Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Audibles and Freelancing

In today's post, we will see how the offense deals with players making changes on the fly.

In the Lakers' last game against the Hornets, the Lakers showed some twists to their typical setups.  Some of these variations were part of the gameplan, some were from the players calling audibles based on what they were seeing on the floor.

In this side out of bounds play, we see the Lakers setup a blind pig.  Kobe takes advantage of Trevor Ariza's familiarity with the offense by step faking towards the double screen.  Ariza bites allowing Kobe a clean catch and room to face up and operate.  Kobe gets Ariza off his feet with a pump fake but can't knock down the pull up jumper.

Later in the game we see another blind pig.  Lamar Odom is the lead guard and is being loosely defended by Carl Landry.  Derek Fisher makes his cut as Ron Artest flashes to the ball.  Instead of entering the ball into Artest, Odom uses Artest as a screen to momentarily shake Landry forcing the Hornets defense to commit.  The ball finds its way into the hands of Pau Gasol for an easy layup.

This time we see a center opposite setup.  Steve Blake is the lead guard.  He lag passes to Shannon Brown and cuts to the corner as Artest pops out to the wing.  Kobe, instead of rubbing off Gasol to fill the post, elects to pop out to the wing to form a solo with Gasol.  Kobe enters the ball into Gasol and immediately makes a solo cut.  He receives the handoff from Gasol, who then pivots to use his body as a screen, freeing Kobe to go baseline.  The Hornets wisely choose to trap so Kobe is forced to fire a tough fadeawy.

In this clip we see a UCLA style setup.  Fisher makes a strongside entry into Artest and proceeds to cut off Andrew Bynum in the high post.  Bynum then steps out to set a screen for Artest.  Artest dribbles off the pick and a triangle is formed on the weakside:

Instead of initiating the offense by getting the ball to Kobe, Artest directly enters the ball into Gasol.  This pass is treated as a two pass.  Kobe signals Fisher for a rebound screen cut but sees that Fisher is beginning to commit to his baseline speed cut.  Kobe quickly changes gears and cuts over the top (to Fisher's credit, he was mindful of Kobe and looked ready to go towards Kobe's rebound screen cut had Kobe chosen that option).  The Hornets lose track of their assignments after choosing to double Gasol allowing Artest just enough time to fire a catch and shoot three.

Throughout the game, the Lakers showed this variation of their single double.  The setup starts out as a standard single double: Fisher enters the ball into Artest then cuts towards the middle of the baseline, Artest passes the ball up top to Odom then moves down to set the double screen.  Instead of acting as a single screen, Kobe pops out to the wing to receive the ball for an isolation.  Kobe easily drives towards the middle, drawing the entire Hornets defense and has his choice of three wide open teammates.  Kobe chooses Odom who drills his in rhythm jumper.

Earlier in the game, the Lakers showed a similar disregard for the single screen.  This time, the single double morphs into a center opposite like setup.  Here, Gasol and Kobe both have the option to fill the post.  Kobe recognizes Gasol's mismatch against the smaller Willie Green and  wisely cedes the post position to Gasol who gets the and one.

This time Kobe calls his own number.  We see a triangle form after a strongside entry, strongside fill with a two pass to the top.  Kobe passes to Gasol in the pinch post and instead of cutting all the way to the basket, he sets up for an iso around the high post.  Ariza gives Kobe the baseline allowing Kobe a direct line to the basket and an easy two points.

In this last clip, the Lakers have the last possession of the half.  As per the usual, we see Kobe motion for an open set except he isn't handling the ball up top.  Luckily the play isn't designed to ask Fisher to create off the dribble.  The play is actually designed to get Kobe a post up against the smaller Chris Paul.  Paul can't quite front Kobe and is called for a foul sending Kobe to the line.

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