Welcome to “Basketball, Neat.” This is an intermittent column throughout the 2015-16 NBA season where DIME will discuss some basketball play or trend without extraneous information.
If you’re a fan of single-malt Scotch, you should be familiar with ordering a drink, neat. That’s what this is, but with basketball. So there will be none of the usual contextual or superficial noise you might hear on Twitter or even in our pieces at DIME. This isn’t some referendum on basketball coverage or anything quite so lofty; it’s just a tiny place to talk exclusively about hoops. We’d like to nerd out about basketball for a little bit before we go back to the overarching culture of basketball and the NBA we normally cover. We hope you like it, but it’s primarily just a selfish way to publish what we’re already talking about with each other.
The Horns set is ubiquitous in the NBA. Sometimes it’s called an A-set because it seems to form an upside down letter “A” when the point guard brings the ball up the court and the two big men — the power forward (4) and center (5) — line up past the charity circle outside the lane at the three-point line. The two wings — the shooting guard and small forward — line up in each corner to spread the court and force their men to – hopefully — stick with them near the dangerously shallow three-point shot. Now both big men can set a screen for the ball handler. This is why a lot of traditional sets begin with the Horns alignment.
The Celtics did the same in their Game 1 loss to Atlanta, but the quick-footed Isaiah Thomas combined with the mirrored movements of Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko birthed an easy layup.