2022 NBA Playoffs Analysis Boston Celtics – It’s time to avenge Irving’s close-up last year!
Even if these players claim to have a good relationship with Irving in private, under the witness of the Boston fans, they will never forget Irving’s final touch in last year’s playoffs…
Celtic record this year:
51 wins and 31 losses (2nd in the East)
In a blink of an eye, the 2021-22 NBA regular season is over, and many young teams have finally realized their potential and squeezed into the playoffs. In addition, the Nets and the Lakers, two powerful teams that formed an army of stars, fell into the play-offs or even were eliminated early due to injuries, running-in and off-court factors.
In fact, the Celtics were the same at the beginning of the season. Before 2022, the Celtics had only a record of 17 wins and 19 losses in 36 games, but after entering 2022, they had an impressive record of 34 wins and 12 losses. , not only once ranked first in the Eastern District (although only for one day), but the number of wins exceeded the 50-win mark, setting a new high in the past four years.
A bittersweet run-in
Double No. 3 picks Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in recent years are likely to be in opposite seasons. Tatum often wants to show off the results of special training too much at the beginning of the season, which leads to playing absurdly. It also affects the rhythm and mechanism of the habit.
Brown will be the other way around. At the beginning of the season, he will be refreshing. At the beginning of the season, he seemed to take over the support and cutting work vacated by Gordon Hayward, and his shooting became softer. The increase in defense intensity and the reduced possession of the ball after Tatum’s condition improved, made his offense have to use more dribbling and breakthrough actions, highlighting his weakness that he has not yet been able to flexibly transform the triple threat of shooting, cutting, and passing.
Before entering 2022, the Green Shirts had a poor record, which made the topic of whether Tatum and Brown should break up once again heatedly discussed in all walks of life. However, winning will cure all diseases. After entering 2022, it will benefit from the weak opponent’s strength, which is conducive to the team’s victory. After running-in, cultivating tacit understanding and winning atmosphere, every player has also found his own role. After defeating a strong team with such momentum, he has become one of the most difficult powers to defeat in 2022.
Key point 1, regain the green Aegis signboard
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New head coach Ime Udoka used to be primarily responsible for the team’s defense in the Sixers and the Nets, and he kept stressing before taking over that he would be committed to rebuilding the Celtics’ defense.
At the beginning of the season, Udoka hoped that the entire team could implement an All Switch strategy, but this strategy did not show positive results, because the individual defense of the green jersey forwards and defenders was not very good.
Almost all but Marcus Smart are easily penetrated, so as long as Robert Williams (later referred to as Rob) or Al Horford is pulled out of the box, the second or even third help will be too late to keep up.
Infinite switching requires good communication and tacit understanding, but the young players in the green shirt army can easily become only staring at the opponent in front of them under such a defensive strategy, as if they have nothing to do after switching, and indirectly deepen the defensive responsibility of the elders. .
Fortunately, the coaching team headed by Udoka gave up the infinite switching after discovering this problem. In addition to changing back to the traditional one-on-one, Rob was also ambushed on the weak side for a long time.
Even if the first line of defense is easily broken through, it can still rely on the interference of other players and Rob’s super wide range of defense capabilities to achieve the effect of protecting the frame.
Udoka’s reshaping of culture, frankly speaking, is not as good as tactics and systems Brad Stevens, but maybe it’s his personality that is good at dealing with players, Smart, Tatum, Brown and others have all regained some of the hard work they have lost in recent years.
At the same time, it will be more courageous to speak out and communicate. The more players on the court can remind and command each other, the positive benefits will naturally be reflected in the data and performance. By the way, it wouldn't be surprising if both Smart and Rob were named Defensive Team of the Year at the end of the season.
Key 2. The use of twin towers and pseudo-twin towers
The biggest difference between Udoka and Stevens is that he played the twin towers that Horford and Rob started with from the start.
Stevens, who advocates three-wing and small-ball formations, likes to position Tatum at the power forward to play his dislocation advantage, but it will cause the team to lose a certain degree of height and rim protection on defense.
According to Basketball Reference, Tatum spent 90 percent and 37 percent of his time at power forward in the first two seasons, but that has been revised down to 32 percent this year.
Although the double-tower array contradicts the modern popularity of the NBA, if you want to play a good defense, you still need to rely on such a defensive system.
Because of RW’s huge mobility and defensive range, Udoka can more confidently let the old Hoford concentrate on the basket. Even if he is pulled to the outside by the opponent, he doesn’t have to worry about him being easily broken through. After all, there are still opportunities in the back. And the moving RW is there.
Such a change has also brought Grant Williams back to his proper growth track. Stevens overemphasized the configuration of 1 guard, 3 wings and 1 long man, resulting in poor physical fitness, a height of only 6 feet 6 inches, and a wingspan of only 6 At 10 inches, he often has to play to center.
Even if he has a very good sense of card position and the concept of raising his hands high, a pair of short arms is still not enough to pose a threat to NBA long men.
But this season, he is often paired with RW or Horford after playing, so that he is no longer just a sacrificial player, but occasionally can rely on his smart head to play the role of a striker on both ends of the offense.
Key point 3. The combination of the Spurs flow and the star-first offense
Read & React is a concept that Udoka and Stevens hope that their children can cultivate, but Stevens must transform into Kyrie Irving, who must be turned into a heads-up because of every wave of attacks, which leads the young soldiers to follow suit. , after getting the ball, he will not give priority to observing the changes on the field, but will first decide his next step after relying on a lot of dribbling and trying singles.
Compared with Stevens, who likes to let the center hold the ball in the high post to pass the hand for the double third, Udoka prefers that the players can cut the pass after getting the ball.
So people like Dennis Schroder get a lot of offense with the ball and benefit from his pick-and-roll ability. But this style of play is not suitable for double thirds who rely more and more on holding the ball.
So he started to follow Stevens’ system in the past, but it is surprising that now Tatum and Brown are more aware of scoring the ball after cutting in, and the players’ peripheral conduction speed has also improved.
Although the assists per game has not yet reached the top, the 14th place in the league this season is still much better than the 25th place in the last two seasons.
In the end, it was the players’ state adjustment. Tatum had 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists before the star game. Behind the seemingly excellent results, there was a terrible three-round shooting rate of 43.4%, 32.9%, 84.8%.
However, just after the All-Star Game, he not only improved his own data to 30.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists, but also significantly revised his shooting percentage to 49.6%, 40%, 86.2%.
As for Brown, although the book data before and after the All-Star Game is not very different, his shooting percentage has increased from 46% to 50.6%, and his three-point shooting percentage has also increased from 35.3% to 37.8%.
Key point 4. Overly conservative scheduling
Although the above has explained the changes and running-in of the Green Shirts throughout the season, a considerable key to the reason why they quickly adjusted their state was due to Udoka's eight players used early in the regular season. Rotation.
Although Stevens has prepared a fairly complete and diverse player list for Udoka, Udoka's scheduling is extremely conservative. From a good point of view, players can cultivate tacit understanding with other teammates for a long time.
Entering the playoffs early; but from a bad point of view, the risk of injury to the players increases, and at the same time, it may also bury the odd soldiers who have no chance, and even fail to provide the same help when they are in danger.
Under such a schedule, the first person to be injured is Rob, who delivered 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 0.9 interceptions and 2.2 blocks this season. In the match against the Grey Wolves on March 27
Unfortunately, he suffered a torn meniscus and is expected to be out of action for 4 to 6 weeks. Although the great god Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that Rob's injury was milder than expected and is expected to come back early,
But at least until the second round of the playoffs, and there is no way to predict whether he will be able to maintain the high-level performance of the regular season after returning to the court.
Although the Celtics after 2022 seem to be unbeatable, their conservative scheduling indirectly shows the best side of the playoffs in front of their opponents.
In addition to worrying about the health of the players, the Celtics should also worry about whether other teams are already looking for strategies to crack the offense and defense. How should the Udoka coaching team, who led the team to the playoffs for the first time, deal with it?
Analysis of the first round of the playoffs
After the Celtics won the second seed in the Eastern Division, their opponent in the first round is the Nets, known as the Hidden King in the Eastern Division.
However, the Green Shirts still strive to win every game. In addition to grabbing the home field advantage, it also shows the high morale of the team. The ultimate goal of every team is to win the championship. It is possible to encounter them, it is better to confront them head-on.
This season, the Celtics and the Nets have played against the Nets 4 times. Among them, the Celtics have achieved 3 wins and 1 loss, and except for the 104:123 defeat at the beginning of the season,
The next 3 victories were all after February. Although the Celtics were on the right track during this period, only 1 of the 3 victories met KD and Irving at the same time, and Tatum scored 54 points in this battle. Just a thrilling victory,
It can be seen that even if the Celtics seem unstoppable in the second half of the season, the Nets double star can still compete with it.
Although the Celtics have home-court advantage and a good current situation, they are still likely to be the most likely combination of the following fouls in the East.
The offensive end is likely to require Tatum and Brown to maintain high-end performances, offset with the double stars, and then compete with the role players of both sides;
On the defensive end, we should consider abandoning double-teaming and assisting defense, and try to cut off the connection between the double star and his teammates. Once KD and Irving can only take care of themselves in every game (although Irving does this every ball), then There is an opportunity to overcome difficulties by relying on team strength.
Without Rob sitting in the penalty area, whether Horford and Theis can make up for a wide range of defense will also become a major focus. Although the experience and 1v1 defense of the two are not necessarily worse than Rob,
However, looking back on the situation when the two teams faced off in the playoffs last year, Rob only played 15.2 minutes per game off the bench, but he was able to hand over 6.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Among them, G1 has a quasi-big three-yuan performance of 11 points, 9 rebounds and 9 blocks, which scared the Nets into a cold sweat.
The Nets could also be quite a problem for the Celtics in the playoffs after they added Andre Drummond in the middle of the season.
Although Drummond's skills are not top-notch except for his ability to master rebounds, his sturdy stature and solid positioning skills are just enough to restrain Horford and Theis.
The aging Horford may not be able to block Drummond's thickness in addition to being responsible for taking care of Durant. Although Theis has excellent physical fitness, he is a bit shorter in height, not to mention Grant on the bench and even Luke Kornet, who may not be able to play. . By the way, don't forget that the Nets also have two veterans, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin.
Prediction of the first round results
4:3 Green shirts advance
Athough such a prediction is partly selfish, considering the activity and good atmosphere of the Celtics in the second half of the season, it is not impossible to beat the Nets.
In addition, even if these players claim to have a good relationship with Irving in private, under the witness of the Boston fans, they will never forget Irving's final kick in the playoffs last year.
Udoka has successfully awakened the memories of young master soldiers this season, reminding them of the importance of defense and teamwork. As long as this momentum and style of play can be maintained, there is bound to be a chance to create surprises.
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