I know it has been a while since I last did a video breakdown, but it was finals weeks for the last two weeks, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to go over videos. So we are going to continue the video breakdown series starting with the Nets game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. There are a lot of good things to take away from this game, but there were also some bad defensive plays.
On offense, you are going to see the the difference having 3 point shooters make. I have talked about it a little bit before, but when you have shooters, it forces teams to stay close with them. That makes helping out on defense harder, and it also makes doubling Brook Lopez harder. The Nets lost this game on the defensive end though. They got dominated in the paint, and part of it was poor rotation, allowing the Timberwolves to get easy lay-ups. We are going to take a look at some examples after the jump.
We are going to look at the mistakes on the defensive end first, just because I want to get it out of the way and end this post with positive thoughts.
Here, the Timberwolves are running a side pick and roll, but it is a little funky because Flynn is running it towards the middle rather than towards the sideline.
This is initially defended pretty good. Harris gets around the screen, and cuts off Flynn’s drive to the basket, forcing him to take a dribble backwards. You also have two players in good help position in case Flynn does get past Devin.
After that backwards dribble, Flynn hits Harris with a vicious crossover…I mean this was nasty…I don’t think anybody would stay in front of him after this move. The still image doesn’t really do it justice, so here is the video:
Disgusting. So Flynn now has Harris on his hip.
This one is on Brook. Boone is in good position, and Devin Harris is still on his hip, so there is no real reason for Brook to be there. This is because of the way Devin is positioned. Flynn isn’t a threat to Brook’s area on the court, so he should probably be closer to Jefferson.
Because of Brook’s over-help, Flynn is able to dump it over to Jefferson, leading to the easy on handed flush. Here is the whole play:
Poor Zone Defense:
For the last few games, the Nets have sprinkled some zone defense against both the Timberwolves and the Rockets. For the most part, it worked very well. Here though, some communication and incorrect rotation lead to an easy jumper. The Timberwolves start this possession by dumping it in to Kevin Love.
Damien Wilkens is behind the zone defense, but he is clearing out, while Al Jefferson cuts to the middle. Because Wilkens is cutting away from the zone, he isn’t really a threat. Brook takes a step towards him though, and that one step allows for Jefferson to find space in the zone to make a cut.
Jefferson makes the catch and quickly shoots it over Brook, who was out of position, making the shot.
This possession really hurt the Nets. They almost got exactly what they wanted, but not knowing personnel once again hurt the Nets.
After dribbling out the clock, the Timberwolves enter the ball to Al Jefferson at the high post. He pump fakes and starts to drive.
On Jefferson’s drive, Harris comes down and helps, digging at the ball. This is the right move, you got a center driving to the basket, you want to see if you can force a turnover on the drive. Jefferson doesn’t turn it over, and he kicks it to Corey Brewer.
This is where the mistake is made. You got the shotclock running down and a poor outside shooter catching the basketball. If you are Devin Harris, you should be celebrating, and allow him to shoot the basketball. Instead, Devin Harris closes out like it is a terrific outside shooter catching the basketball.
Because of this closeout, Brewer now has Devin Harris on his hip, and he is doing what he does well. Attacking the basket.
Brook Lopez comes with terrific help, but good offense beats good defense, and Corey Brewer makes a tough double-clutch lay-up.
Now let’s look at the positives on the offensive end. The Nets now have shooting threats. This is something that continued against the Rockets. Against Minnesota, the Nets shot 50% from 3 hitting on 9 out of 18 attempts. That is 27 easy points that the Nets haven’t been getting until this game.
The Nets have a transition play that they run where they try to get it to Brook in the post, and if it isn’t there, they swing it to their PF trailing.
Here it is in action. Dooling was looking for Brook Lopez down low, but Ryan Hollis (wasn’t he a pain in the ass those two games?) basically tackled him. You got Yi trailing calling for the ball. If Yi was still out, and that was Josh Boone out there, it would be a quick swing pass to Devin Harris, and who knows what would happened after that.
Instead, Yi makes the catch, and he instantly looks to score. He calmly drilled this 3 to bring the game within 2. With Yi now running this play, the Nets now have another threat teams need to worry about.
Dooling Drive And Kick:
With Keyon Dooling now getting regular back-up minutes after returning, he is another threat on the court…moreso than Rafer Alston.
After dumping it in to Brook, Keyon Dooling makes a cut backdoor. This play worked really well against the Timberwolves, and it was partially the reason for all of Brook’s assists this game. Anyway, Corey Brewer sticks to Dooling rather than backing up into help position after the dump in pass (which would put him in better position to defend the cut) because of his shooting threat.
Dooling makes a nice catch and attacks the basket strong. He is unable to get a clean look at the basket though because three guys close out on him hard. I like to think about what Rafer Alston would do in this position. I’d think he’d try to draw a foul and throw up a crazy reverse attempt. Keyon Dooling sees the court though, and he uses that vision to find Courtney Lee open.
Dooling finds Lee wide open, allowing him to step into the catch and drilling a three point shot.