Against the Miami Heat, the Nets were physically outmatched by the superfriends, as they’ve been come to known: Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Defending these guys with just one player is virtually impossible, therefore, in order to defend them, your defensive rotations better be there, and on Sunday the Nets’ certainly were not. Let’s take a closer look:
In play one, the Nets got caught in a bad rotation and too many players guarding the ball.
Travis Outlaw (arrowed in yellow) started the possession guarding Carlos Arroyo. As the ball is entered into Chris Bosh, Outlaw is no longer guarding Arroyo, but instead providing help for Brook, if in case Bosh drives. Arroyo, spaces the floor and drifts to the helpside, you can see him right in front of the referee. Already you can see the Nets are poor defensive position. By nature of using a double team, you put yourself at a disadvantage numerically off the ball. Therefore its up to the other three Nets players not involved in the double team, to zone the rest of the floor. Devin Harris in this instance should probably drop below the ball line.
Later in this same possession, Lebron gets the ball and is now in a pick and roll situation. Again the Nets have poor balance, as you can see four Nets players are guarding the ball. Outlaw, who still is technically guarding Arroyo, never made his way back from the double on Bosh and ends up as the prime help man on Lebron’s drive. Arroyo (arrowed in corner) has drifted even further and is spotted up. Lebron just uses his excellent court vision to find the open and delivers the pass to Arroyo who connects on a three.
In play number two, the Nets again were caught not rotating to a shooter.
Terrence Williams began this possession guarding Lebron James. After James passed to the wing, Lebron spaced the floor by going to the help side wing. The ball got rotated to the top and Terrence Williams now got stuck in a switch and picked up the ball, James Jones. In the picture you can see Williams communicating this to Jordan Farmar, that Farmar now needs to pick up Lebron.
The ball then goes back to James on the wing and he starts probing the baseline using a dribble. When James has the ball on the wing, the Nets were sending immediate help. Here the help is coming from Brook Lopez (you can see him and Jordan Farmar guarding James in the circle.) You also can see Brook Lopez’s man, Big Z, pop out and spot up. This is where it is Terrence Williams’ job to rotate over, as he, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris need to zone up the help side.
Lebron does he right thing and passes to the open man, in this case it’s Big Z. Terrence Williams decides to stay and not go to the ball, leaving Brook Lopez with a long close out on Big Z in which he does not nearly get to in time. Another two points for the Heat.
Here are both of those plays in real time. This is going to be something the Nets have to work on moving forward in their season if they ever expect to compete with elite teams.