Offense sometimes try to incorporate false action as an attempt to decoy defenders to create space for driving opportunities. So, defenses opt to use more of an optical illusion in effort to visually shrink the floor discouraging penetration. The art of deception plays a role in effectiveness on both ends of the floor. When in transition it is difficult to shrink the floor because the numbers tend to open the floor up for driving opportunities. But that doesn’t stop the Celtics from trying here.  Take a look at this tweet from @RadiusAthletics showing a snapshot of how the Celtics defense take up as much space as possible giving the primary ballhandler visually nowhere to penetrate.

The  Celtics demonstrate a “build the wall” tactic, or we refer to it as “load to the ball.” Whatever the terminology, you’ll see both defenders that are 1-pass away have their arms extended in position to deter any driving gaps giving time for the rest of their defense to get set to defend on a halfcourt.  Take a look at a similar possession in game-speed you’ll see a well intended effort with unintended results.

Not the end result Celtics looked for thanks to extra effort from Hornets Hernangomez to grab an offensive rebound for second chance points. Nonetheless, I liked seeing these clips circulating around social media because it gives off a couple talking points. For one, the Celtics are clearly working on the habit of communicating in transition defensively, which is one of the toughest aspects of getting stops when getting back. Another thing you see from an offensive standpoint is why coaches urge their programs to push. Even though Celtics do a great job getting back to match numbers (4v4), the Hornets ballhandler still felt comfortable enough to put it in drive because there is more room to operate with 1 less player from each team taking up space.


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