We all know how good the Boston Celtics are on defense, the best in the league to be sure. Their defense is so good that at times we undervalue their offense. The dribble drive offense was all the rage last year, but the Celtics have moved beyond it (though they still use some drive and kick principles). They rely a lot more on ball screens and a rotating 2-man PNR. Against the Pacers last night, I took some offensive sequences from the OT session,

Rotating PNR:

In some ways, it is very similar to what Kansas ran most of last year with a little mix of flex screens. They usually start out in a 1-2-2 set. The left corner vacates along the baseline to the opposite corner, to eventually set a baseline screen for O3. O4 (Garnett) comes to set a screen for O1 (Rondo). O1 uses the screen to either get to the rim. O3 doesn't cross until he sees what O1 is doing,

If O1 cannot get to the rim, he dribbles out to wing, then he reverses the ball back to Garnett on the pop out. If Garnett is open, he can shoot the jumper (which he does a lot). O5 drops down and sets a downscreen for O2. O2 comes up to receive the pass from O4.

O2 can shoot it if open (as Ray Allen does in one of the sequences). Otherwise, O5 (Perkins) rolls to the basket and O2 finds him on the basket cut.

The last video sequence showed basically 2 PNRs in succession resulting in a Ray Allen 3-pointer as the Pacers get caught going underneath the screen.


I think this offense better compliments the Celtics players than the dribble drive motion offense. Pierce is a great midrange shooter as is Garnett. Ray Allen is great coming off screens. Rondo is quick but he usually needs a screen to beat his defender. Their very efficient offense combined with their league-best defense means that they will be nearly unbeatable again this year. With the Lakers playing as well as they are, we are poised for a Lakers v Celtics Part II in June.

For more skill development info from a Celtics Assistant Coach, check outKevin Eastman's DVD on his 6 Keys to Skill Development. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.