Monday, March 7, 2011

When the offense breaks down

In today's post we will see how the offense executes even after plays have broken down.

Yesterday the Lakers thoroughly out played the San Antonio Spurs.  Going on extended runs against the Spurs is a tough task (as evidenced by the Lakers' two losses in the team's previous meetings).  To dominate like the Lakers did, they had to not only play well but also execute after plays broke down.

In the first clip, Pau Gasol flashes for a backdoor step.  Before he can do so, Kobe waves Ron Artest down to take advantage of his mismatch against Manu Ginobili.  Pau ends up at the top and the two pass to the top is made instead of the backdoor step.  This two pass keys: Artest to the pinch post and Kobe to run a rebound screen cut.  Artest and Gasol go into a quick pick and roll and Artest is able to drive directly to the basket for an easy layup.

In this clip, Steve Blake attempts to enter the ball into Pau for a wing reverse:

However, Tony Parker drops down to deny the pass.  Instead Blake lag passes to Shannon Brown, which initiates a center opposite.  Richard Jefferson drops down to deny the pass to Kobe, who has come across the lane, so Odom makes the two pass to the top.  Brown enters the ball into Pau in the pinch post and Gasol does a good job using his body as a screen during the hand off back to Brown.

In last week's post we saw how having consistent actions can help facilitate good passing.  This next clip reinforces that point:

The play starts out as a solo:

But Matt Bonner is playing off Lamar Odom making the entry pass tough.  Odom chooses to reverse the ball up top.  From here Gasol and Odom have a choice for a center opposite:

Odom could rub over while Gasol stays opposite or Gasol could come over.  Odom chooses to stay so Gasol eventually goes over as Odom moves to the pinch post.  Although no two pass to the top was made, this action "keyed" a rebound screen cut on the weakside.  Odom goes at the upright Bonner and  is able to drive and get a floater off.

In this clip, the fastbreak doesn't work out so the players simply find a position on the floor and form a triangle:

In the confusion of transition, Ginobili ended up guarding Odom, so Odom directs the ball for a two pass to the top.  Once the pass to the pinch post is made he looks to post Ginobili and tells Barnes to back off.  The Spurs lazily double Odom leaving Matt Barnes wide open for a catch and shoot three.

From a missed free throw, the Lakers are able to quickly get into a solo without the need to reset or call a play leaving Pau one on one for the and one.

In this clip, Kobe makes a strong side entry and cuts to the center of the baseline.  This would normally signal a single double, but Parker is denying the pass to Derek Fisher up top.  Artest recognizes this and flashes to the top of the key for a blind pig like action.  Pau moves down to set the double screen as Fisher cuts off of Artest.  George Hill attempts to cheat over the top of the double screen so Kobe fades and hits the jumper after a nice shooter's roll.

Again we see the triangle's ability to take advantage of mismatches without the need to call a play:

Kobe decides to post himself against the smaller George Hill in transition.  As he posts up, we see that the other players still naturally slide into their triangle positions:

Once again, the Spurs lazily go to double.  Kobe simply spins away from the double team and knocks down the banker.

Next we will see another single double:

We see Kobe make the strong side entry and cut to the center of the baseline like before.  This time Pau quickly gets the ball to Fisher up top.  The Spurs decide to trap Kobe coming off the double so Pau simply steps back and finds himself wide open for a spot up jumper.  Pau misses the shot but Kobe is able to work his way to into the lane for the offensive rebound.

When facing a team as good as the Spurs, the first and second options are often shut down.  Patience, mindfulness, and making quick reads of the defense allow the Lakers to continue to execute despite breakdowns in the offense.

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