The Boston Celtics have undersized, speedy guards in Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin. When this duo plays together, Boston has a fascinating backcourt attack.
They form one of the fastest-paced duos, which makes sense when you watch them play. Rozier (4.50 MPH) and Larkin (4.42 MPH) are Boston’s leaders in highest average speed on the court this postseason. Playing them together is a noteworthy decision by head coach Brad Stevens, who’s had to alter his game-plan without injured floor general Kyrie Irving.
During the postseason, the Celtics have been outscored by 8.8 points per 100 possessions when Rozier is on the court with Larkin. Their net rating was the second-lowest (minimum: 400 minutes) among all two-man lineups that were used by Boston during the regular season, when they played at a much slower pace.
They have one of the Eastern Conference’s worst defensive ratings (116.3) among all two-man lineups that have played together in the playoffs. But during the regular season, the guards played with a defensive tenacity that was fairly effective.
During the postseason, the Celtics have struggled on the offensive end when Rozier and Larkin are on the court together, as they have one of the worst assist-to-turnover ratios. This was also a problem that plagued them during the regular season, which is a bit of a surprise.
Larkin (2.97) and Rozier (2.90) actually had the best assist-to-turnover ratios among all players that played for Boston this year. Larkin averaged 11.8 points, 5.2 assists and 1.2 turnovers per 36 minutes when Rozier was not on the court during the regular season.
But when Larkin appeared with Rozier, the guard averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 assists and 1.6 turnovers per 36. When Rozier was not on the court, Larkin’s assist-to-turnover rate (4.3) was impressive. Yet when they shared the court, the rate (2.5) was much lower.
If Larkin continues to get matched up against defenders like Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, his turnover rate could spike during the second round. However, he has not yet had a turnover when he played alongside Rozier while in the playoffs.
Larkin is not scoring much either (9.7 points per 36), but he has continued to distribute efficiently (5.8 assists per 36) when next to Rozier in the backcourt. Rozier, meanwhile, has been one of the leading scorers for Boston when he has appeared with Larkin in the playoffs (19.1 points per 36).
While neither scores well near the rim and both are sub-par midrange shooters, it will be interesting to see if Stevens continues to play the small guards together moving forward.