The 5 best plays of Friday’s Celtics-Nuggets game
The best five plays of Friday’s Celtics-Nuggets game feature a two-on-one with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ending badly for defense and the relentless pursuit of Payton Pritchard on the offensive glass.
There’s also Luke Kornet’s block leading to two points at the rim for Tatum, and he and Brown illustrating what happens when a good offense beats a quality defense.
Luke Kornet’s block leads to two points on the edge for Jayson Tatum
The Celtics’ first wall on Michael Porter Jr.’s drive. And when Bruce Brown picks up the kick pass and attacks from the right slot, Luke Kornet, reaping the benefits of being seven-foot-two, maintains his position on DeAndre Jordan then opens up his back foot, extends his arm and beats Brown to the basket.
This allows Boston to play in tempo. Kornet sets a high ball screen for Jayson Tatum over the break. And with Jordan being a center who needs to play drop coverage, the Celtics star takes advantage of the space given to him and Jordan’s ole defense, moving to the left side of the rim and finishing with a forehand glass.
game of the night
Boston’s second unit was excellent Friday, as it has been all season, contributing 34 points and the obligatory injection of energy in Friday’s victory.
Going beyond the bare minimum, this group also sparked a run late in the third quarter that gathered momentum entering the final frame.
In the play above, Luke Kornet’s open thrust shot doesn’t go down, but Payton Pritchard crashes in from the right corner. Not only is Jeff Green unable to keep him off the ball, Pritchard also beats Jordan and Brown for it.
You’ll notice everyone on the Celtics took off to the other end of the field. But when Pritchard surprises them with the rebound, the defensive comeback gives Derrick White a lead to build a vapor head, downhill.
White fails to make the lay-up; Nor did Kornet on his attempted tip. But Pritchard, who takes three Nuggets for the board, directs the ricochet at White.
Pritchard runs to the near corner and deserves to win the ball back for what would have been a clean look on a three, but White can’t be faulted for feeding the ball to an open Sam Hauser over the break.
Hauser’s three rattles come in and out, and Denver thinks that finally ended possession. But Green’s boxing ends as Porter and Jordan fail to secure the rebound; the latter, unaware that Pritchard is coming back for more, grabs it with one hand, only for a guard who has been buried on the depth chart to come in, slip the ball and put it on the glass.
It was the game of the night in this game.
Jaylen Brown defeats Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
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Jaylen Brown scored 25 points and had his first ten shots in Friday’s victory.
This included catching that loop pass and exercising patience and control. Brown chooses not to attack downhill immediately, which most likely results in a turnover with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in front of him and Nikola Jokic delaying to help protect him.
Instead, he scans past him as he collects the ball, holds his place, then attacks Caldwell-Pope to the left. In addition to the latter defending this, Brown gets his hands up for a spinning move in a snapping back pullover.
When a good offense beats a good defense
Tatum comes out of a screen of White and sells that he’s putting one on for Brown. This forces Bruce Brown to play cover briefly before catching Tatum.
Brown does well to place himself at the three-time All-Star, but when he achieves it, it leaves him vulnerable as Tatum spins in the paint, where his size allows him to shoot Brown, his strength and momentum propel him forward. forward with Brown. to his chest, and Tatum gently reclines into a float on the glass.
As expected, a 2-1 with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ends badly for the Defense
Tatum’s manipulation of the ball, selling the pass but keeping it past his dribble behind his back, made it a highlight of Friday’s Celtics-Nuggets game.
But it’s also another example of Tatum going straight for a defender rather than stepping away from the basket to avoid contact.
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