As discussed last week, the key to this series may come down to how the Celtics defend the Knicks' pick-and-roll sets. Per Synergy Sports, the Knicks scored 64 points on pick-and-rolls during the first two games of the series to just 15 for the Celtics. The key has without a doubt been Raymond Felton’s relentless attacking.
In 80 minutes on the court, Felton has a Net Rating of +25.4 and a 105.2 offensive rating. Of the Knicks' top 10 most played three-man units this series, five of them have posted a positive Net Rating. Raymond Felton is the only player in every one. Notice how the lineup of Anthony-Chandler-Felton has destroyed the Celtics.
Lineup Minutes NetRtg
Anthony-Felton-JR 51 +9.6
Anthony-Chandler-Felton 42 +35.0
Felton-Kidd-JR 37 +15.3
Felton-Kidd-Martin 35 +24.2
Felton-Martin-JR 31 +18.5
That devastating Anthony-Chandler-Felton lineup has posted an offensive efficiency of 113.6, with the pick-and-roll the main weapon of attack. Felton has shot 13-of-28 so far in the series, with 11 of those 13 makes unassisted. He’s also taken 18 of his 28 attempts from in the paint. This indicates he’s getting in the lane frequently off the dribble on pick and roll action. A lot of other good things come from this penetration as well, including kick-outs for open three-pointers and putbacks on offensive rebounds.
The Knicks will continue to run a steady diet of pick-and-rolls, going right at Boston’s two best defenders. Take a look at Felton’s shot locations against his most frequent pick and roll defenders from the first two games. Again, focus on the attempts more than the makes.
Defender Shared Minutes Felton Shots In the Paint
Avery Bradley 65 6-14
Kevin Garnett 53 5-13
Jason Terry 41 7-12
If the Knicks can continue to blow up the Celtics’ pick-and-roll defense like this in Boston, it will be a short series. Boston, however, will no doubt shake up their coverage in these sets. Expect them to throw a variety of different looks at Felton, trapping him to get the ball out of his hands sooner, showing hard to force him into going East-West, or putting a longer defender on him. Not to mention, the simple fact of having Kevin Garnett on the court more will help slow down the Knicks' pick and roll.