Throughout the first six games of the first round seven game series between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls, I've been surprised to see the poor defensive coverage by the Celtics on critical inbounds plays in the fourth quarter. If the game is close again -- as it should be if the first six games are any indication -- inbounds defense could once again become a major factor.

Certainly the Bulls have run good inbounds plays, but I don't think they've run anything revolutionary that would cause the Celtics to falter. It has been more a function of the Celtics poor defensive coverage that has resulted in the following lapses.

This first one is from Game 5. The infamous play where Rondo was not called for the flagrant foul for clothes-lining Miller from behind. The play begins innocently enough. It's a screen for Derrick Rose by Brad Miller. However, both Celtics defenders chase Rose leaving Miller open.

This sequence, taken from Game 6, is just a screen by Heinrich. Again, both Celtics defenders go for the screened player, leaving Heinrich all alone with an open lane to the basket (which he misses, or Rondo interferes),

Very simple plays, should be very simple defensive coverage. Have a plan (hard switch, go under, etc...), and communicate on all screens.


It's always a toss up in Game 7. The home team has the advantages, but the Bulls have won in Boston already in this series, and all the games have been close. That means, the game will likely come down to 1 or 2 possessions. The Celtics have shown defensive lapses on the inbounds coverage, will it come back to bite them once again?? Who knows, stay tuned, Game 7 goes tonight...

For some more great info on special teams and special situations, take a look at Tom Crean's DVD on Winning Late Game Strategies. Coach Crean of course is the new head coach for Indiana University. As always, be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.


  1. Bradpetehoops  

    May 5, 2009 at 9:00 PM

    Awesome analysis.