In the 2010 playoffs, Doc Rivers said that his team could beat LeBron' 61-21 Cavaliers, but that they had to do it "TOGETHER!" 3 years later, that's still true.
Despite Rondo running the show, the Celtics ranked 24th in the NBA in offensive efficiency last season. That's lower than every other playoff team, and the Celtics must improve on that number if they want to get back to the finals.
And to improve, they must "do it together" just like Doc said. The Celtics don't have a Durant or Carmelo like player to just give the ball to and clear out. But too often, the Celtics offense stagnates because that's what they try to do.
This clip is a microcosm of the Celtics struggles on offense in the big 3 era.
Garnett starts this possession by catching the ball in the post, as his teammates watch.
After a few dribbles, Garnett takes a contested fadeaway. The ball stuck with KG, as his teammates stood and watched.
After getting the rebound, Boston ran the same play. Garnett pounded the ball 7 times, as everyone stood around, before missing another heavily contested jumper.
So, how does Boston fix this? The answer is simple: better ball movement, and playing together. Here is another video of the Celtics offense, but here, the Celtics use each of their pieces to create a good shot.
Boston starts the play off by running Allen off 2 screens, one by Pierce on the left side of the floor, and another by Jermaine O'Neal on the right side. The screens separate Young from Allen, which makes Washington have to pick its poison. Don't bring McGee to help on Allen, and that's an open 3. Bring McGee, and O'Neal is open, meaning Blatche must rotate and the defense turns helter skelter. Washington chose to help, so allen got the ball to O'Neal.
Because Blatche was forced to prevent O'Neal from having an open dunk problems ensue. Blatche was covering KG in the post, so Lewis had to rotate to KG to prevent carnage. This leaves Pierce open for 3, so O'Neal gets him the ball.
Once Pierce gets the ball, Lewis runs him off the 3 point line because he's not a guy you leave open. This necessitates Wall stepping over to provide support, which leaves Rondo open at the top of the key. So Pierce gets the ball to his point guard.
Washington swarms to Rondo to seal his dribble penetration. The problem now: KG moved without the ball into O'Neal's former spot on the baseline. The Wizards choose to deny Rondo's drive, which leaves KG wide open from about 10-12 feet out. Rondo makes the pass and KG does the rest.
Amidst a season of poor offense, this one play for Boston was special, because just like Doc said, they did it together. The Celtics used each piece on the floor, each of their individual talents, to create one great play as a team. Pierce and O'Neal set good screens to free Allen. Allen made the proper read off the double team to get the ball to O'Neal, who made another proper read to find Pierce. Pierce didn't force a shot, instead getting the ball back to an open Rondo. By now, the defense was so disorganized that Rondo had KG open for what's really a layup for him.
It's worth noting the Celtics went back to this same play in the playoffs last year, using it on Kevin Garnett's series clinching jumper against Atlanta.
If the Celtics ball movement is this crisp this year, they will not be 24th in the NBA in offense again. Sure, the Celtics don't have Durant, or Melo, or any of the "give me the ball and get out of the way" types of guys. But, they don't need that guy. Whether LeBron steams through a defense himself, or the Celtics use 18 seconds to manufacture an open look, 2 points is 2 points. In the Celtics last run to the finals, they beat Wade LeBron and Howard, and nearly Kobe: they did not have the best individual on the court in any series, but it did not matter. As Doc said, for the Celtics, it's all about "TOGETHER!"