Boston was up 20-0 in quick break factors and smoking the Hawks in transition. In line with Cleansing the Glass, they have been including 14 factors per 100 possessions with their transition buckets, serving to increase the offensive flooring as they appeared on monitor for a victory. They then managed simply 4 quick break factors within the second half, underscoring the brutal late-game stagnation viewers have acknowledged all too effectively from the common season.
Coach Joe Mazzulla even referenced the unfavorable tempo shift that led to the loss in his postgame presser.
“I believe it’s extra we simply misplaced our tempo a little bit bit on the offensive finish — partly on, you recognize, me making an attempt to verify we run an excellent play,” Mazzulla mentioned. “And we talked about taking part in quicker down the stretch, and I assumed we simply misplaced a few of our tempo, which allowed them to stress us and get into passing lanes.”
Tempo isn’t a brand new enchancment space with this Celtics staff (or previous groups). Throughout the common season, they bought out in transition on simply 13.8% of their performs, tied for the fourth-lowest price within the NBA. Nevertheless, Boston was a good twelfth within the league in transition scoring effectivity, but it surely hardly mattered as a result of the staff hardly ever sought out these probabilities.
Boston’s elite, third-ranked halfcourt offense put up 103.4 factors per 100 possessions within the common season; their middling transition offense was nonetheless far simpler (127.5).
Pushing the tempo isn’t a magic ticket to success. The Philadelphia 76ers simply swept the Brooklyn Nets whereas hardly engaging in something on quick breaks. However among the many prime eight playoff groups most ceaselessly getting out in transition, seven (the Lakers, Kings, Knicks, Suns, Warmth, Hawks, and Grizzlies) have superior to the following spherical or a minimum of pushed their sequence to 6 video games.
The Celtics struggled to take action by 4 video games, after which within the first half of Recreation 5, they placed on a clinic.
Boston picked up one steal in all the contest. Once they succeeded in transition, they beat the Hawks after misses. Jaylen Brown will get out and working shortly right here, and as soon as he notices no Hawks protection behind De’Andre Hunter, he assaults the matchup. Brown decisively went at perceived mismatches for a lot of the recreation, additionally blowing previous guys like Jalen Johnson and Clint Capela together with his downhill pace and energy.
Lower than three minutes later, Brown will get a really related alternative, working down the best facet of the ground with a guard (Derrick White) in entrance of him and a mismatch (Trae Younger) instantly forward. This time, Brown sees that John Collins and Capela hustled to supply assist inside. He attracts in Younger and makes a fast move to White for a simple nook three.
Enjoying with tempo can tilt the scales even once they have the numbers benefit. It usually locks mismatches into place as a result of defenses don’t have time to set assignments. When Boston areas the ground effectively in transition — which it usually does — the driving and kicking choices appear easy.
A teamwide dedication to working in transition makes a foul defensive effort look even uglier. The clip above reveals a 5-on-1 quick break the place all 5 Celtics are sprinting to overwhelm poor Hunter, the one Atlanta participant again. It’s a lopsided scenario the place a lot of the Hawks have been in a troublesome spot to catch up, however Boston additionally capitalized.
Within the second half, significantly once they shifted into clock-management mode, the Celtics stopped making use of stress.
Mazzulla mentioned he might need referred to as too many set performs. Whereas it’s nonetheless on the offense to execute, emphasizing units would logically shift the main target from attacking what’s instantly in entrance of the staff to ready for the possession to unfold.
Jayson Tatum’s late turnover — which already comes from a reset with solely 12 seconds left on the shot clock — is an instance. He’s ready for Derrick White to chop into area and see if White or Jaylen Brown get open in consequence. It’s just like a play that labored earlier within the quarter. The Hawks know what’s coming, although, which is why Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic are leaping as much as block the move.
When Tatum will get the ball, he has an apparent alternative to bodily overwhelm Bogdanovic and Younger on the sturdy facet. However he waits to let the play unfold and it results in a turnover.
Boston didn’t get many alternatives to run off of misses and steals late as a result of Atlanta merely made a ton of photographs. However tempo additionally has worth within the halfcourt: attacking weaker defenders, in search of out benefits and forcing defenses into rotation. The Celtics didn’t hit these vitality ranges, and the Hawks stepped up their defensive depth, and the sport misplaced management.
It is a good transition staff. Tatum, Brown, White, Marcus Sensible and Malcolm Brogdon have all demonstrated they are often trusted to drive on a protection, within the open flooring or not, and make the best determination. It’s on the collective unit to recollect and end off the spherical with spirit.