NBA Hoops

Another step closer: 10 Takeaways from Celtics/Hornets

Another step closer: 10 Takeaways from Celtics/Hornets

#1 Sam Hauser’s movement

Sam Hauser shot 7-of-11 from deep against the Charlotte Hornets. A lot of his buckets came via off-ball movement, specifically “shaking,” — which is a fancy way of saying he cut out of the corner toward the wing or the baseline.

I’ll probably say this a dozen more times between now and whenever the Boston Celtics season ends: Hauser is one of the best movement shooters in the NBA. His timing of when to re-locate into space to generate a passing lane for the ball-handler continues to get better and better. As you can see in the above clip, Hauser “shakes” into space on the wing, where Payton Pritchard has a better angle to make the pass. From there, it’s an easy bucket.

Of course, Hauser is just as reliable as a stationary catch-and-shoot threat.

He’s not always going to have these monster shooting nights, but they’re certainly becoming more frequent. Loved what we saw from him against the Hornets.

#2 Empty side actions

Attacking open-corner actions makes sense for this Celtics team. It provides extra spacing. It removes the low help. And, it creates an open lane to drive and attack. What was interesting was that the Celtics looked to attack empty side actions in transition — specifically in the first half and primarily via drag screens.

The Celtics’ offense is versatile enough to punish empty corner actions in multiple ways. In the above clip, Tatum bursts through the defense and attacks the rim for an easy dunk. There’s no gap help coming from the corner because there’s no strong-side help defender.

Other times, we could see the Celtics look to draw a double-team off the baseline and create passing lanes on the cut, or they could simply look to get into a movement shot with little resistance.

Opening possessions with an empty corner is a good way of spacing the floor, especially if you’re looking to get paint touches for spray threes or to pressure the rim. Having someone come over and fill the corner once an action is underway is also a great way of spreading out the defense, as it’s trying to contain what’s happening elsewhere on the floor.

Watch Holiday’s movements on this possession. They end up being inconsequential, but you can see how moving to fill the corner as the possession is occurring on the other side of the floor can pull the defense and create gaps to exploit from the perimeter.

#3 Pritchard’s Nash dribble

I’ve spoken about Pritchard’s “Nash” dribble…

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