Thursday, December 08, 2005


High Post Offense Sucks, Pierce Apparently Doesn’t

Having watched a full year of Doc’s “motion” offense, a fraud consisting of no set play that disintegrated into isolation for Pierce or Ricky while the remainder of the team watched from spots on the floor that prevented them from getting an offensive rebound, I am very happy to see the Celtics run set plays. I am no expert on basketball offensive plays, but this year’s staple seems to be a high post set that puts the ball in the hands of the four or five at the elbow to face the basket and distribute to either wing for an open shot or drive to the hoop.

On paper, the play is solid. The PG gets the ball to the 4 or 5 at the foul line extended, while a series of picks and cuts for the scorers to drive into an opened lane (post defenders having been brought to the perimeter by design). If nothing presents itself, get the ball to the 2 or 3 and run a pick and roll.

Either by poor execution, or poor players, this play NEVER seems to result in a cut to the basket for the Celtics. Stymied by option 1, we then run the pick and roll. The play must work in practice, since apparently no one on the Celtics is capable of defending a play as old as Bea Arthur’s cunt. However, most NBA coaches have devised ways to disrupt the play, and have imparted that knowledge onto their players. So again, either by good defense, poor offensive execution or poor players, the ball never gets to the “roller.” More often than not, the picker aborts his drive and pops out a few feet beyond the lane. Now, it’s everybody for themselves, and with the shot clock under 10, we’re back to “motion” offense.

I have grown to hate this play, particularly when AJ is in the game. I don’t like AJ with the ball on the perimeter – I don’t even like him on the perimeter. Notice when an outside shot goes up, rather than fight for position, he stares at the ball mid-flight. The play is for a soft and goofy center who can hit a 15-footer. The high post should not be run unless he is in the game (and therefore hopefully rare).

During the first quarter against Houston, I saw a play I haven’t seen in a while with this team. West got the ball immediately down to Perk, who was already in position on the block. Perk calmly assessed his options while West’s defender cheated a bit. Perk to West, West to Pierce as the defense shifted, Pierce to a wide open Ricky (who unfortunately missed the shot). Simple and beautiful.

Because of a long line of mediocre big men who fancy themselves outside shooters, the C’s haven’t had an inside-out game for years. In AJ and Perk, we have traditional post players filling traditional roles. Throw out the high-post page in the play-book, put the post players, get this, in the post. Stop wasting all this time exchanging the ball without purpose on the perimeter. Get the ball down low in the post, flair out with the wings and move without the ball. I believe it’s called a simple “stack” offense that has worked for years.

Solid win by the Celts last night. They really needed it, because they may not win another until 2006. Seriously.

Player of the Game – Paul Pierce. Eventually I’m going to have to do a huge blow job article on Pierce. He really is playing great. Good shots, good ball movement, excellent on the boards. When he was blocked by Mason in the first quarter, got the ball back and leveled him for an offensive foul, I thought “here comes Evil Pierce.” Last year he would have punched him in the nuts, whined to the refs that all-stars don’t get blocked cleanly, screamed to his teammates to just give him the ball, and called Danny a cracka while finalizing his post-games plans to hit on someone’s girlfriend and get stabbed. But no, he calmed himself down and played a solid game.

Might I have to change my name? Not when Kool-Aid drinkers are making him an MVP candidate. Tommy said last night that Pierce wasn’t just an “All-Star,” but an “All-Pro.” What does that even mean?

Hamcock – aka Worst Celtic of the Game – Raef LaFrentz. Look out, second game in a row for the man who receives by far the most slack on the team. Raef is as cold as my wife after I bought her a vacuum on Mother’s Day, just brutal shooting (5-25 from the field in the last four games). Lends the question, if Raef can’t shoot, what does he bring to the table beside the fact he isn’t Scalabrine? Hamcock voting was closer than you may think though, as Blount’s 4 rebounds in 34 minutes warrants attention.

In a transparent nod to the contributors and posters of CelticsDoom, both Tommy and Mike said “high, hard one.” I think they were referring to passes, but it seemed obvious that they were just trying to work it in the broadcast for us. Bravo, guys.

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