Boston Celtics: 2 ways to fix stagnant offense in Game 6 of the NBA Finals

Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Celtics offensive fix No. 2: Use someone in the Draymond Green bumper role

The three words “fix”, “offense”, and “Draymond Green” would seemingly never be in the same sentence given how this series has played out so far for Green, but here we are. Yes, Green has struggled on offense, but that doesn’t mean that Boston can’t look to use someone in the same capacity that Golden State uses him.

Green gets used in a sort of “bumper” role on offense where he will be the primary screener for Steph Curry, and then roll to the free throw line. If Curry gets doubled, he can simply toss the ball to Green, who usually has one of two choices. He can either drive for a layup, or dish the ball to the guy who ends up getting left open once help comes his way. Again, simple read and react stuff from Golden State here.

This could be effective because Boston seems intent on hunting mismatches all game long. The problem is it’s draining on their players given how physical Golden State has been, and it usually takes more than half of the shot clock to get the matchup they like, so something is going to have to change here. It won’t get eliminated entirely, but something needs to be done to help their offense get sped up.

Golden State countered Boston’s mismatch hunting by throwing double teams at Tatum to keep Andrew Wiggins, his primary defender, on him. Tatum was OK at finding his teammates in Game 5, but again, the Warriors reacted quick enough to disrupt most of the work Tatum was doing to get his teammates involved.

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The guy who has usually been screening for Tatum lately is Marcus Smart, and he may just be the perfect guy for this role. Tatum wanted to attack Curry all night long, so Smart was usually the guy trying to screen Wiggins off of Tatum. He rarely succeeded though because he almost always ended up at the top of the key.

Pushing Smart, or whoever the screener is, closer to the paint at the free throw line, puts more pressure on the Warriors defensively. By sitting at the three, Smart is making things too easy because Golden State can quickly recover. When you move in a few steps to the free throw line, it makes things more difficult.

Whoever ends up defending Smart in this scenario will have a tougher time getting back to him because Smart will be closer to the paint than the defender. That alone forces Golden State to work more than they already had been. Smart is a bigger point guard, and if he gets by a guy like Curry defending him, he’s going to be able to hold him on his back if Tatum can get him the ball here.

Then it creates the same situation as Golden State would get with Green. Smart will have momentum going to the rim on the smaller Curry, and he can either go for a layup or dish back out to the perimeter if help comes his way.

Even if this only results in Smart getting the ball at the free throw line, it’s a more dangerous spot for him to have the ball than behind the three-point line. This opens up room for a lot more off-ball movement, both at the perimeter and on cuts to the hoop, which is the whole goal of these fixes.

Next. The Boston Celtics, and the drive to finish with efficiency. dark

Everyone is ready to proclaim the Boston Celtics dead in the water, and given how Game 5 played out, it isn’t all that surprising. But Boston is still alive, and as we have seen countless times this postseason, you can’t count them out until they don’t have a pulse. The Celtics may be on life support, but they are still kicking, and you can bet they won’t go down easily in front of their home crowd on Thursday night.