After a painful 119-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 at home last Monday, the Boston Celtics are expected to make some adjustments in Wednesday night’s Game 2 of this second-round series in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla even shared how his team plans to attack Philadelphia’s zone defense, and it’s one that isn’t at all surprising.
“Shoot it. Make it,” Mazzulla said ahead of Game 2 (h/t ina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
It’s no secret that one of the most effective ways to break a zone and loosen it up is by launching and hitting outside shots. The Celtics actually fared decently in that area in the series opener, as they went 10-for-26 from behind the arc. Jayson Tatum was on target in that game, going 4-for-5 from deep and finishing with a total of 39 points. Jaylen Brown also went 3-for-4 from deep. However, outside of Tatum and Brown, the Celtics only made three of 17 attempts from 3-point distance.
With Joel Embiid set to return to the Sixers’ lineup in Game 2, penetrating the lane should get harder this time around the Celtics, so there’s a heightened need for Boston to nail their outside shots early in the game to keep Philadelphia’s defense honest.
Among teams that made the playoffs, the Celtics are third in both 3-pointers made per game (15.0) and 3-point shooting percentage (40.4%). Conversely, the Sixers are allowing just 11.0 3-pointers and holding opponents down to only 33.5 percent shooting from behind the rainbow line in the playoffs, thus far.
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