I watch basketball games (the Spurs) not only for the players, but for the ingenuity of the techniques and plays that are ran. Coach Pop draws up the best last second/out-of-timeout plays I've ever seen (not a homer remark, I've never seen anyone out coach Pop in a last second play ever). But what about the other teams? Sometimes the plays that are run against the Spurs frustrate the hell out of me.
Join me after the jump and I'll break down a "play" that the MLP's run that infuriates me.
Notice that I put play in quotation marks? It's because it's such a simple offensive scheme, that I can hardly put it in the same league as the word "play". I have no idea what they call it, but it looks like a very simple isolation. Here it is run against us with Dirk as the iso man.
See, I was kind of smart to start my series out on a simple "play" like this. Here's how it starts. Kidd brings it half court, dribbles to the three point line where Dirk comes and sets a pick. Hill goes over the pick, Dice stays with Dirk. All is well at this point. Kidd passes to Dirk, and then sweeps through lane, isolating Dirk and Dice a step inside of the three point line. Dice is all over Dirk, not giving him room to move until he takes a massive step to his left towards the basket, creates the illusion that he is driving to the rim, but takes another large step off of his left foot and takes a fall away jump shot that rattles in. I promise that this is the only thing that Dallas did that worked.
Here's the exact same play for someone that isn't Dirk.
The play starts out with Kidd dribbling up the court to the three point line around a pick (which is to try and confuse the defense, no real purpose here). Kidd passes to the pick setter (in this case Marion), who passes it around the horn to the other side of the court (no dribbling). Terry gets the ball, as well as a pick from Butler. On this pick, Hill switches to guard Terry and Bogans (who was previously guarding Terry) switches to Butler. Hill allows Terry as much room as he wants as long as its not near the paint. Terry spots an open Kidd behind the three point line, passes, and Kidd drains a three. Wait, what the heck? Who was the genius guarding Kidd? Where the heck was he? Oh yeah, that was supposed to be Tony Parker. Watch that clip one more time and follow Tony. Your initial reactions should be "what was he thinking?" and "looks like he surrendered there." I can't say for sure, but I'm hoping (yet I'm not hoping) that the game plan was to protect the paint. Even then.. Come on, man!
Let's move to game 2 where the Spurs looked amazine. They reworked their game plan, it seems, against this stupid "play" to perfection. Here's Noringski with the exact same "play" ran for him which fails miserably much to PtR's pleasure.
This is the same play in Game 2...
Here is our fix for game 2...
Dirk can shoot the basketball, I won't lie. The Spurs coaching staff knows this, as well, and they've come up with a great counter for it: DENY HIM THE BASKETBALL. Hold on a second...You mean that keeping the ball at their best offensive player's hands gets the best results? Denying Dirk of the basketball is plan number one of the Spurs defensive game plan.
Plan B goes a little like this:
Let someone else shoot it! Gregg Popovich you've done it again. The plan is to make Dirk as uncomfortable as possible or give him false hope and let someone else hoist it up. Let's look at the odds of that happening.
What does this mean? They shoot less than 38%, not including Dirk. When you focus on taking away even less of that piss-poor percentage they shoot, the better your odds are. (Keep in mind how well it seemed MLP shot in Game 1. The turnovers killed us!)
By the way, something else I found throughout game 1 and 2...
Dirk has a tell. Watch where he directs the Flea and check out where the Flea puts it. Seems simple enough to pick up on.