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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

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.

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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.

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

harden no screen

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#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

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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

Thumb up

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!

3s harden

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

Untitled

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).

2pfc4i

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.

vlcsnap-2018-12-20-18h12m27s077 vlcsnap-2018-12-20-18h36m41s148

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

L.A. LAKERS – NBA DUNK LEADER!

LAL

LAKERS = James, McGee, Kuzma, Chandler, Stephenson, Ingram, Ball, Hart, Rondo, Caldwell-Pope = NBA DUNK LEADERS.

LAKERS DUNKS stats

Despite leading NBA DUNKS per game only 2 Lakers (McGee and James) are TOP 20 in slam dunks.

TOP 2 Lakers

In this little research I will try to explain why Lakers has the most slam dunks in NBA this season.

LAKERS

TALL (tallest team in NBA)/ATHLETIC team.

                 NBA tallest    LAL TALL 2

DIFFERENT LAKERS TEAM BUT STILL WITHOUT MANY GREAT OUTSIDE SHOOTERS.

If 2017/18 season Lakers was bad 3-point shooting team (29th in NBA) then 2018/19 season Lakers is average shooting team (15th of 30). Overall 3PT FG% has improved just 0.5% but since 2018/19 NBA season teams attempt higher volume of 3-point shots per game and plays faster = quality of shots can be lower. This slight improvement (0.5%) allows Los Angeles team to be in the middle not at the bottom in 3-pt FG% rank like it was last year.

LA LAKERS 3PT FG%

LA LAKERS 3P

 

LAKERS OFFENSE. AVERAGE 3-POINT SHOOTING? SOLUTIONS.

  • FAST PACE = transition offense > set offense;
  • Not great 3-point shooting = DRIVE TO THE BASKET;
  • HIGH % SHOTS. (restricted area) DUNKS.

LAKERS STATS

LA Lakers leads the League in FGA from RESTRICTED AREA.

PAINT lakers

20181213_lal_shooting

Restricted-area shots are the most valuable shots on the floor, worth 1.26 points per attempt league-wide!

SHOT VALUES NBA 2018-19

Three-point shooting is not only way how to survive in NBA. The question is: average three-point shooting team able to win NBA Title?

SHOULD PLAY FAST! TWO DIFFERENT LAKERS TEAMS. DAY & NIGHT.

  First 12 seconds of possession =  Thumb upThumb upThumb up

Last 12 seconds of possession = Thumb downThumb downThumb down

20181213_lal_players

 

Coach Luke Walton’s team = athletic and can run + has luxury of having great passers with very high basketball IQ (James, Rondo, Ball). Court vision. Coach Walton’s strategy is very suitable to this Lakers team in my opinion = to attack defense before it is set in every possible way.

These are the main reasons why team leads in NBA DUNKS PER GAME! They get lot of dunks during transition from offense to defense. It’s much easier to dunk if defense is not set yet.

Transition vs set

DUNKS. TRANSITION/FAST BREAK.

Opponent’s turnovers/bad decisions/sending too many players for offensive rebound/bad shot selection (especially 3’s who can lead to long rebounds) and simply slow returning back on defense even after made basket can be deadly to themselves against team like Lakers.

#1. COAST-TO-COAST. Rebounder = ball-handler.

transition dunk 1

Opponent’s bad shot = Lebron rebound + coast-to-coast. DUNK.

2pacug

#2. Rebound (missed shot)/blocked shot/steal/made shot. 1-2 passes leads to DUNK. Wing players keeps good spacing and fill their lines during transition from defense to offense.

transition dunk 2

Steal. Lebron to Ingram. DUNK.

2padg3

Long rebound. Fast transition from defense to offense – DUNK.

2pad2r

#3. RIM-TO-RIM. Missed shot = defensive rebound. McGee’s ability to run allows him to attack defense before it is set.

transition dunk3

Great court vision by Lakers players (James, Rondo, Ball, Stephenson) + McGee ability to run from rim-to-rim = DUNKS.

2pad8m

 

DUNKS. OTHER SITUATIONS.

Of course there are few other situations when slam dunk attempt is possible = set play (coach create situation for alley-oop for example), back-door cut, put-back dunk (offensive rebound), pick-and-roll (both ball-handler and roll man), 1vs1 drive from perimeter to the basket, post-up.

Ingram successfully attacks his defender and defensive help. Shot fake + 1 dribble = DUNK.

2pad56

Perimeter player drives to the basket + draws help defender + pass to big man (McGee/Chandler) = DUNK.

2padv1

 

More information about this year’s Lakers team in my first article of NBA2018/19 season:

“FIRST IMPRESSIONS ABOUT NEW LAKERS SQUAD. IS LAKERS OFFENSE MUCH DIFFERENT FROM LAST SEASON?”

Thanks for reading basketball fans! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

END OF CELTIC’S 8 GAME WINNING STREAK. ARE THERE STILL ANY DOUBTS ABOUT CELTICS TITLE CHANCES?

BOS

From 10-10 to 18-11. After losing to Detroit Pistons BOSTON’s 8 game winning streak (2017/18 16 game winning streak) is over. Celtics looks much better but despite having NBA TOP3 defense they still find themselves only at 5th place Eastern Conference.

winning streak

Still Any doubts about Celtics? Problems solved? Will Boston Celtics win the 2018-19 NBA Championship?

Thinking emoji

We are talking about team who was 2nd in pre-season predictions to WIN the NBA Title, right behind Warriors. We are talking about team who has ambitions to Win the Championship!

 

TEAM BASKETBALL AND DEPTH.

In this article I won’t mention Celtics defense too much what is constant value… We will talk about issues with Boston’s offense.

Boston recent seasons is well known as a team who plays team basketball and has it’s roster is loaded with talented players.

YES, we can say that Irving is the best player of team but he has plenty of help compared to most NBA superstars in their teams. Few teams rely mainly on 2-3 superstar or strength of starting-five. Yes, there are teams like Toronto who also has superstar named Kawhi Leonard and they also found good balance between teamwork/individual performance but it’s just one of few examples.

Kyrie is only Boston’s player in TOP 60 per FGA per game. Only Boston is TOP 8 team among other teams who has 1 player TOP 60 per field goal attempts per game. WHY? = DEPTH (lot of other quality players).

Team basketbal TOP60

2017/18 Play-Off Series. Only 3 (+1 tied) of 19 games the leading player per points scored was from Brad Steven’s team. Team basketball. Celtics can be successful even without 2 of their main players. Brad Stevens system makes players better.

PO CELTICS

TOO MANY GREAT PLAYERS??? Of course it’s irony but there are little bit of truth in every joke.

The beginning of 2018/19 season for TOP3 NBA title contenders (pre-season predictions) is far from they expected. The last season without Kyrie and Hayward Celtics almost made NBA FINALS. Simple math could let us think:

NBA FINALS

If the last year it was defense that can win games for Boston not offense, then this year it’s the same defense + 2 of their potentially best offensive players back.. We can’t ask Hayward to play his best game at the moment because of his gruesome injury in the first game of 2017/18 season but as we see he is a star player who can accept bench player role for a while if it’s necessary.

TEAM’S CHEMISTRY.

Of course building team’s chemistry it takes time. Is was little bit too early to judge team like Boston Celtics after first 20 games (10-10) but it was right time to fix these issues.

  1. PLENTY OF TALENT. Everyone has EGO. Everyone wants to have the ball in their hands. Luckily for Boston Celtics EGO problems is far from worst in the league.
  2. HAYWARD BACK. Not ready yet? Able to play his best basketball in future again?

Hayward performance

  1. FREE AGENCY 2019. Everyone wants to have good stats before signing new contract next season.

BOSTOn Free agents2

FACTS.

  • 11 different starting line-ups in 29 games (chemistry/injuries/rest)
  • Hayward starts from bench 7-3 (temporary solution?)
  • Hayward/Horford/Brown all playing 8-8 < one of trio injured or rest 10-3;

Starting 5

 

IMPROVEMENT OF OFFENSE. BEFORE&AFTER 8 GAME WINNING-STREAK. QUALITY OF SHOTS.

DEFENSE IS CONSTANT. Improvement of offense is what makes difference between first 20 games (10-10) and last 9 (8-1).

Boston Celtics had THE BEST OFFENSE in NBA during the period of their last 9 games!

Statistics shows that there’s huge increase of POINTS scored per game and team SHOOTS BETTER.

There’s slight decrease of % FGM from mid-range area and FGM% assisted (players creates more shots by themselves). Kyrie (known as player who can create himself quality shot attempts) 3PT FG% during 8 game winning-streak = 25/58 (43.1%)!

MOST IMPORTANT = THE STYLE OF CELTICS OFFENSE HASN’T CHANGED.

Increase of POINTS SCORED during the last 9 games = 16.0 per game.

Increase of SHOT ATTEMPTS during the last 9 games = only 3.4 per game.

Team takes the same shots: lot of 3-pointers and certain amount of mid-range shots per game.

They still don’t score a lot of points from PAINT and FREE-THROW LINE.

 

STATS changes

ANSWER = QUALITY OF SHOTS HAS IMPROVED.

Less tough mid-range and 3-point shot attempts every game.

Tough mid-range shot by Rozier (10 seconds left on shot clock).

2p5fpm (1)

 

Still Any doubts about Celtics?

YES and NO

NO.

  1. PLAY-OFF TEAM. Depth and probably the defense in NBA.
  2. OFFENSE WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE. It takes time and Boston looks much better already.

YES.

  1. 8 GAME WINNING-STREAK = ALL TEAMS BELOW 50% GAMES WON. If we talk about Celtics as TOP3 NBA Title contender even 8 games winning-streak over below average best NBA teams and being at 5th place (18-11) in Eastern conference at the moment is not enough to say without any doubts = they will play in Finals.

WL

2. CORNER 3 PT% = 30.2 (29th; NBA average 38.0%). 2017/18 CORNER 3 PT % 40.8 (8th; NBA average 39.4%). Of course, it can be “hidden potential” . It can’t be much worse… so improvement should come… 

3. BOSTON ranks 29th of 30 teams both % of points scored from PAINT and FREE-THROW line as well CORNER 3’s. Free-throws has the highest value of all shots in NBA as well as Corner 3-pointers.

Every team has different style of play and different philosophy but real facts and numbers can’t be ignored.

NBA 2017/18 League-wide shot values

SHOT VALUES NBA 2018-19

Thanks for reading! CoachKris@HUPU.com