Even though he’s just a few years into his NBA coaching career, Brad Stevens is already a master in late game situations. Last night in the Celtics’ game against the Pacers, those late game tactical skills were once again put to the test.
With the Pacers up 98-93 and just 90 seconds remaining, the Celtics needed a basket, and quick. We’ll start with David Lee controlling the ball at the top of the key.
The Celtics are spread out in a five-out formation, creating excellent spacing. Everyone but Lee is a capable three-point shooter, making it difficult for the Pacers to help off their man.
As Avery Bradley cuts down to initiate the action, Jae Crowder cuts up to the wing to replace him. Lee then dribbles over to the wing and executes a dribble handoff with Crowder.
As Crowder makes his way to the top of the key to replace Lee, Lee cuts down to set a screen for Bradley, who sprints up to the wing.
Once there, Bradley receives the pass from Crowder with plenty of room to operate. After a pump fake, he steps back into a three that cuts the Celtics’ deficit to just two.
Not once during the play do any of the three Celtics involved stop moving. The constant action and multiple screens leave the Pacers frenzied. It’s a rather simple play, but the Celtics execute it perfectly.