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[Coaching Better Basketball]Rockets Defense on Kobe

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by weslinder, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    One of my favorite blogs is Coaching Better Basketball. The writer is a coach who does a lot of instructional videos. The writer did a great piece on the Rockets' defense on Kobe Bryant.

    http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot.com/2008/03/rockets-team-defense-slows-kobe-bryant.html

    Rockets Team Defense Slows Kobe Bryant

    I watched a couple of college games today, but I took a break from March Madness to take in the huge matchup between the Rockets and the Lakers. The Rockets of course are on their historic winning streak and the Lakers are trying to stay positive following the news that Pao Gasol will be gone for a while due to injury.

    With the injuries, you knew that Kobe Bryant would step his game and put the Lakers on his shoulders. Exactly how the Rockets would respond defensively would determine how successful they would be today. For the most part, I thought Shane Battier did as good a job 1v1 as you could hope, but what really made the difference was the helpside. Here are a few defensive clips from the 2nd half,

    <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_hFOPJZhG28"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_hFOPJZhG28" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

    Force Baseline to Helpside:

    I think more and more the consensus among coaches is to force baseline to help. Everytime Kobe was able to drive middle, he seemed to either create a good shot or get fouled. In my opinion, in a help-recover M2M defense, you must force baseline instead so that you compress the area for the offensive player to operate and help can come easier as well,

    [​IMG]

    Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:

    I love this screenshot because in it you can clearly see the Rockets communicating on defense. That's what team defense is all about folks, letting your teammates know where helpside should be. These along with other verbal audibles like yelling "shot" or "dead" are things that players should be doing. There are 4 other teammates on the floor, it seems obvious to let each other know what they are doing. It's like an army unit, always communicating so that everyone knows what their job is. Here, I think it's Hayes or McGrady letting Scola know that he needs to be at the strong-side low block for help-side against Kobe. After getting roughed up all night inside, Kobe decides to jack up an ill-advised 3-pointer,

    [​IMG]

    Summary:

    Ordinarily when a guy goes off for 24 points, it doesn't appear that your team did a good shutting that guy down. But when put that in the context of 11-for-33 and 0-for-4 from 3-point, 2-for-4 FTs, 2 assists and 3 turnovers it looks like a whole lot better. Shane Battier is a great defender, but he wasn't going to be able to shut down Kobe by himself. And that is why the Rockets have won 22 straight, because they've bought into each other defensively and are willing to communicate and do whatever it takes to stop teams from scoring.
     
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  2. Classic

    Classic Member

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    Good post
     
  3. Jeff Who

    Jeff Who Member

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    That just makes me feel so happy. You won't see any better, right now Battier is the best 1on1 defensed in the leauge. Just look at our winning streak, look at opponent's best players' stats. That tells everything.

    Battier defense was phenomenal, you cannot add much to 11/33. He made Kobe go to work. He made him take tough shoots. It wast just great to watch it.

    Maybe McGrady had horrible game (and he did) but Kobe didn't have any better. If Tracy would have attempted 33 shoots he would have probably score the same.
     
  4. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

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    Fantastic post...

    DD
     
  5. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    Great point. Help defense on Kobe was very important. Battier was great. But if it were 1-on-1 game, Kobe could fairly easily driven past Battier. Hayes and Scola were able to cut him off most of the times when Kobe drove past Battier. And the defensive rotation was very solid.

    And they did a great job switching off or trapping him when they set screens for Kobe. The defense against the picks was much better with faster big men like Hayes or Scola than with Deke or Yao.
     
  6. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    I honestly don't think what Battier did last night -- 1-on-1 mind you -- has gotten the recognition it deserves. I've been watching basketball for a while, and Battier's defense on Kobe last night was a text-book perfection unlike anything I've seen in this league for over a decade. Last time I saw such stifling defense on a superstar was Scottie Pippen on Magic Johnson in '91 Finals...and back then they allowed hand checking/much more aggressive perimeter defense.

    In this new era of 'soft' perimeter defense, and in a league with rules premised on facilitating the individual 'greatness' of perimeter players, I've never seen a defensive performance on par with what Shane Courtney Battier did to Kobe Bean Bryant. His performance was peerless.
     
  7. BackNthDay

    BackNthDay Member

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    The most important part is communicating and everyone knowing what to do. If you talk on defense, you're going to be hard to beat. Especially if you have defensive minded players.
     
  8. slobodan

    slobodan Member

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    this makes me notice our help defense which i hadnt previously... thanks, he wrote a good post on that blog
     
  9. BackNthDay

    BackNthDay Member

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    When we go small with Chuck and Scola or Landry and Scola, we lose a little in the paint defense/rebounding but it more than makes up our pick n roll (PNR) defense. This is going to be tremendous against Golden State and Utah.
     
  10. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    The most interesting part to me (and I've seen it and wondered about it) is that they make a conscious effort to force the offensive player baseline and help. It goes against what most players are taught for most of their lives. Most coaches try to cut off the baseline and force the player to make a play in the crowded middle of the lane. I can certainly understand why forcing baseline and into a help defender would be advantageous against a great individual playmaker like Kobe, but recognizing that is ingenuous.
     
  11. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    Shane's a great defender, and our team defense is awesome...

    BUT, I'm not going to be getting as giddy as everyone else about the defense played on Kobe yesterday, because sometimes some people have worse games. Typically Kobe goes bananas against our similar defense.

    The only difference today, which actually did help, a lot, is the lack of Yao, meaning Chuck or Scola were able to do a better job keeping Kobe in front of them while staying close enough to contest a jumper.

    Was it great defense? Yes. Could Kobe have gone off for 40+ against the same defense half of the time anyway? Yes.
     
  12. hashmander

    hashmander Contributing Member

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    no he doesn't typically go bananas against this kind of defense. he had two 53 point games last season, but it took him 82 shots to get those 106 points. and the other two games he was like 8 for 24 from the field and around 20 points. chucking and hoping is not a strategy.
     
  13. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    106 points on 82 shots isn't spectacular, but it's pretty efficient. Your point would be made better if you restricted that analysis to his 3/30 game where he went 19-for-44 and the Lakers lost.
     
  14. hashmander

    hashmander Contributing Member

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    here are his 4 games against similar defense last season:

    1: 8-26 23 pts LAL W (no t-mac)
    2: 17-38 53 pts LAL W (no t-mac)
    3: 6 -18 20 pts HOU W (no yao)
    4: 19-44 53 pts HOU W (both played)

    39.6% shooting is pretty effective defense.
     
  15. leebigez

    leebigez Contributing Member

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    Most coaches kinda have different ideas on forcing players one way or the other. I've had a hs coach that would bench u if a guy went baseline. My college coach would ride u back to the bus if a guys was allowed to go middle. My thinking is, if a guy gets in the middle of ur defense, ur toast. Now the defense collapses and its like a mini 3 on 2 break. That's one of the main reason why Spurs have dogged Phoenix. They can't keep Parker out of the middle. When u force a guy baseline, u actually have 2 defenders witht the out of bounds.
     
  16. LegendZ3

    LegendZ3 Contributing Member

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    Force baseline is a better option when you do it right. When you have a help coming from the middle to cut off the baseline, and the defender cover the lane. The offensive player is basically trapped. He would have no angle to pass the ball out, and the baseline acts like an extra defender. Where driving to the middle means sucking more than 2 defenders to the lane, the offensive player have a better angle to pass the ball back to the 3 point line for uncontested 3 pointer.
     
  17. Jeff Who

    Jeff Who Member

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    Last night we played really smart on the defensive end. We let Kobe gt those isolation but he got a tough job. We were not double-teaming him every single time when he got the ball but we made him go to work. Kobe got simply 2 options to play. 1st was to pull up for a well contested jumper by Battier, who is taller than Kobe is (he didn't make them) and the 2nd option was to drive, but when he did it there was a quick help and he couldn't do anything. We were helping each other which is key on the defensive end. Battier did phenomenal job on Kobe, but as a team we also did very well, not only on Kobe.
     
  18. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    That's kind of my point. Sometimes he does it effectively, sometimes not as much. But 53 points, twice, plus another 45 earlier in this year, plus another 30 this year. It may not be "efficient" all the time, but it is pretty good. Especialyl considering last year the Lakers were not the same team as this year and were much more of a one man show.

    On top of that, keep in mind when a lot of those points are scored. Kobe may be relatievely inefficient for 3 quarters then kill you, as he's done to us a few times in the last 2 seasons.

    All that said, my point is just that sometimes Kobe goes off against us, sometimes he doesn't. I definitely prefer that to him destroying us every time, like he does against a Toronto, Washington, Seattle, Utah (see Yahoo split stats - http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3118/splits?year=2007&type=Fielding). So of course I give Battier props for yesterday, just also noting it depends a lot on Kobe, too. Heck, looks like in the past 4 seasons, we "defended" him best in 2005 for some reason?
     
  19. BetterThanEver

    BetterThanEver Contributing Member

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    That's about Rafer's shooting percentage for last year, also. LOL. I would say that's pretty good defense, when Kobe is shooting like Rafer.
     
  20. Mack

    Mack Contributing Member

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    You can't stop Kobe, you can only hope to make him less efficient. If you can turn Kobe from playmaker to ball-hogging chucker, you've increased your chances of winning significantly. Sometimes he'll score 50+, sometimes he'll shoot his team out of the game.

    Why they didn't go into Lamar Odom every time boggles my mind. He was killing us in the paint. Why they went underneath the screens I don't understand either. Rafer has historically been a terrible finisher, but a decent 3-point shooter. Vujacic should have been bodying up Rafer all the way down the floor the whole game, not just the last 45 seconds.
     

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