An occasional look inside the Celtics' playbook. This time around, we examine a simple inbounds play from the first quarter of Game 3 that led to a Ray Allen 3-pointer:
A defensive foul on Ronny Turiaf causes a stoppage in play early in the first quarter. This allows the Celtics to set up an ATO (after timeout), something Boston absolutely thrives in generating simple scoring plays off of. As is often the case with ATOs, the most dangerous player on the court is the person inbounding the ball.
Allen sets the play into motion by lobbing the ball to Kevin Garnett on the elbow, then quickly bluffs towards the key as if running to receive a handoff. Paul Pierce comes up from the corner at that point, to set a screen on Allen's defender (Landry Fields). Pierce's defender, Carmelo Anthony, hedges underneath Garnett thinking Pierce might take a handoff and practically picks Garnett's man, Jared Jeffries, at the same time.
Pierce's simple screen leaves three New York defenders essentially pinned between him and Garnett as Allen sneaks unfettered to the corner where Garnett delivers the ball for a wide-open 3-pointer and an early nine-point lead. Jeffries is the only one who could have scrambled out to defend, but Allen's quick release probably negated any opportunity to challenge the shot.
The play goes rather unnoticed because it didn't occur in the final seconds of a tight game, but it's another gem from the Celtics' ATO toolbox.