A few nights ago, Brandon Bass went wild on the Philadelphia 76ers. Bass scored 27 points on Monday night, including 18 points in the third quarter. That was the most pivotal moment of the game, possibly the series, because that is when the Celtics were able to seize control of the game. This was, in large part, because Bass was able to outscore the 76ers 18-16 in what was his greatest moment on an NBA floor. Without him the Celtics don’t win that game.
In his post-game on-court interview with Craig Sager, the first thing that Bass did was give credit to Rajon Rondo for his passes and creation that freed Bass up. I thought that was interesting; therefore, I went to the film room to see how much credit Rondo deserves for Bass’ excellent third quarter.
It turns out that Rondo did have a lot to do with Bass’ scoring outburst. He, and Pierce as well, occupied the defense and the 76ers seemed to forget about Bass. All series long Bass has been getting these looks. The 76ers have been doing a great job of letting Bass get the ball and making him take shots. On Monday, however, he made them pay for it. The video below is the perfect example of this.
In this SLOB play, Rondo inbounds the ball to Garnett and then gets it back. He then passes it back to KG, after he establishes position about 20 feet from the rim, and sets a screen for Paul Pierce to go to the top of the arch and receive the ball from a handoff. Once he gives the handoff Garnett sets a screen and rolls to the rim.
If you freeze the video at 11 seconds, you’ll see that there are four 76ers in the middle of the floor. They doubled down on Pierce at the top and Garnett as he rolled into the paint. Pierce then kicked it to Rondo who attacked the paint instantly. The defense collapsed on him and he kicked it to the only Bass, who was unguarded, about 15 feet about. Easy money.
The 76ers helped off of Bass throughout all of that set. Spencer Hawes, who was responsible for Bass, zoned up in the middle of the paint throughout the play. The 76ers want the ball to get to him and they want him to shoot it or create his own shot.
This next play is what Doc Rivers likes to call “Random” offense. It was an opportunity for a score off of a turnover by the 76ers. This is when they probe for a mismatch in the defense. You can see this below.
Initially, they tried to attack the Evan Turner/Paul Pierce mismatch. Turner did more than well on Pierce, so he gave it up to Bass. Bass then got the ball to Rondo and the play turned into a simple side Pick and Roll. Bass sets an excellent screen on Andre Iguodala and Rondo used his dribble to set the screen up well.
Iguogala gets stuck and leaves just more than enough space for Rondo to give Bass an excellent dime. As he’s rolling to the hoop Bass receives the pass from Rondo. He is able to get a clean driving lane to the hoop because of the hard hedge of Thaddeus Young on Rondo. With Iguodala trailing the play, there was nothing that could be done. Another easy two for Boston.
In this next play Paul Pierce meets Rondo at the top of the arch. It looks like he’s going to deliver the ball to Pierce with his back to the basket, a set commonly run by the Celtics, but that’s not the case. Rondo stares Pierce down as Bass sets a screen in the other direction. Rondo takes the Bass screen and attacks the defense.
Bass rolls to the basket after giving the screen and his man, Lavoy Allen, goes to impede Rondo’s path to the rim. Evan Turner, who was guarding Rondo, sticks with him. The defense totally ignores bass and Rondo is able to wrap the ball around the three defender wall that Philly has waiting for him. That leads to a wide open Bass dunk.
On the play above in the home stretch of the third quarter Rondo goes random once again. He calls for a screen from Bass at the top of the arch. Bass prepares the screen and Rondo waits for him to set it up. Instead of driving his defender into the screen, he rejects it and takes the ball to the rim. Rondo draws three defenders: he and Bass’ defender, and the help defender from the wing.
Bass doesn’t roll into all of the traffic. He makes the better decision and pops for a mid-range jumper. No one on Philly’s defense rotates to Bass and that’s another easy two for Boston.