EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS vs CELTICS. THOUGHTS AFTER GAME 2. WHY CELTICS PLAY BETTER?

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CAVALIERS vs. CELTICS: HOW THE TEAMS MATCH UP FOR THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS.

CLE

OLD/EXPERIENCED (avg. age 28.9 2nd in NBA); oldest starting 5 in NBA.

HEAVY: The heaviest team in NBA (avg. 102.7 kg).

SLOW (Play-Offs): PACE 91.3 (15th of 16) (of course PACE Rating depends on match-up a lot).

Despite 2nd worst Defensive Rating (111.9) during NBA regular season during Play-Off series against Indiana and Toronto defense has improved relatively to other teams. Of course we didn’t see a lot of excitement of Cavs defense vs. Celtics in the first 2 games.

TOP 5 OFFENSE in NBA during regular season: Offensive Rating 112.9. The best OffRtg in play-off second round vs. Toronto (121.5) among all the play-off teams. Team with huge offensive potential.

 

BOS

YOUNG/ATHLETIC  (9th youngest team in NBA avg. age 25.6). Since absence of Hayward, Irving bigger role in team’s rotation plays youngest players of the team: Tatum (20), Brown (21), Rozier (24) that makes team even younger.

HEAVY: 101.6 kg (4th in NBA)

SLOW: PACE rating play-off 93.3 (12th of 16);  Regular season 96.0 (24th of 30).

The best DEFENSIVE TEAM during regular season – Defensive Rating 103.9 (1st); Play-Off Defensive Rating 106.1 (4th of 16).

OFFENSE IMPROVED during PLAY-OFF series compare to regular season. Play-Off Offensive Rating – 110.4 (5th of 16).

 

BOSCLE

CAVALIERS OFFENSE vs CELTICS OFFENSE

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS offensive game success rely on Lebron James ability to score and create shots for teammates + Kevin Love if the is in best shape and play his game and other teammates make their 3-pointers or another way play their role successfully.  Very important to all players to play great at the same time, that makes Cavs offense very effective. Depend on situation Lebron can play PG, SG, SF and PF role if necessary.  Sometimes there is feeling that Cavaliers offense is too static but it’s only my opinion.

BOSTON CELTICS  offense is different from Cavs because of their roster differences and of course coach Brad Stevens different basketball philosophy.  C’s play more team basketball since they don’t have 1-2 superstars (Irving, Hayward injuries) in their roster but almost always all 5 players on the court are able to create their own shot, play 1vs1 and play with back to the basket. Their ball movement is better than Cavs this series.

passes bos cle

CAVALIERS’ BACKCOURT PROBLEM…

 

startings backcourts

 

Cleveland teammates have to say BIG “THANK YOU” to Lebron James and also Kevin Love for chance to still compete for NBA Title… Other guys need to play well not only sometimes but consistently!

J.R. Smith and G. Hill were outscored 41-3 by Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who were faster and hungrier. Also much younger – 21 and 24 vs. 32 and 32..

At this point of their careers JR and Hill aren’t effective enough any more to compete against Boston Celtics back-court who are fast, athletic, young, and hungry and of course having great skills set.

JR Smith’s streakiness makes him very dangerous, since he start to score, it’s hard to stop him, but now things go completely opposite way.

Why not give a chance to Clarkson and Calderon? Both can give benefits for the team offensively, the question is… defensive abilities.

ABILITY TO ATTACK “SWITCH” & PLAY 1-ON-1

As we see in play-off series the most often used strategy both vs. on-ball and vs. off-ball screens = SWITCH. Teams who can attack “switch” effectively has a bigger chance to win series.

The best scenario to SWITCH is when all 5 players on the court has similar size/quickness/strength. Both teams switch ball-screens and off-ball screens a lot so the  ability to play get benefit out of these situations is the key offensively.  Except Lebron who is doesn’t care who he playing against on the perimeter or low-post and also Kevin Love abilities to play effective vs. size mismatch in mid-range or low post CONSISTENTLY other Cavaliers this series haven’t showed any success doing it vs. great Boston defense. Vice-versa.. Almost all 5 Boston players can attack successfully size/strength/speed mismatch any time. Tatum, Brown, Rozier, Horford, Morris….

Tatum was very effective attacking defensive “switch” vs. Thompson

TATUM 1vs1

SWITCH ATTACK1

Morris attacks “switch” vs. Thompson with speed.

SWITCH ATTACK Morris

Are Hill, JR or Korver capable to attack 1vs1 vs. “switch” using quickness and athleticism at this stage of their career?

Hill vs. Morris

HILL vs SWITCH

 

Interesting solution vs. size advantage in the low-post against Kevin Love strength and size advantage by Brad Stevens.

Since against low post FRONT passer can’t pass directly ball to post player but have to pass lob pass, there is “air time” within defender X2 and X5 can neutralize strength and size mismatch.

Untitled

Love post

 

FRONT LOve2

front LOVE TO

 

AL HORFORD’S VERSATILITY CAUSE LOT OF PROBLEMS FOR CLEVELAND DEFENSE

Horford can rebound, play effectively in low-post, high-post, mid-range, rebound the ball, play 1vs1 on perimeter, shoot 3-pointer, play defense…

His versatility and ability to “stretch the defense” especially when Thompson defending him allows his athletic teammates attack to basket much easier.

Very effective in PICK-AND-POP situations especially vs “FLAT” coverage.

Horford pop

Horford pop 2

 

After Pick-and-Pop he shot fakes and attack the rim and finishes with DUNK. Also there is option to shoot 3-point shot if defensive close-out is slow or no defensive rotation.

Horford DUNK

Horford also has great passing skills and it makes him very dangerous after PNP.

HORFORD passing abilty

His mobility and quickness + size and long arms allows him to contest opponent’s 3-point shot attempts very well! Shooting over defender’s high hands can lower opposite team’s shooting % up to 10%!

Horford contest 3

 

THE KING IS TIRED

Despite his monster performance in 1 QT we usually don’t see lot of shots like this from LEBRON. 

LEBRON tired

For Lebron and whole team these few days off are very valuable. Especially for oldest team in NBA.

There are difference of recovery time when you are rookie or NBA veteran playing every summer in NBA finals.

If Lebron plays great, Cavs play great!

SUMMARY

Despite it was hard to watch Cavs these first 2 games of this series, I still that believe we will see completely different Cleveland team in G3. Since Boston play extremely well at home in especially in PLAY-OFFS (9-0!) and only had 6 (!) TO in G2 I don’t see they can continue to play that great vs. CLEVELAND at Quicken Loans Arena. These few days off Play-Off basketball definitely goes to favour of oldest and experienced team – CAVALIERS! Lebron won’t lose 3 games in a row vs. team who doesn’t have 2 their superstar players!!!

Thanks for reading! Kristians@abouthegame.com

 

 

GAME 1. HOUSTON ROCKETS OFFENSE: HARDEN & CP3 NEEDS MORE HELP/OTHER TEAMMATES SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED.

HOUSTON ROCKETS OFFENSE: HARDEN & CP3 NEEDS MORE HELP? OTHERS SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED? BOTH.

Even the most effective NBA offense in play-offs (OFFRTG 110.3) and second best during regular season (OFFRTG 112.2) can slightly lose it’s effectiveness if you face probably the best team on this planet both offensively and defensively.

Despite probably the best 1-on-1 basketball player in the world James Harden great individual performance Houston Rockets were defeated 106:119 (30:29; 26:27; 24:31; 26:32) and The Beard +/- while being in the game was -7.

Harden

STATISTICS

JAMES HARDEN vs GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS in 2017./18. SEASON:

HARDEN pointi

Did Steve Kerr strategy was challenge Paul and Harden to play more 1-on-1 while at the same time not involving other teammates who are threat from the 3-point line? Not always your best player need to score more for your team to win.

Also 3-Point Shot Attempts and 3-Point Shot Attempt Rate was lower than average for the team who attempts the most 3-point shots in the NBA this season (Reg. season 3pAR 50.2% of all FGAs was 3-pointers).

HOUSTON ROCKETS 3-POINT SHOT ATTEMPTS 2017./18.

HOU 3PP22

HOUSTON ROCKETS 3-POINT SHOT ATTEMPT RATE 2017./18.

3ATR HOU

3-POINT SHOT ATTEMPTS BY OTHER PLAYERS WHEN HARDEN DIDN’T PLAY.

12:52 minutes without Harden in the game : 12 of 28 3-pointers (6/12 50%)

35:08 minutes with Harden in the game: 16 of 28 3-pointers (2/16 12.5%)…

not play Harden

Confidence and rhythm for great shooters Ariza, Gordon, Anderson and others are very important to shoot with high %.

 

HOUSTON ROCKETS OFFENSE. GAME 1.

FAST BREAK POINTS: Houston had only 3 points from fast break situations…

TRANSITION THREE-POINTERS:  Warriors did a great job of taking care of basketball, only 9 (!) turnovers. One of the most powerful weapon transition three-pointer was taken out of their Rockets arsenal. As it’s well known – bad shot selection, bad decisions, long rebounds, and mainly turnovers are things that creates fast-break situations and chance to score during offensive transition when defense not set. Defense creates offense.

GOLDEN STATE STRATEGY TO “SWITCH” (OFF-BALL/ON-BALL SCREENS): Harden and CP3 played lot of 1-on-1 ISO after on-ball screen coverage was “switch”. They both did pretty well attacking “switch” but this defensive strategy slowed down hosts offense and other teammates wasn’t involved too much(shooters’ rhythm).  Of course Houston plays lot of ISO basketball, that’s not secret but I think best players wanted to have ball in their hands almost all the time… Capela didn’t score directly after roll or receiving ball in low-post.

“Rank last in the playoffs in both player movement (5.6 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession) and ball movement (252 passes per 24 minutes of possession), according to Second Spectrum tracking. “ (NBA.com).

HARDEN vs CURRY ISO (and vice-versa)… HARDEN vs LOONEY.  Since Warriors used to switch most of the pick-and-rolls Houston created switch where Harden can play against less physical defender such as Curry.  The Beard did a great job attacking Curry.

HOU HARDEN PNR

Because of CP3 and Harden control the ball in their hands all the time, constantly attack Warriors defenders after switch, it affected their defense because of fatigue, especially Harden’s. Not only Harden attacked to Curry but also vice-versa in the opposite end of floor. Curry scored few points while Harden played “defense” against him.

BAD Defense Harden

 

HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS FOR ROCKETS (GAME 1).

1. TRANSITION THREE-POINTERS AND LAY-UPS. Houston needs more transition three-point shots.

HOUSTON transition shots 3

2. ISO. CP3 and HARDEN ATTACKS AFTER PICK-AND-ROLL – CREATES SHOT FOR THEMSELVES (vs Looney, vs Curry).

 ISO (SWITCH) vs Looney = Slam dunk.

Harden attack DUNK

ISO (SWITCH) vs Curry = step-back 3

ISO HArden vs CUrry Step-back3

ISO (SWITCH) vs Curry = step-back mid-range shot. 2 points.

ISO Harden step-back 2

3. 1vs1 DRIVE + ALLEY-OOP to CAPELA or 1vs1 DRIVE-KICK for 3-POINT SHOT. Ball-handlers creates shot for teammates.

HARDEN Alley-Oop to Capela = very high % shot near the basket. ISO vs Curry (SWITCH)

Harden ISO to CAPELA vs CURRY

HARDEN Alley-Oop to Capela = very high % shot near the basket. Transition. Houston needs more easy baskets like this!

Transition to CAPELA

CP3 attack immediately after SWITCH and finds an open teammate in the corner. Ariza = 3 points.

CP3 to corner immediately attack

 

LOW PERCENTAGE SHOTS FOR ROCKETS (GAME 1).

1. BAD MID-RANGE SHOTS (G1 Pick-and-roll to ISO situations). Houston offense is built around high% shots.

Bad midrange

2. ANY SHOT in 1vs1 SITUATION WHEN TO CREATE SHOT in ISO SITUATION LASTS TOO LONG AND THERE ARE 3 or LESS SECONDS LEFT ON SHOT CLOCK.

Last second 1vs1

3. ANY SHOT when after ISO after pick-and-roll SWITCH when players can’t create their own shot or attack to defender with dribble penetration and in the last moment when 5 or less seconds left on the shot clock ball is passed to teammate who needs to make a play within few seconds. (Most of the time shoot three-pointer over defenders’ high hands or after shot fake drive to the basket in hope to score).

PNR last second to CP3

This offense definitely isn’t something that Rockets need. Not always Harden or CP3 were able to create great shot for themselves and after passing the ball in the last moment to teammates put lot of pressure for them to make a play.

PNR long Ariza

 

Thanks for reading! Kristians @ abouthegame.com

 

 

BOSTON CELTICS USE SIZE, STRENGTH AND SPEED ADVANTAGE TO OVERTAKE 76ERS IN GAME 5

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First of all don’t get me wrong – Philadelphia 76ers is one of the best defensive teams in NBA:

  • Defensive rating: 102.0 (3rd)
  • Opponent points in Paint: 41.6 (1st)
  • Defensive Rebounds: 35.5 (1st)
  • Opponent FG%: 43.4% (1st)
  • Opponent 3Pt%: 34.2% (2nd)

But it doesn’t mean they don’t have weaknesses, every team has. They play very tough and they are able to switch lot of off-ball and on-ball screens because of height and physical abilities, similar to Boston Celtics.

In play-off games it’s all about match-ups and making adjustments. If there are weaknesses greatest basketball minds will find it, especially if you play against one team more times in a row.

 

GAME 5: STATISTICS

Why this game was different for Boston Celtics compare to other games this season and play-offs? Huge amount of FOULS against BOSTON,  huge amount of FREE-THROW ATTEMPTS and MUCH LOWER than AVERAGE THREE-POINT SHOTS ATTEMPTED by CELTICS.

FOULS

Fouls

FREE-THROW ATTEMPTS

FTTT

 

3-POINT SHOT ATTEMPT RATE (% of FGAs that are 3-Pt FGAs)3PT attempts

 

BOSTON CELTICS GAME PLAN FOR GAME 5: USE SIZE, STRENGHT AND SPEED ADVANTAGE TO OVERTAKE 76ERS 

 

  • Attack to the weak points of Philadelphia 76ers defense = JJ Redick 1vs1+post, McConnell post.
  • Create and attack size mismatches. (pick-and-roll/Off-ball screens) Almost all Boston players can play in post effectively.
  • Looking for post-ups before defense is set. Especially offensive transition situations.
  • Create high % shots after getting ball in the low post or attacking defense before it is set = free-throws, high% 2-point shots close to the basket (also shots after getting rebounds if post play is not successful) and open three-point shots when the ball is passed out of low post area.

 

TRANSITION. POST UP.

Boston took advantage of their 2, 3 and 4 position player’s ability to play effective in post up situations or attack immediately using the dribble especially when 76ers defense wasn’t set yet. Tatum vs McConnel, Smart vs Redick, Smart vs Belinelli, Horford vs McConnell, Brown vs Redick and other situations.

 

Transition Post up1

 

SMART/HORFORD vs JJ REDICK. Transition. Use of strength advantage.

Smart vs Redick

Transition Smart vs Redick

Horford vs Redick

TATUM vs McCONNELL attack with dribble in transition

Tatums vs Mcconnel drive transition

BROWN vs McCONNELL. Embiid has to help leaving Baynes open in the corner. Saric can’t rotate on time even close-out with high-hands was the best he can do in this situation – 3 points. The point is… Everything starts with BROWN using his size and strenght vs shorter McCONNELL in the low post.

Transition Post up 2

Transition Post up 3

Brown post up and pass

 

TRANSITION PLAYS or SET-PLAYS

After coming off double staggered screen Tatum and Smart had a great position to use their size and speed advantage immediately by driving to basket or shooting mid-range shot.

Second option is to receive the ball in the low post area.

Staggered play 3

TATUM vs McCONNELL

Tatum vs McCollumm set play

SECOND OPTION if can’t attack immediately coming off double staggered screen = ball movement + post-up.

Staggered play1

Staggered play 2

SMART vs BELINELLI

Smart vs Belinelli set play

 

PICK-AND-ROLL: ATTACK to “switch” (Flat + Switch)

Against FLAT+Switch pick-and-roll strategy Baynes has huge advantage over McConnell under the basket and McConnell has no chance to get the rebound. Trying to use speed advantage (Tatum vs Embiid and Rozier vs Embiid) wasn’t too effective this game instead they should look more inside and pass to Horford vs Redick or Baynes vs McConnell and other size mismatch situations (Big vs Small).

HIGH PICK-AND-ROLL. BAYNES vs McCONNELL. REBOUND + DUNK.

Flat Switch 1

Flat Switch 2

FLAT Switch

 

PLAY SMART –  ATTACK OPPONENTS’ WEAKNESSES!

Thanks for reading! :)) Coach Kristians

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS OFFENSIVE GAME PLAN FOR LAST 3 MINUTES G3 (James&Korver).

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS OFFENSIVE GAME PLAN FOR LAST 3 MINUTES G3.

PRINCIPLE: GIVE THE BALL TO THE BEST PLAYER!

Usually teams don’t run complicated set plays but outcome of the end-game is decided by best player’s ability to play 1vs1 or attacking after pick-and-roll (or pop) situations effectively or smart coaches decisions after the time-out.

Coach Tyronn Lue strategy was to play 5 PICK-AND-POP in a row where KORVER SETS THE SCREEN TO LEBRON and after screen POPS to behind three-point line adding pressure to defense (as it is well known that Korver is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA).

Traditionally on-ball screen is set by BIG (4 or 5) for PG which usually is the best ball-handler but in recent years NBA players skill development has reached level where inside players can play like guards and vice-versa.

PICK-AND-POP = SWITCH

Toronto Raptors best defender rookie OG Anunoby:

“When Anunoby marked James, the Cavaliers scored 1.09 points per possession.”

“And the real key is this: When any other player on the Raptors marked James, the clip the Cavaliers’ offense scored at ballooned to 1.38 points per possession.”

“In other words: If that sample is any indication, Anunoby is the best the Raptors have.”

Anunoby has already proved he is an elite defender against drives. In fact, opponents scored only 0.83 points per direct drive against him in the regular season, which tied for the third-lowest rate among all players who defended at least 200 drives.”

“Pretty clearly, that’s a necessary component to at least slowing down James, who scored the fourth-most points per direct drive (1.19) in the league among those with at least 200 such plays, and was the most efficient among anyone with at least 500 drives.”

(http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23368049/og-anunoby-toronto-raptors-best-shot-containing-cleveland-cavaliers-lebron-james).

 

Untitled

Toronto Raptors answer was SWITCH these Pick-and-pop situations since both James as a ball-handler and Korver as screener puts lot of pressure to defenders.

OG Anunoby was forced to switch… so Lebron had a chance to attack C.J. Miles which is the player who is not that effective defending Lebron’s drives to the basket.

Untitled2

Since every time James came off the screen to the left side of the floor (left hand), hard drive to the left side (dunk/fade-away/pass/draw foul) + adding 3 shooters on perimeter (J.R. Smith/Kevin Love/Kyle Korver) = hard to stop since Lebron is one of the best passers in the game.

LEBRON JAMES & KYLE KORVER ALL PICK-AND-POP (last 3 minutes G3)

 

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Turnover. Korver didn’t catch Lebron’s pass.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (4)

Hard drive. Foul (2+1)

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (2)

Fade-away (2 points). Defender gives Lebron space to shoot and protects against drive.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (1)

Three-point shot.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (3)

Screen+re-screen. Hard drive. 2 free-throws.

 

PRINCIPLES

  • BALL TO THE BEST PLAYERS (1vs1 or attack after PNR/drive-kick).
  • ATTACK THE WEAKEST DEFENDER (force the ”switch/attack the ”switch”).
  • SET THE SCREEN TO GET OPEN (Korver)/put pressure on defense especially if ball-handler is Lebron James.
  • SCREEN ANGLE is IMPORTANT (let the defense work hard).
  • HARD DRIVE (attack the switch) + SHOOTERS SPREADING THE FLOOR on strong-side = hard to guard!

 

Thanks for reading, Kristians@abouthegame.com

ENCYCLOPEDIA of THREE-POINT SHOOTING. SITUATIONS & SCENARIOS.

HOW/WHERE/WHEN AND WHAT SITUATIONS MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO ATTEMPT HIGH-PERCENT THREE-POINT SHOT?

Teams shoot more three-pointers as ever before… I don’t know if it is good for the game or not but fact is… BEST (or the most shooting with high %) THREE-POINT SHOOTING TEAMS = BEST TEAMS.

Three point leaders HOU

 

SITUATIONS & SCENARIOS:

  1. 1VS1
  2. FAST BREAK/TRANSITION OFFENSE
  3. BALL MOVEMENT
  4. FEED THE POST
  5. DRIBBLE PENETRATION + CUT
  6. SCREENS (ON-BALL & OFF-BALL)
  7. OFFENSIVE REBOUND + OTHER SITUATIONS (non-predictable).

1 VS 1 

Players ability to create his own three-point shot and make it is the key of success. Great example – James HARDEN and his step-back.

1vs1 principi

 

1vs1

FAST BREAK / TRANSITION OFFENSE

(+ other situations when defense is outnumbered. For example offense vs full-court pressure defenses/traps)

  •  Fast break (2vs1, 3vs2… 5vs4). Pass ahead – spot up (+extra pass);
  • Transition 5vs5. Defense not set = spot-up/stretch defense. Big’s put pressure on defense (rim-to-rim or pick-and-roll). Hand-off. Trailing big.
  • Vs full-court press/full-court zone press + trap = ball movement = open three-pointer.

Fast break (3vs2)fast break principi3

Transition (5vs5)
transition 3p principi

Vs full-court pressure defenses

trap non-standart principi

Vs traps (4vs3+ball movement)

extended defense 3 principi

 

#1. Transition. 2 vs 1 situation.

4 vs 1 situation.

 

#2. Transition. Defense not set.

 

#3 Transition. Pass to trailing big.

 

#4. Transition. Pick-and-roll in transition. “Drag”.

 

#5. Trap. Nearest man traps. 

 

BALL MOVEMENT

  • Perimeter-to-perimeter pass. Ball movement or initial action (PNR/Drive/Post feed or other) + ball movement. 2) Hand-off.
  • Big to Point guard on perimeter (Pass, Hand-off) often followed by PNR action.

ball movement 3 principi

Ball movement

 

FEED THE POST (Low post/High post)

Low post/High post. 1vs1 or double team? Where help comes from? 1st pass+extra.

post feed principi

 

#1. Low post. 1vs1 (dribble)

Low post (no dribble) + passer relocates.

 

#2. Ball in the post (low post/high post) + weak-side action (+strong side also)

 

#3. Post Double-team (Weakest player, passer, lowest defender or top defender). Dominant low post player or size mismatch.

 

DRIBBLE PENETRATION or CUTTING to the basket

Being threat to score near the basket opens up three point shooters on the perimeter.

  • Dribble penetration (middle drive/baseline drive, dynamic/static 1vs1, size mismatch);
  • Different type of cuts to the basket (backdoor, short roll and others)

 

Dribble penetrationDribble penetration 3 principi

 

Cutting to the basket (backdoor) + pass to open playercut3 principi

 

Roll or short roll to the basket after setting the screen + pass to open playerPNR roll principi

#1. Dribble penetration (baseline/middle. Size mismatch)

Size mismatch. Drive-kick.

 

SCREENS – ON-BALL SCREENS (+hand-off) / OFF-BALL SCREENS

ON-BALL SCREENS: 1) Ball handler creates shot for himself; 2) for screener; 3) for others who are not directly involved in pick-and-roll.

PNR 3 principi

 

1. Ball-Handler creates shot for himself: 1) Switch; 2) Flat; 3) Show&Recover; 4) Under; 5) Ice; 6) “Bingo” (Goes opposite); 7) Shot before the screen is set; 8) Hand-off.

#1. Pick-and-Roll. Switch

 

#2. Pick-and-Roll. Flat.

 

#3. Pick-and-Roll. Show&Recover.

 

#4. Pick-and-Roll. Under.

 

#5. Pick-and-Roll, “ICE” .

 

#6. Pick-and-Roll. Bingo (goes opposite).

 

#7. Pick-and-Roll. Shot before the screen is set.

 

#8 Hand-off.

 

2. Ball-Handler creates shot for screener (+screener creates shot for others): 1) screener pops (pick-and-pop); 2) screener rolls (short roll) + pass to open teammate for three-point shot.

#1. Pick-and-pop vs Flat.

Pick-and-roll (short roll) vs Flat + pass to perimeter.

 

#2. Pick-and-pop vs ICE

 

#3. Pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll (short roll) vs Trap/Show&recover.

Pick-and-pop + drive-kick/ball movement vs Trap.

Pick-and-Roll (short roll) + ball movement vs Trap and Show & recover.

 

3. Ball-handler creates shot for teammates who aren’t directly involved in Pick-and-Roll: whatever PNR coverage, rolling big man adds pressure to defense and it can create open three-pointers for teammates. Very important is Ball-handler’s ability to pass effectively and high basketball IQ + of course ability to shoot behind the screen and off the dribble = key!

Ball handler = Pick-and-roll read + pass to perimeter player = shot/ball movement + shot.

pick and roll ball handler principles

 

 

OFF-BALL SCREENS: 1) Player who receives screen shoots (straight, curl or fade); 2) Screener pops and shoot.

off-ball screens 3 principi

Types of off-ball screens: 1) Downscreen (straight/curl/fade); 2) Backscreen (set the backscreen to get open); 3) Diagonal screen; 4) Flare screen; 5) Staggered screen; 6) Elevator screen.

#1. Off-Ball screens. Downscreen.

 

#2. Off-Ball screens. Backscreen.

 

#3. Off-Ball screens. Diagonal screen.

 

#4. Off-Ball screens. Flare screen.

 

#5. Off-Ball screens. Staggered screen.

Staggered screen (Single/Double).

 

#6. Off-Ball screens. Elevator screen.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUND AND OTHER SITUATIONS (predictable/non-predictable)

  • Offensive rebound + pass to three-point shooter is hard to predict and defend (except doing better job on boxing out).
  • Other situations can be three-point shot created by opponent’s turnover like bad outlet pass or lost ball in back-court.

off rebound principi

 

#1. Offensive rebound. 

 

#2. Other situations (non-predictable).

Thanks for reading and watching 🙂 Kristians@abouthegame.com

JAMES HARDEN: HOW HE SCORED CAREER-HIGH 56 PTS VS. JAZZ!?

“I mean, I was just shooting, I don’t really know,” Harden said. “I don’t pay too much attention to it.”

harden stats

James Harden had offensive rating 160 that makes his performance against Utah Jazz one of the most impressive offensive performances in history of NBA. (True Shooting % – 92.5%!)

As lot of NBA fans know Houston Rockets is known as the team who is leading NBA in 3-point attempts per game (44.5 per game) and has one of the best offenses in NBA – Offensive rating 110.8 (4th).

3-Point Attempt Rate % – 53.4% (3-points shots of total shots) is far ahead of other teams in league.  If Harden and other shooters like Gordon, Ariza, Anderson and Tucker has great shooting night, they can easily reach 120+ in the game.

Despite before the game against Rockets Utah Jazz was the “slowest” team (Pace: 97.52) and 3rd best defense only allowed 98.6 points per 100 possessions + the best in Paint Defense (before the game with Houston) it didn’t stop The Beard to get lot of easy buckets, especially lay-ups.

 

HOW JAMES HARDEN SCORED HIS 56 POINTS?

 

harden-shot-chart

 

Total 56 = three-points 21, midrange 8, lay-ups 16, free-throws 11.

Total 56 = Inside Paint 33 (almost Utah average allowed per game, that was the leagues high!), Outside Paint 23.

Overall Houston Rockets do not play complicated offense, Harden usually initiates offense by playing 1vs1, PNR or passing to teammate to the wing or coming off the screen. The most of time there are 3 great shooters on the floor (+ him) waiting outside behind three-point line and Capela or Nene who are setting screens and waiting for alley-oop or boumce pass after perimeter players drive to the basket.

18 of 56 (including free-throws) points were scored of Pick-and-Roll situations + Harden also dished out 13 assists, accounting for 91 of Houston’s 137 points.

Utah Jazz PNR defense definitely wasn’t the best defending player who scored 56 points.

 

HIGH PICK AND ROLL defense on Harden

  1.  FLAT (most of the time trying to force Harden away from the screen if possible, not every time to weak hand).

harden PNR defense 2

Harden PNR defense

Having tall and not that quick screener’s defender Gobert, it’s not good option to “hard hedge”, especially knowing Harden’s ability to find open team-mates. Gobert having very tall hands also can give little bit more ground while on-ball should play aggressive on-ball defense.

When Favors or Udoh are much quicker so they can play higher and be more active but most of the time Nene or Capela rolled very quickly to the basket and all was left for Harden to find an open teammate.

Also Rockets big guys Nene and Capela are not big threat from outside. Sometimes the screener was Ariza.

Having great 3-point shooting night (scored his first 7 3-pointers) is the key of being effective while playing pick-and-roll!

Harden’s response most of the time: easy lay-up or floater! He used to attack by changing the direction in the gap what was left by X5 “snake” the screen or also “shielding” his defender.

 

Harden PNR off

 

2. SWITCH. Every time Favors, Udoh or Gobert was left 1vs1 against Harden there was step-back three, drive to the basket and 2 points, foul or drive-kick… Bad option this time…

 

SIDE PICK AND ROLL defense on Harden

  1. ICE (not letting ball handler to the middle)
  2. TRAP (2 players on the ball).

 

1 VS 1

JAMES HARDEN probably is one of the best if not the best 1vs1 player in the world. His ability to create his own shot is amazing.

20 of 56 (including free-throws after 1vs1 situations) points were scored in 1vs1 situations. Switch after PNR, switch in transition, or simply playing 1vs1 against his defender.

Few times he scored just simply dribbling from coast-to-coast…

Harden 1vs1

 

Since Harden is left handed he asked to 5 to go to another side of the court so he can have more room if he decides to attack to left.

JAMES HARDEN loves to use:

DRIBBLE BETWEEN the LEGS + CROSSOVER … CROSS OVER + STEP BACK ;

DRIBBLE BETWEEN the LEGS + CROSSOVER (fast) + DRIBBLE BETWEEN the LEGS + CROSSOVER (slow) + STEP-BACK (fast).

CROSSOVER + DRIBBLE BETWEEN the LEGS + CROSSOVER + STEP-BACK.

Fast-slow, slow-fast, stop-fast, fast-stop… change of pace and instinct is his strength!

 

OTHER SITUATIONS

4 of 56 points off opponents turnovers, 2vs1.

2 of 56 points post-up

8 of 56 assisted. Since he tends to have the ball in his hands most of the time and create opportunities for himself or team-mates, he doesn’t score too many points after being assisted.

8 off the catch, 37 off the dribble.

Houston offense this game was simple but effective – “give the ball to James Harden”. One of few set-plays of this game:

utah houst 1

HOUSTON UTAH

 

 

CONCLUSION

  • HARDEN IS THE ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED OFFENSIVE PLAYERS NOWADAYS IN THE GAME.  His ability to create his own shot allows to play more simple offense.
  • He can score from anywhere on the court
  • Knows where’s his team-mates.
  • Great ability to change the pace.
  • Knows how to show referee if he is fouled 🙂
  • High basketball IQ
  • If he has good outside shooting day he can be almost impossible to guard without help of other defenders.
  • Puts lot of pressure in transition to defenders.

utah hous

 

If he has great shooting night…. the most effective offense is just to give the ball to HARDEN ! 🙂

KRISTIANS @ abouthegame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALENCIA B.C. OFFENSIVE STYLE OF PLAY. SPANISH ACB 2016./17. CHAMPIONS TO WIN EUROLEAGUE?

 

Hello! Before all eyes on NBA in this blog I will analyze Spanish ACB champions Valencia offense. The question: if Spanish ACB is considered to be the best domestic league in Europe, how realistic is for the last year title winners to win the best club competition in European basketball – EUROLEAGUE?

The last year was very successful for club :

  • ACB  – 1st;
  • Copa del Rey – 2nd;
  • Eurocup – 2nd.

This year also started very well by winning the Supercopa  83:78 vs Unicaja and 69:63 vs Gran Canaria) and ACB 3-0 after 3 games.

Right before the start of Euroleague predictions are that Taronjas (Oranges) will finish around 9th – 11th place not making play-offs (total 16 teams, 8 play-offs).

ACB league – 3th-4th while FC Barcelona and Real Madrid considered as huge favourites.

 

BC VALENCIA 2016./17.

  • Played GREAT AT HOME: ACB regular season 14-2, Play-Offs 6-0.
  • PPG 82.5 (5th in ACB reg. season), 74.9 PPGA allowed (SECOND BEST DEFENSE PPGA in ACB)
  • Less shots but high % made :  60.0 FGA (15th), 23.3 3PA (14th). FG% 47.9 (2nd), 3P% (37.3 2nd).  GREAT SHOT SELECTION.
  • 2016./17 ACB PLAY-OFFS 3P% 40.0%!
  • 3rd FEWEST TURNOVERS per game – 12.7.
  • LEAST PF (personal fouls) per game – 18.9.
  • During 2016./17. ACB regular season player who played the most was 33 years old SAN EMETERIO – only 22 minutes per game!
  • During 2016./17. ACB regular season player who took the most shots per game was DUBLJEVIC – only 9.0 shots per game! He also was the team’s leading scorer 12.9 PPG.

 

BC VALENCIA 2017./18.

  As the well known saying says: “winners do not change their roster!”

  Valencia Basket was able to keep their main players from last season + added few really important players to their roster.

Although this season Oranges have new head coach – 51 years old TXUS VIDORETTA who last 2 seasons was ACB team Tenerife head coach and also assistant coach for SPAIN NT. Vidoretta’s team last season allowed opponents to score least PPG in ACB – 71.3 (Best defense in ACB?)

 

valencia

3 Spain NT players (Sastre, Vives and San Emeterio + former player Rafa Martinez), 1 France NT (Diot), 1 Montenegro NT (Dubljevic), 1 Belgium NT (Van-Rossom) and former German and Canadian National team players – Pleiss and Doornekamp.

 

  • EXPERIENCE: San Emeterio (33), Rafa Martinez (35), Will Thomas (31), Romain Sato (?) (36), Aaron Doornekamp (31), Sam Van-Rossom (31), Antoine Diot (28), Pleiss (27) + very talented younger players Green (26), Sastre and Dubljevic (25), Vives (24).

One of the most experienced team in ACB this season.

+ Patience. Shot selection. High basketball IQ.

Injuries (Diot, Williams, San Emeterio haven’t played yet in ACB this season). Recovery (Euroleague and ACB are 2 tough leagues to participate).

 

  • SIZE: Height of 6-7 usual starting 5 players: 1.92m, 1.90m, 1.93m, 2.01m, 2.03m, 1.99m, 2.05m… Only one player on team is taller than 2.05m (except 19 years old C from Iceland Hlinason who are not ready for ACB level yet) – PLEISS 2.17m. Also new signed USA player Williams is “only” 2.03m tall.

Since Valencia Basket is not the fastest and not among the best rebounding teams in ACB and EUROLEAGUE there could be problems during the season against teams who has tall and agile C and PF in their roster, especially in Euroleague.

 

  OFFENSE –  STYLE OF PLAY

 

  • PACE: MEDIUM, MEDIUM-FAST
  • PATIENCE + GREAT SHOT SELECTION + LOW TURNOVER NUMBERS = KEY TO SUCCESS.
  • If NO TRANSITION PNR or QUICK POST-UP = SET PLAYS.
  • OFFENSE overall are not too complicated. 2-3 off ball screens to PNR or POST UP. If there is no opportunity to score immediately of PNR or POST-UP, team plays very smart and makes good decisions. Players has some kind of freedom for decision making.
  • GOOD BALANCE of INSIDE-OUT basketball where the main figure is DUBLJEVIC, he is great decision maker and passer out of low post area.
  • No complicated set plays for shooters, usually they are looking for dynamic PNR or POST-UP. Lot of teams there are wide open 3-point shots after passes of low post and great BALL MOVEMENT.
  • Very talented American SG ERICK GREEN is both great 1vs1 and team player, coach Vidoretta gives him lot of credit.
  • Lot of cross-screen action for DUBLJEVIC.
  • On my opinion the key is to GREEN and DUBLJEVIC to play their best game for Valencia to be successful although they play TEAM BASKETBALL and strength is their deep roster.
  • Offensively I think THOMAS is not the most effective player because of lack of his size playing in PF position and 3-point shooting ability. Of course we do not talk about aggressiveness and defence where he is one of the best in his team.

 

TRANSITION PLAYS

Pick-and-roll in transition plays 90% of teams so also Valencia, if Dubljevic sets the pick he also has an option to pop for 3-point shot. It can really put pressure on defense.

VAL TRANSITION dubl pnr

This play can be lot of times was played in transition without stopping but also can be played as set play.

TRANSition 1

In case defense don’t allow to curl after the screen, 3 has also option to go to wing and cut to the basket afterwards.

TRANSition2

TRANSition3

Since Oranges has lot players playing for SG or SF who can effectively post up, 4 has option to pass into the low post for 2 or to 3 who received screen from 5. After that they play PNR.

TRANSition4

 

VARIATIONS OF DIAMOND OFFENSIVE ALIGNMENT

  Valencia start their offense of this offensive alignment very often in first games of this season (I have a chance to watch 4 of them). Most of the time they focus on giving the ball to Dubljevic into the low post. Sometimes of course as every offense nowadays they want to play pick-and-roll after cutter receives ball on the perimeter

DIAM to DUB1

DIAM to DUB2

In this play 2 fakes the back-screen to 5 (Dubljevic) and continues to cut to the wing afterwards. Again, first option after catching the ball is get the ball into the low post.

DIAMOND fake backscreen 2

DIAMOND fake backscreen part 1

Same alignment, same idea. Little bit different type of play.

DIAMOND opcija1

DIAMOND opcija1.2

VAL GRAN CANARIA

 

Play for side pick-and-roll. Since 3 sets a pick for 5 before PNR , X5 is hard to hedge in case it is their defensive strategy.

DIAMOND 1

DIAMOND 1 part2

 

OTHER SET PLAYS

Overall offense is not complicated, lot of pick-and-roll, back-screens and cross-screens. Most of the time there is 2-3 screens and after it comes dynamic PNR.

Since coach Vidoretta was assistant coach for Scariolo in European championship this summer, I can see his team playing 1 similar set play with team Latvia and Slovenia played in this European championship.

1.

HO to PNR

HO to PNR 2

2.

LV VALENCIA

3. STAG. + PNR

STAGERS to PNR

STAGERS to PNR2

4. HORNS to PNR

HORNS quick PNR

HORNS quick PNR 2

5. DOWNSCREEN + PNR

DOWN TO PNR1

DOWN TO PNR2

 

SIDELINE OUT OF BOUNDS PLAY

SOB 1

SOB 2

SOB 3

 

 SPANISH ACB CHAMPIONS TO WIN EUROLEAGUE ?

 

Since Spanish ACB is considered the best league in Europe, it does not mean that champions of this league is the best team in Europe. ACB is probably the most competitive league where all the teams has solid roster, there is no easy games in this league.

Valencia to qualify for PLAY-OFFS (8 of 16) – I THINK… YES

Valencia to qualify for TOP 4 (4 of 16) – Maybeeee… (season is long, there are ups and downs, injuries).

VALENCIA TO WIN EUROLEAGUE ? It is not impossible, but I do not believe it.. Also smart people predict VALENCIA TO WIN EUROLEAGUE 35-to-1.. (less than 3%).

Thanks for reading! Good luck Taronjas in season’s first game tonight vs Khimki (Russia)!

Kristians Broks @ abouthegame.com