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DALLAS-HOUSTON: LAST 3 MINUTES OF THE GAME.’HALLELUKA’ – ROOKIE LUKA DONCIC LEADS THE MAVERICKS TO A WIN OVER THE ROCKETS.

doncic rockets

Photo: AP/Scanpix

‘Halleluka’. ”It seemed fitting that the game concluded this way, as The Ringer’s signature song ‘Halleluka’ made its public debut at the American Airlines Center (Dallas).”

(https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/nba/mavericks-rookie-luka-doncic-leads-impressive-fourth-quarter-surge-to-beat-rockets/ar-BBQGLyn).

3:09 minutes left on the game clock. 102-94 Houston’s biggest lead of the game (+8). There was 16 ties and 26 lead changes in this game.

19 years old rookie from Slovenia with straight 11 points erases eight-points deficit and Mavericks went to their ninth consecutive home victory!

ROY (Rookie of The Year)? I think that after almost 2 months played in 2018/19 NBA season most of basketball experts will agree – Doncic is the ROY of this season!

MVP rookie of the year

For me it’s not surprise. In my article for HUPU I already wrote about him – “LUKA DONCIC. 19 YEARS OLD EUROLEAGUE MVP TO BECOME FUTURE NBA STAR?”

If someone is MVP of Euroleague, European Champion, Euroleague Champion at age of 19… There’s no questions – he is ready for NBA. Euroleague = grown men’s basketball/second best basketball league in the world.

Confidence and high basketball IQ. European player who despite being far from the fastest in NBA can create his own shot. Court vision. These things describes Luka.

Most of the Latvian basketball fans still remembers his crazy 3-pointer (9 meters from basket/0 seconds left on shot clock/backboard… from +4 to +7 4:41 minutes left…) in EUROBASKET 2017 quarter-finals that was one of the key moments that lead Slovenia (Dragic MIA, Doncic DAL) to victory over Latvia (Porzingis NYK , Bertans SAS) despite Porzingis 8 points in last 4 minutes of the game.

2omcr0

Doncic is special talent – no questions!

In this article we are not talking about his defense. YES,  Harden scored one-third of his total points vs. Dallas when he was guarded by Doncic…

 

3:09 LEFT ON THE GAME CLOCK. ROCKETS +8 (102:94).

Timeouts2

3:09. Nene makes both free throws (94-102)

2:50. DONCIC CORNER CATCH-AND-SHOOT 3-PT MADE (97-102)

X5 (Nene) helped too much on 4 (Barnes) drive to the basket. To prevent 2 (Matthews) from attempting open 3-point shot XD (Tucker) had to rotate (stunt) but he wasn’t able to recover back to Doncic. Harden and Paul wasn’t in great helping positions to help the helper. Matthews finds Luka empty in the corner = 3-points!

DONCIC1

DONCIC2

DONCIC3

 

2:32. Harden misses pull-up 3-pt. PNR (Mathews goes under/Luka doesn’t want to switch vs. Harden) 15 seconds left on the shot clock and Rockets +5…

2:19. Matthews misses 3-pt. PNR (2 ball-screens set by teammates). 

2:18. Jordan offensive rebound (vs. CP3) + CP3 foul. Houston SWITCH ALL. CP3 (1.83m) has almost 0% to get the rebound against 28 cm taller Jordan (2.11m).  

2:18. Dallas. Side-line inbounds play. 

2:05 DONCIC. HIGH-PNR. HOUSTON SWITCHES PNR. DONCIC vs. CAPELA (JORDAN-TUCKER) STEP-BACK 3-PT MADE 1.3 SECONDS BEFORE END OF THE SHOT CLOCK. (100-102)

DONCIC13

DONCIC14

DONCIC15

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1:49. Clever play by Chris Paul. Personal foul by rookie Brunson. CP3 86.7% career FT shooter misses the both free-throws.. Rockets 11/11 FT before CP3’s FTs.

1:34. DONCIC. HIGH PNR. SCREEN + RE-SCREEN BY JORDAN. DRIVE TO THE BASKET AND FINISHES FISH FLOATER. (102-102)

Despite Tucker’s great defense Doncic is able to score. 

DONCIC6

DONCIC7

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1:14. Harden three-point shot missed (air-ball). CP3 sets the ball-screen for Harden. Dallas switch. Harden 1vs1 vs. Brunson. Shot was attempted when 4.0 seconds left on the shot clock.

0:57. DONCIC. SET PLAY. PASS TO BARNES HAND-OFF + FLARE SCREEN + PNR. (Again great individual defense by Tucker denying Doncic to get the ball back after passing to Barnes) PICK-AND-ROLL SWITCH. ONCE AGAIN DONCIC vs CAPELA. STEP-BACK 3-POINTER MADE. (105-102)

DONCIC8

DONCIC9

DONCIC10

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0:45. Harden 1vs1 vs. Brunson. Drives to the basket and scores 2 points. Play out of time-out. CP3 and Harden hand-off is switched so Beard can play against Brunson. (105-104)

0:24. Brunson back-door cut = lay-up (2pt). DONCIC PNR TRAP – Jordan short roll – Brunson back-door cut to the basket. Great decisions by Doncic/Jordan/Brunson. (107-104)

This time Houston decided to TRAP Doncic instead of SWITCH. Doncic passing skills allowed him to successfully deliver the ball to Jordan (4vs3). CP3 was focusing too much on covering Jordan’s roll to the basket. It allowed Brunson to cut to the basket and score 2 points.

vlcsnap-2018-12-10-23h02m31s341

DONCIC4

DONCIC5

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0:18. Quick 3-pointer by Gordon missed. CP3 hand-off screen to Gordon open up him for pretty good 3-point shot attempt. It’s not easy to have better shot opportunity in only 6 seconds being down by 3 points.

0:16. Defensive rebound by Jordan.

0:14.8. Harden fouls Matthews. Matthews (78% season FT% + 5/5 FT in this game before) misses both free-throws. Defensive rebound by Team. No time out called yet.

0:05.0. Houston full time out. 

0:00.0 SOB play by coach D’Antoni. Gordon misses 3-PT shot…

DONCIC11

DONCIC12

2om9gu

 

SUMMARY

Dallas – Houston last 3 minutes of the game:

  • Dallas outscored Houston 13:2.
  • Dallas rookies Doncic (11) and Brunson (2) scored all points for Mavs.
  • Two step-back 3-pointers made vs. Capela (PNR Switch).
  • Jordan collected 4 (1+3) rebounds.
  • Matthews (78% career, 5/5 vs Houston before 2 missed FTA) missed 2 free-throws.
  • Harden missed both 3-pointers.
  • Chris Paul missed both free-throws. (career 87%).
  • Gordon missed both 3-pointers including last second shot.

Despite Houston Rockets have bigger potential compared to Dallas Mavericks this season they don’t play like a unified team. It’s easy to see that atmosphere is much better in Dallas team. Maybe Zhou Qi can make a difference? Definitely I am not the only one who wants to see him playing soon again !

 Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com/CoachKris@HUPU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMPORTANCE OF LEBRON’S OUTSIDE SHOOTING.

bronbig23-e1542261905243

Lakers defeat Trail Blazers –  126:117. It was Lebron’s best game of 2018/19 season so far –  44 Pts+10 Reb+9 Ast. As we basketball fans know that Lebron has never been the best three-point shooters in NBA but his unbelievable athleticism allows him to get to the rim despite not being among the best jump shooters in the league. Of course he’s definitely better three-point (34.4% career) shooter than for example Giannis (career 27.6%) but by far worse than Klay Thompson (career 41.9%).

I think I’m one of the league leaders in points in the paint. I drive just as much as anybody. At this point, it’s almost like they’re trying to turn me into a jump shooter. I can’t be a jump shooter.’’ (https://lebronwire.usatoday.com/2017/11/29/lebron-james-believes-officials-are-trying-to-turn-him-into-a-jump-shooter/)

Three-pointers vs. Portland 5 of 6! That’s the fact: simply there’s no one who can stop him 1vs1 if he shoots great from 3-point line that particular night. Lots of good things for Lebron’s team can happen if his defender has to adjust his strategy of defending him = playing closer.

LEB too close

 

Against league’s best players there’s no way to take away all his weapons but most of the teams is willing to give up King’s three-pointer rather than seeing him driving to the basket. Lebron is like a high-speed train (especially during transition).. When he goes full speed at defender, basically there’s nothing can stop him.

LEB train

 

If the player who has tendency to DRIVE TO THE BASKET are able to add great 3-POINT SHOT to his repertoire his defender has to guard him closer (Basic principle for defense: great shooter = closer, bad shooter = further) and that means:

 

  • Better opportunities to drive to the basket and shot fakes are more effective since defender has to ’’respect’’ opponent’s ability to shoot from outside;

 

  • Once Lebron drives past his defender mostly there’s DUNK (or any other type of shot close to the basket)/FREE-THROWS (Draws a foul) or PASS to open teammate and also MID-RANGE SHOT option is possible (if his defender still near).

 

  • He also becomes more effective offensive player without the ball (’’stretch the floor’’) if he is has great shooting night. That means more opportunities for his teammates.

 

THE FACT.

The King scores higher % of his points from three-point line this season (2018/19 sample size is not too big this season but tendency is obvious) than both 2015/16 season when he won his first title with Cleveland and 2011/2012 season when he won his first NBA title with Miami Heat (I’ve chosen these 3 seasons to compare “different Lebron”  with “today’s Lebron” in different stage of his career).

MIAMI HEAT (2011/12)

2011-12

CLEVELAND (2015/16)

shots 2015-16

LA LAKERS (2018/19)

shots 2018-19

% of points scored from 3-POINT LINE: 9.6 (2011/12) → 13.6 (2015/16) → 22.5 (2018/19).

% of points scored from MID-RANGE area: 22.3 (2011/12) ← 12.3 (2015/16) ← 11.4 (2018/19).

% of points that coming from free-throw line and points in the paint hasn’t changed too much through the years.

Reasons for this could be:

  1. NBA is changing, players attempts more 3-point shots than ever before. Individual skill development.
  2. Basketball Analytics tells us long 2’s (mid-range) shots are worst shots in basketball.
  3. Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers/Los Angeles Lakers = 3 different teams /3 different styles/ 3 different coaches/3 different roles.
  4. Tendency to attempt more shots from outside is often seen in basketball once players getting older. I am not sure if this is the case for Lebron but maybe it could be because of him being more pragmatic?

 

LEBRON JAMES SHOOTING 51%+ THREE-POINTERS =  HIS TEAM WINS 80%+ GAMES…

Again 3 different seasons – with MIAMI 2011/12 (winning NBA title for the first time)/ CLEVELAND 2017/18 (last season with Cleveland)/ LA LAKERS 2018/19.

Of course, it’s very usual if team’s best player shoots well from 3-point line, he will score more points and his team has a bigger chance to win but as we basketball fans by following NBA for years… for Lebron that means he’s basically unstoppable and his teammates get tons of good shots created by King.

LEB w5 or wo5

5 of 6 losses when Lebron shot 3-pointers with accuracy 51% or better was away games.

All 31 games of 2011/12, 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons (including play-offs) when Lebron shot 3-pointers with very high accuracy (51+%).

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seasons2

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5 OF 6 BEHIND THE ARC vs. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (Nov. 15th)

  • all of King’s three-pointers were pull-up 3’s (off the dribble);
  • Of 4 of his 5 three-point attempts made pick-and-roll/pop situations was involved.

3 of 4 PNR was defended using “SHOW&RECOVER” coverage. Most of the time it was PG or SG position player who set the screen for Lebron because in case of SWITCH James can use his strength and drive to the basket. For example I don’t see too many options without rotation (even rotation is not enough if high-speed train is arriving) in situation when Lebron attacks McCollum (great offensive player). Because of Lakers lack of outside shooters pick-and-pop (PG and SG usually not rollers) situations is not a threat for Portland – SHOW&RECOVER usually is suitable strategy to cover this type of pick-and-roll/pop.

It was similar strategy what Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to happen against Golden State Warriors attacking Curry when player who guarded Curry was the screener.

The reason why SHOW&RECOVER strategy wasn’t that successful most of the time was miscommunication between players & initial defender wasn’t able to re-establish good defensive position on Lebron after going under the teammate who was SHOWING. But of course there’s no strategy in the world who can stop probably the best player in the world now who has almost perfect game!!!

 

Having less than 7 seconds left on the shot-clock in this situation was SWITCH. SHOW&RECOVER lead to miscommunication and Lebron punished defenders for it = 3 points!

LEB 4

Examples of initial Lebron’s defender unable to successfully re-establish defensive position on Lebron James or even if he did it wasn’t enough to stop Lebron from scoring behind the arc in this particular game. It created opportunities for quality 3-point shot attempts for King.

LEB 5

LEB 1

感谢关注我文章的篮球迷们!

Kristians@abouthegame.com

CoachKris@HUPU

THE STORY OF 76ERS 2018-19 SEASON: FANTASTIC FIVE AND TITLE CHANCES.

THE STORY OF 76ERS 2018-19 SEASON: FANTASTIC FIVE AND TITLE CHANCES.

PHI

76ers team we see now is quite different than in the beginning of the season. More about this team which has one of the best starting five in NBA in this story of their 2018-19 season.

In addition to Lebron, 76ers to pursue Kawhi Leonard & Paul George in NBA Free Agency.

kawhi-leonard-LeBron-james-paul-george-76ers-photoshop-2018

‘’So far, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Paul George stayed put in OKC, LeBron decided to take his talents to Los Angeles, and talks with the Spurs about a deal for Kawhi have become stagnant.’’(https://thesixersense.com/2018/07/07/philadelphia-76ers-no-need-sweat-quiet-offseason/)

Serious face

Things are much different for 76ers and GM Elton Brand during the regular season. What Philadelphia 76ers didn’t achieve during off-season they did during regular season!

Butler to 76ers and Covington & Saric to Timberwolves.

usat_jimmy_butler_dario_saric_robert_covington

 

Both Covington and Saric are great players but obviously not enough for ambitious team like Philadelphia to win the Title. Anyway, having Covington and Saric in starting line-up in 2017-18 season 76ers had the best starting line-up in NBA.

Best starting line-up

Butler starts excellent!

Game-winning shot vs. Hornets OT (Kemba Walker 60 points).

vs Hornets

Jimmy Butler’s game-winner against the Brooklyn Nets was his second since being traded to the 76ers. 

Butler game-winning.gif

Later this season Sixers acquired TOBIAS HARRIS, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott in a trade with the Clippers.

ap_mike_scott_tobias_harris_boban_marjanovic

Happy face

In my opinion it was also good decision to trade Fultz to Orlando. It’s hard to trade your #1 Draft for sure.

Fultz to ORL

176ers

 

WHAT TYPE OF BASKETBALL PLAYS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS?

76erslogo

When Coach Brett Brown describes how he wants the basketball moving on offense, he says he wants it going from player to player “like popcorn popping.”

Popcorn

BALL-MOVEMENT TEAM

Both above average offensive (Off Rtg 10th) and defensive team (DefRtg 11th).

One of the highest scoring teams in NBA – 115.9 points per game (3rd)

Despite playing pretty fast-paced basketball (7th) 76ers is team which has a least amount of FGA per 100 possessions in NBA (30th!).

Explanation of high scoring and low amount of FGA = high accuracy (TS%) 58.2% (3rd) + lot of personal fouls drawn which leads to lot of Free-Throw Attempts – 27.1/100 possesions (2nd).

3rd/4th assists per game/100 possessions – 26.4.

Second in NBA in AST% (how many of all made shots were assisted) only behind Golden State Warriors.

Team who has highest 3-pointers assisted % in NBA – 95.3%. Their best shooter J.J.Redick very often comes off the screens. There’s similarities to Klay Thompson and completely opposite to Harden who creates his own 3-point shot for himself in most of the time.

Coach Brett Brown team should reduce Turnovers if they want to be real title contender – 15.0/100 possessions (24th in NBA).

NBA teams with highest FT/3-POINT FGA ratio. 

FT3Pratio

76ers also is the TALLEST TEAM in NBA – 203.9 cm (player’s average) and 4th heaviest team in NBA.

 

FANTASTIC 5

 

Fantastic 5

 

The Best line-up in NBA (+/-) by wide margin (after 4 games played together).  +11.

Lineups +-

Third tallest starting 5 In NBA.

Even before adding T.Harris The Sixers are the only team in NBA with four players averaging at least 17.0 PPG this season. Harris trade gave them a fifth.

76ers

 

T. HARRIS THE MOST IMPROVED PLAYER THIS SEASON?

Most Improved player NBA

 

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Embiid

EMBIID

Probably the best big man in NBA. NBA leader in Double-doubles per game (48). 6th best point scorer. Top3 in League : Rebounding/getting to the free-throw line/post-ups per game. Also Cameroonian is 2nd most used player in team’s offense (USG%) only behind Harden.

2017-18 NBA All-Defensive team.

Recently we can seen him left wide open when getting ball behind the 3-point line (31.4% career) although in his first year in NBA he made more than 36% of his 3-pointers which is above league average.

Embiid: “I don’t like shooting 3s” & “I only do it because of the spacing that we have”

Young player, have to avoid to commit turnovers and control his emotions and ego.

Simmons

SIMMONS

2017-18 Rookie Of the Year. Athletic and high IQ player. Despite lack of outside shooting (0/14 career 3-pointers) Australian often creates opportunities for team-mates = he is 6th best in NBA per Assist% (he assisted more than 1/3 of all 76ers field goals made when he was on the court). 3rd most Triple-Doubles in NBA this season (8). Excellent in past-paced game especially in offensive transition.

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BUTLER

One of the best defenders in NBA (4x All-Defensive Team). Although he wasn’t the best clutch player before in his career his 2 game winning shots for 76ers in first few games for new team was impressive way to start. Not high-volume shooter and not the best shooter in NBA but his 3-point shooting % has improved last few seasons. Fighter. Important to find his role in team and control his emotions. Not the best reputation in NBA recently for this very valuable player. Very valuable player even without scoring 30+ points per game.

Harris

HARRIS

Serious candidate to MIP award this season. Great start of the season with Clippers. Above average rebounder. Effective starting offensive transtion (similar to Simmons). More driver to the basket than outside shooter but can be threat from beyond the arc (3- point shooting 40+% in last 2 seasons!). Able to defend multiple positions, very solid defender. Important that Harris is able to fit in any teams system pretty well.

Example of Harris great defense.

Harris defense

 

Redick1

J.J. REDICK

Great 3-point shooter (career 41.3%). Catch-and-shoot player who can spread the floor. Redick coming off screens puts lot of pressure to defense. He has attempted more 3-pointers than 2-pointers in this career. For 76ers to be successful Redick has to improve his 3-point shooting during Play-Offs (Reg season 41.3% > Play-offs 36.3).

Reddick accuarcy decline

Redick 3

Not the best defender of Philly team. Team’s very often use post up their players if they are guarded by Reddick (great example last years PO series vs. BOS).

Redick post problem

 

BEFORE TRADE DEADLINE & AFTER. USG%.

 Every player of 76ers starting 5 experiences decrease of USG% and that’s only natural if you have another great player added to starting 5.

The main concern could be Jimmy Butler. Diagram shows that BUTLER HAS LARGEST DECREASE of USG% 6.5. It’s very important for Philly that he understands his role and accepts it.

Deadline comparison

 

Great thing of these 5 players playing at the same time = more open shots to each another since all of them can make impact. If any of them has bad game, it will be good day for other. Very rare to see all 5 star players playing bad basketball at the same time.

POST-UP

4 of 5 starting five (except Redick) can effectively play with back to the basket.

Post UP

 

THEY CAN DEFEND!

Only J.J. Redick defensively is below average NBA player similar to other his type of players. Last season Boston attacked Redick and McConnell in play-off series very often successful.

Harris/Butler/Simmons/Embiid = all can play very good defense.

 

BENCH PLAYERS

Depth definitely isn’t Philly’s advantage over their opponents Bucks, Raptors and Celtics (also Pacers) but if Coach Brett Brown can find right line-ups using his bench players it can work quite well (76ers starting 5 play together 18.2 minutes per game in first 4 games).

2018-19 season overall 76ers ranks 25th in bench points in NBA – 32.9 points per game.

76ERS HEAVY RELY ON THEIR STARTING FIVE. If we only look 4 games after trade deadline Philadelphia could 29th per bench points only behind Houston Rockets (26.5 bench points per game).

Starters vs bench

 

Marjanovic

MARJANOVIC. Tallest/heaviest NBA player. Slow but his height gives advantage over other players both offensively and defensively.

Example of Marjanovic using his height not even jumping to collect defensive rebound.

Boban rebound

Thumb up

Boban no need fancy moves, he can simply shoot over his defender 🙂

Boban over

Great passer out of the post.

Thumb down

Opponents can attack him in pick-and-roll situations.

Because of lack of quickness Boban is not among the best pick-and-roll defending bigs in NBA.

  • If he comes too far away from the basket to stop ball-hander = ball-handler attacks with speed (drive).

Boban 1

  • If he stays too close to the basket = shot.

Boabm2

Example of Hayward taking advantage of this situation.

Boban pick-and-roll problem

 

Euroleague Regular Season MVP (2014) who makes 60% of his FGA role could be to let Embiid rest for 10-15 minutes.

 

McConnel

McCONNELL

Floor General McConnell can bring energy to team and can play great defense on perimeter. Pretty good passer. Teams like Boston Celtics can use size and strength advantage by posting-up their players I guarded by T.J. (similar to Reddick)

 

Others should spread the floor and make shots/play good defense and give let starting 5 to rest.

 

NBA TITLE CHANCES/ EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE?

 

CHEMISTRY AND EGOS.

Without the doubt 76ers starting 5 is one of the best in NBA at the moment + bench players can give rest for starters few minutes.

I would say it’s pressure on coach Brett Brown to figure out how to get most of his team and to find every player’s role in his ball-movement offensive system.

Teams chemistry has been issue after acquiring Butler. Not everyone can find his role.

jimmy-butler-has-challenged-brett-brown-about-role-in-offense

„Jimmy Butler is mad about his role. This is when the Sixers need to ACTUALLY trust the process” (www.sbnation.com)

Also Embiid wasn’t happy of his role in team’s offense. Sixers’ Joel Embiid not happy with role after Jimmy Butler trade: ‘It just really frustrates me’

It’s worth to mention that Embiid also wasn’t “happy with his NBA 2K18 rating”…

 

Good thing is that T. Harris/Marjanovic are able to bring joy to this team and environment no more „toxic” as it was before.

Boban Harris

Butler/Harris LAST YEAR OF CONTRACT… Better stats = better contract? Jimmy Butler happiness probably is the key for this team to be successful. Even Butler’s role in offense decreased after trade deadline, I like the way he has been playing these 4 games after Harris and Marjanovic joined the team.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE/NBA TITLE?

TOP4

 

Even Philly now has TOP3 starting 5 in NBA I can’t say they are #1 Eastern Conference Title contenders for sure, their opponents Toronto and Milwaukee has been consistent whole season + they have depth + they signed 2 great players who can fit great in their system – M.Gasol (TOR) and Mirotic (MIL). In addition all other teams who are considered to be Eastern Conference Title contenders are in Top 8 best defenses in NBA – Milwaukee 1st, Boston 5th, Toronto 8th , also is worth to mentioned Indiana 2nd.

Trade deadline 76ers

 

Also Boston Celtics still have time to deal with their locker-room problems and incosistency. They are play-off team.

And let’s not forget about Indiana Pacers who play pretty good despite Oladipo is out of the season. Pacers should be the biggest threat in 1st Play-Off round to any of these teams.

In my opinion 76ers definitely has a chance to win Eastern conference this season and even compete for NBA title but it really depends on themselves… Are they ready to play like a real team? Are they mentally tough enough? Real test will be when/if team will lose few games in a row or will be down 1-2 in play-offs.

Eastern Conference play-offs will be very exciting for NBA basketball fans this 2018-19 season. And Golden State Warriors not playing that stable as we have seen recent years + lack of depth can give a real chance for Eastern Conference winners to compete for NBA Title.

Good luck to coach Brett Brown and TRUST THE PROCESS!

Thanks for reading ! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

PELICANS AND AD – THE VALUE OF UNIBROW. FACTS.

ADD

„I gave the city, organization, fans everything I feel like I could” said Davis.

After playing 6.5 seasons for New Orleans Davis requested trade and won’t sign extension.

Anthony Davis : 6x All-Star, 3x All-NBA First Team, NBA All-Defensive first team , 3x  best shot blocker in NBA+ lots of other achievements. It’s just natural that NBA superstar like AD wants to win NBA Title. Is this franchise able to add enough quality players in their roster who can help Davis achieve his career goals?

New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets best result in franchise history is Conference Semifinals (twice).

Through the years (AD era) there was simply bad luck (injuries Gordon, Holiday, Cousins, Evans), also few bad decisions and even when New Orleans had a great season their play-off run was stopped by Golden State Warriors twice…

NOP play-off

 

NOP

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

  • Great 2017/18 season – „No. 6 seed Pelicans make NBA playoff history with first-round sweep of Trail Blazers”. 4:0. New Orleans became the first No. 6 seed (or lower) to sweep its first-round series since the NBA switched from its best-of-five format in 2003.

 

  • Promising start of 2018/19 season. Pelicans won their first 4 games of the season.

 

  • Plays fast – 2017/18 fastest team (1st) in NBA, this season 6th (pace 103.1).

 

  • Lack of depth. Heavily rely on their Starters – AD, Randle, Holiday, Mirotic and Moore/Payton. Second worst bench in NBA.

 

  • New Orleans also leads league in points scored by C position players and 4th points scored by PF position players. They definitely lack of quality wing players.

 

  • Leads league in POINTS IN THE PAINT (1st) – 59.9 points per game. 7 points per game (!) more than 2nd place LA Lakers.

 

  • I could say Pelicans are „streaky’’ team. They have tendency to either win or lose lot of games in a row.

Streaky NOP

  • If offense is pretty good and they rank 6th in NBA (Off Rtg 113.4) then defense is one of the worst in NBA (Def Rtg 112.2) – 24th of 30 teams in NBA despite having NBA All-Defensive First Team (2018) player in their roster.

2017/18 season their defense was average but 2018/19 it’s bad. Their roster didn’t change that much (Rondo to LAL, Cousins half a season and was injured + to GSW, Randle to NOP) and Randle definitely is above average defender („Luke Walton Calls Julius Randle Best One-on-One Defender in NBA”). Defense  is not only played with legs and arms but also with heart.  Probably problem is the last one mentioned. For example opponents score the most 3-pointers when playing against Pelicans.

Another reason is that Pelicans heavily rely on their Starting 5 players (31.6 min avg per game per starter) that it can badly affect their defense, especially in the end of the game.

 

  • Don’t play good in the end of the game this season. 2nd best clutch team last season 30W-20L but the worst clutch team this season percentage-wise of games won (29%; 9W-22L).

 

  • Atmosphere in team. Very similar to Rockets who had a chance to make it to Finals last year, Pelicans played great basketball last season and post-season but again = Warriors. Since AD, Harden and CP3 haven’t won NBA Title yet, it really disappoints All-Star player doing his best but it’s still not enough to be NBA champion. Emotionally it affects superstars with ambition to the best. Atmosphere in locker-room and team very often starts from team’s best player. If team’s best player is not happy with organisation it affects everyone. Probably Curry is the best of team leaders to play alongside in NBA.

 

  • Low attendance (29th of 30) also isn’t something that New Orleans Pelicans should be proud of. Not basketball city?

 

IMPORTANCE OF ANTHONY DAVIS.

„Lakers offering eight players for Anthony Davis’’

WithWOAD

There shouldn’t be hate towards Unibrow since he has been TOP 10 scorer in last 5 NBA seasons but Pelicans made play-offs only twice.

All TOP 10 point scorers in last 5 NBA seasons.

10scorers AD

Winning percentage (%) (only games where they actually played in seasons when they were among TOP 10 best) of all NBA players who has finished season (2019 not finished yet) in TOP 10 points scored per game at least 4 of 5 last NBA seasons. 

Only Cousins (Sacramento/New Orleans) team had worst record than Davis (New Orleans) in games where they participated. Cousins don’t play for Sacramento and New Orleans anymore but Golden State Warriors

TOp10 last 5 seasoms

 

OFFENSE. VERSATILITY OF AD.

He will be great for for every team in the League. Team player, can be effective in the both ends of the floor.

Despite his height (2.08m) very often he’s capable of doing what only guards capable to do. Similar to Giannis, Porzingis.

He can play both inside/out.

  • Post up. Both low post/high post.

1vs1 post signature move

  • Court vision & Passing. If double team = pass ball back to his teammates. I like his shot selection.

Pass out of Double

 

AD double

AD double 2

  • Can play effective 1vs1 from perimiter.

1vs1 perimeter

  • Can play great both fast-faced and slow-paced basketball. Able to start transition from defense to offense without passing to guards or other teammates.

Fast Break to start

  • Offensive rebounding.

Pass out of Double

  • Can be effective in pick-and-roll situations both as roller (most of the time) and ball-handler as well in pick-and-roll situations what’s not typical for that tall player. Pick-and-pop also option.

 

  • Team player. Unselfish. Can play both PF and C positons if needed.

 

  • Three-point shooting, spreading the floor? Definitely shoots 3-pointers better than Giannis but 31% career 3-point shooting is below NBA average (35.4% 2019 NBA).

AD spreads the floor

 

DEFENSE

His height and wingspan is his strength.

AD Wingspan

 

  • It’s very difficult for guards to attack in pick-and-roll situations when Davis defends ball-screener.

 

  • His impressive wingspan often is a cause of opponents taking shots and having bad passing angles.

PNR great defense

PNR defense Flat

  • SHOT BLOCKING. 3x NBA blocks leader (2014,2015, 2018)

Block

  • Sometimes heavier offensive problems cause problems while AD is trying to boxing out them but again.. but again height and wingspan are his weapons.

 

I guess lot of NBA basketball fans watched New Orleans games mostly because of Davis and hopefully Pelicans will get great players back in return of AD. The fact that „Lakers offering eight players for Anthony Davis’’ shows how valuable is Pelicans best player.

Thank you for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS & MID-SEASON REALITY. REVIEW OF NBA 2018/19 REGULAR SEASON.

Since NBA regular season is at the halfway it’s right time to compare preseason’s predictions to real situation in mid-season. I decided to compare ESPN preseason Power Ranking with standings in NBA at the moment. It’s obvious that for example Golden State Warriors can’t be among the biggest surprises this season since they are ranked #1 preseason. And vice-versa if Atlanta, New York or Chicago play bad that’s not surprise or disappointment either.

Article is published next day so there might be slight changes in standing but in big picture it doesn’t change the main idea of article.

nba rankings real

ranking nba

sac

NBA season’s biggest surprise. Interesting to watch. One of the fastest teams in NBA having probably the fastest player in NBA in their roster Fox. One of best 3-point shooting teams in NBA. High of points comes from fast breaks and opponent’s turnovers. Low % of points comes from FT line. One of the youngest teams in NBA. Play-offs? Sacramento owns NBA’s longest playoff drought!

mil

#2 team in NBA at the moment. Giannis MVP?. The first part of the season Bucks play stable. Coach Buldenhozer system works great . 5-out offense + maximize of Greek Freak’s talents + high volume 3-point shooting .Similarities with Houston Rockets. Among the best teams in NBA = Points/Defense/Shooting %/3-point shooting/Def.Reb.  No midrange shots. 3pointers or paint. FG% OPP lowest . Plays fast. Started season 7-0. Knows how to win close games 22-2 (10 or less). Best team at home 20-4. Serious NBA Title contender?

lac

Depth + best bench in NBA (52.6 PPG). Only 15.6 points from Point Guard position players (29th). Lou Williams 2nd best bench player in NBA (18.62). Depth.  T. Harris candidate of MOP. After great start of the season 15-6 start not play that impressive anymore. Don’t shoot lot of 3-pointers but gets to the free-throw line very often (TOP3 FT team), Most fouls per game of any NBA team. Average shooting distance = closest to the basket. One of the oldest teams in the league. Probably one of the best European PG Teodosic still sitting on bench more than playing. Won all 4 OT (overtimes).  Should make a play-offs.

den

Teamwork. High % shots made were assisted. One the last teams in NBA drives per basket. Great defensive team. Jokič great performance being C/PG at the same time (19.7PTS+10.1REB+7.5AST) is one of the main reasons for Denver’s successful season. Mile-High city is tough place to play 18W-4L (3th/4th best in NBA). Season started 9-1. Despite injuries of Harris, Millsap and Barton Denver Nuggets still was able to maintain their positions among Top teams in West. I. Thomas hasn’t played yet. Denver is 2nd best offensive rebounding team (12.4 per game). Opponent’s having hard time to collect defensive rebounds after Nuggets missed shots – 1st place in NBA. Slow. One of the youngest teams in NBA.

bkn

One of the biggest surprises this season. Nets bench is 2nd best in NBA (46.7 points per game). Dinwiddie is one of the leading bench players in NBA points per game (16.69 4th). There was unlucky period this season when Levert was injured + lost few of close games that they should win. Started 8-18. Injuries (Levert). 2nd draft pick Kurucs (Latvia) playing better than expected helping to replace injured teammates. Shoots lot of 3pointers. Last place % PTS 2PTS (not scoring lot of 2-pointers). Worst team in NBA – % fast break points of total points. Team who has tendency to drive to the basket (52.6 drives per game; 2nd in NBA). Play-offs? D’Angelo Russell has great season so far. One of the lowest attendances in NBA.

orl

Defensive-minded coach Clifford took over in Orlando this season. If defense maybe is alright then Orlando is one of the worst teams offensive teams in NBA (PTS/G 103.3 27th). Despite that Orlando plays better than expected. Vučevič has the best season in his career. Half of games lost by 15 or more points. Not able get to Free-Throw line – 30th (Free-Throw is highest value shot in NBA). One of the slowest teams. One of the worst Offensive rebounding teams. They won both games in Mexico. Orlando was expected to be one of the worst teams in NBA but they play better than expected.

atl

The worst team in preseason predictions but play little bit better than expected. No play-off hopes + worst attendance in NBA despite being the fastest NBA team. Big hopes on their first draft pick Trae Young who has to improve his shooting (FG% 39.7) to compete against best in NBA. Rookie with most assits per game .Top 3 in NBA TO per game. One of the worst offenses in NBA . Shoots lot of 3’s but 3P% is one of the lowest in NBA. TO – most turnovers in NBA! Only 3 games won by 9 or more points. Huerter shoots 3-pointers with highest accuracy among rookies 39.1 %.

 

ind

„Silent Killer”. Team basketball. #1 % of 2PTS (60.2). Great defense! Don’t shoot lot of 3-pointers.  2nd best FG%. 2nd least DUNKS per game. Rebounding should improve. Leads the League in fouls per game and opponent free-throw attempts. OK offense/great defense. Sabonis leads NBA bench players for rebounds per game. Tough team to play against. From Dec. 24th to Jan. 4th 13 Wins-2 Losses (the worst defeat only by 3 points).

 

tor

#1 The best team in NBA at the moment. Balanced offense – despite having the best record now, they are not even TOP 3 best team in lot of teams ratings although ranking TOP 10 in most of them. 2P% among the best in NBA. Kawhi happy, team play well. Depth, Siakam’s improvement. Even when Kawhi/Valanciunas/Lowry was out for few games Toronto still played great (depth). Lowry in the beginning of the season was assist leader. One of the highest attendances in NBA. Let’s wait Play-Offs and see if firing of COY Casey was the right decision. None of Raptors players haven’t played all games this season. Started season 12-1. Plays great at home.

sas

Started season so so (10-12). Lost PG Murray in the beginning of season. One of the least 3p shooting teams in NBA but leads NBA 3p accuracy, and also leads 2PA. 3-point attempt rate lowest in NBA (don’t shoot lot of 3s’)/ Lot of points comes from mid-range since team’s leaders are DeRozan and Aldridge. Discipline = No Turnovers, no Fouls. 2nd oldest team in NBA. Team with less DUNKS in NBA. DeRozan among league leaders in drives per game. Aldridge scored 56 points in OT triller against OKC without any 3-point attempt. Plays great at home.

mia

Team’s roster didn’t change a lot compared to last season. Dragič out. Below average offense/above average defense. One of the worst FG% and FT% in league. Since they have great rim protector Whiteside opponent’s FG% and 2P% is one of the worst in NBA. One of the best offensive rebounding teams. Their strenght is defense. We were able to see Zone Defense from Coach Spoelstra team pretty often this season.

cha

The first thing that comes in mind if someone mentions Hornets is Kemba’s 60 and owner Micheal Jordan, otherwise it’s another mid-table team in NBA. Kemba was the best point scorer in NBA for 1 day. He is also player who plays pick-and-roll as ball-handler the most in NBA. Overall average NBA team. Play-offs? Starting C Zeller injured. Least TO per game in NBA. Lost all 4 OT. Games decided 3 points or less 2-7… (Philadelphia 76ers -1,-1,-3). Maybe play-offs maybe not but definitely nothing more than 1st round. One of the best benches in NBA – 3rd place bench points.

phi

Very talented trio (Embiid/Butler/Simmons) + one of the best shooters in NBA JJ Redick.  Coach Brett Brown has challenge to make everyone happy and find their roles in ball-movement (2nd AST) offense. One of the highest scoring teams in NBA. Lack of depth… Among leaders in NBAin free-throw attempts and points per game. One of the best rebounding teams. Turnovers is their problem… Most of their made shots are assisted. #1 in NBA percentage of three-pointers assisted  (95.0% of all 3-pointers AST). Completely opposite to HOU – team which players create the most of their three-pointers off the dribble (Harden). Team with least drives to the basket per game. 2nd best team at home 19-4. 2nd best attendance. 21-9 after Butler trade.

por

Preseason predicition 10th place, now 10th place. Play-off team but hard to imagine them playing in Western Conference semi-finals or finals. Team who has one of the lowest % of FG and 3PGM assisted since Lillard and McCollum are good at creating shots for themselves. One of the best in defensive rebounds. Lillard is one of the leading player in NBA pick-and-rolls as ball-handler per game. Highest attendance in NBA. Only 3 players average more than 10 points per game (Lillard/McCollum/Nurkic). Portland is 6-0 when bench players scores more than 50 points.

 

phx

First European coach as NBA Head Coach Koskorov. #1 Draft pick Ayton (one of the best rookies this season). Without doubts the worst team in West. Started season terrible = 4-24. Suns won 4 games in a row for 1st time in nearly 4 years. Bad offensive/bad defensive team 29/28. One of the youngest teams in NBA.

dal1

Another mid-table NBA team. Probably can make play-offs but it will be very hard to do it West. Drafted #1 contender for ROY title – Dončič who has great season. One of the best NBA teams at home but at the same time plays bad their away games together (similar away games record with Cleveland) Shoots lot of 3s’ and get to FT line. Only 49% comes from 2P. Turnovers is a problem.. Back-up point guard JJ Barea out for Season.

mem

„Grit and Grind” Alive in Memphis? Is it winning strategy in today’s game? Grizzlies scoring is low 100.9 (29th) and at the same time they don’t let opponent’s to score 102.9 (1st). Slowest team in NBA. One of the worst offenses but solid defense. Rookie Jaren Jackson is team’s third best point scorer. One of the worst teams at home in NBA. M.Gasol leads NBA in Elbow touches. In my opinion one of the least entertaining basketball team to watch. Has the problem with making 3-pointers = 3PM one of the worst in League. Worst rebounding team in NBA. Only 29th in attendance. Started season great 12-5. Since then 7-19.

gsw

#1 Rank before season. Heavily rely on Curry/Durant/Thompson offensively. This season they look more vulberable than we used to see in last few seasons but as we know regular season 73-9 doesn’t mean to win Championship. Curry possible MVP candidate and probably KD as well. Thompson despite setting new NBA records have one of his worst seasons ever. Green offensively not help a lot. Drama between KD and Green also not help team to play better. Cousins back, let’s see. Lack of depth 27th bench points (30.2). The last place in NBA by huge margin C position players points per game (14.5). One of the best offenses in NBA and highest FG%. Leads NBA in assists per game and blocks. Most of their made shots were assisted. % PTS PAINT last in NBA. Team who has least drives to the basket in NBA per game. Average shooting distance is furthest in whole League. Together with SAS and HOU is One of the oldest teams in NBA . GSW has lost all 4 OTs this season. Still #1 Title contender in my opinion.

okc

Started season 0-4. OKC is tough team to beat for any opponent. One of the best defences in NBA. Play fast but at the same time one of the worst 3-point shooting teams. One of the leading teams points in paint. 58.6% of points = 2pointers. Offensive rebounding (OKC have League’s toughest guy Adams in their roster) and steals (Westbrook and George) are their strengths. PG13 probably has the best season in his career. Westbrook has one of the worst shooting seasons but I like that instead taking more shots he is focusing on Triple-Doubles (Career best REB/AST) and create opportunities for teammates. Even when Westbrook missed 8 games team played great.

nyk

Unicorn still not playing. He was injured almost 1 yearago and looks like New York don’t want to let him play. One of the worst shooting teams in NBA. Bad defensive team. The worst team in NBA FGM %AST.. Youngest team in NBA. Only 28th dunks per game. I can understand Kanter that he is not happy to play for team which can’t win and don’t want to win because of bigger chance to have better draft picks next year… Last 22 games 3W-19L. Not too many positive things to say about Knicks. Plays very bad at home 4-14 (worst in NBA).

min

Lot of drama in Minnesota this season. Butler–Saric/Covington trade. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau fired and replaced with 32 years old Saunders. KAT has great season. Rose shoots 3-pointers 45.7% (!) and is one of the candidates of Sixth Man of the Year title. 1st round playoffs maximum, another mid-table NBA team in my opinion.

lal

Tallest team. Leads NBA dunks per game. Play very effective in first 12 seconds of possession but completely opposite their last 12 seconds of possession. Play fast. Leads the League in Point in the Paint. One the leading teams % of points Fast break points. One of the best attendance in NBA. Since Lebron’s groin injury 4-7 (9 of 11 games with teams who were below LAL in standings). With Lebron and without Lebron two different teams. Very possible that Lakers will play their best game in Play-Offs of course if they qualify..

untitled

One of the worst teams in NBA. Injuries.. Coach Hoiberg (5-19) fired and replaced by tough and defensive-minded coach Jim Boylen (5-15). 77:133 lost vs. Boston was the worst loss in franchise history (‘’Bulls players contacted the NBPA due to ‘’extreme tactics’’ from head coach Jim Boylen’’). The worst offense in NBA this season. Only 2 of their 44 games they won by more than 10 points. 8 game losing streak at the moment. One of youngest teams in NBA. Lack of quality C position player – only 17.3 points from C position players (2nd lowest in NBA).

cle

Simply bad team. Injuries. Play slow. Worst defense in NBA. Coach Lue was fired after 0-6 and replaced by L.Drew (9-29). Since ‘’Cavaliers veterans feel rookie Sexton doesn’t ‘’know how to play’’ he gained confidence and had few solid games. ’’JR Smith stepping away from Cavs, won’t play until traded’’. 22 different players have played at least 1 minute for Cavaliers this season! No questions Cavs focus on better draft pick next season and team rebuilding. TOP3 team in NBA % of PTS of mid-range. Recent win over Lakers ended Cavs 12 game losing streak…

hou

Not the best start of the season for last year’s regular season’s best team. Injuries, team chemistry, team spirit problems, defense below average, Carmelo situation. CP3 didn’t find his rhythm. But Things changed and team plays much better now. The Beard is setting new NBA records every next game + addition of Rivers who brings energy to team. Houston plays much better (last 19 games 14-5). Having Gordon/CP3/and also Capela now injured Houston heavy rely on MVP candidate Harden offensive talent and it works. Rockets still shoots the most 3’s in NBA and not taking mid-range shots. One of the best offenses in NBA. Oldest team in NBA this season. Rebounding should improve. Last place in NBA for bench players points Play slow. West conference Finals? Hard to say..

nop

Started season great 4-0. Heavily rely on their starters – 88.2 PTS per game (1st in NBA). Lack of depth. Pelicans need wing player who can improve their play-off chances. AD plays great but he definitely needs more help. Mirotic started season great. NOP leads NBA in points scored per C position. Pelicans play fast, Offense works fine but their below average defense should improve. I could say Pelicans are streaky team, they have losing and winning streaks very often. One the best teams in FG% and assists in NBA. TOP 3 points in the paint. Plays much better at home compared to away games. Should be play-off team. One of the lowest attendances in NBA.

bos real

High expectations but reality is slightly different. One of the main title contenders is the 8th best team in NBA (25-18) at the moment. Team’s chemistry.  Too many good players?? Too many players who play for same position? From Nov. 26th to Dec 14th definitely the best team in NBA (8-0). Celtics NBA season-high 37 assists vs Brooklyn. 5 games in a row 30+ assists (4W-1L). 3-point shooting team, one of the highest 3pAr% in NBA. One of the lowest % of points in League comes from free-throw line and paint area. Still one of the best defensive teams. Huge potential but recent accidents shows that there’s problem with team’s chemistry and finding roles. If it’s the beginning of the season it could be easier to understand it but now it’s the middle of the season and these issues should be fixed by Coach Brad Stevens if Boston seriously thinks of winning NBA Title. Celtics definitely can play better.

det111

One of the biggest disappointments this season. Pistons started season very well 13W-7L but continue with 5W-17L. Despite having one of the leading rebounders Drummond and star player Griffin who has great season overall… Detroit simply isn’t good basketball team and group of players they have doesn’t mix together too well. One of the worst offenses in NBA/above average defense. Bad shooting team. One of the worst 3-point shooting teams. Lack of fast break points and too many fouls per game. Their strength is rebounding. Despite playing bad recently still 9th in East and only 1 win away from Play-Off spot. In best case scenario I have see them losing at first round of Play-Offs. Coach of The Year Dwayne Casey definitely is one of their strengths as well. “Pistons are perfectly crafter 35 win team”.

uta111

After having great 2017/18 season Utah started this season with high expectations. Season didn’t start as good as Jazz organisation and fans expected. Both Mitchell and Rubio played pretty bad in the beginning of the season. 68 points in loss vs Mavericks (68:118) definitely not thing that makes Jazz players proud. Start of the season 9-12, since then 16-9. One of the best defences in NBA. Have a tendency to drive to the basket. TOP 3 team in NBA Dunks per game. Lack of fast break points. 5 game-winning streak at the moment. After slow start of the season I can tell Jazz are back!

was

The biggest disappointment of 2018/19 NBA season. High hopes but reality is quite different. Injuries. Howard didn’t play too much this season. Wall out for the season. One of the worst defenses in NBA. Started season very bad 2-9. Last 8 games 5-3. Wizards is bad 3-point shooting team and consistently among the worst rebounding teams in League this season. Beal has the ball in his hands more and have career’s best season in points/rebounds/assists per game. I am concerned if there’s enough help for him to bring Wizards back to play-off zone what actually it’s not impossible if we looks at the standings of Eastern Conference.

 

CoachKris@HUPU! Thanks for reading!

 

 

THE BEARD HITS GAME-WINNING 3 vs. WARRIORS + COACH D’ANTONI GREAT SIDELINE OUT-OF-BOUNDS PLAY!

Today’s game between Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets probably was the best game of 2018-19 NBA season. Although there have been a lot of games decided in last seconds of the game and OT  = this game was special!

The Beard is the best 1-on-1 player in NBA at the moment. In this article I won’t discuss too much about Harden’s excellence and his unbelievable offensive potential but Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni play that was drawn for Harden to receive the ball.

D’ANTONI SIDELINE OUT-OF-BOUNDS PLAY FOR HARDEN TO RECEIVE THE BALL.

  • 5.5 seconds left. OT. 132:134 Rockets -2.
  • Time-out. Rockets ball. Sideline. Front court.
  • KD active hands, not letting Green (Houston) inbound the ball easily.

2qckd3

Why this play was so special? Of course, it was game winning play because of incredible 3-point shot by Harden.

BUT before 3-point shot attempt Harden has to RECEIVE THE BALL against one of the best defensive team’s in NBA and they know that Rockets wants to deliver the ball in their best player’s hands in best possible situation…

With any of these types of cuts towards the ball it should be very hard for The Beard to receive the in good position for attacking his defender within 5.5 seconds left on game-clock.

hou2

SOLUTIONS.

thumb

#1. Harden behind half-court line. Back-court.

harden no screen

hou1

#2. SCREEN-THE-SCREENER. Great idea against possible SWITCH (Teams often SWITCH ALL if only 5.5 seconds left on game-clock). SEPARATION. The idea for Rivers screen to Tucker before he will set the screen for Harden is to separate Tucker’s defender (xT) from him so Harden has more space and better opportunity to receive the ball.

House and Rivers fill the empty corners to keep good spacing.

hou3

The first screen for Tucker separated him of his defender xT (Green).

separation

hou4

5.2 seconds left. HARDEN RECEIVES THE BALL. Tucker after  back-screen was set for Harden cuts towards the ball in case the ball is not delivered to James.

Rockets leader decides to use ball-screen instead to drive to the left side where was more space.

harden pnr

3.2 seconds left. Tucker sets the ball-screen for Harden, almost at the same time The Beard attempts 3-pointer.

1.0 second left = 3 points!!! Warriors defenders did their best but it wasn’t enough to stop Harden! 135:134 Rockets won!

hou5

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

TEAM WORLD vs. TEAM USA. 团队世界/美国队. THEORY.

THEORY.  Team USA vs Team WORLD. Competitive game, not All-Star game.

USAvsWORLD

Team USA #1 basketball team in the world – without any doubts! If USA team plays with their best roster it’s almost impossible for any other National Team to win. 50 W – 1 L..

USA = United States of America = 50 States = 1 country. For example, there are 44 countries in Europe and 54 in Africa…

USA EUROPE

 

However, 9 of 51 games Team USA won by 10 or less points.

In my opinion the best international basketball game between USA and any other NT was USA vs. SPAIN 118:107 (Wade 27, Kobe 20 – Rudy 22, P. Gasol 21) @ Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

SPA USA

 

FIBA Rules 4×10 minutes. No defensive 3-second rule.

TEAM WORLD

  • System can make players better – hide weaknesses/use strengths.
  • Try to control the tempo. Impossible to compete with USA in fast-paced game.
  • Try to use any advantage of tactics. Change defenses (man-to-man/zone). High IQ plays. Patience.
  • Avoid turn the ball over for all costs. Team USA is deadly in fast break situations.
  • Team’s chemistry is important and unselfishness.
  • Shoot 3-pointers 40+%…
  • PF/C should play their best game. In these positons Team World definitely can be equal or even better than team USA.
  • 3 of 6 Team World PG/SG/SF left-handed.

WORLD1

WORLDPF

WORLD coach

DRAGIČ. All-Star. If healthy probably the best PG of Team World. 2016-17 NBA season 20.3 PTS + 5.8 AST + 40.5% 3PT.. High IQ player.

SIMMONS. ROY. Great athlete. Excellent defender. Better in fast-paced game. Team World should try to take advantage of his strengths and probably avoid to play together with Greek Freek at the same time. Career 3PT 0/13…

DONCIC. Very probably ROY. HIGH IQ player. Confidence and step-back 3s.

TEODOSIC. Health. Underrated player in NBA. One of the best passer in today’s game. Lack of athleticism and problems with defense. 10-15 min per game he can make difference with his no-look passes and couple mid-range or 3-point shots.

INGLES. Career 41.0 3P%. No problems with confidence: “I’m the best shooter in the league,” he told reporters in the locker room. Tough player to play against. Fits well in offensive  system.

BOGDANOVIC. Great shooter and high IQ player. He was Serbia NT leader in previous European Championship and helped his team to make final without 5-6 key players.

ANTETOKOUNMPO. Greek Freak. MVP candidate. Very effective in fast-paced game. Most of his points comes of restricted area. Team World should create their offensive system for Giannis to be involved as much as possible.

PORZINGIS. KP6. Unicorn. His skill set for his height is unbelievable. Healthy Porzingis will definitely can help Team World to compete with USA. 2017-18 season 39.5 3P%.

EMBIID. Arguably the best big man in NBA at the moment. Great passer/rebounder and team player. No problems with confidence.

MIROTIC. Fits well in New Orleans fast-paced basketball. High IQ player. Tough player to play against. Probably his best NBA season in his career so far. 17.4 PTS + 9.2 REB.

JOKIC. The Joker. 2.13m tall PG and C at the same time. MVP candidate. Denver is one of the leading teams in NBA at the moment. Lack of quickness compensates with high IQ plays. Probably the best passing big man in basketball at the moment.

GOBERT. #1 dunks per game in NBA. One of the tallest players in the League. 2017-18 Defensive POY.

SCARIOLO (Head Coach). Toronto Raptors assistant coach (one of the best teams in NBA at the moment). Head coach of Spanish National team. One of the best coaches in Europe.

 

TEAM USA

  • Team USA looks more than impressive. Loaded with world class players. Everyone accepts their role in team? No Ego problems?
  • Playing without the ball. Most of Team USA players are the best in their teams and best in NBA overall with the ball. Hopefully for USA they are best without the ball as well.
  • PG/SG/SF position players indivdually both offensively and defensively are much better than Team World PG/SG/SF. Agressive pressure defense can create turnovers and bad shots for Team World that can lead to many easy buckets.

USASG

USA 2nd part

USA COACH

TEAM WORLD. 108 international players from 42 countries. If picking of 12 players for TEAM USA was quite easy then it was vice-versa with Team World.

Murray, Gallinari, Markkanen, Horford, Vučevič, Adams, Bogdanovič, Nurkič, Gasol, Zhou Qi and many others were left out of my Team World roster. Since there are so many great players especially big men from other countries of the World my focus was on TEAM’S CHEMISTRY, how players fits with each another playing at the same time.

Team USA – Lillard, CP3, Butler, Love, Griffin, Kemba, DeRozan, Drummond, Tatum and many others didn’t make the team simply because there are too many talented basketball players in USA.

Definitely want to read your thoughts and what players will be included in your Team World/Team USA. And don’t forget to vote for your favourite players for NBA All-Star game (20 days left).

Thanks for reading! CoachKris@ HUPU.

 

ANOTHER BLOWOUT LOSS @ ORACLE RAISES QUESTIONS… ARE THE WARRIORS STILL THE BEST TEAM IN NBA?

Warriors

Warriors blowout loss against Lakers (Lebron only played 21:15 due to injury) on Christmas – 101:127…

It was 4th loss @ Oracle by 20 or more points in this 2018/19 NBA season… It’s never a good sign for any team especially for team which had ONLY 4 such a blowout losses @ home in last 6 years total!!!

GSW 11

 

GSW222

Golden State is 2nd best team in Western Conference and 4th best team in NBA at the moment. 0% doubts of qualifying for Play-Offs. BUT we are not talking about regular NBA team but Golden State Warriors which was the #1 far ahead to others in pre-season predictions especially after signing Cousins.

Of course the most important games of the season is far ahead (as long as team is good enough to qualify for play-offs without any problems) but questions arise:

QUESTION: Are the Warriors the best team in NBA and main Title contender?

ANSWER: Maybe. Not as usual – YES!

 

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

LACK OF DEPTH.

 If Curry/KD/Klay/Green all have above average performance in particular game it’s very very hard to stop them. If Curry plays great (MVP candidate) and KD also shows great basketball this season then Klay and Green has one of the worst seasons (offense) in recent years.

Warriors offense heavily relies on Curry/KD/Klay performance.

GSW Field goal attempts

GSW Points

For example one of them is injured or have bad game. Which Warriors player can make a difference in a game consistently by himself if KD/Klay/Thompson struggling (Cousins?)? I am not talking about of being in right place and right time in their offensive system. System can make players better! Below average performance of any of these players affects Warriors various ways.

KD & GREEN DRAMA.

KD vs GREEN DRAMA

 

COUSINS HAS MORE TECHNICAL FOULS THAN MINUTES PLAYED…

COUsins tech

ROSTER.

STEPHEN CURRY / KEVIN DURANT

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CURRY. 28.6 points per game and 45.8 3P%. MVP candidate. Problem: injuries… only played 24 of 35 games.

DURANT. KD plays his game: 28.8 PTS + 7.8 REB + 6.1 AST per game.

 

KLAY THOMPSON

Probably the best player in NBA without the ball. #1 in NBA Catch-and-Shoot FGA & FGM. Since Curry didn’t play 11 games this season Thompson’s role in team’s offense was bigger. In 2018/19 NBA season so far Klay has attempted more FGA per game than ever before in his career BUT more attempts not always means more points.  YES, he set NBA record in 3-pointers made per game (14) which is amazing but overall his 3-point FG% this season is his worst ever. He also shoots more 2-pointers than ever before in his career.

Klay 3P%

KLay 2PA

 

DRAYMOND GREEN

2018/19 NBA season so far offensively is his worst season of last 5 with Warriors.

Green FG% 3P%

IGOUDALA/LIVINGSTON

Igoudala (33, after 1 month 34) and Livingston (33) not getting younger. No questions -their importance and positive impact on team’s offense and defense in last few years played huge role in Warriors success. Unfortunately not this season so far…

 

JONES/LOONEY/JEREBKO/COOK and OTHERS.

DAMIAN JONES leads the NBA in both TRUE SHOOTING % and EFFECTIVE FIELD GOAL %. He takes good shots and makes good shots. But again.. injuries…

True shooting Jones

Also it’s worth to mention Looney’s FG% = 62.3, Cook’s and Lee 3P% = 43.0 and 41.9.

Playing alongside Curry/KD/Klay teammates get more open looks. Also Golden State offensive system makes them better!

Are they ready to give enough help when help is need the most?

In my opinion Warriors not the best team in NBA at the moment but they have biggest potential to be the best!

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROCKETS SET NBA SINGLE GAME 3-POINT RECORD – 26!

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Rockets set NBA single-game 3-point record – 26! Harden 6, Paul 5, Gordon & Green 4, Tucker 3, House 2, Clark & Carter-Williams 1.

”The previous record was held by the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, who made 25 3s in a 135-130 win against the Atlanta Hawks on March 3, 2017” (www.cbssports.com).

TEAMS ATTEMPT AND MAKE MORE 3s THAN EVER BEFORE IN HISTORY OF NBA.

It’s not surprise that new NBA records of 3-point field goals made per game has been set recently and it’s done by Houston Rockets (#1 last 3 seasons per 3PA per game). Teams attempt and make more 3s than ever before in history of NBA.

3POINTS PER season

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BEST 3P games this season

 

NEW NBA RECORD.  IMPORTANCE OF MAKING CATCH-AND-SHOOT 3-POINTERS.

Since Houston is one of slowest teams in NBA (PACE 96.99 29th of 30) without lot of 3-point attempts/makes in transition especially compared to last season… their success offensively depends on Harden’s and CP3’s ability to create 3-pointers off the dribble for themselves (1vs1 or take advantage of speed advantage if defense SWITCH ball-screens) or create catch-and-shoot 3-pointer opportunities for team-mates (only 27th of 30 in NBA 33.8% catch-and-shoot 3s made). Harden and CP3 have to trust team-mates and team-mates has to make catch-and-shoot 3-pointers consistently not only in this historical game (17/30! 56.6%).

Rockets shots

ANALYSIS OF ALL 26 HOUSTON’S 3-POINTERS.

TYPE of 3

1. Catch-and-shoot 3-pointers: 17 of 30 (56.6%). Before historical game only 33.1% (29th of 30). Pull-up 3-pointers 9 of 25 (36%). Before this game 35.2% (5th of 30).

2.  10 of 26 3-pointers were scored after ball-screen was set for ball-handler. If ball-handler (Harden/CP3) has ability to create and make 3-point shot for himself after ball-screen is SWITCHED = more open looks for team-mates (drive-kick).

Usually Capela sets the screen for Harden or CP3 because Capela can be threat as a roller and he is guarded by tallest/slowest defender of opposite team (X5).

PNR Switch

In this example Green sets the ball-screen for Harden. Defense SWITCH = Harden 1vs1 and creates 3-point shot for himself (step-back).

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3. ONLY 7 OF 26 3-pointers scored in the first 12 seconds of possession (3 off. reb.). Houston is the 2nd slowest team in NBA this season.

4. Only slightly less than half (12 of 26) of 3-pointers made were UNCONTESTED (WIDE OPEN) 3-POINTERS. (“Contested” = Indicates a shot taken against or over a defensive player). If defense has to focus more on Harden/CP3 = more uncontested shots for team-mates. Uncontested shot > Contested shot.

                               Contested shot.                       Uncontested shot.

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Opponent’s shooting percentage can decrease  up to 10% if he has to shoot over defender’s hands!

CONSISTENCY. The setting of new NBA records is nothing new for Coach Mike D’Antoni team – “Rockets break playoff record 27 consecutive missed three pointers” (ww.si.com). What’s more important is to be consistent!

Former Rockets’ player now Wizard Trevor Ariza has taken part in both “historical” games. But unfortunately there’s nothing to be proud of.

 

QUESTION FOR HUPU READERS

HUPU readers (question asked more than 1 month ago) were confident about new NBA record to be set (26 or more 3-pointers) in 2018/19 season.

  77.6% YES/ 22.4% NO.

Article: 24! Celtics sets franchise record for most made 3s against one of the best defensive teams this season.

HUPU

Thank you for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com