An ideal escape: 10 Takeaways from Boston Celtics-San Antonio Spurs


1. The thought of “unhealthy wins” and “good losses” is form of a humorous one. In the long run, they nonetheless rely the identical as a daily win or a daily loss, however we’ll nonetheless assign the occasional outcome a title of unhealthy or good.

So, with all that mentioned, this was a nasty win for the Boston Celtics.

The San Antonio Spurs have been down three starters. After an incredible begin, the place it seemed just like the Celtics discovered some classes from the debacle in Oklahoma Metropolis earlier within the week, it become a back-and-forth shootout of a sport.

Probably the most worrying a part of how Boston received? It felt like time simply kind of ran out on the Spurs. The Celtics went into that excessive slowdown, kill-the-clock fashion of play with round 6:00 to go and an 11-point lead.

It’s not utilizing the clock that’s unhealthy. You are able to do that. It’s not even the “strolling the canine” stuff. You are able to do that too. It’s how they use the clock and what comes after they stroll the canine. The place issues break down is after one move, the place Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown maintain the ball, with everybody else rooted to their spot. There’s no ball or participant motion. The opponents know this, so that they load to the ball and ship the additional defender when Tatum or Brown commonly should dribble right into a late-clock shot.

That is hardly a brand new factor. It actually popped up within the bubble on the finish of the 2020 season. That was considerably excusable. Tatum and Brown have been studying how you can shut video games. Gordon Hayward was damage and Kemba Walker wasn’t himself. But it surely carried over to final season, and it seems to nonetheless be a factor this 12 months.

There have been a variety of good issues from this sport, and we’ll begin overlaying them now. However that protection comes with a lingering unhealthy style in our mouths, like a nasty dessert after meal.

2. This house talked about it not mattering if Rob Williams begins or not, as long as we see loads of the lineup that dominated final season as a beginning group.

We’re altering course now…Williams ought to most likely begin.

The Celtics must get off to raised begins. Williams can assist with that. He’s been so good on each ends of the ground, however particularly with reworking the protection.

This play sums up the Timelord expertise. There aren’t many different facilities within the NBA that may pull off this sequence:

Williams brings that end-to-end bounce that nobody else on Boston has:

Williams can be a terrific passer from the excessive publish:

He’s additionally nice within the halfcourt protection, particularly with Boston having perimeter breakdown after perimeter breakdown:

3. Becoming a member of Rob Williams in a giant effort off the bench was Malcolm Brogdon. The Celtics huge offseason acquisition bought off to an incredible begin this season, then slumped in mid-December. That coincided with Boston’s hunch within the standings. Now, Brogdon is popping it round during the last week and discovering his type.

Brogdon is neither quick nor sluggish. He’s bought common footspeed, however he’s superb about enjoying with nice private tempo. He’s the very best the Celtics have had at that ability since Gordon Hayward. This play is an efficient instance. Brogdon isn’t precisely pushing in transition right here, till he makes use of slightly burst to beat his man for the layup:

Groups have gotten comfy with bigs switching onto Brogdon due to his current hunch. This shot is an indication Brogdon is getting it collectively:

Brogdon and Williams haven’t performed collectively all that a lot, however the veteran guard and massive man are beginning to determine it out collectively:

Together with his confidence flowing once more, this an incredible pull from Brogdon late within the shot clock:

4. It was a cheerful homecoming for Derrick White. With Marcus Sensible leaving as a result of damage within the second half, White took over as the principle playmaker. He completed with a strong all-around stat-line of eight factors, 5 rebounds, 11 assists and three blocks.

On the block entrance, White is so good on the “from behind” block the place the defender thinks he has him crushed:

Late within the sport, White made a bunch of these profitable performs the Celtics normally get from Sensible. First was White hanging for this end by means of some contact:

A minute or so later, White got here up with one other huge block from behind:

With the intention to pull this play off, it’s important to be extraordinarily conscious of the clock, and it’s important to have the heart to throw the move vs taking the shot. White is on it right here, as he lobbed to Rob Williams because the clock expired:

5. Total, this was displaying for the “different” Celtics. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown mixed for 63 factors, however that’s not precisely surprising. That’s proper in vary of what they do nightly. The bench tallied 41 factors, with Malcolm Brogdon and Rob Williams main the way in which, together with Sam Hauser trying higher. And Derrick White, who is actually the “further” starter most video games, put collectively his strong all-around night time.

If we really feel assured that the celebs will do their issues, and we must be assured in that, it’s the others producing that should occur. That was a daily incidence in the course of the red-hot begin to the season. Hopefully it’s making a reemergence right here in 2023.

6. When Jayson Tatum is in rhythm as a shooter, he hits a variety of threes with out dribbling. On this sport, Tatum hit 4 triples with no single bounce of the ball.

Catch, flip, rise and shoot:

Boston can get so much out of Tatum as a screener, particularly as he’s different what he does after screening. The protection is anticipating him to make the rim run, however Tatum pops towards the drop:

That is only a excellent in rhythm jumper as Tatum pops out behind the Al Horford roll down the lane:

Jayson Tatum has traditionally picked up his play within the new 12 months. This kind of huge scoring effort, on good capturing, could be the primary of many we see over the ultimate 40+ video games.

7. Jaylen Brown was all pace and energy. If he couldn’t go round you, he was going to undergo you. That’s nonetheless there for Brown. He nonetheless makes these performs. However he’s added a lot craft to his scoring too.

This drive is an efficient instance of not attempting to energy over somebody however utilizing ability. Brown will get the place he desires after which makes use of his physique to protect the defender from the ball:

If Brown has a signature shot, it’s one of many subsequent two. First, we’ll supply the paint fallaway, which Brown will get to a couple occasions per sport:

The opposite is Brown’s midrange pullup, which is so pure now:

A type of two pictures is what we consider now with Jaylen Brown, together with the occasional throwdown on somebody’s head.

8. We hammer the purpose in regards to the stars working away from the ball to get buckets, as a result of it makes their lives simpler as scorers. Tatum slipping screens will get Boston not less than one or two baskets per sport:

This was a type of delayed ATO units from Boston. It got here after a Spurs ran their play following a timeout. The Celtics then went into some misdirection with Jaylen Brown slicing from the nook earlier than Malcolm Brogdon dropped the dime:

9. Talking of ATO units, this was a good looking name from Joe Mazzulla. The Celtics need to get the ball to their star for the go-ahead hoop, whereas additionally preserving the 2-for-1. Jayson Tatum will get it with nice spacing. The Spurs can’t ship a second defender with out leaving somebody open. And Tatum goes shortly to get an incredible search for what was in the end the game-winner:

10. Circling again to our opener…a win is a win. All of them rely the identical whenever you have a look at the standings, regardless of how ugly or unhealthy they have been.

Of speedy concern is the damage to Marcus Sensible. It looks as if a comparatively minor knee bruise, in order that’s a aid. We should always know extra afterward Sunday or Monday.

After Sensible, the subsequent concern is a troublesome stretch of video games this week. The Chicago Bulls have been enjoying higher as of late, they usually appear to have one thing for the Celtics over the previous few years. Even again at house on Monday, that may possible be a wild one. Then it’s a back-to-back set towards the New Orleans Pelicans (at house) and the Brooklyn Nets (on the street). This a powerful group of opponents for Boston to check in the event that they’ve actually figured issues out or not.



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