PICK-AND-ROLL: 20 USEFUL ADVICE FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS WHO STUDY THE GAME.

No doubt that Basketball is very popular in China. Since our readers are mostly amateur players or basketball fanatics who don’t play professionally I decided to help you with few ideas how to execute this the most popular basketball play – pick-and-roll – better!

1.  RE-SCREEN.

If defense defends the first pick (or screen) successfully and there’s no options to shoot/drive/pass, screener can re-screen – set one more screen. It’s hard to defend two pick-and-rolls in a row especially if offensive players are highly skilled.

RESCREEN.gif

 

2. DRAG SCREEN OR TRANSITION PICK-AND-ROLL.

Every team in professional level plays pick-and-roll in transition at least few times per game. Very often after opponents’ missed their shots and your team grabs the rebound look for the opportunity to attack the defense before it is set. Lot of times drag screen can be better option than slowing game down and playing particular set play.

TRANSITION PNR

 

3. PICK-AND-POP.

If screener is good outside shooter he should consider option of POP rather than ROLL. It puts lot of pressure to defense.

PICK-AND-POP

 

4. PUNISH YOUR DEFENDER GOING UNDER THE SCREEN.

First of all, if defenders constantly goes under the screen player should admit that there is problem with his outside shooting. If defense goes under the screen, it challenges you to take wide open shot instead to drive to the basket. UNDER = SHOOT or UNDER = CHANGE DIRECTION & DRIVE. Of course you can ask your screener to set one more screen if defense went UNDER the first screen.

UNDER 3

 

5.  REJECT THE SCREEN.

Playing same pick-and-roll coverage defense can be predictable and smart players should take advantage of every mistake defenders make. Of course it’s not always mistake but offensive player skill to read the situation and surprise defender.

REJECT HARDEN 3

 

6. SLIP THE SCREEN.

If opposite team is playing aggressive pick-and-roll defense coverage = screener being on the same level or the screen or above the screen then screener instead of setting the screen should cut to the basket. Effective vs. TRAP and SHOW&RECOVER pick-and-roll defense coverage, also vs. SWITCHING and also if defense becomes too predictable.

SLIP

 

7. SPLIT THE SCREEN.

Ability to split the screen separates average ball-handlers to higher level ball-handlers. If screen defender not quick enough to “SHOW” effectively or he’s late there is an opportunity to split the screen.

SPLIT PNR

 

8. CHANGE THE SCREEN ANGLE IN THE LAST MOMENT.

Big men who set the screen shouldn’t telegraph their route and side where they are about to set the screen. Change screen angle in last moment = hard to guard. Be step ahead of opposite team and don’t let them know your intentions ahead of time.

ANGLE LATE

 

9. STEP-UP SCREEN vs ICE PICK-AND-ROLL COVERAGE.

“ICE” = pick-and-roll defense vs. side pick-and-roll. Ball-handlers’ defender doesn’t play straight-up but he changes his stance to “chest to sideline” NO MIDDLE STANCE. Big man drops and protect against drive to the basket. Since ball-handlers’ defender stance is different screener should adapt his screening angle “back-to-baseline” so ball-handler can attack more effective. This is called STEP-UP SCREEN. Of course there are other options vs ICE defense.

ICE PNR DEFENSE

 

10. SHORT ROLL.

SHORT ROLL is another option for big man after setting the screen. Last season very often it was seen McGee, Zaza or Green catching the ball near “elbow” or free-throw line area and making play (shoot/drive or extra pass to shooter).

SHORT ROLL

 

11. TRIANGLE

Very often when there are side pick-and-roll and one more team-mate in the corner of the same side of the court his defender often will be involved in covering roll man (it depends on angle of the roll and also coach philosophy). At this moment offensive player should lift from corner to wing area. Very often he will be open. If he can’t attack immediately after catching the ball he should look for post player. Principles for post player = SCREEN – ROLL – POST UP.

TRIANGLE PNR.gif

 

12. DOWN-SCREEN TO PICK-AND-ROLL.

Setting down-screen for ball-handler before pick-and-roll has been played can put more pressure to defense since both defenders aren’t prepared to defend pick-and-roll well. If defense not doing job defending down-screen, offensive players should take advantage it.

Downscreen to PNR

 

13. SET THE SCREEN TO BALL-SCREENER BEFORE HE SETS BALL-SCREEN. “25”.

To make screeners’ defender life harder it’s good option to set the screen for him before he sets the ball-screen to ball-handler. Especially if guard sets for  4 or 5 position player because option of switching the off-ball screen is taken away.  Ability to effectively SHOW or TRAP can be taking away in this type of action before actual pick-and-roll because screeners’ defender not always can be in good position to defend the screen.

SCREEN THE SCREENER

 

14. “SWITCH” – SIZE ADVANTAGE (BIG vs. SMALL).

If defense “SWITCH” ball-screen take what defense gives you. If team has luxury of dominant big man or defense has any weak post defender try to pass the ball to screener near basket or low-post area.

SIZE MISMATCH BIG to SMALL

 

15. “SWITCH” – SPEED ADVANTAGE (SMALL vs. BIG).

In case team has great 1vs1 player who can effectively attack from perimeter =  take what defense gives you. Most of the time guards can use their speed advantage over big man. Other team-mates should recognize this situation also.

PNR SPEED SMALL-BIG

 

16. DOUBLE-BALL SCREEN.

Use the option of setting 2 ball screens at the same time. Also can be option in transition if both big men are behind the ball-handler. Effective also can be HORNS offense since there is good spacing.

DOUBLE SCREEN.gif

 

17. SPAIN PICK-AND-ROLL.

There are also more than one player screener involved in pick-and-roll. In this situation usually guard sets the back-screen to rollers defender. If not defender well Spain pick-and-roll can cause lot of problems for defense since there can be lot easy baskets scored.

SPAIN PNR.gif

 

18. FALSE MOTION TO PICK-AND-ROLL.

There is often seen teams doing false motion before actual ball-screen is set not even looking to score for first seconds of play but just to keep other defenders busy, so their aren’t well prepared to defend pick-and-roll.

FALSE ACTION to PNR.gif

 

19. FALSE PICK-AND-ROLL AS THE START OF THE OFFENSE.

Sometimes teams play also play pick-and-roll not even looking for score for all costs. It can be start of the set play as well. It keeps defenders guessing of what will be the next move of offense.

FALSE PNR to PLAY.gif

 

20. NON-TRADITIONAL PICK-AND-ROLLS.

LOCATION: Not always screen should be set in middle of the floor (High pick-and-roll) or near side-line (Side pick-and-roll). In this example screen is set for  4 or 5 position player in “elbow” area.

ELBOW GET.gif

PLAYERS INVOLVED:  Traditionally big man sets the ball-screen for guard but nowadays especially in NBA lot of players can play multiple positions. It’s not rare to see guard to set the ball screen to big men who can handle the ball well. In this example Korver sets the screen for Lebron to get force the switch so King has weaker defender on him.

SMALL SCREENS BIG.gif

 

Thank you for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

LUKA DONCIC. 19 YEARS OLD EUROLEAGUE MVP TO BECOME FUTURE NBA STAR?

Doncic mavs.png

Selected with 3rd pick by Atlanta Hawks and traded to Dallas Mavericks afterwards… Luka Doncic can call himself NBA player now! It not happens often when NBA team can select young and very talented 19 years old player having achieved all this in that early age:

  • EuroLeague champion
  • EuroLeague MVP
  • Euroleague Final Four MVP
  • Liga ACB champion (3x) and Liga ABC MVP
  • European champion (Slovenia NT).

And all this not sitting on the bench and playing few minutes per game, he played significant role in teams success both Real Madrid and Slovenia NT.

Doncic might be ”the safest pick” for any NBA team. He has no ”next step” in European basketball… he is ready for NBA already playing grown men basketball since age of 16!

On April 30, 2015, Doncic became the youngest player to debut with Real Madrid in the Liga ACB (the top-tier Spanish League), at the age of 16 years, 61 days. 

 

LUKA DONCIC PERFORMANCE IN EUROLEAGUE FINAL FOUR – OFFENSE/DEFENSE & STRENGHTS/WEAKNESSES. HIS READINESS FOR NBA.

OFFENSE. STRENGHTS. 

In my opinion Doncic offensive game could be the mix of MANU (the most), TEODOSIC and slightly with LEBRON.

  • ABILITY TO CREATE HIS OWN SHOT 1-on-1 separates him from most of European players even those who already playing in NBA. Well known for his STEP-BACK. His VERSATILITY makes him be able to score from mid-range, can finish at the rim (dunk/eurostep/floater etc.), also his below average 3-point FGA% this season doesn’t mean he can’t shoot from outside… He has lot of offensive weapons and being 19 years old rookie from Europe where team basketball dominates over NBA individual skills oriented basketball he has plenty of time to improve his game and get better and better.

DONCIC PNR CREATE SHOT

Doncic very often creates shot for himself this way.

Doncic shots

What type of shots he’s taking depends on his role in the team. But it’s not often when every of 3 highest level of European basketball competitions (ACB, EUROLEAGUE, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP) where he is playing, he takes different type of shots the most. ACB = 2pts, Euroleague = 1pt (FT), Slovenia NT = 3pts.

  • TRANSITION. Ability to put pressure on defense while attacking after getting defensive rebound. For his size and weight he is very fast going from coast-to-coast and knows how to use his physical strength.

DONCIC TRANSITION LAY-UP

DONCIC TRANSITION 3

  • PICK-AND-ROLL. HIGH BASKETBALL IQ. Doncic is great pick-and-roll player because of his versatility and COURT VISION. He reads defense very well. No-look passes, pass in the last moment, fakes, change of speed.

DONCIC NO LOOK PNR

  • ABLE TO PLAY MANY POSITIONS. 1 & 2 & 3 (PG/SG/SF). Although he is much better player with the ball compare him without the ball he can play effective multiple positions, at least in Europe basketball.

DONCIC REAL ENTRY PASS TIMING

Ability to pass the ball (accuracy and timing) can separate him from other SG and SF in the league since he often played PG position for Real Madrid.

  • YOUNG VETERAN. Already a pro. Ready for grown man basketball! European champion at age of 18, EuroLeague champion at age of 19, ACB Spanish league at age of 16..
  • MENTAL TOUGHNESS. This is the thing that makes difference between stars and superstars. His competitiveness and tenacity will definitely help him to survive and stay well above being only one many of NBA basketball players.
  • KNOWS HOW TO SHOW HE IS FOULED. Usually more experienced players are great doing this but Slovenian basketball star are excellent taking advantage of his intuition and basketball IQ already at that early age.

DONCIC FOUL

OFFENSE. WEAKNESSES.

  • 3-POINT %. 1.5/4.8 (30.9%) per game.. Too low for player who isn’t the quickest in the game, especially compare to PG/SG position players in NBA. All the best NBA teams are among the best in 3-point shooting %.

Stats doncic

Despite his below average 30.9% 3-point shooting percentage it’s hard to ask stability for such a young player + this was the first season where Doncic played such a big role in European best team last season (Sergio Lull injury). Defenders paid attention to him more, lot of times he had to create shot within few second in the end of possession, most of his 3-point shots are off-dribble by creating his own shot 1-on-1 or pick-and-roll situations.

  • PLAYING WITHOUT THE BALL. Doncic needs ball to be effective. Very often while playing in PG position he passed the ball and he wasn’t involved or didn’t make too much effort to be involved again in team’s offense.

Real Madrid offensive system is built not mainly on PG playing pick-and-roll all the time but offense is initiated (Euroleague Final 4) with entry pass to the wing or any type of other situation where down-screen or other type of screen comes before pick-and-roll. But it’s it makes sense for Coach Pablo Laso do organise team’s offense such a way because of the luxury having lot of players who can shoot coming off the screens very effective – Carroll (49% reg. season 3PFG%) , Rudy Fernandes (47%), Llull (44%), Causeur (42%)..

Very often in EuroLeague Final4 Real Madrid starts their offense like this :

REAL MADRID ENTRY 12

REAL MADRID ENTRY1

Other examples:

REAL MADRID 3 CARROL

REAL MADRID 4 DOWNSCREEN to PNR

Most of the time when Luka Doncic played in point guard (1) position, he brought the basketball up the court and passed to teammate and his job was done, lot of time he just stayed in one spot all 8-10 seconds of the offensive possession after the pass.

PASS UN IZSLEDZAS

After feeding the post players passer very often cuts to the basket or screens away. There were lot of situations in Final 4 when Doncic just looked to the teammate with the ball not using the screen who is set for him.

  • PICK-AND-ROLL PASSING. Despite being very good pick-and-roll player and also passer overall, lot of times he takes unnecessary risks when he’s passing ball to teammates especially to rolling big men. Decision making will be better and better in future, so I thing this is just thing to pay attention to, it’s not something he can’t change.

Also the question could be if his skill level which will improve more and more (already it’s very high level) and high IQ (knowing passing angles, drawing fouls, changing speed, read the defense) will be enough to compete against the best and quickest defenders in the world. Larry Bird, Drazen Petrovic are great examples and I think Slovenian superstar is very likely to be somewhere near in future.

DEFENSE. STRENGHTS.

  • HIGH IQ DEFENDER. Timing + being in right place in right time makes him valuable part of team defense.

DONCIC DEFENSE IQ

  • SOLID DEFENDER AWAY FROM THE BALL. His intuition and basketball IQ  and size helps to take away offensive player passing angles. Able to steal the ball because of good timing.

DEFENSE. WEAKNESSES.

  • LATERAL QUICKNESS.  In NBA, especially play-offs is all about match-ups, finding weakest part of defense and exploit it to the maximum. If Euroleague Final 4 Doncic very rarely defended the best opposite team’s ball-handlers and 1-on-1 players but mostly wing players who wasn’t the main offensive threats in their team then NBA he has to be ready to defend 1-on-1 situations vs. best 1-on-1 players in the world.
  • FIGHTING THROUGH SCREENS. Will he able to defend his offensive players in situations like this? For example, Klay Thompson who is catch-and-shoot player who is constantly moving.

DONCIC Fight throught the screen

DONCIC FOLLOW 3

Is he quick enough to effectively guard players like Klay Thompson in situations like this without switching and preventing him to get wide open shot?

  •  POST DEFENSE & DEFENDING OPPONENTS NEAR THE BASKET. Despite his above average strength for basketball player his post defense could be question vs. opposite team’s SF position players.

DONCIC POST

  • BOXING OUT & FOCUSING ON BALL TOO MUCH AND NOT SEEING HIS DEFENDER. Doncic almost never box-out his player and lose sight of his initial defender. Flight time is the key of establishment of good rebounding position but most of the time he is just watching the flight of the ball not boxing out.  Most of these situations in NBA will be punished with PUT-BACK DUNK. Also constantly losing the sight of his offensive player will be punished by cuts and alley-oops.

DONCIC NO BOX OUT BAD DEFNSE

Luka Doncic very often lost sight of his man and focused on getting rebound. He almost never box out his offensive player. If in EuroLeague he can live with that, in NBA it will be much much harder.

19 YEARS OLD EUROLEAGUE MVP TO BECOME FUTURE NBA STAR?

Doncic has great starting positions. There’s no question – he is ready for NBA. Next NBA superstar from Europe? If he improves his 3-point shooting and defense he will have bright future even not being the most athletic basketball player in NBA.

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

GAME 2: CURRY’S 9 THREE-POINTERS & HIS POSITIVE IMPACT ON WARRIORS OFFENSE.

CURRY SETS NBA FINALS RECORD WITH 9 THREE-POINTERS.

NBA-Finals-Cavaliers-Warriors-Basketball-131

Stephen Curry set an NBA Finals record with nine 3-pointers in Game 2, breaking the previous record of eight held by Ray Allen (Celtics vs Lakers, 2010).

As part of his record-breaking performance, Stephen Curry scored a game-high 81.8% of his points (27 of 33) from beyond the arc in Game 2. It was highest mark of any game this season – play-offs or regular season.

Curry stats 1Curry stats 2

 

HOW CURRY SCORED HIS RECORD-BREAKING 9 THREE-POINTERS?

  • 5 of 9 – Pick-and-Roll SWITCH vs. Love or Nance JR.  (Total 6 of 9 of 3-pointers Curry scored while being guarded by Love or Nance Jr.) Cavaliers often switched PNR and Curry’s easiest target in this game was Kevin Love.

K. Love “shows” + McGee phyisically blocks Hill on his way back to Curry while rolling to the basket. Steph needs less than 1 second to create his own shot!

3PNR vs Kevin Love

PNR SWITCH 1vs1 vs. Nance Jr. Excellent example of 1vs1 basketball.

3PNR vs Nance 1vs1

  • 2 of 9 – Drive-kick + follow the pass (also pick-and-roll switch vs Love/Transition + speed mismatch (transition) vs Nance Jr.)

3DRIVE-KICK-FOLLOW

This is probably one of toughest situations to guard in basketball – player who is the best in the world creating his own 3-point shot having 50+% shooting night and constantly moving after pass looking for his opportunities to score non-stop + guarded by relatively slow Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. after being switched on Steph after pick-and-roll or transition situations…

  • 3 of 9 – Transition (also included drive-kick + follow the pass & 1vs1 vs Osman who was switched on Curry during transition).

Not every coach has luxury to have player who puts that much pressure on defense returning back on time as Curry. No schemes = 3 points.

3Transition

  • 1 of 9 – Hand-off. Very simple but effective way for great shooter to get his shots is hand-off situation.

9 THREE-POINTERS: 7 OFF the DRIBBLE, 2 OFF the CATCH.

If you have unselfish player on your team who can create high % 3-point shot by himself and find an open teammates if needed = every coaches dream!

 

3/4 QUARTER PHENOMENON = CURRY’S THREE-POINT SHOOTING?

For advanced basketball fans who follow NBA this season, especially play-offs Warriors fantastic 3/4 QT performance is well known fact. Big impact for this 3/4 QT success is Steph’s great three-point shooting! Warriors always won third quarter by 10 or more points when Steph scored 2 or more 3-pointers in quarter ..(last 2 play-off rounds vs Houston and Cleveland where Curry played in all games) Amazing!

Curry’s 3/4 QT 3-point% = 15/28 (53.6%). Series vs HOU & CLE Warriors have won 3/4 QT by average +7.88 points vs one of the best basketball teams in the world!


3QT curry - Copy

CURRY’S ABILITY TO BE A CONSTANT THREAT FROM THREE-POINT LINE = MORE QUALITY SHOTS FOR TEAMMATES.

Curry 3Pt% 9/17 (52.9%) = Golden State 2Pt FG% 30/37 (81.1%!!!) (not included Curry 2-pt FGA).

What surprised me was 1st quarter… Golden State scored almost all 2-Pt FGA (13/15) but didn’t attempt any free-throw (0/0). Cleveland fouled Warriors only 2 times in 1/4 QT…

  1. TRANSITION. Shooting range. Ability to nail long three-pointers puts lot of pressure to defenders while returning back on defense. They need to guard Curry more than 1-2 meters outside the arc to prevent easy look for Curry. It STRETCHES THE DEFENSE and there are better opportunities for him or his teammates to drive or cut to the basket.

transition 3 Curry picture

Spacing pic

2. SPACING. NO HELP from CURRY’s defender STRETCHES THE DEFENSE + harder for other defenders to HELP/ROTATE/RECOVER.

Steph spreads the floor and KD has more space to play 1vs1, especially if he decides to drive to the middle of the floor.

vlcsnap-2018-06-06-02h00m59s588

Great example how hard is to guard Warriors.. Defender denies Curry the ball even 2 or more passes away, it’s very hard for defender to give any type of help if needed or rotation especially if Klay Thompson also can’t be left open despite Cavs having “problem” in the low post.. KD vs Hill.

vlcsnap-2018-06-06-02h03m59s167

KD vs HILL in the low post = PROBLEM (high-percentage shot). Thompson and Curry can’t be left open (high-percentage shot). If X4 (Lebron) traps  Green can cut and finish with a dunk or pass to 5 if X5 helps, also set a screen for Curry is an option. If 5 helps then X3 needs to rotate down to help to cover 5 but then Curry very likely will get good shot attempt becase X3 not in helping position already.

Golden State is well known for their weakside action (players away from the ball is constantly moving and screening keeping defenders occupied and unable to help to solve the “problem”) effectiveness after the ball is passed in low post area.

Spacing problem

3.  OFF-BALL SCREENS. Set the screen to get open!

#1. Curry receives back-screen from McGee. K. Love and J.R. Smith (what a surprise…) miscommunication puts Kevin Love in situation where he has to close-out on Curry. Shot fake + easy lay-up.

BACKSCREEN for Curry great example.gif

#2. Curry sets the backscreen. “Spain” pick-and-roll offense. Curry as pick-and-pop is huge threat as three-point shooter but again miscommunication how to defend this defensive situation (again J.R. Smith) costs easy 2 points for opposite team. Well designed play on the left side of the floor where Green can receive ball wide open.

BACKSCREEN Spain

#3. Screen for Curry = SLIP. Any off-ball screen situation where Curry was involved offensively demands both defenders attention so screener can use it as his advantage and punish defense but cutting to the basket. For example flare-screen in this situation. It’s hard to SWITCH these screens effectively if Curry is involved as an huge offensive threat.

OFF-BALL screen LIVINGSTON

 

4. ON-BALL SCREENS (PICK-AND-ROLL). The best scenario in any type of screens = defenders are J.R. Smith and Love. If Kevin Love was little bit unlucky because Curry had a great shooting night and it was very hard to guard him then J.R. Smith defensive game was terrible…

Every PNR if world’s best 3-point shooter off the dribble = hard to guard whatever defensive coverage is. For every defense answer there is solution offensively. In proffesional level especially NBA you have to give up something if you don’t want to Steph to get good 3-point shot opportunities.

#1. Set the screen for Curry – anticipate defender to get above the level of screen (“SHOW&RECOVER” or “JUMP SWITCH”) – Slip the screen and cut the basket.

SLIP pass to McGee.gif

McGee2 Slip

McGee slip

Great first set play of the game from Steve Kerr. McGee cut the basket in the middle of the floor was very hard to guard. Also xT (Thompson’s defender) wasn’t able to help because Thomson was about to receive downscreen that could open him up for three-point shot. Can’t explain all the details, it can take long time.

#2. Curry as a passer in pick-and-roll. Switching PNR when 2 of the TOP5 players in the world is involved is not easy thing to do. Defender who is about to get screened has to do good job on possible roll by screener. If not, most of the time he will be behind roller.

Threat as three-point shooter + high basketball IQ and world class pick-and-roll passing = easy baskets for teammates.

CURRY to KD

Passing out of TRAP.

TRAP vs Curry

#3 Curry as screener (Pick-and-Pop). Curry sets the screen for KD and pops. KD height + ability to shoot 3-pointer over shorter defenders punishes defensive SWITCH since KD was guarded by shorter Hill. 3-Points. Very hard to guard this type of situations without switching if Curry sets the ball-screen for KD.

Curry as Screener to KD

Thanks for reading CoachKris@HUPU.

ONE MAN ARMY SENT ON MISSION POSSIBLE? CLOSER LOOK AT LEBRON’S 51 POINTS IN A LOSS…

“Cavs vs. Warriors: LeBron James first player in NBA history to score 50 points in Finals game and lose… “

In this article this time doesn’t matter that much the outcome of the game but Lebron’s great performance in NBA 2018 Finals Game 1. Cleveland had plenty of chances to win and this all because of James’ historic game.

 

HOW DID LEBRON SCORE 51 POINTS?

STATS LBJ

LEBRON JAMES’ OFFENSIVE TENDENCIES

SHOT DISTRIBUTION

LBJ PO shot distribution

  • DRIVER > JUMP-SHOOTER. 44.1% of his shots is from very close range = mostly drive.
  • IF GREAT 3-POINT SHOOTING NIGHT = UNSTOPPABLE. Defenders often give him little bit more space daring him to shoot instead of drive to the basket which is deadly weapon of King’s arsenal. If 3′ start to fall…
  • RIGHT SIDE OF THE FLOOR + DRIVES TO RIGHT = LAY-UP or DUNK. 1.3% and 3.6%
  • LEFT SIDE OF THE FLOOR + DRIVE = LAY-UP or DUNK + bigger chance of MID-RANGE SHOT. 6.7% and 5.6%.

 

LEBRON’S SHOT CHART IN GAME 1.

LBJ shot chart G1

FREE-THROWS = 10 Pts. (10/11)

PAINT = 26 Pts. (13/19)

MID-RANGE = 6 Pts. (3/6)

THREE-POINTERS = 9 Pts. (3/7)

 

GAME SITUATIONS

PICK-AND-ROLL (mostly 1vs1 after SWITCH) = 17 Points + 5 free-throws;

TRANSITION/FAST BREAK (Every situation when defense wasn’t set) = 12 Points;

STATIC 1vs1 (vs. initial defender/no screens) = 4 Points + 4 free-throws;

OFFENSIVE REBOUND (any shot after getting offensive rebound/tip-in): 4 + 2 free-throws;

DYNAMIC 1vs1 (attacking defender’s close-out for example) = 2 Points;

CUT = 2 Points.

POST-UP (any back-to-basket situation) = 0 Points.

 

LEBRON scored 16 points + 9 free-throw attempts with DRIBBLE PENETRATION IN THE PAINTED AREA.

Drive RIGHT: 12 points + 7 free-throw attempts > Drive LEFT: 4 points + 2 free-throw attempts.

CLE

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS OFFENSE IN GAME 1 (short version).

BALL TO LEBRON – LEBRON CHOOSE SCREENER who has defender which he wants to attack – DEFENSE “SWITCH” 90% of time – LEBRON ISO – DRIBBLE PENETRATION IN THE PAINT – IF CAN’T SCORE BY HIMSELF – PASSES BALL TO TEAMMATES.

 

LEBRON ATTACKS PICK-AND-ROLL “SWITCH”.

  • Golden State “SWITCH” almost all on-ball screens except if screener’s defender is Curry who is the worst option vs. King. Not always after “SHOW & RECOVER” on-ball screen defensive coverage Curry was able to get back to his player and Lebron often got match-up which he prefers the most: LEBRON vs CURRY.
  • I was surprised that only in the second half of of 3rd QT Cleveland coaching stuff started to attack Curry more often… Benefits besides easy scoring opportunities if attack Curry more often: 1) Fatigue and decrease of his effectiveness in offense; 2) Foul trouble.
  • Lebron vs Looney/West also was good match-up since Durant who was Lebron’s defender most of time did good job defending 1vs1. Also McGee did great job of defending him.
  • Since Lebron having excellent passing skills, high basketball IQ and explosive strength which allows to pass the ball very quick he can create good shot opportunities for his teammates if can’t score by himself.

THE WORST SCENARIO FOR DUBS DEFENSIVELY: LEBRON ISO AFTER PICK-AND-ROLL ON THE RIGHT SIDE WING vs. CURRY if ONLY ONE DEFENDER IN STRONG SIDE CORNER + LEBRON DRIVES RIGHT.

If the high-speed train is coming there’s nothing who can stop it…

Curry show recover sakums PNR

PNR after Switch

Attack switch moment

 

Lebron vs. Curry after Pick-and-Roll SWITCH (drive to the RIGHT SIDE)

LBJ RIGHT DRIVE vs curry

LBJ RIGHT DRIVE example 3

Since Curry tries not to SWITCH but SHOW&RECOVER Cavaliers could consider option of any type of screening action like this before actually setting a pick for Lebron, it makes Curry harder to SHOW in the point of the screen because he is not defending his defender that close at it should. For example:

Another options before PNR screen - to screen

PNR divi bloki

LBJ RIGHT DRIVE vs Curry 2

 

Few examples how Lebron James anticipated SHOW&RECOVER by Curry and punished defense for being too predictable. Also changing screening angle at the last moment makes it very hard for Curry to SHOW.

LJ attacks screen before it's set

Lebron soda show by Curry

Lebrons soda Show by Curry

 

LEBRON ATTACKS CURRY AFTER SWITCH = DEFENSIVE HELP CAN’T SCORE = FIND OPEN TEAMMATE. Lebron needs more quality help from teammates. Despite creating very good shots (especially 3-point shots) teammates should do better job of making shots which King creates for them..

Teammates tried hard (can’t say it 100% for JR 🙂 ) to help their team (19 Offensive Rebounds!; Larry Nance Jr. grabbed 30.6% of all available rebounds while he was on the floor.) but 7/30 (not include LBJ shot attempts) from 3-point line is not enough to beat defending champions in Oracle Arena.

“Only” 8 assists for James easily can be 15 or more if other Cavaliers shoot 3-pointers better and they must to do it. Despite 1/8 from 3-point line Kevin Love had a solid game offensively.

Lebrons izkarto komandas biedram

Lebrons izkarto metienu komandas biedram 2

Thanks for reading basketball fans ! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

WHY ROCKETS WON OR WHY WARRIORS LOST? REVIEW OF WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS GAME 5

WHY ROCKETS WON OR WHY WARRIORS LOST? REVIEW OF WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS GAME 5.

KD vs CP32

It’s not that often to see such a low scoring basketball games twice in a row between two best offensive teams in NBA:

GSW

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS Offensive rating – Regular season 112.3 (1st in NBA) and play-offs 109.3 (2nd in NBA);

HOU

HOUSTON ROCKETS Offensive rating – Regular season 112.2 (2nd in NBA) and play-offs 108.6 (3rd in NBA).

Both teams has huge offensive potential but as it’s well known:

OFFENSE WINS GAMES, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS… In this case I would say rather the team who will be able to show their offensive potential first again while keeping defense at the same level will win series and there’s not much time left for Dubs to do it.

REASONS WHY  HOU  WON GAME 5:

  • GREAT INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM DEFENSE (help/recover/rotations). Ability to SWITCH effectively and doing great job by defending Warriors ISO situations. Aggressive defense by Rockets was one of the reasons why Warriors committed 18 turnovers in game 5.

Few of many examples of great defense by Rockets.

Great defense HOU1

Great defense HOU 2

 

  • NOT ONLY HARDEN. Despite James Harden’s historically poor three-point shooting night (3p. 0/11!) CP3 too leadership role in 2nd half by scoring points (18 of 20 points in 2nd half), controlling team’s offense and creating opportunities for teammates. CP3 was great at attacking bigger defenders with his speed after Warriors used to SWITCH most of PNRs.

CP3 vs. West = Drive + lay-up.

CP3 Size mismatch DRIVE

CP3 vs Bell. Creates his own 3-point shot. 3 points.

CP3 Size mismach

Excellent game for GORDON especially 4/4 QT – 10 points (2p. 1/1, 3p. 1/1. 1p. 5/5) making all his shot attempts + bringing energy and leadership both offensively and defensively in moments when it was needed the most!

Also Capela played very effectively both defensively and offensively (12 pts + 14 reb FG 5/6) and Green shot well from 3-point line (3/5).

Anyway Rockets offense was far from great but their toughness and aggressiveness on the both ends of the floor allows them to win defending champions even shooting only 29/78 (37.2%) FG and 13/43 (30.2%) from 3-point line… As I mentioned earlier both teams has huge offensive potential.

Both in G4 and G5 Warriors fouled Rockets more. 

FOULS

Rockets won all the games in this series when they had more free-throw attempts than Warriors and free-throw attempts difference especially in last 2 games was huge. It’s great to see Houston winning defending champions not only because of making three-pointers!

Free-Throws

  • END OF GAME SITUATIONS. Rockets make better decisions and take their chances in the last few minutes of the game. Both in game G4 and G5 Rockets have won last 3 minutes of the game: Game 4 – 4:3, Game 5 – 6:5

 

  • STRATEGY TO “SWITCH” ALL OFF-BALL & ON-BALL SCREENS. WARRIORS – BALL MOVEMENT to ISO. Winners usually don’t change strategy if it works. By switching all screens Houston affects Golden State offense turning them into ISO team instead of being BALL-MOVEMENT team.

 

  • P.J. TUCKER. The player who might be under-rated in Rockets success in last 2 games. Similar height and weight as former NBA star Charles Barkley maybe less athletic but with ability to shoot behind the arc.

Tucker played the most minutes of all Rockets players both in Game 4 (44:08) Game 5 (42:14) and had the best +/- +14 (G5) and +21 (G4+G5) which is also the best of all Houston players in last 2 games.

His versatility cause lot of problems for opponents – ability to defend multiple positions, rebounding, great passing and spreading the floor offensively makes him very valuable player especially for type of offense coach Mike D’Antoni is playing.

 

REASONS WHY  GSW LOST GAME 5:

The last time when Golden State have lost 2 games in a row and opposite team’s FG% is lower than 40% in both of games was almost 6 years ago…

10.11.2012 vs Lakers: FG 40% 77:101

11.11.2012 vs Nuggets: FG 38.1% 101:107 (OT)

  • UNFORCED TURNOVERS. Lot of times it wasn’t about Rockets defensive efforts that much as for themselves making bad decisions…

More turnovers = more easy baskets for opponents.

TO points

Just a few examples of unforced turnovers by Warriors.

Unforced TO 1

Unforcet TO 2

 

  • WARRIORS CAN’T FIND OFFENSIVE RHYTHM. 1) Because of great Houston defense and strategy to “switch” all screens turning them into ISO team instead of BALL-MOVEMENT team. 2) Simply because of their best players not playing well and struggling with poor shot selection. Curry was turned to 2-point shooter instead of 3-point shooter.

 

  • NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SIZE/SPEED MISMATCH SITUATIONS. Since there are lot of switching.. Why not to create size advantage situations vs. CP3? Even he’s not the weakest player in NBA, the best offensive team in the world should take advantage of CP3 in the low post or another way because of his lack of size. It will affect CP3 offense because of fatigue and get him in foul trouble…  If they switch WHY NOT take advantage of it all the time???

It’s not about bad shooting night but it’s about creating better shots in these situations.

KD vs CP3. Durant should do better job of using his size advantage vs CP3 in the low post. Especially in Game 5.

KD vs CP3 not successful

Livingston vs CP3 in the low post.

Livingston vs CP3 not success

 

  • CURRY/DURANT/THOMPSON INABILITY TO BE CONSISTENT AND PLAY WELL TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME. In my previous article about G4 I tried to show how the importance of Curry playing well affects whole Warriors team offensively that much.

 

  • TERRIBLE DECISIONS IN END OF GAME SITUATIONS. No comments.

 

WHY WARRIORS STILL CAN WIN SERIES?

Teams that win Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series win 83 percent of the time. 

Good thing is that there are 17 percent left and I think that similar to Eastern Conference Finals there is optimism for team who has lost Game 5 – both for Warriors and Cavaliers. It’s not over yet.

  • PLAY-OFF SERIES EXPERIENCE & CONFIDENCE. Harden and CP3 has no ring yet. It can help Dubs having “winning mentality”.
  • THE BEST OFFENSIVE TEAM IN LEAGUE HAS HUGE POTENTIAL OFFENSIVELY. They simply can’t play 3 below average games in a row offensively against one opponent.
  • THERE’S NO WAY BACK and they have been in SITUATIONS like this BEFORE!
  • GAME 6. CP3 OUT & IGOUDALA BACK? Mike D’Antoni already shorten his players rotation to 6-7 and CP3 injury is very very bad news for Rockets. I can’t emphasize his importance for team’s offense.

Sorry Rockets fans but only scenario for Rockets to win Game 6 I see is having excellent 3-point shooting night. My prediction is easy win for Golden State in Game 6 by 10 or more points.

Thanks for reading. CoachKris@HUPU.com

 

 

WARRIORS MAKE THEIR LIFE HARDER AFTER NOT USING THEIR CHANCES & ROCKETS SHOW THEIR CHARACTER.

WARRIORS MAKE THEIR LIFE HARDER AFTER NOT USING THEIR CHANCES

& ROCKETS SHOW THEIR CHARACTER.

 

ROCKETS

It wasn’t about Houston playing extremely well offensively or only about Harden’s or Paul’s great performance…  It was more about Golden State not able to use right moments to run away from Rockets team when they were struggling + 16 turnovers.

Last time when Golden State scored 92 or LESS POINTS  vs. Houston was almost 3.5 years ago – 83:90 (20.10.2014). Before G4 they were able to score 92 or MORE POINTS 28 GAMES IN A ROW vs. ROCKETS.

Despite well above average individual defense by Houston you don’t see often team losing a game with statistics like this:

                       16 Offensive rebounds + Opp. FG% 39.0 + FT% 92.9 (13/14).

Game 3 – 126:85 (+41):

11 Offensive rebounds + Opp. FG% 39.5 + FT% 94.4 (17/18).

Of course the amount of offensive rebounds will be lower if team shoots with higher FG% but it also shows ability to fight for rebounds that gives them chance to gain another possession (2nd chance).

 

BASKETBALL IS A GAME OF RUNS. WARRIORS vs ROCKETS.

GAME of RUNS

Very often it’s about how you start the game but this time Rockets showed their character to not giving up and also improving their on-ball defense throughout the game.

Despite their 0-12 start and more than 5 minutes not able to score, The Beard and colleagues fought till the end won away game against the best offensive team in NBA (OffRTG 112.3 1st NBA).

GSW 1st QT

CURRY HAS TO PLAY WELL THROUGHOUT WHOLE GAME.

KD have scored 25 or more point in every Play-off game so far, the problem is Curry to be stable for long period of time. He has been out in the beginning of play-offs, it definitely affects his game now. If Curry make 3’s it puts lot of pressure for defenders and he can help to create better shots for his teammates for example Thompson who is catch-and-shoot player.

Curry QT SHOTS

               Curry scores 2+ 3-point shots in QT GSW = +47 points (avg. +15.67);

               Curry scores 1 3-point shot in QT = +9 (avg. +2.25);

               Curry scores 0 3-point shots in QT = -29 (avg. -3.22).

 

IGOUDALA OUT WITH KNEE INJURY FOR GAME 4

Igoudala defense

1 FG ALLOWED vs. 41 MATCHUPS DEFENDING JAMES HARDEN & CHRIS PAUL. Defending champions’s ability to defend Harden and CP3 definitely was affected because of absence of their best defender Igoudala. His ability to fight through screens (Curry “show&recover”) and not letting Harden to have favourable mismatch vs. Curry was very important to Warriors defensive game plan. Physical strength, experience and long arms makes his defensive game very effective (MVP of 2015 NBA Finals).

ABILITY OF CREATING MATCHUP TEAMS WANT AND TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IT. ATTACKING TO HARDEN AND CURRY.

As it’s often seen in these play-offs and also these Western conference finals aren’t exception:

  • Both teams mainly SWITCH both on-ball and off-ball screens.
  • Curry vs. Harden, Durant vs. Harden, Durant vs. CP3, Harden vs. Curry, CP3 vs. Curry,  Curry vs. Capela, CP3 vs. Looney are mismatches teams are looking the most often. Principle – attack to the weakest parts of defense and let opponent’s best offensive players work hard on defense so it could affect their offensive game.
  • If defense is forced to help more for ISO situations, it can make life easier for other teammates = more open shots or better chance to drive to the basket after receiving the pass.

HARDEN vs CURRY

Rockets constantly are looking for this matchup. Most of the time Harden play effective when guarded by Curry. In game 3 we saw response from defending champions coaching stuff. Instead of SWITCH , Curry wanted to stay attached to his man by using “SHOW&RECOVER” PNR defense strategy. For every defense there is also an answer from offense.

CUrry showrec

 

show rec 2

 

Coach D’Antoni response for this PNR defense coverage was Ariza who defended Curry at that period of the game to “SHORT ROLL” instead of “POP”. I didn’t see this strategy too often in Game 4 since Rockets did a great job offensively vs. this strategy. Interesting solution of both of the teams. It’s constant battle between defense and offense.

Another option how Warriors defended PNR when Curry is screener’s defender was “FLAT” coverage. It was good strategy in situations when Harden’s initial defender did great job fighting OVER the screen and still remaining in good defensive position (not letting Harden to attack after coming off the screen) + screener (Ariza) wasn’t threat as roller because of different spacing and different PNR coverage.

It also could be that initially it was considered to “SHOW” but it turned out to be “FLAT” situation.

Curry “FLAT” vs PNR

FLAT CURRY

Despite trying not to SWITCH every time Harden and CP3 1-on-1 attacks Curry often and pretty effective.

CP3 vs Curry after PNR SWITCH 

CP3 vs CURRY

Harden vs Curry (3 points)

HARDEN attack CURRY

KD vs CP3. This is the size mismatch where Durant is very effective in high-post or low-post (closer to the basket). I think GSW should look more to create this mismatch since Houston SWITCH everything.

KD vs CP3. Great sideline inbounds by Steve Kerr.

KD vs CP3 timeout

Another example of KD vs CP3. 

KD vs CP3 2

SWITCH all (off-ball, on-ball screens) is great strategy against great shooter. Klay Thompson not having great series so far against Rockets.

Thompson definitely isn’t the best ball-handler who can create 3-point shot for himself off the dribble, he is catch-and-shoot player.

Switching off-ball screens not allow him coming off screen and catch-and-shoot. Also ISO slows offense down a bit and he becomes spot-up shooter. Help from Green’s defender is much more likely to come to stop ISO not from Thompson who is the one of the best 3-point shooters in the world. Also reduction of Rockets turnovers doesn’t allow him get open looks in offensive transition situations.

Switch off-ball screen + deny pass to Thompson

THOMPSON stop1

Switching not allow Klay Thompson to catch the ball coming off 2 screens + Ariza did great job defensively pressuring the KD.

THOMPSON stop 2

During summer I hope to publish my “Encyclopedia of three-point shooting. Situations & Scenarios” for advanced basketball fans.

Another response for offensive team if defense switch all screens = cut to the basket if defender makes defensive error.

Young cuts to the basket after setting the screen.

Back CUT

 

Thank you for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

CLEVELAND OFFENSE LOOKS GREAT AGAIN!

CLEVELAND OFFENSE LOOKS GREAT AGAIN!

CLE

EVERY OFFENSE LOOKS GREAT IF TEAM SHOOT WELL.

Big part of Cleveland offense and any other successful offense in NBA is three-point shooting. It helps spread the floor and puts lot of pressure on defense.

Cavaliers in regular season was team which had 3PAr (3-Point Attempt rate) 37.9% (4th in NBA) and they made average 12.0 3-pointers per game (3rd in NBA).

It’s easy to run your offense effectively if you shoot 17/34 (50%) from 3-point line. G1 and G2 total 14/57 (24.5%). 

CAVS CAN WIN SERIES WITH OFFENSE NOT DEFENSE

They are great offensive team – Offensive Rating 112.9 (regular season 5th in NBA) but definitely not the best defensive team – Defensive Rating 111.9 (regular season 2nd worst in NBA).

As I mentioned previous article for older teams the rest is much more important than younger teams. They did great job in defensive end of the floor and it positively affected their offense. Team looks much better after rest. That was obvious that team did much better job playing individual defense and also letting Celtics to grab only 6 offensive rebounds (9.4 per game regular season) was one of the main factors that let Cavaliers dominate game from first to last minute.

One very important thing for Cavaliers offense is stability – they need to play well at the same time, it’s not only about Lebron, Love or Korver making three-pointers in particular game.

Veteran teams don’t play that fast but their style is to play smart, to know timing,  to know right moments when change speed and when to stop.

“In the 40 years since the league started counting turnovers (and through last season), none of the 10 teams who reached the playoffs as a bottom-three team in defensive efficiency won a series.” (NBA.com)

BOSTON DIDN’T FIND THEIR OFFENSIVE RHYTHM IN THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME

The winner of the game 3 was decided already in first quarter of the game . As I mentioned before, Cavaliers defense was better + the fact : No team has come back from down 3-0 in NBA history in a best-of-seven series, definitely was in hosts’ mind, there’s no need additional motivation for King and his team.

After 7 minutes of playing score was 4:20… Not only because Cavaliers defense was better but:

  • GAME 3 – 6 TO in 14:28 minutes  (6 TO total in Game 2)
  • C’s missed easy shots from close range in the first few minutes of the game.
  • More turnovers and more missed shots for Boston = more opportunities for Cavaliers to attack Celtic’s defense effectively (offensive transition/fast break)
  • Celtics didn’t find their rhythm offensively. Only Tatum scored more that 13 points.

 

CAVALIERS OFFENSE – EXCITING TO WATCH

Offense wasn’t that static as we saw first 2 games. Better ball movement. Players trust each other. Both back-court (G. Hill/J.R. Smith) players who was played terrible in the first 2 games played much better in Game 3. As we see in these play-off series, not always your best player have to score 40+ points to win the game.

TACTICAL POINT OF VIEW

Very often it’s defense that dictates offense. For example, if defense switches all the screens (both on-ball and off-ball) it stops offensive movement for a while because of ISO situations – offensive team wants to take advantage of size mismatch or speed mismatch. (perimiter/low post).

Boston “SWITCH” LESS OFTEN than in Game 2… There’s saying that winners don’t change their strategy if game is won but idea behind of it could be to prevent hosts to adjust their offense to constant switching (similar what Rockets did in G2 after playing “ISO to EXTREME in G1).

OFF-BALL SCREENS. Instead of switching they more often follow their assigned offensive player and fought through the screens.

ON-BALL SCREENS. Of course strategy depends on offensive player’s strengths and weaknesses but mainly it wasn’t SWITCH at the moment of the screen is set but FLAT (vs Lebron), FLAT+SWITCH, ICE+SWITCH (switching happens after ball-handler attacks the Big man who stays below level of the ball-screen).

More often than last game Cavaliers offense involved back-screens and flare-screens.

More player movement without the ball.

FEW EXAMPLES OF GREAT BASKETBALL BY CAVALIERS

This play was run very often during G3. Great play: down-screen + flare screen for shooter with lot of options after initial cut. Players movement also important, more dynamic offense.

CLE FLARE 1

Down-screen + hand-off + flare-screen. By moving to opposite corner 3 takes his defender with him = good spacing.

CLE FLARE 2

Options for ball-handler (Lebron):

  1. Pass to 2 or 3 for three-point shot.
  2. Play PNR with 5 (usually) Thompson.
  3. TRIANGLE – move the ball and look for post player (Love).

CLE FLARE 4

CLE FLARE 5

 

CLE Flare

CLE Flare 2

CLE Flare 3

CLE Flare 4

 

OTHER SITUATIONS (Simple and effective High IQ basketball)

Principle: SET THE SCREEN TO GET OPEN! (Korver)

CLE GREAT 2

Principle: PUNISH DEFENSIVE HELP BY SETTING OFF-BALL SCREEN (defender can help more other players further from player who isn’t great shooter. Thompson vs Baynes this situation). Thompson sets screen to get open shot for his teammate J.R. Smith.

CLE GREAT 3

Back-screen for Lebron = dunk. Screener’s defender should better job helping but if Lebron cuts with full speed towards the basket Rozier doesn’t have a chance to stop him even by “bumping” him. Great job by coach Lue attacking C’s weakest parts of defense.

CLE GREAT 4

I think Chewbacca was very excited with performance Cavaliers showed at G3 🙂

chew

 

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame @ HUPU