ball for the lefty end at a clumsy angle:
It is a comparable kind of transfer right here. This time Williams will get to the center, however he nonetheless makes use of his physique to protect the ball for the lefty operating hook:
9. Marcus Sensible was again after a one-game absence, and he continues to make a constructive distinction for Boston. That is the DPOY making a kind of “cobra strike” steals, whereas additionally being screened. From there, Sensible is the primary to the ground and by some means will get it forward to Jayson Tatum to get a few free throws:
There’s strolling the canine after which there’s WALKING THE DOG:
And that resulted on this on the backend:
10. The Boston Celtics are 20-5.
The 2021-22 Celtics gained their 20th recreation on January 10 to enhance their document to 20-21 on the common season midway level.
This model of the Celtics is on a roll. They’ve gained the primary two video games of their six-game street journey, by taking good care of Atlantic Division rivals. Now, Boston heads west to face the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, LA Clipper and Los Angeles Lakers. These are 4 powerful video games. If Boston might come out of that stretch 2-2, it’d be nice.
However there’s no approach these Celtics are pondering that approach in any respect. It’s about going 1-0 at Phoenix on Wednesday. That’s it. Nothing extra. One recreation, and one win, at a time.