One of the more surprising developments of the series is the great play from Raymond Felton. Going into the series he was little more than an afterthought to me while thinking of ways Boston can survive. He’s played extremely well, being one of the few Knicks who’ve been consistently able to generate efficient offensive opportunities. He’s taking advantage of some poor Pick and Roll defense from the Celtics and getting into the lane at will. If Boston wants to pull of this historical comeback they need to put an end to this Pick & Roll attack.
Lets take a look at Boston defending some of these Pick and Rolls
Here is the Knicks 1-5 P&R between Felton and Tyson Chandler with Pierce and Wilcox defending the play. Chandler’s bonecrushing screen(May have been moving) forces Wilcox and Pierce to switch. Wilcox fails to keep Felton in front of him long enough for Pierce to retreat back to him and Felton takes advantage of it and blows by him for a layup. Now obviously Chris Wilcox isn’t their best P&R defender nor has he recieved much minutes in this series but this play just highlights the fact that Boston’s bigs have failed to keep New York’s guards in front of them.
The video above features another 1-5 pick and roll between Chandler and Felton, this time though Jeff Green and Kevin Garnett are defending it. Skip to about 11 seconds in the video and it starts out with Felton at the top of the 3pt line recieving a screen from Tyson Chandler. Green goes under the screen but still trails the play while KG is left trying to stay in front of Felton which he does with no success. Once Again Boston’s Bigs fail to contain the ball handler, one of the keys to successfully shutting down a pick and roll.
This video is of another 1-5 pick and roll between Felton and Chandler with Jason Terry and Garnett defending it. Skip to about 10 seconds and you’ll see the set begin. Tyson sets a screen for Felton, Terry goes under but Felton is still able to beat him off the dribble. This is an example of the guards inability to keep Felton in front of them. Right there it’s Terry’s responsibility to contain Felton as KG is defending the lob possibility between Felton and Chandler.
In Game 5 the Celtics got lucky, the Knicks were able to take advantage of the pick and roll but strangely went away from it. They instead favored to run Isolations with Melo and Smith for the remainder of the game.
Defending the pick and roll shouldn’t be a difficult task for this team. During the season they were the 3rd best team in the league (according to synergy sports) at containing the Pick & Roll ball handler. It could just be the fact that KG is definitely not healthy as he’s certainly been slow at helping on the ball handler/recovering on his man. It’s also not entirely his fault as the guards need to step up on defense as well. Bradley has noticeably been off of his game this series on offense which could be affecting his defense and when Doc subs in Terry for his offense they’re definitely losing a little something on defense. Whatever the cause is, if the Knicks decide to continue to milk this set and the Celtics don’t adjust their hopes of making NBA Playoff history could be over. The Playoffs are all about adjustments and this is one the Celtics need to make.