2023-24 Celtics

HomeRunBaker

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I don't have a good theory for why but I think there's a tight connection between the Celtics leading the league in fewest free throws per shot on defense while also having the fewest caused turnovers and one of the lowest per shot efficiency's allowed. hard to argue with the results so far
In MMA, or more specifically Jiu-Jutsu, this would be coined “position over submission” in that you are maintaining a positional advantage without the volatility of going for a submission where you may lose your position. It is a schematic choice on how to the Celtics choose to defend.
 

lovegtm

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In MMA, or more specifically Jiu-Jutsu, this would be coined “position over submission” in that you are maintaining a positional advantage without the volatility of going for a submission where you may lose your position. It is a schematic choice on how to the Celtics choose to defend.
Definitely a choice, similar to how they clearly concede above the break 3s to a lot of shooters.

It's interesting, because Mazzulla was saying before the season that they wanted more turnovers, but it seems to have been a good choice as a whole.

What are their transition volume numbers? That's the main thing you lose in this tradeoff, but maybe running off misses and also having a good halfcourt offense make it the right tradeoff for this team. Another fun example of offense and defense being inextricably linked!
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Horford is well-known for "pushing the edges" of screen legality himself.
Yeah, everyone does it. This website has video examples of what is supposed to constitute "illegal screens" (extends arms and makes contact; extends backside; push with two hands; legs extended outside shoulders; etc.). If the NBA really wanted to reduce offense, all they'd need to do is start calling illegal screens by the letter of the rule and scoring would plunge drastically as guys wouldn't be able to get nearly as much separation on PnRs.
 

Jimbodandy

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Yeah, everyone does it. This website has video examples of what is supposed to constitute "illegal screens" (extends arms and makes contact; extends backside; push with two hands; legs extended outside shoulders; etc.). If the NBA really wanted to reduce offense, all they'd need to do is start calling illegal screens by the letter of the rule and scoring would plunge drastically as guys wouldn't be able to get nearly as much separation on PnRs.
I don't think that they want to do that either. The rules are pretty good where they are. The problem is calling them consistently. Just because a guy flops doesn't mean that it was a bad screen. Just because a guy successfully fights through it doesn't mean that it wasn't a bad screen. The players always want the same thing--consistency. Tell them what the rules are and call it by the book.

I'm not generally a hater of hoop refs, since it is a fucking difficult job. I struggled reffing 8th grade games, because things happen fast. There's a lot of guesswork on fouls and OOB plays. But the screen stuff with three refs should be easy to get right.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Horford is well-known for "pushing the edges" of screen legality himself.



Honestly, if this is the case, I'm mostly upset that the Celtics *don't* coach this better. We're not talking about being dirty: you absolutely need to take advantage of the ability to be more physical if there's a way to do it that doesn't get called. It's on the league to clean it up from there.

Assuming the Heat are able to successfully coach that, it would make me prouder to be a Heat fan and more embarrassed to be a Celtics fan. Spo is doing something better and it should be copied; Pop did a lot of the same stuff in the Spurs' runs.

To CJM's credit, I liked that the Cs were the team flustering the opponent with zone this time around. Miami looked bad against it on a number of possessions. Nice to see, after years of Miami being the only one with a curveball. It does feel like this Celtics team is tougher and more creative than prior iterations.
I agree with the first part---as one who pushes for CJM to work refs more, and for players, CJM, and Brad to talk about officiating in post-games and press conferences, I agree. And while someone may disagree wtih me on all that, I do think I'm consistent that working the refs and league is part of the game.

I would guess the Celtics leaders would say that they want players focused on executing, not on refs/things they can't really control. That's a reasonable approach and this team certainly has some gaps around losing focus because of refs. They've been very consistent on this with Brad and now CJM for years, and I'm sure it's a thoughtful and purposeful decision from them.

Just becasue Jimbodandy teed it up I should say - I think the refs have an impossible job and do their best at it. I wish the league would sustain a focus on anti-diving/faking tactics and part of what makes their job easier is aggressively deterring that baloney and changing the incentives for players and teams. The league has totally failed at that, all the way to whitewashing the L2M report because they are more focused on the appearance of fairness than actually getting things to be as by the rules as is viable. But it is not lack of effort, or often skill, from the refs....with the exception of when refs let their egos get in the way (most often around technical fouls)
 
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lovegtm

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I agree with the first part---as one who pushes for CJM to work refs more, and for players, CJM, and Brad to talk about officiating in post-games and press conferences, I agree. And while someone may disagree wtih me on all that, I do think I'm consistent that working the refs and league is part of the game.

I would guess they would say that they want players focused on executing, not on refs/things they can't really control. That's a reasonable approach and this team certainly has some gaps around losing focus because of refs.
To the team's credit, they've taken a big step up this year in being able to play through rough officiating and pull out wins. Yesterday was a great example.

With that piece in place, I'd like them to improve at gaming the rules and working the officials/league now.
 

PedroKsBambino

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To the team's credit, they've taken a big step up this year in being able to play through rough officiating and pull out wins. Yesterday was a great example.

With that piece in place, I'd like them to improve at gaming the rules and working the officials/league now.
Agree on both, and they have been MUCH better on dealing with uncertain refereeing. Tatum still has some room to go there, but even he has improved at it, and it's important....Draymond took them totally out of a game by doing a bunch of baloney two years ago. They need to be sure that never happens again.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Definitely a choice, similar to how they clearly concede above the break 3s to a lot of shooters.

It's interesting, because Mazzulla was saying before the season that they wanted more turnovers, but it seems to have been a good choice as a whole.

What are their transition volume numbers? That's the main thing you lose in this tradeoff, but maybe running off misses and also having a good halfcourt offense make it the right tradeoff for this team. Another fun example of offense and defense being inextricably linked!
As I'm sure you're aware I am a strong believer in about 5% of the words coming out of a Coach or GM's mouth as being sincere (Spo in his presser talking about Rozier's ankle as he's carried off with what looked like an apparent ACL/multiple ligament knee injury being just one recent example). I'll refer back to a pregame meal with my college coach prior to our first game of the year in a preseason regional tournament. I asked him about transition defense as I read in their season writeup the coach saying they wanted to run more this year. He glared up at me between bites and said verbatim, "They haven't ran a fast break since Morgan Wootten (legendary, and old, HS coach) was a student assistant." After I nearly choked on my chicken fried steak (this was the south after all) he went on to say that all coaches say they want to run more and no coach is ever going to say that they want to play slower. Those words stuck with me and I think Mazzulla's response of "We'd like to create more Turnovers" was simply coachspeak because he's never going to say...."Yeah well we don't really want to create turnovers at a high clip."
 

lars10

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But the current NBA is sawft. Member when Laimbeer/Mahorn/Rodman thugged it up nightly? Tic for them that are unsure.

The current version of the NBA is very physical. Most of the physicality is from the lower body but hand use has increased quite a bit the last few years as well. When teams go into pressure mode, there is a TON of physical contact that is not called, nor should it be.
Why should fouls go uncalled when teams are in pressure mode? Handchecking is pretty out of control at the moment for a league that theoretically doesn’t allow it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Why should fouls go uncalled when teams are in pressure mode? Handchecking is pretty out of control at the moment for a league that theoretically doesn’t allow it.
It's the players pushing the envelope as to what they can get away with. They know this league, especially the regular season, is about entertainment and that the refs cannot call the game by the book if they do indeed go into that gray area. It's why the Heat's tactics and Draymond's tactics have been so successful for them on the floor.
 

lovegtm

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As I'm sure you're aware I am a strong believer in about 5% of the words coming out of a Coach or GM's mouth as being sincere (Spo in his presser talking about Rozier's ankle as he's carried off with what looked like an apparent ACL/multiple ligament knee injury being just one recent example). I'll refer back to a pregame meal with my college coach prior to our first game of the year in a preseason regional tournament. I asked him about transition defense as I read in their season writeup the coach saying they wanted to run more this year. He glared up at me between bites and said verbatim, "They haven't ran a fast break since Morgan Wootten (legendary, and old, HS coach) was a student assistant." After I nearly choked on my chicken fried steak (this was the south after all) he went on to say that all coaches say they want to run more and no coach is ever going to say that they want to play slower. Those words stuck with me and I think Mazzulla's response of "We'd like to create more Turnovers" was simply coachspeak because he's never going to say...."Yeah well we don't really want to create turnovers at a high clip."
I agree that revealed preferences matter a lot more than words. Mazzulla does, however, tend to have things he'll harp on that find their way into the team's identity:
- defensive "curveballs"
- creating extra possessions on the glass
- working the defense until a 2-on-1 is created, and then decisively taking a shot out of that 2-on-1 before the advantage dissipates
- enjoying when things go bad because of the chance for pressure reps

I thought turnovers might be part of that, but it seems that was quickly abandoned once they found an alternate defensive identity that worked well.
 

RorschachsMask

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Tatum on Jaylen off is up to +15 on CTG, and just under 15 on Pbpstats. Just insane numbers lol.

Jaylen on and Tatum off is still +6.7 on CTG, and +7.8 on pbpstats. Still an excellent number, but definitely has been normalizing some.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum on Jaylen off is up to +15 on CTG, and just under 15 on Pbpstats. Just insane numbers lol.

Jaylen on and Tatum off is still +6.7 on CTG, and +7.8 on pbpstats. Still an excellent number, but definitely has been normalizing some.
This is what you want: your superstar makes any lineup really good, and your #2 guy is putting the boot on the throat during the staggered minutes (as you said, +7.8 without your alpha is really really good).
 

lars10

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It's the players pushing the envelope as to what they can get away with. They know this league, especially the regular season, is about entertainment and that the refs cannot call the game by the book if they do indeed go into that gray area. It's why the Heat's tactics and Draymond's tactics have been so successful for them on the floor.
Just not sure why allowing the Heat to hack the crap out of Tatum with zero calls is good for the league..
 

Montana Fan

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Just not sure why allowing the Heat to hack the crap out of Tatum with zero calls is good for the league..
It’s the way the Heat play. They know they can get away with it and it’s their “style” or culture if you will. Things should tighten up in the postseason and hopefully Tatum will be treated a lot better than he was yesterday. I thought Tatum handled himself very well for the way he was being hacked with no calls. He still positively affected the game and ultimately got the W.
 

chilidawg

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Agree on both, and they have been MUCH better on dealing with uncertain refereeing. Tatum still has some room to go there, but even he has improved at it, and it's important....Draymond took them totally out of a game by doing a bunch of baloney two years ago. They need to be sure that never happens again.
I was quite impressed with Tatum last night, kept his focus and just kept attacking. His finishing through contact was high end.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Just not sure why allowing the Heat to hack the crap out of Tatum with zero calls is good for the league..
Can you see understand how sending him to the line 25x would be bad for the spectators entertainment value? There were also a bunch of times an offensive foul could have been called. The officials are trying to maintain a certain flow to the game which is why all games are officiated differently and it is up to the players to adjust.
 

bakahump

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Most teams are having trouble matching up with the Talent of this teams, and thus "Muck it up".

It seems to me that SPECIFICALLY teams are "roughing it up" with Porzingis. There seems to be theory that Porzingis cant operate in a "rough environment" Or maybe it more nefarious and they are trying to "IVAN DRAGO" him. "If it Injures him....it injures him".

Anyone else think Zinger (everyone....but Zinger In Particular) is getting alot of rough play? Or am i laundry watching.
 

128

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Can you see understand how sending him to the line 25x would be bad for the spectators entertainment value? There were also a bunch of times an offensive foul could have been called. The officials are trying to maintain a certain flow to the game which is why all games are officiated differently and it is up to the players to adjust.
Not sure anybody here expects Tatum to take 25 free throws a game. A half-dozen (or more) would have been warranted yesterday and wouldn't have fucked up the flow of the game.
 

GeorgeCostanza

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Anyone else think Zinger (everyone....but Zinger In Particular) is getting alot of rough play? Or am i laundry watching.
I haven’t really noticed anything particularly noteworthy or over the line. Zinger is fantastic at establishing position, especially on the much smaller guys, and the defender is doing all he can to move him off the spot. And zinger is often rewarded for getting that position with either FTs or clean look from 8-5ft. He’s been very fun to watch.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Not sure anybody here expects Tatum to take 25 free throws a game. A half-dozen (or more) would have been warranted yesterday and wouldn't have fucked up the flow of the game.
That’s the thing….consistency is most important. You can’t call some and not others. This is why players talk about adjusting to how a game is called which is really adjusting to how a particular game is played. The idea that there is one rule book and every play is called by the book is wonderful in theory….it simply is not practical in application.
 

TomRicardo

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I'd been wondering how Duncan Robinson managed to "improve" on defense.

Not wondering anymore, if the refs have been letting him push, flail, and grab a lot more.
He was hand checking a lot. Points to Spo' for getting him in a place he can be somewhat useful. Herro and Duncan are horrendous on D. Spo' gets them in position while dirty as hell to basically challenge the ref to blow the whistle every play. It isn't dangerous and basically the only way you can survive having the one of them on the court at any given time. Caleb Martin steps into people's shots (which was hilarious the ref tripped him up) which is way more dangerous.
 

Jimbodandy

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It’s the way the Heat play. They know they can get away with it and it’s their “style” or culture if you will. Things should tighten up in the postseason and hopefully Tatum will be treated a lot better than he was yesterday. I thought Tatum handled himself very well for the way he was being hacked with no calls. He still positively affected the game and ultimately got the W.
Yeah Porzingis too. He probably missed out on 8 legit FTA on clear hacks at his arms near the rim yesterday.

Most teams are having trouble matching up with the Talent of this teams, and thus "Muck it up".

It seems to me that SPECIFICALLY teams are "roughing it up" with Porzingis. There seems to be theory that Porzingis cant operate in a "rough environment" Or maybe it more nefarious and they are trying to "IVAN DRAGO" him. "If it Injures him....it injures him".

Anyone else think Zinger (everyone....but Zinger In Particular) is getting alot of rough play? Or am i laundry watching.
I don't think that it's a habitual thing, but he definitely was getting smacked and bodied a ton yesterday. He wasn't in the league in the late 80s, but that's what yesterday's game was for long stretches.
 

benhogan

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Most teams are having trouble matching up with the Talent of this teams, and thus "Muck it up".

It seems to me that SPECIFICALLY teams are "roughing it up" with Porzingis. There seems to be theory that Porzingis cant operate in a "rough environment" Or maybe it more nefarious and they are trying to "IVAN DRAGO" him. "If it Injures him....it injures him".

Anyone else think Zinger (everyone....but Zinger In Particular) is getting alot of rough play? Or am i laundry watching.
KP gets shoved in the back by smaller players but that sort of stuff happens to all BIGs.

Just my observation but KP gets a better whistle than Tatum
 

lovegtm

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KP usually gets a good whistle. The funny thing about "no one wants to see X number of FTs" is that refs generally have no problem parading KP to the FT line.

And they didn't in this game either! He got a number of legit calls early, and then the refs decided fuck it, let em hack.

Bad *and* inconsistent officiating. There's no reasonable defense of how piss poor that crew yesterday was.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think KP gets fouled a lot simply because it's the only defense for small guys when they get matched up on him in the post.
Only speculating but does it seem to anyone else that KP’s are fouls to his shooting motion, which are almost always going to be called, which Tatum’s are to the body and can be dismissed as incidental or not affecting his shot?
 

DavidTai

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Only speculating but does it seem to anyone else that KP’s are fouls to his shooting motion, which are almost always going to be called, which Tatum’s are to the body and can be dismissed as incidental or not affecting his shot?
I would agree, but then I run into "How does Jimmy do it differently?"
 

DavidTai

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Jimmy's are usually getting guys to jump on a fake, which almost always gets a call. Tatum's are more as the defender is moving with him.
Fair... Zingis seems to just keep the ball high when he posts, and Brown seems to draw more fouls when he stops on a dime and shoots. Don't recall Tatum doing that quite as much when he drives.
 

nighthob

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But the current NBA is sawft. Member when Laimbeer/Mahorn/Rodman thugged it up nightly? Tic for them that are unsure.

The current version of the NBA is very physical. Most of the physicality is from the lower body but hand use has increased quite a bit the last few years as well. When teams go into pressure mode, there is a TON of physical contact that is not called, nor should it be.
You can play physically without intentionally taking steps to injure opponents. Which is why I specifically made note of the stepping under shooters and rebounders. When other teams do it they get whistled, as they should, but with Miami the refs might make a call or two a game when they can, and should, be making that call twenty times a game. The first time that Miami is forced to play the second half of a game 4 on 5 is the day that this honky ass bullshit stops.
 

lovegtm

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Only speculating but does it seem to anyone else that KP’s are fouls to his shooting motion, which are almost always going to be called, which Tatum’s are to the body and can be dismissed as incidental or not affecting his shot?
Definitely. He's clearly worked a ton on holding the ball out where he either gets a clean shot, or gets hit on the arm. Harden-ish. This is why it was so noticeable when he was getting fouled: no one shorter blocks his shot from a standstill without whacking the arm.
 

Jimbodandy

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Only speculating but does it seem to anyone else that KP’s are fouls to his shooting motion, which are almost always going to be called, which Tatum’s are to the body and can be dismissed as incidental or not affecting his shot?
Well yeah KP is better at generating that contact on his mantis arms so that it's visible to refs. Tatum also gets contact on his arms going to the hole that is often not called. It's harder to see but is also still a foul.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I would agree, but then I run into "How does Jimmy do it differently?"
That’s an easy one. Just as how does LeBron, Harden, Doncic, DeRozan, etc do/did it differently? They just do. They create better angles to place the defender out of position and create contact more effectively.
 

Euclis20

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Laker Super fan, Jason Timpf, does a Celtic end-of-game break-down.

I know Timpf triggers some, but he goes into fim room detail on Celtic possessions, if you like that thing.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAwyYvnSHlI
Timpf is really pretty great on his own, the problem is when he's on with Cowherd (who has a really bizarre blindspot with Tatum) or those Lakers dorks. Makes it pretty easy to know when to watch and when to skip.
 

DavidTai

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That’s an easy one. Just as how does LeBron, Harden, Doncic, DeRozan, etc do/did it differently? They just do. They create better angles to place the defender out of position and create contact more effectively.
On one hand, you'd think Tatum would have picked up some angles from Embiid during training. On the other hand... eh, I'm glad he -really- doesn't go anywhere near Embiid's styling. It might do him some good to pick up stuff from McHale.
 

chilidawg

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Nice article from Ryan Bernadoni looking at possible future ramifications of the Tillman and Sprinter trades.

Banton and Stevens were not going to help the team in the playoffs and also weren’t part of any future plans. Tillman can help on both fronts and Springer might be part of the future, either on the floor or in trade. When the Celtics come up against difficult questions, be they in-game or roster building, they have more potential answers than they did a few days ago.

https://www.celticsblog.com/2024/2/13/24071297/deadline-deals-give-boston-celtics-better-options-today-and-in-the-future-brad-stevens-salary-cap
 

benhogan

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Timpf is really pretty great on his own, the problem is when he's on with Cowherd (who has a really bizarre blindspot with Tatum) or those Lakers dorks. Makes it pretty easy to know when to watch and when to skip.
Agree, Herd & the Nerd Sesh guys aren't worth a listen.

Timpf is better than 95% of the NBA media, his Laker/Bron slant is tough to swallow but his shot selection analytics of Tatum are hard to argue with.

Nice article from Ryan Bernadoni looking at possible future ramifications of the Tillman and Sprinter trades.

Banton and Stevens were not going to help the team in the playoffs and also weren’t part of any future plans. Tillman can help on both fronts and Springer might be part of the future, either on the floor or in trade. When the Celtics come up against difficult questions, be they in-game or roster building, they have more potential answers than they did a few days ago.

https://www.celticsblog.com/2024/2/13/24071297/deadline-deals-give-boston-celtics-better-options-today-and-in-the-future-brad-stevens-salary-cap
Great article. A must-read if you're interested in Brad's options with the future Cap/Apron along with the strategy behind adding Tillman and Springer.
 

NomarsFool

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I'm curious what they will do with $1m. $1000 to 1000 single parents trying to buy a house? $10,000 to 100 single parents trying to buy a house?
 

RorschachsMask

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KP is next a cheat code posting up against switches. This includes passes, FWIW.

78106

This tidbit is from Jared Dubin's substack:

"KP is routinely devouring teams that guard him with smaller players either in the post or when they try to switch pick and rolls. In fact, he has been the single-most efficient scorer this season both from the post (1.58 points per possession), and on pick-and-roll switches when he gets the ball (1.63), according to Second Spectrum."
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I think he posts video cuts on Twitter/X immediately after the games but have never checked

BUT you're right, he needs EG's splicer for YouTube
Now that I listened to the Cs Heat recap he does have some interesting things to say but one point I want to make is that I'm sure his observation about the Cs efficiency on empty corner sets isn't lost on the coaching staff. Even in November JB was noting that they were running a lot more of these sets. I don't think they can run the same sets over and over again but I think the empty corner is their bread and butter. Jrue, in particular, is really difficult to guard with an empty corner seeing how he generally isn't being guarded by the strongest defender.

“We’ve played a certain type of way the past couple years,” Brown mentioned in Philadelphia. “We’ve switched up our play style, we’ve had a lot more empty corners, empty-side actions because that’s where our offense is headed. That’s familiarity, we’re used to being in the corner, but we’ve had those corners clear to take away the over-help. It’s been a newer offensive system, play-style adjustment, so that was maybe familiarity from how we played before.”

https://www.celticsblog.com/2023/11/10/23951027/celtics-building-different-offensive-statistical-profile-early-boston-nba-timberwolves-tatum-brown