Boston Celtics: AlleyOop

Oop is right up their alley

November, 16, 2012
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett goes up and throws down vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
BOSTON -- Though Rajon Rondo continued his streak of double-digit assist games, and Brandon Bass suffered an unsightly finger dislocation, and Leandro Barbosa was back to driving to the rim aggressively, the lasting image from the Celtics' 101-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday was Kevin Garnett slamming home a Rondo lob pass just outside of the paint, as part of a designed alley-oop play.

The Rondo-to-Garnett alley-oop came through twice in the final three minutes of Monday's victory, with the second one happening with just over 40 seconds to play and the Celtics leading by two. The surging Bulls were in desperate need of a stop, and it ended up being one of Boston's most basic plays that accelerated their defeat.

The play itself -- similar in result, but different in execution more often than not -- isn't anything new. Garnett's been throwing down Rondo's lob passes since the two first took the floor together in 2007. It was a common sight: Rondo and Garnett would engage in a pick-and-roll situation and as Rondo flanked to one side, he'd calmly loft the ball up, and over would soar Garnett to hammer it through the rim.

The play became so effective that head coach Doc Rivers began employing it in late-game scenarios, whenever the Celtics needed a quick bucket or wanted to take advantage of a 2-for-1 situation. That is, until Garnett injured his right knee against the Utah Jazz in February of 2009. As he slowly recovered from knee surgery over the next few seasons, the alley-oop play was packed away in the attic, taken out very sporadically, and often ending with a Garnett lay-in, as opposed to a ferocious slam.

But Monday's win cemented the fact that the Rondo-to-Garnett alley-oop is very much back, and the Celtics are ready to utilize it once again. Rondo credits Rivers for its revival.

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Jeff Green
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9