Boston Celtics Experiencing A Three-Point Shooting Revolution
Despite the slow start, the Boston Celtics can only be happy with their three point shooting so far
According to Hoops Hype, small forward Omri Casspi is disenchanted with his current situation in the Sacramento Kings organization and is seeking an exit, with the Boston Celtics one of three teams expressing primary interest in acquiring him.
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Based on the epiphany that the Celtics have been experiencing from behind the three-point line as of late, however, adding the shooting specialist may be an unnecessary endeavor.
After finishing the season ranked 28th in the NBA in long range shooting, hitting on just 33.5 percent of their attempts from beyond the three-point line, Boston has undergone a rapid transformation over the first few weeks of the season. The Celtics have morphed into a squad that is lethal from deep, standing in the top four of the three-point percentage rankings in the NBA while shooting at a tremendous 37.8 percent clip.
While the uptick in efficiency could just be harkened to a shortened sample size, the Celtics have truly evolved in their offensive approach. The central reason behind this improvement is contingent directly on their increased ball movement. This has led to a plethora of open looks behind the arc for the team in each and every game, concluding in more swishes and less long rebounds for the opposing team to corral and begin the fast break with.
Just examine Boston’s 115-97 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night, which halted an extensive three-game losing streak. The Celtics knocked down 11 shots from three-point range over the course of the outing, and these looks were not simply pull-ups reminiscent of the Stephen Curry variety. Boston created many of these open looks by compiling 23 assists, moving the ball with fluid motion.
Aside from one Isaiah Thomas three-pointer off of a step-back move and one three from Jaylen Brown in which separation was created following a jab-step, both of which occurred in the second quarter, the majority of the Celtics’ long range knockdowns came directly off of crisp ball movement. Boston has been adhering to head coach Brad Stevens’ offensive ploys and executing with efficiency.
The success of Stevens’ schemes was evident from the second minute of the contest. After tossing the ball to center Amir Johnson at the top of the key, newly returned seven-footer Kelly Olynyk set a perfect off-ball screen for Thomas, who rolled to the wing to hit a wide open three-pointer facilitated by a perfectly timed Johnson pass.
Olynyk served as a huge benefactor of the Celtics slick ball movement and disciplined performance on the night, finishing with 19 points in 30 minutes. His first three of the contest came off of a brilliant dime from Thomas in the first quarter, his second came following a behind-the-back pass from Marcus Smart after a pick-and-pop in the second quarter, and his third hit from long range came in the form off a pull-up off of another Smart assist.
Boston’s transition efforts have also gone a long way in facilitating their improvement from deep. Thomas benefitted from this running style of play in the closing minutes of the second quarter against New York. As Jonas Jerebko dribbled towards half court with the ball, Thomas sprinted to the wing, clamoring for his teammate to toss him a bounce pass. Jerebko obliged, delivered the assist on the money, and Thomas knocked down the deep shot to hand his team a 59-46 lead.
The Celtics substantial shooting uplift should only be forwarded once center Al Horford returns to action from a lengthy concussion-induced absence. Horford possesses impressive court vision, and his likening to moving the ball has translated into chemistry with his new Boston teammates thus far in 2016-17. His per game assist average of 4.7 far outweighs his previous career high of 3.5 dimes per game, and this effectiveness has resulted in plenty of open threes for his counterparts and the defense collapses on him when he holds possession of the ball inside.