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Closing Out On Boston Shooters

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By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)

For a team that was heading toward historic offensive futility, the Celtics sure have turned things around in the last two games.

Without magically finding a real point guard or reacquiring Ray Allen from the Heat, they've managed to tap into the "score just enough to support a fantastic defense" formula that has been so successful for all these years. With their backs against the wall, they decided to move the ball and let it fly.

"We are not a bad three-point shooting team. I kept telling our guys, when you get them, take them. I kept telling them to let it fly...don't hesitate. I thought our guys did a good job of that," said Doc Rivers after a Game 5 win.

Indeed, they were a middle of the road team from behind the arc all season (35.8 percent, exactly 15th in the NBA), and have proven that you don't have to be Stephen Curry to make open shots -- which they've seen plenty of over the last two games.

"They are trapping," Doc said. "What is most disappointing to us is that we are not taking advantage of their traps. Tonight we did. To do that, we have to trust each other. This was the first game tonight we had complete trust. We let the ball find the open guy and we were really good." 

Even at their best, the Celtics won't light up the scoreboard. But they are capable of shooting 11-for-22 from downtown, as they showed on Wednesday. Open shooters in the NBA are dangerous. The challenge is finding ways to get them open and then getting them the ball, and the Celtics have been able to do both over the last two games.

The Knicks need to adjust. By trapping hard and staying disciplined in their rotations, they could make life a lot more difficult for Boston shooters...and probably end the series before heading back to New York.

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images