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Friday, August 29, 2014

Seven Seconds or Mess: Webisode 13

Yesterday’s game against Boston was obviously the team’s strongest defensive effort all season. In this episode I try to show how the Knicks kept the Celtics out of the paint and off the baseline.

11 comments on “Seven Seconds or Mess: Webisode 13

  1. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Great analysis! You’re 100% right about Jeffries playing guards. The Knicks dared Rondo to beat them from outside, and he was unable to do it. With a guard that can hit from outside, Jeffries is less effective. During the last year or two, we’ve had a lot of discussions about offenses playing 4 on 5 (Balkman, Lee pre-jumper). It appeared to be the case against Boston.

    So Gian – quick question – if you’re the Celtics, what do you do? It seems that when Rondo got the ball back it was too late in the shot clock. Could it be that dumping it into Garnett then finding Rondo open earlier in the shot clock would have thwarted this defense? Or perhaps isolating Rondo with Jeffries and allowing him to drive to the hoop?

    Or what I always learned on the court – when your guy doubles – cut to the hoop. Hence either you’re open for a layup or someone else has to leave his man to cover you in the lane – providing an opening on the perimeter.

    Thoughts?

  2. Dan Panorama

    I seem to recall Al Harrington drove Steve Nash crazy earlier this season guarding him. There may be something to this tall guys guarding point guards approach.

  3. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    So Gian – quick question – if you’re the Celtics, what do you do? It seems that when Rondo got the ball back it was too late in the shot clock. Could it be that dumping it into Garnett then finding Rondo open earlier in the shot clock would have thwarted this defense? Or perhaps isolating Rondo with Jeffries and allowing him to drive to the hoop?

    Or what I always learned on the court – when your guy doubles – cut to the hoop. Hence either you’re open for a layup or someone else has to leave his man to cover you in the lane – providing an opening on the perimeter.

    Thoughts?

    Yeah I’ve been trying to think of their options because they stubbornly kept feeding the post even though it drew an immediate double each time. The Celtics were at their best when Pierce was isolated at the top and pulled up for foul line jumpers. No surprise there cause he should get whatever he wants on either Q or Chandler.

    I would’ve liked to see Rondo isolated like you said. It probably wouldn’t have been effective with Jeffries playing five feet off him but he’s gotta have his shot because so much of their offense depends on his penetration.

    In the clip starting at 2:34 in this video, you see Rondo cut and Duhon pick him up leaving Tony Allen open. Luckily he was 2-9 FG. I think Doc should’ve gone with Rondo and House instead. You also see what would’ve happened if they went high PnR. Since a big was on Rondo, the defenders would’ve just switched each time with no pressure of going over the screen because Rondo wouldn’t have shot the jumper.

  4. d-mar

    Great clips, Glen. What really strikes me is the excellent help D the Knicks played, but not the kind of double teaming that leaves shooters wide open. I guess it helps when the opposition has a point guard who can’t shoot, but I was most impressed with the defensive rotations and the really aggressive double teams they threw at KG. He actually looked flustered more than a few times.

  5. khandor

    The offensive key for the Celtics, to effectively counter what the Knicks were doing here, is the floor location they consistently choose for Rondo once the ball is entered into the Low Post.

    If they send him to the Weak Side Wing/Corner this plays into the Defense’s hands.

    If they send him to the Top Of The Key [TOTK] Position this does not.

    From the TOTK, if the ball is kicked-out to him, Rondo’s job would become … to drive it straight to the rack.

    A. If no help comes, he will finish at the rim.
    B. If a secondary rotating player comes [not Rondo's initial defender who in some cases went to double in the post] then when Rondo drives & kicks he will an open legit “shooter” in a spot on the Weak Side of the floor [i.e. Allen-R or Pierce].

    The key for the C’s is getting RR positioned consistently at the TOTK, not on the Weak Side Wing/Corner.

  6. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    Great clips, Glen.

    Glen?

    The offensive key for the Celtics, to effectively counter what the Knicks were doing here, is the floor location they consistently choose for Rondo once the ball is entered into the Low Post.

    If they send him to the Weak Side Wing/Corner this plays into the Defense’s hands.

    If they send him to the Top Of The Key [TOTK] Position this does not.

    From the TOTK, if the ball is kicked-out to him, Rondo’s job would become … to drive it straight to the rack.

    A. If no help comes, he will finish at the rim.
    B. If a secondary rotating player comes [not Rondo's initial defender who in some cases went to double in the post] then when Rondo drives & kicks he will an open legit “shooter” in a spot on the Weak Side of the floor [i.e. Allen-R or Pierce].

    The key for the C’s is getting RR positioned consistently at the TOTK, not on the Weak Side Wing/Corner.

    Exactly. Even as a Knicks fan, it was so frustrating to see Rondo swing weakside and make himself even less of a factor.

  7. Owen

    Read this from Kevin Pelton (whose quote is by the door of this site) over at Basketball Prospectus, thought I would attach it to this thread. Always love his stuff. One thing in particular made me think of this thread. Pelton writes at the end, per Doc Rivers comment, that if you can’t hit a jumpshot, like Rondo, you can still drive it to the hole when left open and either attack the hoop or dish it. Very very interesting analysis overall of the games of Harris, Rondo, and Nelson, who he judges to be the three best points in the East. And for those of us thinking about Wilson Chandler and how he can improve his game, there is definitely some food for thought.

    Here is the link, followed by the excerpt.

    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=492

    “From this chart, it’s easy to see how each of the three players have changed their game this season. Harris is getting to the free-throw line much more often, Nelson has been lights-out from long range and Rondo has been unstoppable in the paint.

    Celtics coach Doc Rivers spoke to this transformation Sunday after one of Rondo’s worst games–1-of-7 shooting in a loss to the Knicks–saying, “Just because someone gives you a jump shot doesn’t mean you have to take it. I think that’s been his biggest improvement.”

    Rondo got to the bucket a lot last year, but has been unparalleled in this respect this year. There are plenty of players around the league taking more than 60 percent of their shots in the paint, but they are almost exclusively big men. The only other perimeter player at 60 percent or above is Rondo’s teammate, Tony Allen. The next best point guard is Oklahoma City rookie Russell Westbrook, at 49 percent. On top of that, Rondo’s 71.7 percent shooting in the lane ranks fourth in the league. The combination has made up for the fact that Rondo is actually shooting the jumper much, much worse than he did a year ago.

    Teams have used various different strategies to combat Rondo and take advantage of his poor shooting. In the Finals and again on Christmas Day, the Lakers used Kobe Bryant on Rondo, allowing Bryant to roam the floor and offer double-team help. The Knicks matched 6’11″ forward Jared Jeffries against Rondo, along the lines of the defense I suggested earlier against Harris, and the result was a rough night. Rivers’ comment was in the context of encouraging his young point guard to continue to drive even with such a matchup.

    Though I didn’t have the chance to watch the Knicks/Celtics tilt, I think Rivers has a solid point. He noted that playing off a player allows them time to get a running start, and it helps Rondo here that he does as much of his driving off of passes as off the dribble. With Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett as ballhandlers, the Celtics use Rondo on the weak side as much as any true point guard is used there. The result is that Rondo is frequently catching the ball in what would be a catch-and-shoot situation for most players (like Nelson, for one) but is for him a chance to drive against a defense that is rotating and out of position.

    Going back to the chart, the other thing that strikes me is how Rondo and Harris put up their production in very different manners despite relatively similar skill sets. Despite taking a much higher percentage of his shots in the paint, Rondo gets to the line much less frequently than Harris does. Naturally, there’s a close relationship between percentage of shots in the paint and foul-drawing percentage. If you use this trendline to predict foul-drawing from inside shots, no player in the league outperforms his expectation more than Harris. Meanwhile, Rondo has taken fewer free throws than expected, but has made up for it by finishing better than Harris in the paint.”

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