NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE 1ST ROUND PLAY-OFF SERIES PREVIEW.

EAST NBA

 

MIL DET

NBA play-off

MIL

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

The best team in NBA after regular season = 60W-22L.

TOP teams in NBA standings

New arena, new coach, new offensive/defensive system.

#1 defense, opponent’s shoots with lowest field goal % against Bucks, least amount of free-throws allowed , the best team defensive rebounding team.

Top 5 offense, Top 3 field goal %. . Shoots high volume of three-pointers and makes them with high accuracy.

No mid-range shots ( only 5.5% of all shot attempt).

Milwaukee play fast-paced basketball.

Injuries.. Brogdon/Mirotic/Gasol. DiVicenzo.

Buckss

Lack of play-off experience?

BUCKS playoff experience

Giannis Regular season MVP?

Bucks only once in whole 2018-19 regular season lost 2 games in a row.

DET

Finished 8th in Eastern Conference. Secured play-off spot only in the least few days in NBA regular season. Detroit played their best basketball in second part of the season.

2nd worst FG% (44.0) in NBA. Lack of fast break points.

Shoots lot of 3’s but accuracy overall is not that high.

Top 5 rebounding team. Drummond is the best NBA rebounder.

Rebound leaders

One of the best three-point shooters Bullock traded to Lakers.

Worst away team of all 16 teams who qualified for play-offs (15-26).

2017-18 Coach of the Year Casey hasn’t been very successful in play-offs so far (Toronto expectations was higher).

Detroit team plays slow basketball.

MILDET2

PREDICTION. Milwaukee team has been playing stable and very successful whole regular season. Only once they have lost 2 games in a row this NBA season. Even without Brogdon, Mirotic and Gasol they are huge favourites in this First Round match-up. Despite having superstar Griffin and league’s best rebounder Drummond their chances to win the series are slim. In my opinion Detroit team is not the team which can surprise.

MILWAUKEE – DETROIT 4:0.

TOR ORL

NBA PO1 - Copy

TOR

#2 Team in NBA. Team basketball & balance.

We the norht

Stable and consistent whole season long. Started season 12-1.This is not the first time when Raptors play great during regular season in recent years.. How about Play-Offs? It’s right time and right situation! Lebron is in Western Conference or more precise in vacation 🙂

Both Top 5 offense and defense in NBA.

Balance. Despite being #2 in League Toronto leads NBA only FT% of all main statistical categories.

After acquiring Marc Gasol during the season they really can call themselves serious NBA Title contender.

Their strength is DEPTH and Kawhi also seems happy.

One of the worst teams in NBA dunks per game.

Raptors dancing

ORL

One of the biggest season surprises! Secured their play-off spot in last days of NBA regular season. Finished season 5-1.

Defense. Defensive specialist Coach Clifford improved Magic defense from 18th last season to 8th this season.

Orlando is slow defensive team who is one of the best rebounding teams in NBA and draws a lot of fouls.

Lack of free-throw attemps but shoots lot of mid-range shots.

Team basketball.

Top 3 leading scorers (Vučevič/Fournier/Gordon) total have 56 minutes of play-off experience.

TORORL2

PREDICTION. Orlando Magic is one of biggest surprises this season and all respect to All-Star Vučevič but #2 in NBA regular season has too much talent in their roster. Both good defensive teams, both teams have great big men (Gasol, Ibaka,Vučevič). I just don’t see too many options which could help Orlando to surprise again…

TORONTO – ORLANDO 4:1

PHI BKN

NBA PO1 - Copy - Copy (2)

PHI

 PHANTASTIC 5 = EMBIID, HARRIS, BUTLER, REDICK, SIMMONS.

76ers

Embiid’s health is very important for 76ers, two different teams with and without Embiid.

Ball-movement team – leads NBA in 3PT% AST and 3rd in FG% AST. Team basketball.

Enough aggressiveness. Among leaders both per FT attempts and makes.

Top 5 team both per rebounds and assists per game.

Team with huge potential,  team’s chemistry is very important.

Lack of depth?

People love basketball in Philadelphia – NBA attendance leaders.

One of the best clutch time teams in NBA . For example, Charlotte Hornets lost season series 0-4 woth total point difference -10 (2 OT).

BKN

Brooklyn Nets similar to Orlando Magic is one of biggest surprises of the season.

Ups and downs . Started season 8-18 and continued season with 19 wins of next 24 games.

Heartbreak Hotel

Drive and kick offense.

Shoots lot of 3-pointers and free-throws, don’t shoot lot of mid-range shots.

Top 5 team % of 3-pointers of total points.

Interesting that opposite teams attempts the most shots against Nets team.

One of the best benches in NBA (Dinwiddie).

Lack of points from C position players. Only ahead of Golden State Warriors.

The best season for D’Angelo Russell (All-Star) and J.Harris won All-Star 3-point contest.

Russell

(picture from mid-season)

Joe Harris

Despite playing entertaining basketball Brooklyn Nets have lowest attendance in whole NBA…

The worst team at home of all 16 play-off teams.

PHIBKN2

PREDICTION. This match-up between Philadelphia and Brooklyn will guarantee basketball fans entertaining basketball. It’s very important for Philly if Embiid will be healthy. Without Embiid there’s chance for Brooklyn to get to game 7 at least. Otherwise 76ers should win series without unnecessary stress.

Fans. Philadephia with highest attendance in League play against Brooklyn with lowest attendance…

PHILADELPHIA – BROOKLYN 4:2

BOS IND

NBA PO1 - Copy - Copy (3)

BOS

Preseason prediction – the best team in Eastern Conference…

Ups and downs. Problems with team’s chemistry.

Offensively Celtics mostly rely on 3-point/mid-range shooting.

3rd/4th average shooting distance from basket in NBA.

Lack of paint points and points from free-throw line.

Great defensive team.

Too many great players ? Too many players who play for same position?

It’s very likely that Boston Celtics during Play-offs will play their best basketball. Most of team’s young players have confidence because of great last season + Irving’s play-off experience and ability to play great in clutch moments.

IND

TOP3 defensive team in NBA.

DPOY candidate Turner. Most shots blocked per game in NBA!

Blocks leaders

Don’t shoot lot of 3’s but accuracy is pretty good. (similar to San Antonio Spurs).

Team basketball.

Only team without any player scoring more 20.0 points average per game.

76.8% FGA 2-pointers. Attempts a lot of mid-range shots.

Oladipo’s injury… After injury 16W-19L.

One of the worst NBA teams dunks per game.

BOSIND2

PREDICTION. Match-up between two great defensive teams but at the same time two completely different type offensive teams. Yes, Boston is favourite especially after Oladipo injury but Indiana is very tough defensive team. I think Kyrie’s play-off experience and leadership + home court advantage will be two main factors which will decide which team will be the winner of this Eastern Conference #4 and #5 series. +

BOSTON – INDIANA 4:3

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBA REGULAR SEASON vs. PLAYOFFS. DO WE REALLY BELIEVE IN MILWAUKEE NBA TITLE CHANCES?

How important is to win NBA regular season? 

If you are simply the best you win – no questions. Home court advantage through whole Playoff time + psychological advantage (?) over opponents.

On the other hand… It’s doesn’t help much to dominate NBA from middle of October until April if team doesn’t win NBA Title in June.

The first thing that should come in NBA basketball fan’s mind is Golden State Warriors historic 73-9 regular season or last year’s Houston Rockets’ regular season success… As we all know both these teams didn’t win the NBA Title.

REG WINNER

THE FACT. NBA regular season winner won NBA Title only 4 times in last 9 seasons.

 

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE.

Reg win

It’s not secret – teams usually play better at home. In diagram shown #1 regular season’s team record at home/away. Even playoff home games winning % is high, it’s much lower than same teams total winning record @ home in regular season = 87.8% (180-25).

Home court advantage is very important but it doesn’t guarantee NBA Title! In Playoffs teams face better opponents and preparation against one single opponent is much different than during regular season when team sometimes play against 4 different opponents in 6 days.

Very important is how teams match-up to each other. For example 2017/18 NBA season – Portland #3 vs. New Orleans #6. Portland = pick-and-roll team vs. New Orleans = fastest team (2017/18). There’s no need for home court advantage if team (Portland in this case) is swept – 0:4..

 

PLAY-OFF EXPERIENCE AND PLANNING.

Being the best shape in right time!  Is San Antonio Spurs 9 game winning-streak just lucky run or well planned strategy from probably the greatest NBA and European coach?

Win Lose SAS

ettore POP

Even it was strength of schedule or just simply making shots with high % – THE LUCK IS EARNED.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

MIL

Let’s assume that Milwaukee will be #1 team in NBA in the end of regular season.

TOP teams now

New venue (Bradley Center to Fiserv Forum), new coach (Mike Budenholzer), new system. Shoots a lot of three-point shots, rebounds the ball excellent!

bucks-2018-19

What’s very important – best defense in NBA! Def RTG 104.7 (1st).

There are lot of sayings who describes importance of defense in basketball or any other sport: Defense wins championships, Defense has no bad days, Defense is consistent…

Defense really wins championships?

thinking

 

DEFENSE winner

 

DO WE REALLY BELIEVE IN BUCKS CHANCES TO WIN NBA TITLE?

INJURIES of Brogdon, Gasol, Mirotic. Good for Bucks they not out for rest of the season. And recent injury of DiVicenzo (out)…

Play-off experience & success..

It’s hard to truly believe in Coach Budenholzer team’s possible Play-Off success if their 7 best scorers totally have played 52 seasons and have won only 4 play-off series…

BUCKS playoff experience

THE FIRST ROUND

Shouldn’t be a problem for Bucks even without injured players. Brooklyn Nets? Personally I believe that other teams who possibly will finish regular season at #8 spot won’t be able to compete vs. great Milwaukee Bucks team.

     BKN OR DET MIACHAR

 

THE SECOND ROUND

Most likely it will be winner of #4 and #5. Boston/Indiana winner. Both great defensive teams but completely different style of offense.

Last season Milwaukee lost 3-4 in First Round to Boston Celtics without Kyrie and Hayward.

BOS OR  IND

Season series: vs. Boston 2-1/vs Indiana 3-1.

Two very tough teams to play against. Boston Celtics not stable but they play great in play-offs,+Kyrie know what it takes to win big games. Indiana without Oladipo.. I think Milwaukee should win any of these series if injured players are back. Slight favourites over Boston.

THE THIRD ROUND

TOR OR PHI

Hard to predict anything now but I can’t say Bucks are huge favourites. 76ers Starting Five and huge potential offensively + Toronto depth and teamwork + great defense.. Who knows?

Season series: vs. Raptors 3-1/vs. Philly 1-1.

Interesting statistics of recent game between Philadephia and Miwaukee 130:125. Despite Giannis career-high 52 points he was less effective when Embiid was his primary defender.

Giannis Embiid.png

 

NBA FINALS

GSW OR HOU DENVER 1.png OR ANY OTHER TEAM?

I think any team who will make it out of East will have a chance to win the NBA Title. With all the respect to Warriors/Rockets/Nuggets and other Western Conference teams, Bucks can play against all of them. Still.. Golden State Warriors is #1 favourite but other teams are much closer to them than it used to be recent years.

Thanks for reading NBA basketball fans! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

LA LAKERS & LEBRON’S PLAY-OFFS STARTS NOW!

All-Star Break was right on time for Lebron and Lakers… 

Even die-hard Lakers fans have to admit that recently there’s not too much positive to say about Lakers team..

Thumb down

  • Point difference in last 7 games before All-Star break = -96…

LAL rezuktati last 7

  • Locker-room drama & atmosphere.

locker roomdr

LeBron at the end of the Lakers bench in game vs Indiana Pacers (94:136) = LAL heaviest defeat of the season.

Lebron Sits Away

  • AD trade. It’s hard to have good atmosphere in team if your GM offers 8 players of team to acquire 1… Business is business but it hurts players EGOs for sure.

AD offer

”Magic Johnson plans to hug it out with the Los Angeles Lakers to help them cope with the fallout from the NBA trade deadline.”

“I love our team. I love the guys,” Johnson said. “It’s a tough part of our business whether you’re mentioned in trade talk, or you get traded. It’s a tough part of professional sports, but they came together and played great against Boston. My job is to make sure we stay together as a team and stay focused on the goal, which is to make the playoffs.”

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25961264/magic-johnson-plans-hug-lakers-nba-trade-deadline-fallout.

After this all Los Angeles team finds themselves at 10th position in Western Conference.

West standings

 

Thumb up

Positive thing is that despite being out of Play-Off zone Lakers are only 6 wins away from 4th spot in Western Conference…

RETURN OF LEBRON! Healthy Lebron is the key of their success. The King has made Play-Offs 13th consecutive seasons in a row.

Lebron’s impact on his team’s performance through his career (regular season).

Lebron PLAY_OFFS

Acquiring great 3-point shooter Bullock (39.7% career 3-point shooting) and Muscala (36.5% career 3-point shooting) also should be positive impact on team.

LEBRON & LAKERS PLAY-OFFS STARTS NOW!!!

There’s slightly more than 30% of NBA regular season left (25 games for Luke Walton’s team in regular season) to save their season.

LAL season

As I wrote in my article about Lakers before 2018-19 NBA season, this team is “weird mix of players”. Group of very young players together with group of veterans. Team who plays excellent first 12 seconds of offensive possession and terrible the last 12 seconds. Team with the most DUNKS PER GAME.

FACT = Lakers haven’t been consistent whole season long… They never won more than 4 games in a row in 2018-19 season.

LAL1

 

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE.

LA Lakers have only 20th best schedule for remaining regular season.

rSOSReal

There are 25 games left for Luke Walton’s team to get back to secure their play-off spot and it’s better not to be the #8 spot… In my opinion 16 or 17 wins of last 25 regular season games should be enough.

1617.png

thinking

If Lakers will make play-offs which team won’t?

Even Sacramento Kings (#9) which is above Lebron’s team + they play entertaining basketball aren’t in Play-Off zone at the moment.

LAL PO which team

Los Angeles Clippers? Probably.. T. Harris traded to Philadelphia. Interesting that recent seasons Clippers have played excellent vs. Lakers.

It will be interesting end of the season in Western Conference. NBA basketball fans wants to see Lebron in play-offs and NBA knows that. In the end of the day it’s business but it would be better that Lakers secure play-off spot showing their best basketball 🙂

Thanks for reading! CoachKris@HUPU.com.

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

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

PHI

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

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

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

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

Serious face

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

Butler to 76ers and Covington & Saric to Timberwolves.

usat_jimmy_butler_dario_saric_robert_covington

 

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

Best starting line-up

Butler starts excellent!

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

vs Hornets

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

Butler game-winning.gif

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

ap_mike_scott_tobias_harris_boban_marjanovic

Happy face

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

Fultz to ORL

176ers

 

WHAT TYPE OF BASKETBALL PLAYS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS?

76erslogo

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

Popcorn

BALL-MOVEMENT TEAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FT3Pratio

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

 

FANTASTIC 5

 

Fantastic 5

 

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

Lineups +-

Third tallest starting 5 In NBA.

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

76ers

 

T. HARRIS THE MOST IMPROVED PLAYER THIS SEASON?

Most Improved player NBA

 

76ERS1

 

Embiid

EMBIID

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

2017-18 NBA All-Defensive team.

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

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

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

Simmons

SIMMONS

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

Butler1

BUTLER

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

Harris

HARRIS

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

Example of Harris great defense.

Harris defense

 

Redick1

J.J. REDICK

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

Reddick accuarcy decline

Redick 3

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

Redick post problem

 

BEFORE TRADE DEADLINE & AFTER. USG%.

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

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

Deadline comparison

 

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

POST-UP

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

Post UP

 

THEY CAN DEFEND!

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

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

 

BENCH PLAYERS

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

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

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

Starters vs bench

 

Marjanovic

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

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

Boban rebound

Thumb up

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

Boban over

Great passer out of the post.

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

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

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

Boban 1

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

Boabm2

Example of Hayward taking advantage of this situation.

Boban pick-and-roll problem

 

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

 

McConnel

McCONNELL

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

 

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

 

NBA TITLE CHANCES/ EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE?

 

CHEMISTRY AND EGOS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Boban Harris

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

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE TITLE/NBA TITLE?

TOP4

 

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

Trade deadline 76ers

 

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

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

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

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

Good luck to coach Brett Brown and TRUST THE PROCESS!

Thanks for reading ! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

PELICANS AND AD – THE VALUE OF UNIBROW. FACTS.

ADD

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

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

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

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

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

NOP play-off

 

NOP

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Streaky NOP

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

IMPORTANCE OF ANTHONY DAVIS.

„Lakers offering eight players for Anthony Davis’’

WithWOAD

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

All TOP 10 point scorers in last 5 NBA seasons.

10scorers AD

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

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

TOp10 last 5 seasoms

 

OFFENSE. VERSATILITY OF AD.

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

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

He can play both inside/out.

  • Post up. Both low post/high post.

1vs1 post signature move

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

Pass out of Double

 

AD double

AD double 2

  • Can play effective 1vs1 from perimiter.

1vs1 perimeter

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

Fast Break to start

  • Offensive rebounding.

Pass out of Double

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

 

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

 

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

AD spreads the floor

 

DEFENSE

His height and wingspan is his strength.

AD Wingspan

 

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

 

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

PNR great defense

PNR defense Flat

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

Block

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

 

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

Thank you for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

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

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

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

nba rankings real

ranking nba

sac

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

mil

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

lac

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

den

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

bkn

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

orl

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

atl

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

 

ind

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

 

tor

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

sas

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

mia

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

cha

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

phi

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

por

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

 

phx

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

dal1

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

mem

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

gsw

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

okc

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

nyk

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

min

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

lal

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

untitled

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

cle

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

hou

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

nop

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

bos real

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

det111

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

uta111

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

was

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

 

CoachKris@HUPU! Thanks for reading!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

2qckd3

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

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

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

hou2

SOLUTIONS.

thumb

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

harden no screen

hou1

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

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

hou3

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

separation

hou4

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

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

harden pnr

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

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

hou5

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com