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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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)

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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. 

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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)

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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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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!

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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.

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感谢关注我文章的篮球迷们!

Kristians@abouthegame.com

CoachKris@HUPU

NBA ADVANCED STATS 2018/19 SEASON. LEADERS AFTER 2 MONTHS PLAYED.

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NBA ADVANCED STATS. LEADERS AFTER 2 MONTHS PLAYED IN 2018/19 NBA SEASON.

PULL-UP SHOOTING (off the dribble)

1.PULL-UP 3-POINT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS/MAKES (off the dribble) = 8.1/3.0 per game.

#1. JAMES HARDEN (HOU). The Beard also leads NBA in pull-up PTS and FGA .Whole Rockets offensive system is build for Harden to use his talent to create three-point shot for himself (step-back 3s for example) + Harden is 1st per Usage Percentage 36.2% (Houston’s offense heavily relies on his offensive skills).

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2. PULL-UP FIELD GOALS MADE per game (off the dribble) =  5.0.

#1. KEVIN DURANT (GSW). KD also leads NBA in pull-up FGM and is #2 per pull-up PTS and FGA (behind Harden). Compared to Harden who shoots mostly 3-pointers (72.3% of all pull-up shots) off the dribble KD is more likely attempting mid-range pull-up jumper (only 23.8% of KDs’ pull-up shots is 3-pointers).

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CATCH-AND-SHOOT (off the catch = no dribble)

1.CATCH-AND-SHOOT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS/MAKES AND POINTS per game (off the catch) = 9.8 (FGA)/3.9 (FGM), 10.1 (PTS).

#1. KLAY THOMPSON (GSW). Klay Thompson probably is the best NBA player without the ball. Klay Thompson 60 point game vs. Indiana – “His total time of possession — 90 seconds — averages out to 1.73 seconds per touch.” Besides being one of the best shooters in history of NBA Klay is also part of great offensive system (unselfish team-mates).

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2. CATCH-AND-SHOOT 3-POINT FIELD GOALS MADE per game= 3.1

#1. STEPHEN CURRY (GSW). Despite being only 8th (5.9) in catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts he’s NBA player with most catch-and-shoot 3-pointers made per game. Curry is also #2 in points scored of catch-and-shoot situations (only 0.5 points behind his team-mate Thompson).

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TRUE SHOOTING % = 72.0 (MIN>15, 5+games).

(This is an advanced statistic that expands on field-goal percentage (FG%) to adjust for the fact that not every shot within the FG% is equal.)

#1 DAMIAN JONES (GSW). Great offensive system/great team-mates/knows his role in team. He is taking good shots and making most of them. Damian Jones also leading NBA in EFG% 71.6%.

D. Jones’ examples of high % plays

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DUNKS = 110 (4.4 per game)

#1. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO (MIL). Greek Freak – driver > jump-shooter. Giannis is 2nd per total DUNK attempts (#1 Gobert).

Player who missed the most DUNKS this season (15) = DeAndre Jordan.

G coast to coast Example

PICK-AND-ROLL BALL-HANDLER POINTS per game = 13.8

#1. KEMBA WALKER (CHA). Only second player in NBA history 6’1” (1.85m) or shorter to score 60 points. His versatility and quick first step allows him score various ways coming off the pick. #2 (2018/19) Lillard was leading NBA last season (2017/18) per PNR ball-handler points.

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TOTAL REBOUND % (Total rebound percentage is an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor) = 22.8%

#1. HASSAN WHITESIDE (MIA). 2.13m tall Miami is 2nd best rebounder = 13.7 rebounds per game (#1 Drummond).

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ASSIST % (Assist percentage is an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor) = 45.2

#1. J.J. BAREA (DAL). 1.83m tall Dallas PG leads NBA in assist percentage slightly ahead of Westbrook (#2) and Harden (#3). If you are undersized in Land of Giants you have to be special in some way.

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DRIVES per game = 18.6

#1. DEMAR DEROZAN (SAS). DeRozan not only drives to the basket a lot but also scores the most points from drives = 11.8. Driving to the basket allows DeRozan to be successful in NBA despite below 30% career 3-point shooting.

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POST-UP

1.POSSESSIONS = 8.6 per game.

#1. LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE (SAS). Spurs C Aldridge is NBA player who receives the ball in post-up situations the most. He is #1 per field goal attempts (6.6) and field goals made (2.7 1th/2th Embiid) in post-up situations as well. #2 per PTS scored in POST-UP. Big men still plays important roll in coach Greg Popovič offensive system.

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2. POINTS = 8.6 per game.

#1. JOEL EMBIID (PHI). Embiid is leading NBA in points scored in post-up situations. He is #2 most often used NBA player in post-ups (8.4 times per game).

Embiid

 

ELBOW TOUCHES = 8.0 per game.

#1. MARC GASOL (MEM). Very often Memphis Grizzlies starts their offense with pass to M.Gasol in elbow area. His high basketball IQ and passing skills allows him play effectively further from basket and can overcome his lack of speed.

ELBOWS

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TALLEST PLAYER = 2.22m 

#1. BOBAN MARJANOVIC (DET). Serbian C Marjanovic is tallest active NBA player.

tallest active NBA players

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OLDEST PLAYER = 41

#1. VINCE CARTER (ATL). 20 years in NBA. Still playing 17.5 minutes per game. 63% of Carter’s shots are 3-pointers this season.

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Kristians@abouthegame.com

CoachKris@HUPU

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROCKETS: ‘THE HIDDEN POTENTIAL’

 

Houston Rockets 2017/18 – the best team in regular season (65-17  1st of 30); the best offense in NBA Off Rtg 114.7 (1st of 30).

Houston Rockets 2018/19 – 12-14 (21st of 30); Off Rtg  112.2 (9th of 30)…

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Why Rockets still struggling and can’t find their game? You can read my article month ago @ HUPU – “HOUSTON’S PROBLEMS”.

After watching second half of today’s game vs. Portland Trail Blazers I heard commentators mentioning fact that 7 Rockets players scored in double-digits (10+ points). So I decided to do a little research about it.

Do Rockets play better when more players score in double-digits?

YES, but why only in 5 of 26 their games 6+ players scores in double-digits (10+ points)?

There are 2 different scenarios:

  • Team’s best player plays great but others can’t make shots what he creates for team-mates or simply not playing well. HOUSTON ROCKETS IS SECOND WORST TEAM (29th of 30) IN NBA CATCH-AND-SHOOT 3PT FG% – 32.8% 

 

  • Team’s best player controls team’s offense too much and others not involved enough. HARDEN LEADS NBA per USG% 36.1.

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Numbers don’t lie. Rockets play better when more players score in double-digits. Even the sample size is small and teams usually let more players to play when points difference in the end of the game is big – it’s fact!

There are huge potential for this team. In my opinion they are missing player like Jimmy Butler (The Houston Rockets are trying to engineer a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler and have made an offer which includes four future first-round NBA Draft picks.) who can lift up team’s emotional state by being competitive and at the same time one of the best defenders in NBA. Of course, it’s easy to say but not easy to do.

Last season’s best NBA team in regular season has “huge hidden potential” and it simply doesn’t make sense that because of 6th (Ariza), 7th (Anderson) and 9th (Mbah a Moute) best scorers in 2017/18 regular season left the team it’s the second worst team in Western Conference after 26 games played in 2018/19 season…

感谢关注我文章的篮球迷们!

Kristians@abouthegame.com

UNBELIEVABLE 4TH QUARTER FOR PG13 LEADS TO ONE OF THE LARGEST COMEBACKS IN OKC HISTORY. DONOVAN’S GAME-WINNING SOB PLAY (Details explained).

 

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Unbelievable game for Paul George – 25 points in 4th quarter (47 total), game-winning 3-point shot, he leads his team to one of the largest comebacks in OKC history!

He set a new record for points scored in regular season game in Barclay’s Center (Brooklyn Nets) – 47.

FIGHTERS

Not too many basketball fans predicted that OKC will be the 2nd best team in Western Conference after more than 20 games played this season.

FIGHTERS. After losing first 4 games (0-4) in the beginning of this season they continued great – 16-3. Total 16 wins and 7 losses = tied 3th/4th place in the NBA with Milwaukee. And that’s all missing team’s leader Westbrook for 8 games this season and Roberson (One of the NBA’s better perimeter defenders).

OKC 0-4 16-3

The best defensive team in NBA: DefRTG 100.9 (1st).

Offensive rebounding: 12.9 (1st).

Offensive rebounding %: 31.8 (1st).

Total rebounds: 48.9 (3rd).

Steals: 10.2 (1st).

Plays fast: 102.74 (8th in the League).

Despite being far from the best shooting teams in NBA this season (TS% 53.5 26th) they play has League’s best defense, they get the most offensive rebounds in NBA and steals.

As most of the basketball fans know there’s saying “Defense wins Championships”.

Pre-season predictions of winning NBA Title: 6th-7th. If Thunder will continue play tough defense, improve FG%, avoid injuries and be consistent –  they will continue to surprise us this season!

Except the last (4th) quarter of the game Brooklyn (scored 93 points in 3 quarters) played very well against NBA best defense. OKC often was switching on every ball-screen , BKN took advantage of it and were able to execute and score with ease in first three quarters of the game. Last few minutes of fourth quarter = Adams OUT , able to effective to SWITCH ALL.

All 4th QTs this NBA 2018/19 season won by 20 or more points.

OKC 20 win

The points difference between 2 teams in any other game except OKC vs BKN  when team won 4th QT by 20 or more points  was +15 or more…

HEARTBREAK HOTEL

This 2018/19 season recently is extremely unlucky for Brooklyn Nets:

Heartbreak Hotel

Picture during the game vs. OKC. Now we can add Brooklyn-Oklahoma game to this list as well..

It was Nets largest halftime lead of season.. 62:46 (+16).

NETS-THUNDERS leadest ht lead

 

Injury of Nets leader LeVert.. Out (Right Foot Dislocation) – LeVert has been diagnosed with a dislocation of his right foot and will not require surgery. (https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BRK/2019.html)

8 lost games in a row.. -2, -2, -14, -6 (OT), -10, -2, -10, -6…

 

PG’s 25 POINTS IN 4TH QUARTER

George’s 4th quarter statline: 25 points on 9-12 shooting, 4-6 from three, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and the game winner.

25 of his 47 points were scored in 4th quarter.

Only one shy from his career high of 48 (@ JAZZ on 12.05.15).

He played 8:53 minutes in 4th quarter. The first points he scored were when 7:11 left on game clock.

All 25 of PG’s points in 4th quarter. He was able to score various ways except mid-range shots in 4th QT.

PG13 points vs BKN

 

Huge role in this comeback and winning the game was Oklahoma City ability to outrebound their opponents in 4th QT :

Total rebounds : 15 OKC vs 4 BKN.

Offensive rebounds: 5 OKC vs 0 BKN.

Paul George was team’s best rebounder in 4th quarter!

 

BILL DONOVAN’S GAME-WINNING SOB PLAY FOR PG13 (Details explained).

Executing game-winning shots hasn’t been George’s strong suit in his nine-year career. According to ESPN Stats and Information, before Wednesday, George was 0-of-14 in his career on go-ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.

(https://newsok.com/article/5617004/paul-georges-47-and-game-winner-caps-furious-comeback-against-nets)

Few question before explaining game-winning play:

  1. Why D’Angelo Russell attempted pull-up 3-pointer over defender’s hands when there was plenty of time left on shot clock? Principle. Least amount of time possible for OKC. At that moment there was 4 seconds difference between shot clock and game clock.

BKN Russel 7 seconds on shot clock

 

2. Why take time-out if Russell Westbrook has the ball in his hands and there’s 3-on-3 situation?  Westbrook is one of the best players in the world in transition. Of course it’s easy to discuss about things after the game but in reality coach has 1-2 seconds to make a decision in pressure situation.

Westbrook fast break

3. Why coach Donovan used both time-outs when 8.1 seconds were left on game clock? In my video copy of OKC vs BKN game I wasn’t able to see what happened but .. if PG13 missed his shot and OKC has to foul (-1 in that case) they can advance the ball to front-court for Sideline Out Of Bounds play again if possible.

timeouts OKC

 

It’s easy to ask these questions when you watch game like spectator and definitely I can’t judge world’s best coaches and players decisions. The most important is final score 114:112 – OKC won, excellent play drawn by coach Billy Donovan!

 

Last shot guidlines OKC

Dribbles OKC

(https://hooptactics.com/Resources/Documents/lastshotguidelines.pdf)

111:112 (-1). 8.1 seconds left. Ball = sideline.

OKC wants to get the best shot possible in shortest period of time possible. If shot is missed:

  • There’s still time left for offensive rebound and second chance opportunity (OKC = best offensive rebounding team in NBA);
  • If Brooklyn get defensive rebound there’s chance to foul and let them to shoot free-throws.

OKC PG GIF

1. GET BALL IN HANDS OF BEST PLAYER. Play starts with STAGGERED SCREEN FOR WESTBROOK TO RECEIVE THE BALL.

PG SOB 1

2. At the same time PAUL GEORGE STARTS HIS MOVEMENT TOWARDS WESTBROOK (top of the key) where he is about TO SET THE BALL-SCREEN FOR HIM. At the same time 4 (Grant) clears out taking his defender with him to ball-side corner so he can’t help and rotate if George is left unguarded.

 

PG SOB 2

3. George instead of setting the ball-screen SLIPS THE SCREEN and continues his movement behind three-point line. DEFENSE = FLAT. NO SWITCH?

OKC SOB11

In my opinion much better idea is to SWITCH this PNR at the moment when George sets the screen for Westbrook… There are less than 7 seconds left. Again it’s much easier to say it after the game and watching video in slow motion. In reality this is great SOB play and defenders can’t predict what offensive player will do in particular situation.

Other defenders are occupied guarding their players (1,4 and 5) and can’t help/rotate to cover George. XW (Dinwiddie #8) tried to contest PG13 shot but after pump-fake by George defender simply wasn’t able to stop from getting wide open 3-pointer 5 seconds before the end of game clock.  Simpy because of way they defended pick-and-roll, distance to PG was too big for XW (Dinwiddie #8).

PG SOB 4

OKC PG 13 error

 

1 (Schroder) after inbounding the ball cuts towards the basket and continues his movement towards the opposite corner receiving off-ball screen from Adams. If PG receives the ball but not able to attempt good shot he can try to pass to Schroder who is coming off the screen set by 5 (Adams).

Schroder cut towards the basket keeps his defender busy and also helps to keep good spacing. More about SPACING in my last article!

5 (Adams) Sets two off-ball screens and keep his defender busy + after setting the second screen he is near the basket having great rebounding position if PG’s shot is missed or Westbrook has opportunity to drive to the basket instead of passing to George.

Thanks for reading basketball fans! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE PLAYER’S GREAT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE = TEAM SUCCESS?

NBA

It’s pretty often this season when we hear that NBA players score 40 or 50 points per game. Kemba Walker 60 (second player in NBA history 6’1’’ (1.85m) or shorter to score 60) , Harden 54… Unbelievable performance – no doubt!

But problem is that their teams lost both games… So I did this little research to find an answer to question – how important is one particular player’s individual performance for team his team to win the game?

There can even be opposite team’s strategy to let one player take a lot of shots but at the same time don’t let other teammates to be involved.

And vice-versa:  if team’s best scorer in particular game is scoring a lot, it also can create better shot opportunities for his teammates.

SCORING NBA

  • 29 times 40 or more points scored per 1 player this 2018/19 season.
  • W/L = 23-6 (79.3% Win). Best team in NBA at this moment Toronto Raptors 19-4 (82.6%). The highest scoring game for any Raptor was today – Leonard 37 points vs. Golden State (OT).
  • 8 times 50 or more points scored per 1 player this 2018/19 season.
  • W/L = 5-3 (62.5%)… All 3 games lost in OT.
  • Players has high scoring games more often at home games. 29 times – Home 19/Away 10 (40 or more)
  • W/L Home 17-2. W/L Away 6-4.
  • Only 8 of 23 games when one player scores 40 or more points team won by 10+ points.
  • 3 players have scored 40 or more points 4 times this season: Durant (GSW), Harden (HOU), Lillard (POR).
  • Kemba Walker + James Harden 40 or more PPG = 3 W/4 L. When these 2 players score more that 40 or more points per game their teams are losing more games than winning.
  • If team’s best player (points per game) scores 40 or more points per game at home his team either wins or loses at OT or never more than 1 point.

 

Different teams plays different style of basketball. The best team in the League Toronto Raptors has 0 games when any of team’s player scores 40 or more points (19-4).

But at the same time NBA teams play extremely well at home games when their best player scores 40 or more points (17-2).

Not every time and for every team scoring 40 or more points doesn’t guarantee team’s success : Harden 2W/2L , Walker 1W/2L.

Last few games Kevin Durant has to take control over Warriors offense because the lack of Curry and also Green. 3 games when Durant/Curry/Thompson/Green played together and one of them scored 40 or more points Golden State won +25, +22, +28.

Answer to the question if one player’s high scoring game means success for his team is YES but NOT ALWAYS and NOT FOR EVERY TEAM.

Thanks for reading! CoachKris @ HUPU.

 

SPACING: USEFUL ADVICE FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS WHO STUDY THE GAME. HOW TO PLAY WITHOUT THE BALL?

SPACING. HOW TO PLAY WITHOUT THE BALL?

OFFENSE = SPACING & SPACING = OFFENSE.

 

Useful advice for amateur players and young basketball players who study the game of basketball.

Before I start this article I want to tell there’s no absolutes in basketball and we talk about PRINCIPLES not RULES.

Overall, it only matters who’s winning games but sometimes you can also play without optimal strategy and win because opponent simply is not good enough.

If NBA, Euroleague and CBA league players play that way that means it’s the best way how to play this game also for amateurs. Poor spacing makes defensive teams’s life easier.

DISTANCE

  1. HOW FAR FROM THE BASKET I SHOULD STAY?
  2. HOW FAR FROM MY TEAMMATES I SHOULD STAY?

MOVING WITHOUT THE BALL

  1. DIRECTION OF MOVEMENT (CUT).
  2. MOVE (CUT) WITH A PURPOSE.

 

DISTANCE: HOW FAR FROM THE BASKET I SHOULD STAY?

How far from basket? Position yourself at the farthest possible spot on the court from basket where you can be both a threat but at the same time able to keeping proper distance from other teammates + not violating basketball rules (“3-second rule” for example).

                                   poor spacing                                                great spacing 

SpaCING2

 

Basically that means for perimeter players to stay behind three-point line. If you constantly stay closer than three-point line:

  • you bring your defender with you so he can effectively help other defenders if needed and recover back to you and at the same time not letting you to shoot quality shots (the worst scenario for offense);
  • you discourage your teammate to drive or cut to the basket if both you and your defender stay in mid-range area  (diagram).
  • You won’t get opportunity for 3-point shot attempt (3 points>2 points). Long 2’s = low % shots.

Post players (PF/C) can position themselves both inside and outside the arc. It depends on team’s offensive system.  Nowadays post players are able to be very effective farther from basket. If non-shooter post player is behind the three-point line without the ball most of the time he will set a screen for his teammate.

5-OUT. Milwaukee Bucks “modern center (in this line-up)/power forward” Giannis is about to drive to the basket while 4 of his team-mates who can shoot well from outside (career field goal 3PT %) is “stretching the floor”. For this line-up he can be a ball-screener and post player as well if he doesn’t have the ball at that moment.

5-OUT

4-OUT/1-IN.  Capela is not a threat from three-point line and he’s more effective near the basket (alley-oop) or roller (after setting a screen).

4-OUT 1-IN

Another option is to switch from 4-OUT/1-IN to 5-OUT if Ryan Anderson (38.0% career 3PT) was on the court instead of Capela (0.0% career 3PT). As you basketball fans understand this is an example from 2017/18 season but it doesn’t change the idea about spacing that I want you to explain.

5-OUT HOU

 

PROBLEM! PERIMETER PLAYER must stay behind the three-point line but can’t shoot three-point shot with high%.

SOLUTION #1 – IMPROVE YOUR SHOOTING ACCURACY!

Players shouldn’t be too surprised if they have been left open often! Good defensive teams will find opponent’s weaknesses. Worst shooters from opposite team will be encouraged to take shots they are not comfortable with.

How to improve your shooting accuracy? That’s not the topic of this article.

SOLUTION #2 – OFFENSIVE STRATEGY CAN HIDE YOUR WEAKNESSES. Play less half-court offense, play fast.

SOLUTION #3 – DEVELOP OTHER BASKETBALL SKILLS. Of course, if perimeter player is below average three-point shooter it negatively affects team’s spacing. There will 2 good examples of great perimeter players in NBA who can’t “stretch the floor” but because of other skills they have they can compensate lack of outside shooting:

1.Rajon Rondo (career 31.1% 3-PT shooter) probably is one of the worst perimeter players WITHOUT THE BALL in the league but at the same time he’s one the best PASSERS in NBA and guy with extremely high basketball IQ and also great defender (steals). NBA champion (2007-08 Boston). 6’1” tall point guard with 6’9” wingspan… “According to Vinci’s calculations Rondo’s hands are proportionate to a man taller than Yao Ming” (ESPN America, Sporta Science – Rajon Rondo).

2. Ben Simmons (0/12 3PT NBA career) haven’t made three-point shot in his NBA career so far but because of his versatility, athleticism and court vision he is able to be effective at the same time not badly affecting 76ers offensive spacing. He can be point guard (career position estimate 77% PG position) who can also be a ball-screener + 76ers 2nd best offensive rebounder + play with back-to-the basket + defend multiple positions + drive and cut to the basket very effective. 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year.

  • They both world class athletes;
  • They both fitting better in fast-paced basketball;
  • They both need the ball in their hands to be effective.

These 2 very talented NBA athletes are just a rare exception of point guard or scoring guard position players who can be among the best in the NBA without ability to shoot from outside.

Very often Rondo is left open behind 3-point line…

Rondo open

All the things applies on amateur players as well despite huge difference in skill level and athleticism. We are talking about basics of basketball offense from tactical standpoint not skill development.  Learn from the best players in the world!

Even if you and your friends rent a half-court on Saturday evening + play without 3-second rule +  as I see it in most of the amateur pick-up basketball games and streetball pick-up games in China the value of every scored basket = 1 point (most of the time).. The same principles of spacing still applies to any basketball game!

 

DISTANCE. HOW FAR FROM MY TEAMMATES I SHOULD STAY?

PRINCIPLE #1. Again… if you stay too close to your teammates you bring your defender closer as well. Don’t find yourself in situation where 1 defender can defend 2 offensive players at the same time! Defender can HELP/RECOVER/ROTATE/TRAP much easier if he has to cover shorter distance back to you after helping his teammates.

Poor spacing = shorter distance to cover for defender/Great spacing = longer distance to cover for defender.

                                Poor spacing                                                 Great spacing

 

 

 

Example of poor spacing.

SPACING BAD - Copy

Example of great spacing.

5-OUT HOU

PRINCIPLE #2. Don’t stay on someone’s way! If you are already on someone’s way = move out of the way. Even you are post player who most of the time plays near the basket. The same principles for every player.

1 (player with the ball) wants to drive to the basket but teammates are on his way also bringing their defenders with them…

Out of way spacing

Ball-handler wants to pass to rolling big man after he set the ball-screen for him but 3 other teammates staying under the basket… Very common situation in amateur basketball games. If teammates decide to move behind three-point line but their defenders still stay under the basket ball-handler will not pass to roller but to his teammates behind the three-point where they can get wide open 3-pointer.

ROLL problem

Great example. Player rolls to the basket and no teammate is on his way.

2ngclc

 

MOVING WITHOUT THE BALL: DIRECTION OF PLAYER MOVEMENT (CUT).

There are two type of directions for players without the ball (we talk about playing by principle not about organised team basketball):

1. TOWARDS THE BASKET & AWAY FROM THE BASKET.

MOVEMENT towards the basket away from the basket

2. AROUND THREE-POINT LINE. Not every movement (cut) should be towards the basket. There will be plenty of examples later in this article.

MOVEMENT three-point line

 

MOVING WITHOUT THE BALL: MOVE (CUT) WITH A PURPOSE

I have seen thousands of basketball games in my life – from U-6 (young basketball players under age of 6) to NBA level of basketball.

In this article my focus is on helping amateur players (95% of all basketball players) who never had quality coaching in their life before so basically their (I will use “us”) decisions during basketball game are based on some kind of instincts rather than understanding the game (basketball IQ).

Basketball is very popular game in China especially. I see full basketball venues every day. People rent basketball venues to play for fun. I see the passion for this game that’s good but what it’s very obvious that these fanatic players never played organised team basketball before and that means there’s no basic concept about how to play without the ball. It’s everywhere in the world in amateur level.  For every movement without the ball we should have an answer – WHY?

I really appreciate to see people that instead of going home after a tough day at work and do anything else are choosing to play basketball with friends at least once a week.

Before I am showing examples of when it’s good idea to move somewhere or cut to the basket we have to remember one important thing – TO STAY AT THE SAME SPOT FOR FEW SECONDS OFTEN IS BETTER THAN MOVE! Before any  MOVEMENT we should know the answer of questions = WHY? WHEN?

Again, we are not talking about organised team’s offense but about situations that occurs in any level basketball games. OFFENSIVE BASKETBALL PRINCIPLES. Read the defense!

 

NO! SITUATIONS WHEN THERE’S NO CUT TO THE BASKET OR ANY OTHER MOVEMENT NECESSARY. 

Thumb down

***These all situations are real life situations on basketball venues every day***

  1. You are driving to the basket but your teammate decides to relocate to the same spot at the same time. Don’t relocate in someone’s way! Stay where you are!

Drivebad timing Q

2. Roll (after pick-and-roll) and cut towards the basket at the same time.

Roll and cut at the same time Q

3. ISO. Let the best player of your team to play 1vs1 against weaker defender or take advantage of speed advantage if there was SWITCH. Unnecessary cut towards the basket can discourage him to drive to the basket. STAY AT THE SAME SPOT but at the same time be ready to for the catch-and-shoot 3-pointer (drive-kick)/offensive rebound/cut towards the basket if your defender helps too much and not pay attention to you.

Before ISO situation it’s good idea cut to the basket to ”take your defender away” if he wants to help his teammate to defend ISO situation (trap for example). PATIENCE and TIMING.

Harden 1vs1 = no cuts to the basket, players stay at the same spot.

2nfm2t

4. Weak-side. If you find yourself on the weak-side –  OFTEN JUST STAYING AT THE SAME SPOT is the best idea! This is a principle not rule. There are exceptions of rules but don’t cut towards the player with the ball not knowing why. Smart player with good court vision already see you if you are open on weak-side. Worst scenario is when all players from the weak-side cut towards the ball at the same time…

Spacing weakside with question

YES! SITUATIONS WHEN THERE’S CUT TO THE BASKET OR ANY OTHER MOVEMENT NECESSARY.

Thumb up

Few of many examples in basketball when any type of player’s movement or cutting to the basket is necessary :

1.Back-door cut. Defender is focusing on helping too much that he lost his own offensive player out of his sight.

2nfn0f

Backdoor turn head

2. Back-door cut. If defender plays too aggressive = cut to the basket.

2nfn26

Backdoor

3.  Drive. One-pass away.

2nfudf

DRIVE kick relocate

4. Pick-and-roll. Ball-handler DRIVES to the basket. Fill the empty spot he left behind him if he drives away from you.

2ngb0z

Drive replace behind

5. Baseline drive. Every time your teammate drives toward the baseline and you or any other teammate of him should fill opposite corner. Also cut towards the basket from middle was good idea. Read your defender.

2ngb9b

Baseline drive 3

6. Clear out. Rondo clears out the corner and take his defender with him leaving Lebron 1vs1 with his defender. Two examples.

2ngbtf

CLEARS Rondo

2ngbvd

6.Offensive rebound. If your teammate is shooting the ball or you anticipate him shooting the ball very soon – go for offensive rebound.

2ngei7

7.Feed the post + relocate/screen to nearest perimeter player/cut to the basket.

Feed the post + screen to nearest perimeter player.

2ngch0 (1)

Post feed 1

Feed the post + relocate.

2ngd00

Post feed 3

Feed the post + cut the the basket.

2ngcdj

Post Feed 2

8.Feed the post – fill the weak-side SPOTS. There are lot of different options what teams are doing after the ball is passed to post player in the low post area (5) but most often these are spots that must be taken. Very often players on the weak-side stay at the same spot (reading the defense) while post player (5) plays 1vs1 with his defender.

2ngd80

POST basic spacing

vlcsnap-2018-11-26-20h48m46s121

9.Ball in the low post: 1vs1 (no double team) cut from the weakside.

2ngesu

Cut from weakside

10. Ball in the low post: double team cut from the weak-side.

2ngidm

DOUBLE TEAM cut

11.High-Low. X4 front the post player 4. 5 flash cut to the free-throw line.

2ngg91

HI LO

12. Screen. Read the defense and roll or cut the basket if you see scoring opportunity.

2ngfp2

Screen cut to basket

13. Cut from weak-side to free-throw line area. Good option against zone defense. If it’s not possible to receive the ball move behind 3-point line again and at the same time maintaining good spacing.

Weakside cutts

Thank you abouthegame.com readers for your reading! I hope this article helped you to understand the game of basketball better !

Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEMBA WALKER – PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW TO SURVIVE AS AN UNDERSIZED IN LAND OF THE GIANTS!

K5

 

KEMBA WALKER – HOW TO SURVIVE AS AN UNDERSIZED IN LAND OF THE GIANTS!

To be successful being undersized in the highest level of basketball in the world what’s basically is the Land of Giants, you must be special. Either it’s athleticism, quickness, crazy handles, basketball IQ or ability to shoot with high %. 

Only 26 of 442 players who have played at least 1 game this season in NBA is 6’1” (1.85 m) or shorter. (one of the best known short players in NBA Isaiah Thomas hasn’t played in this season yet (hip)). 

KEMBA WALKER ”Heart and soul of the Hornets franchise” :

  • 1st player in Hornets history with a 60-point game;
  • 2nd player 6’1″ or shorter with a 60-point game in NBA history (Allen Iverson)

 

                        KembavsIve2WALKER 3

 

  • 2nd player in NBA history with a 60-point game against the 76ers (Wilt Chamberlain) (ESPN Stats & Info).

Walker’s game against Philadelphia 76ers was the first 60 point game by a NBA player since James Harden on January 30, 2018.

Article is finished before Charlotte vs. Indiana game so probably Kemba Walker won’t be the best scorer in NBA tomorrow 🙂 

KEMBA. STATISTICS. 

After little bit more than 1 month in new 2018/19 NBA season Walker is new NBA scoring leader: 29.6 PPG (1st)(To be precise Walker 29.563 vs. Curry 29.500)

Kemba shoots a lot:

Leading NBA in FGA: 21.6 (1st). 

3P FGA: 10.4 (3rd);

3P FGM: 4.1 (2nd).

Among league’s TOP 20 scorers he’s the 4th best three-point shooter – 38.9% (behind Curry, Lebron and Kyrie).

USG% (usage percentage is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.): 30.8% (6th). (players 200+ minutes played). As I mentioned earlier Kemba is ‘Heart and soul of the Hornets franchise”.

Most of his shots he creates by himself: FG UAST 69.6% (19th in NBA) (players 20+minutes per game).

20th/21th best passer in the League – 6.1 assists per game. Same amount of assists per game with the second best scorer in the NBA at the moment Curry.

In his 8 years in the league (28 years old now) we can see the increase for PTS/FGA/FG% almost every next season.

POINTS KEMBA

FGA KEMBA

FG% KEMBA

VERSATILITY

It’s not surprising that most of the points that 6’1” tall players (both Walker and Lowry) score comes from 3-point shot. 

Interesting that despite Walker (NBA leading scorer 29.6) and Lowry (NBA best passer 10.2 AST per game) being different type of players they score similar amount of points from similar situations.

% of total points scored distribution by type of shot.

Kemba shooting1

Kemba can score various ways. Lightning quick (AI, D.Rose, Wall) + ability to change a pace so quickly (slow-fast-stop) + ball-handling + ability to make shot attempt in very short period of time + confidence that coaches and teammates trust him = leading scorer in NBA at the moment. Shot = no hesitation. Despite being ”score first” player often creates lot of good shot opportunities for his teammates (6.1 assists per game).

  • Pick-and-roll. He has answers for all the pick-and-roll defenses.

He often rejects the screen and because of his quickness he is able to catch defender by surprise.

KEMBAReject attack big

Under = three-pointer. No hesitation.

KEMBA Under 3

Flat/Drop. If screener’s defender plays too low = 3-point shot (one of few examples of attacking FLAT pick-and-roll defense).

KEMBA Flat 3p

ICE. ”Snake” + step-back mid-range pull-up jumper.

Kemba ICE SNAKE

Switch = taking advantage of his lightning quickness. 

SWITCH lightining

  • Despite being much shorter than PF/C position players this season he is very effective finishing around the rim and attacking big men.

KEMBA over big

  • Transition. Coast-to-coast. Because of his quickness he can effectively attack defense before it is set.

KEMBA coast-to coast

 

  • Drive to the basket. 1vs1. Either he attacks same height or taller defenders overall he’s very effective player 1vs1. 

KEMBA DRive

  • Off-ball screens. Because of his ability to release his shot quickly he can use off-ball screens very effectively and punish defender making defensive errors.

KEMBA off-ball

  • Decision making could be better sometimes. 

KEMBA decision making

 

  • Consistence. Had both 60 and 7 point game this season…/Kemba plays much better at home games this season (FG% 14.9! better @ home). He is emotional player.

Home-Road

”Walker had an effective field goal percentage of 56.7 percent in the first half of games, but just 46.6 percent in the second half. That was the biggest drop-off among 210 players with at least 200 field goal attempts in each half. But Walker’s six overtime 3-pointers (on just seven attempts) led the league.” (NBA.com) 2017/18 season.

CHARLOTTE HORNETS CAN’T FINISH GAMES IN CLUTCH-TIME. MARCH 19th…

Hornets can’t finish games in clutch-time. And that’s not only problem for this season.. 6 of 8 their losses was with 4 or less points… There’s also bad luck involved.

CHarlotte Clutch

MARCH 19th 

GAME 4. After 3 painful losses Hornets will be very motivated against their 4th game vs. 76ers this season.

                                     CHAR vs  PHI

It’s not only about team’s leader and best scorer is leading NBA points per game or having historic 60 points game. There could be even defensive strategy letting opponent’s leading scorer to score more but not letting others to be involved… 

But this is not a case about Kemba Walker. Being Hornets’ 6th best paid player who plays the best basketball in his career at the moment he simply needs more help from others. For example, Batum who is teams best paid player (24 mil.$) this season definitely not playing his best basketball. 

If someone before the season tells me that Hornets will be 8-8 after first 16 games I wouldn’t be surprised. Kemba the best scorer in NBA after the first month? It’s surprise.

Walker is great example for whole basketball world that despite you height and size you can be very successful. He can motivate lot of young players just like Iverson did. To all young basketball players: work hard and good things will happen & never give up until you succeed!

CoachKris@HUPU