NBA Hoops

Tested: 10 Takeaways from Celtics/Cavaliers

Tested: 10 Takeaways from Celtics/Cavaliers

#1 The Tatum + Brown connection continues

If you want to win a championship, your best players need to be playing at an elite level. On Monday night, both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown answered that call. They ended the game with a combined 60 points, 19 rebounds and 6 assists. They both pressured the rim, attacked space in the mid-range, and took enough perimeter shots to ensure they kept their three-point gravity intact.

Over the past two games, the All-Star forwards have now combined for 121 points, 38 rebounds and 15 assists. That’s some elite production from your two best players — regardless of who the opponent is and who is or isn’t missing from the opposite rotation. This is the version of ‘The Jay’s’ that we’ve been waiting for. A fearsome tandem that cooks as individuals, as part of a team, and when working together — either in actions or in spacing the floor on either wing.

The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t have enough defenders to keep all of Boston’s offensive weapons quiet. Especially when you’ve got to send two at both of the Celtics stars. If Tatum and Brown can keep up this level of pressure and production, Joe Mazzulla’s team should be capable of fighting to close out the series on Wednesday and earning themselves some valuable rest ahead of the Eastern Conference Finals.

#2 Pre-switching

A switch defense has become the norm in the modern NBA. Depending on personnel, teams either switch 1-through-5 or 1-through-4 with the big in drop. Over the past two games, the Cavaliers have opted not to switch on defense, opting a “show-and-recover” system, aiming to limit Boston’s ability to create and hunt mismatches.

Mazzulla has gone in a different direction. Rather than avoiding the switch, he has his team pre-switching specific actions. Switching early means the Celtics don’t need to recover to their man. Instead, they’re in a position to contain actions early and often and, as a result, can pressure the ball handler.

Watch Jayson Tatum in the above clip. Note how many times he switches an action before it occurs. His preemptive approach ensured the Celtics were one step ahead of the offense from start to finish.

Even when the Celtics stuck with a standard switching system, they were executing at pace. This opening switch between Jrue Holiday and Derrick White is a good example — with Holiday’s switch leading to an easy pilfer.

#3 Rim Pressure

Everyone in Boston’s rotation was looking to…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CelticsBlog – All Posts…