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Lakers pounded the ball inside & fed the bigs; minimal results came in Game 1


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#1 MDI

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 09:35 AM

http://www.sbnation....obe-bryant-post

The Lakers certainly tried to get the ball in the post a lot. Of their 103 plays tracked on MySynergySports.com, 48 of them were called to get the ball inside as a first option. Many of the other plays were offensive rebounds, transition opportunities and late-game possessions where desperation threes were needed, so realistically, you can cut off 20 or so possessions from that 103 number to get a real picture of post opportunities taken. When you try to get the ball inside over half the times you possibly could, I think you're trying pretty hard.

And yet, despite the low-post ability of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, the Lakers weren't especially successful with whatever they tried to do. They scored just 11 times and drew fouls on six other opportunities for a total of 17 productive possessions out of 48. Clearly, something wasn't right with whatever the Lakers were trying to do.

In watching the tape, I see a few scattered reasons. There were certainly a couple possessions where Gasol could have been more aggressive. There were a few others where the Lakers' guards threw terrible entry passes that led to turnovers. But the two biggest problems I noticed: a lack of motion setting up the post-ups, and poor perimeter shooting cramping the spacing.

Let's hit the latter first. The Spurs' strategy throughout the game was to aggressively front while providing a lot of backside help to prevent the lob pass. If that failed, they "dug" down with one or two perimeter players after L.A.'s bigs put the ball on the floor. That means they would cheat off their men on the perimeter without fully committing to double teaming until the big man dribbled to a certain spot on the floor. This is the kind of strategy that was illegal when Bryant first entered the league, but is common now.

Here's an example of how the fronting threw the Lakers off. This is early in the game in a transition opportunity. Howard does the right thing and goes right to the block looking for an early post-up. But the Spurs don't give it to him, fronting him with Tiago Splitter and using Kawhi Leonard to provide help against a lob pass.

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For all the Lakers' best efforts, there's no pass here. Blake tries swinging it to Gasol for the hi-lo, but Gasol is too far out and Tim Duncan pressures him beautifully, forcing a terrible pass and a turnover.

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That set the tone for the rest of the game. Look at these other examples of the Spurs fronting the post beautifully.

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It's impossible to throw a good entry pass under these circumstances. Better perimeter shooting would help, as would very quick ball movement, but the Lakers lack the former and didn't really do a good job of doing the latter on Sunday. (Note, too, how pressured the passer is on many of these plays. That only makes it harder).

When the Lakers did get the ball inside, the Spurs were very smart with their help. They consistently ignored top-of-the-key shooters and generally weren't afraid of the strong-side wing perimeter man either, especially because Steve Nash was off. You often want to be careful helping when it's easy for a post player to find the man closest to him with a kickout pass, but the Lakers' lack of shooting and San Antonio's superior positioning made it work.

Here are some examples of this phenomenon at play. Here, watch how Manu Ginobili zones up as Howard starts backing his man down, only to come hard when Howard gets to a certain point in the lane.

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The Lakers aren't prepared for this. Ginobili's movement confuses Howard, forcing him to pick up his dribble. When he does, the Lakers are spaced poorly, allowing Tony Parker to guard both Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks. This eventually ends up in a turnover.

Here's an example with Gasol. Look how poor the spacing is when the Spurs dig down on him.

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Where is Pau supposed to go there? Unless he spins baseline for a fadeaway, there's nowhere he can turn. He eventually tries a shovel pass to World Peace that fails because there is too much traffic.

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Even when the Lakers had decent spacing, they still couldn't make the Spurs pay for their coverages. Look how slow the ball movement is on this last-second possession at the end of the second quarter.

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This should result in an open three for somebody. Instead, Howard's pass out is a bit off, Blake doesn't think about the corner shooter fast enough and Darius Morris tightens up.

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It also didn't help that the Spurs consistently ignored World Peace at the top of the key, using Leonard to double the post when appropriate. World Peace only made San Antonio pay once for this strategy.

Here's an example where he didn't. The Lakers try getting Howard early position immediately, and the Spurs initially dig down with Danny Green off Steve Nash.

Screen_Shot_2013-04-22_at_11.08.41_AM_me

The Lakers counter this by reposting Howard, but when they do, Leonard, and not Green, comes back to half-double.

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Howard makes the right play to kick out, but the Spurs' strategy is vindicated when World Peace and his slow release get blocked by the recovering Leonard.

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In all of these instances, the Lakers' attempts to run offense through their bigs down low were thwarted by San Antonio's ability to shrink the floor. Jamming the ball inside as Bryant seemed to suggest won't work because it's 2013. Half-zone defenses are allowed and teams like the Spurs can run these types of coverages while being able to recover to perimeter shooters. L.A. tried pounding the post and the Spurs' defense was just too good. That was the major issue, not failing to work the ball inside at all.

What is the solution, then? These days, post play has to be preceded by motion or other misdirection to prevent a defense from loading up their coverages like the Spurs did. We saw the Lakers do this a little bit on Sunday, and when they did, they generally were successful.


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Props to sidthekid871


#2 leor_77

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 09:48 AM

Triangle offense would help immensely. It is far more punishing with it's constant motion, than just "throwing the ball into the bigs," and having everyone stand around motionless like idiots.



#3 leor_77

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 09:48 AM

That was a great article...Thanks.



#4 MDI

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 10:11 AM

Look at the congestion in the paint I dont think the Spurs are letting up anytime soon. The Lakers only made 10 of their 43 shots outside the paint

http://www.forumblue...ng-defensively/

Dwight-Post-1.jpg

Dwight-Post-1A.jpg

Dwight-Post-1B.jpg

Dwight-Post-1C.jpg

Pau-Post-1.jpg

Pau-Post-1A.jpg

Pau-Post-1B.jpgLook at the congestion in the paint I dont think the Spurs are letting up anytime soon. The Lakers only made 10 of their 43 shots outside the paint

 

http://www.forumblue...ng-defensively/


Edited by MDI, April 22, 2013 - 10:13 AM.

9u6kvo.png

 

Props to sidthekid871


#5 The Big Fish

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 10:35 AM

As simple as the team lacking shooting and scoring from the perimeter. 


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#6 gque24

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 10:50 AM

alot of uncalled illegal defenses by spurs but la played about as well as i figured they would in gm 1


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#7 Saber

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 11:26 AM

We didn't make threes and we heavily rely on 3s in our offense.



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#8 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 12:27 PM

LA is average shooting the ball from 3 and San Antonio is well aware of that. If I were Pop I would also pack the paint and gladly cheat off MWP and Blake all day, smart strategy. The Lakers need to play more of an inside out game with better floor spacing to pull it together. The big man 2 man game between Pau and Dwight will work well also, but I'm not that confident in MDA's coaching at this point. 



#9 citr92

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 12:37 PM

just have to make open shots, period.



#10 Massacre

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 12:45 PM

Can't play inside-out if there's no perimeter scoring.

Kobe would help just because of the defensive pressure he commands on the perimeter. If Kobe plays, either he, Dwight or Pau will get single coverage. Often times, it was Kobe AND Pau, which freed up the 2-man game for them. Everything is dependent on Kobe. He creates for Pau, who creates for Dwight. Dwight creates for our shooters.


It starts ends with making perimeter shots. Your man is less willing to cheat off you and there's more room for Dwight and Pau to work.

Spurs are zoning in on Dwight and Pau because we have no other options. As great of a coach as Pop is, it would take a moron to not know how to construct a game plan against this current team. Artest, Jamison, Meeks, Blake etc.--they're not going to best the Spurs.

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#11 Real Deal

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 12:56 PM

Steve Nash

Steve Blake

Ron Artest

Jodie Meeks

Antawn Jamison

Earl Clark

Darius Morris

 

If these guys aren't going to spread the floor effectively, we aren't going to win, no matter how big we are down low OR how small our opponents are.  

 

The Spurs could have played their smallest lineup last night, and they still would have won because their defensive strategy was to pack the paint.

 

Even a post player like Shaq needed help to win his championships.  So did Hakeem.  Same with Kareem and Wilt.

 

Suggesting we play any other way is basically saying to go ahead and lose the next three games.  We can't.



#12 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 12:59 PM

Steve Nash

Steve Blake

Ron Artest

Jodie Meeks

Antawn Jamison

Earl Clark

Darius Morris

 

If these guys aren't going to spread the floor effectively, we aren't going to win, no matter how big we are down low OR how small our opponents are.  

 

The Spurs could have played their smallest lineup last night, and they still would have won because their defensive strategy was to pack the paint.

 

Even a post player like Shaq needed help to win his championships.  So did Hakeem.  Same with Kareem and Wilt.

 

Suggesting we play any other way is basically saying to go ahead and lose the next three games.  We can't.

 

Problem is even with the guys you listed, the Lakers are 17th in 3pt % in the league for the season. With Kobe no longer there to attract even more defensive attention, I don't see that number going up. LA might be able to steal one or two games if those guys go off, but unless D'Antoni improves floor spacing and ball movement this series won't last too long. 



#13 bigfetz

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 01:46 PM

Nash was a mjor reason why bigs could score more. He missed soooo many shots. Nash was by far the worst player in that game. If he can't make the easy wide open shots then he is useless. He's just like meeks now. 



#14 Majesty

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 02:40 PM

^ no. Nash was far from the worst player in that game.

He missed some easy shots but was one of the few Lakers to score above 16.

Jamison, Meeks and Clark were far worse than Nash.

Like I said, I hope Nash is continually left wide open by Popovich.

Remember what happened when Nash got his legs back and scored on three posessions. We cut the lead to two and Popovich had to call a timeout.

If Pop keeps defending us like this and Nash stays aggressive, once his legs are back he'll be THE reason Popovich can no longer swarm in the post.

Meeks never can nor ever will be that. Comparing Nash to him is pushing it.

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#15 CueTheRain

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 03:36 PM

^ no. Nash was far from the worst player in that game.

He missed some easy shots but was one of the few Lakers to score above 16.

Jamison, Meeks and Clark were far worse than Nash.

Like I said, I hope Nash is continually left wide open by Popovich.

Remember what happened when Nash got his legs back and scored on three posessions. We cut the lead to two and Popovich had to call a timeout.

If Pop keeps defending us like this and Nash stays aggressive, once his legs are back he'll be THE reason Popovich can no longer swarm in the post.

Meeks never can nor ever will be that. Comparing Nash to him is pushing it.

Meeks is complete trash. If he can't make threes what can he do? He's completely one-dimensional. Nash needs to spread the floor so that the bigs have room to work inside. Hopefully MDA's "adjustments" for game 2 aren't more jump shots.



#16 Majesty

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Posted April 22, 2013 - 03:40 PM

Meeks is complete trash. If he can't make threes what can he do? He's completely one-dimensional. Nash needs to spread the floor so that the bigs have room to work inside. Hopefully MDA's "adjustments" for game 2 aren't more jump shots.


Nash also held Danny Green to 6 points.  But I guess no one cares about that either if they are comparing him to Meeks =p


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#17 Real Deal

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Posted April 23, 2013 - 10:00 AM


Nash also held Danny Green to 6 points.

Come on man, I know you don't believe that.  Green is a 6-6 G/F who is 25 years old.  Nash has absolutely no shot at stopping him without Dwight in the frontcourt, or Kobe/Ron roaming and helping.

 

Last year, Green was the one that "played scared every meeting" (Pop said it, but didn't point out who) against Marcin Gortat.

 

Not only that, but he was 2-6 with two threes.  If he wanted to attack Nash, he could have...may have failed, just like Tony Parker did most of the game (shot 38%, and we know why), but he didn't, because most of the game was played to get our bigs into foul trouble, and Danny Green was put on the back burner.



#18 Scooter123

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Posted April 23, 2013 - 10:06 AM

Interesting article. 



#19 stillshining

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Posted April 23, 2013 - 10:50 AM

Come on man, I know you don't believe that.  Green is a 6-6 G/F who is 25 years old.  Nash has absolutely no shot at stopping him without Dwight in the frontcourt, or Kobe/Ron roaming and helping.

 

Last year, Green was the one that "played scared every meeting" (Pop said it, but didn't point out who) against Marcin Gortat.

 

Not only that, but he was 2-6 with two threes.  If he wanted to attack Nash, he could have...may have failed, just like Tony Parker did most of the game (shot 38%, and we know why), but he didn't, because most of the game was played to get our bigs into foul trouble, and Danny Green was put on the back burner.

 

Lol when has holding Danny Green in check ever been something to boast about anyways?


Edited by stillshining, April 23, 2013 - 10:56 AM.


#20 Real Deal

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Posted April 23, 2013 - 10:56 AM

Lol when has holding Danny Green in check ever something to boast about anyways?

Yeah, it's not a big accomplishment, because really, all you need to do is shadow him.

 

Green has went off on a few teams, but it's usually when he's popping threes off of Duncan, Parker and Gino.  His three biggest games of the year were against Minny, Dallas and Charlotte...and he hit a combined 22 threes in those games (eight vs. MIN, seven each vs. the other two).

 

If Nash was stuck on Green for an entire game, and there was no defensive anchor (Dwight) or legitimate help defense (like Kobe would provide)...Green would give him at least 15-20 on efficient shooting.






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