For the past year in the playoffs especially, former UCLA two-guard Russell Westbrook was criticized for his lack of maturity which therefore translated to limited team chemistry (if any) in their matchup against the (now) former NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks. Westbrook simply pouted when he was acknowledged by coach Scott Brooks to NOT play in the fourth quarter at all. Putting all of this business behind, they finished with only one win against Dirk and company.
Now, in the 2012 playoffs, his increased play first against the former champions, and then the Los Angeles Lakers proved Russell to be a much more valuable asset if you dismiss the “maturity” factors. In the first two rounds, he seemingly got what he wanted in the mid range area – his bread and butter. For some reason, the bigs protected the drives so much that they didn’t respect Westbrook’s well improved jump shot enough and as a result, he dominated. But remember, these two former NBA champions are not the same squads they used to be at their prime, certain individuals have moved on, the only solidified persons left in these contending teams are Dirk Nowitzki (along with Jason Terry) and Kobe Bryant for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers respectively. Hence, that is no reason or an excuse for those teams to define their lack of defense against the young Oklahoma squad.
Fast forward moving on to the Western conference finals, we see yet again more of Russell’s immaturity. Jacking up shots that fire hard off the back rim and the backboard, disruption of the offense means a dismal future in the 2012 playoffs for the OKC.
In games 1 and 2, Russell forced too many drives and mid range shots that leads to turnovers and transition buckets for the San Antonio Spurs. In game 2, where the Thunder seemed to cut the deficit, Russell yet again jacked up a long three that missed hard which disintegrated any hopes they would have of winning that game.
Also, one thing to note is that Westbrook averaged way more attempts than Durant or Harden. This is not a good stat for a point guard to take more shots than your wings. Despite that trend of the new breed of point guards, of averaging more points than assists, that still isn’t an excuse or reason to justify that your PPG and APG differ so much. In my opinion 15-20 points and 7-10 assists are ideal for a point guard and with the talent of Westbrook, there is no reason that he cannot average those numbers – he just has to put his mind to it.
In games 3 and 4 however, we saw Russell average about 15 shots per game and making only about 5-7 makes, averaging 10 PPG in those games, but only around 2 turnovers. In game 3, we saw his near triple double of 10 points, 9 assists, and 7 boards. Among our point guards in the league today, he’s one of the better rebounders (offensively too because of his athleticism ala tip ins or whatnot). Already there, an almost double-double of 10 and 10. I don’t mind Russell having those scoring outbursts (on an efficient note) time to time when the other stars ala Kevin Durant and James Harden struggle on the offensive end. I rather see Russell get double doubles like that on a nightly basis.
More technically though, especially in the latter quarters of game 4, we saw Russell play off the ball on a lot of occasions (allowing James Harden to run the point), and set off ball pin down screens (from the right post down to the right wing; free throw line extended area). On those situations, Kevin Durant put the ball hard on the floor, pulled up, and utilized his length to get those shots over the outstretched arms of Leonard, Jackson, and Neal. If you read my post before about possible things to get Kevin Durant open, well, in this game, they did so down the stretch, and they did it quite effectively.
Where does Russell’s importance come into play? Well, like I said yet again in the preview post for the Thunder’s perspective in this series, running Russell off screens off the ball as well as KD of the ball while James Harden is the facilitator is a great 3 man game. Spurs pay close attention to detail and in the upcoming game, they for sure will look to set counters for that and possibly have the two men (Russell’s defender and KD’s defender) switch on that pin down screen. The Spurs I think have one of the better defensive sets in the league in terms of understanding where to help and who to help when another is in trouble. With that being said, if they put two longer and lengthier defenders on both Westbrook and Durant, problem will be solved. They just have to switch those screens every time. And also, it really is a fundamental play right? It’s basically like anyone who does a V-Cut and then receives the basketball. Anytime you do a V-Cut there is already that space between yourself and the defender. Because the defender was trying really hard to fight thru a well set screen by Westbrook in denial of the pass that’s intended for KD, they sacrifice body attachment which therefore means separation between the offensive man and his defender.
So with this action all happening literally 10 straight possessions in the fourth, now, you can utilize KD as a decoy. Because remember, anytime you set screens (especially in the latter quarters), you pay attention to the man receiving the ball and fail to recognize the slip of the screen (by the screen setter). Hence, Russell can set that screen and as KD comes of a curl or a pin-down, Westbrook can duck in and Harden can throw a lob or maybe a backdoor pass from a weakside big, many many options can be created from just that simply (initial) play.
People fail to look at how Russell is typically a great off the ball screen setter for the wings.
The benefit of having a what we call little-big-screen, when you have a smaller guard screening for a big man (anyone basically in the front court), you get benefits because you can have high chances of that little man being fouled, possibly converting 3 point plays – more than a big man because 4s and 5s tend to control the ball with less attentiveness – and with Russell’s athleticism, no doubt in guarantees these plays and options will benefit the Thunder in the long run.
I would like to see maybe a reciprocal version of this where they bring Russell coming off the screen and Durant slipping. So many things to be explored in this.
Looking back at the effectiveness of the play, we see that when the defense collapses on KD (but in cases where he has the ball already after receiving it from Harden), they set an off ball flare screen for James either by Ibaka or Perkins and now they have what I call a Weakside Flare Cut (considered as a option #2 for the initial pin-down for KD). Now what we have is an open shot for James Harden and as great a shooter he is, he’ll knock that shot down 9 times out of 10.
Remember, that play single double I talked about in a previous post? No? Well let me refresh your memory. You typically have the two and three (or whichever guard[s] or wing[s] are coming off the ball) in the right and left area in between low post and paint area. Above them, there are the bigs on each side respectively around 3-4 feet away from those guards or wings. Typically, you want either the right or left man coming off the curl (from one screen from a guard then a second screen from a big). If the defense doesn’t bite on that, shot. Two points. If the defense keys in on the man coming off the curl, you can feed a pass backdoor two that guard screener. If the defense keys in on that side, now we can have the initial screen setter (the guard) make a fake and sprint hard to the weakside off that other big’s screen, coming of a curl, shot, two points. Obviously if either of the guards or wings receive the ball already, if the defense packs in on them, they can hit it back to their screen setters which are now deeper into the paint. You can also to an opposite duck in where the latter big who sets the screen for the initial guard screen to come off a curl. Finally, you can have the two guards or wing(s) come off simultaneously and quickly. And you can have multiple options, if not, you can always reset.
If you follow Thunder’s offensive sets for lack of better words, you can see how this play alone benefits them in so many ways. Russell as well as Durant can get so many buckets off of this set.
Forward to post pass –
to center from the wing
screen for 5 to cut to free throw line
weakside forward rub off the centre and fill the strong side post
After the team sets up the triangle on the left side, the 5 goes back on top, run off that high pinch to the whole for a lay-up.
or you can just execute that 1 and 3/4/5 high pinch for the layup
1 on the wing, weakside forward will slide to the high post and the guard on top will try to go backdoor
wing throws ball into corner, the wing cuts to basket, 5 sets screen and roll in the corner for the guard
Game 1 of a possible 7 has completed resulting in a victory of 101-98 for the San Antonio Spurs versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What began as a decent outlook for the Thunder quickly disassembled in the second half as the they were held scoreless for a fair amount of time, lacking movement, fluidity, execution, and namely out of control by a certain few individuals.
Initially the Spurs had 14 turnovers in the first half and with tremendous care taken on the basketball and wonderous execution offensively, defensively, they limited themselves to committing only 3 turnovers for the last 24 minutes.
Let’s begin by what the Thunder did well and porous in the first half.
I cannot comment on the first 17 minutes of the game because I did not watch it. I started at around the 7 mark in the second quarter. With that being said, the Thunder’s execution wasn’t that great. Westbrook nailed a couple of pull up jumpers here and there off the pick. That was really about it.
Defensively, from what I observed, they have moved ibaka off to the bench with perkins coming in, durant on the 4, harden as the 3, fisher at the 2 and westbrook as the 1. The reason for this is because despite ibaka being the legitimate defensive presence with the shot blocking inside, with guys like matt bonner who can stretch it out to the three point line, there’s no way that the thunder would want to see ibaka all the way there. Where is the weakside help going to come from? For instances we even saw russell guarding matt at times.
To the second half, the thunder executed porously. With the spurs keying in on the scoring by russell and kevin, they really had no other offensive options. Harden has yet to get it going offensively. They tried getting the ball to durant on numerous occasions, trying to set him free off of pin-downs or baseline curls. But when he catches, he catches the passes at 20 feet, 22 feet. There is no way he can operate because outside of his own defender – which for the latter part of the game, was stephen jackson – there’s around 5-7 feet or less between durant and the next help defender. On one play we see jackson doing a great job forcing durant into the help on the left side. There’s neal, ginobili, and jackson before kevin got bailed out by a jump ball called by mark davis. One simple word. Execution. And that word for me is not “let’s get it to kobe and let him do his thing”. “This ain’t kobe”. This is kevin durant. if the play at the end of the game is designed for him, then run him off cross screens, pin-downs, backdoor screens. Many instances, plays such as those that involve such tremendous screening for the most “clutch” guy on the team, certain guys will be open simply because the defensive sets are for the denial of the ball receiver. With that happening, the screener(s) will be open possibly. Remember in that game 4 win against the lakers; world peace gave durant room to walk in comfortably into that three point shot from the right wing. How about kevin for this game? His defender was no more than half a feet away from him. 5 guys keying in on KD? Tough for him and the Thunder.
Defensively, their pick and roll coverages were porous. The “bigs” are far too down and away which causes the split of that high screen and roll utilized by manu and tony parker. That causes bad rotations coming from the weakside either because they’re by the wrong person or they’re just late. & because of this lack of defensive execution on the screen and roll, the thunder were at the spurs mercy when it comes to how to utilize it because they could do anything they want with the space there. Split by tony here and there, a simple bounce pass to the big fundamental as he rolls hard to the basket. The spurs plays aren’t hard. I’m not saying that to be cocky or anything. It’s just the truth. Their execution is legendary because they’re simple, with great spacing, and simply selfless individuals who care not about “who” scores the basket but “if” we get the basket that results in two points, three points, or a trip to the charity stripe.
In the spurs perspective, in the first half they seemed tremendously flustered offensively, tony parker struggling, not taking care of the ball.
The thunder wasn’t doing particularly well on the defensive side, the spurs just missed shots and turned the ball over.
In the second half, their execution was so easy, crisp, and well accomplished. Pick and roll, roll to the basket; pick and roll, split of the defensive, score; pick and roll, split of the defensive, set the next man up, score. Three step plays are what I like to call these. That’s what the spurs ran the offense through in the latter half. Simple and crisp, nothing more and nothing less. On one instance, off of an inbounds play, manu setted up weakside bumping with the defender getting separation, came of an elbow screen, free throw line, then off of a screen set in between the free throw line extended and baseline on the strong side of where the ball was inbounded. Essentially a “double screen” for a lack of better word, manu bumped his man, got separation then more after coming off those screens into a weakside-strongside basket cut, received the ball, lay up. How difficult is that play? Weakside elbow screen, pin-down, curl basket cut, bucket. Crisp, at the end of the day, resulted in two points. Execution cannot get any better than this.
Defensively, they played durant so well forcing him to one side. Besides the charges taken by neal, they kind of sagged off of westbrook. But knowing the knuckle headed ucla product, he will definitely barrage thru those spurs defenders that are obviously set there for an evident charge call. Out-of-control as reggie miller says.
Offensively, the thunder need to execute plays instead of running the offense thru the big three. Consider possibly, letting the big three start the game off, then allow the others to get involved as a part of the deferred focus to the big three. Execute execute execute, can’t say anything more than that.
Defensively, the durant to the 4 strategy obviously became porous down the stretch. I still like the idea of having ibaka out there. The thunder are just afraid of the rotations they will have once ibake is baited out there. As long as you get your defensive rotations right, it’ll be fine.
For the spurs, continue with the pick and roll, spreading the shooters. Hall-of-fame strategies.
Defense will take care of itself as they have corrected those 1st half mistakes in the 2nd.
Tune into game 2 which happens this Tuesday.
Checking in game 6 of Indiana against Miami.
The first two buckets here by Indiana is already something positive. All four points were committed in the paint by David West. This is something that the Pacers need to establish early as well as running their offense through West and Hibbert in the paint. Both players need to catch that basketball deep in the low post because that is really where they are effective at.
As we take a quick timeout going to commercial break, the Pacers are definitely responding to Larry Bird’s comment about their soft play in the prior game that led to the blowout defeat back in American Airlines Arena. The execution for the Pacers is very crisp. What I would like to see is hard cuts by both Granger and George with good tough screens leading to those cuts.
The Miami Heat have limited legitimate inside presence as they miss the bigs of Bosh, Haslem, and Pittman. With limited inside presence, offensively, they have problems because they cannot count on the Dynamic Duo getting 40 and 30 every night. Who is going to step up for them? Defensively, Battier has been exploited numerous times in here with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
Offensively, the Pacers like I mentioned before will need to run their offense through their bigs with hard weakside cuts from (Paul) George and Granger. Yes they are decent spot up shooters but I see their effectiveness rise when attacking the basket. Defensively, they need to contain the Duo collectively because no one can really establish single coverage. James and Wade are both good examples for George and Granger in making those cuts towards the basket. On defense however, the help has to be there early as well as the correct rotation.
First quarter ends great start for the Indiana Pacers, but they do need to be more focused on taking care of the ball. They have 6 turnovers up to now which are not a result of Miami’s defense, just their own personal mishandles.
Despite their costly turnovers in the first half, the Indiana Pacers were in the game with a two point lead going into the half. However, as the second half comes along, for some reason they had gone away from their offensive plans – going inside. Maybe that’s because of a lack of confidence in pitching the ball inside as the Miami Heat keyed in defensively on David West. But that’s no reason to go away from your offensive game plan. They need to learn from the Lakers when Phil Jackson was the headmaster of the triangle offense, the ball reversal if and when Bynum was keyed in defensively was executed with ease. That’s exactly what the Pacers should do. They should reverse the ball, set some screens off the ball for David West to come around on the curl to the low block whether it’s the right or left side. When West does get the ball in those areas however, he seems to lack confidence to go up aggressively into the heart of the defense and elects to kick the ball out back to the perimeter and by that time, they were already in the short shot clock situation with 5 seconds or less. With missed perimeter shots, there are long rebounds, and five Miami Heat players keyed in on grabbing that rebound, where are the Pacers? You absolutely cannot just rely on David West to pickup those rebounds, it’s a 5 on 1 battle down there. Overall, the Pacers execution was poor, they forced a lot of passes which led to a total of 22 turnovers so far which led to 26 points.
Defensively, the weakside rotations are coming way too slowly. With that being said, there is no reason the Heat cannot win in what looks like a Miami victory in Game 6.
This morning I tuned in to #NBAonTNT in revision of last night’s Pacer-Heat matchup.
Let’s begin with the Pacers
David West, Roy Hibbert, Paul George, and George hill shot a dismal 34% from the field and attempted just 7 free throws among the four starters. It’s not quite fair to evaluate Danny Granger into this mix just because he was injured in the third quarter.
This is certainly not enough production at least from the starters standpoint.
Collectively the Pacers shot a shade under 34% as well from the field, making 30 of 89 attempts and this certainly needs to be addressed in the upcoming game 6 back in Conseco Fieldhouse.
In such a matchup, it was more of the starters against starters battle as both the Pacers’ and Heat’s 2nd unit scored 35 and 34 points respectively.
Besides tremendous production from two of the big three, the battle on the glass was also won by the Miami heat grabbing 49 boards as opposed to 35 rebounds by the Pacers.
If you look back at the victory by the Pacers back in Game 3, besides Hibbert’s double double, the story was clearly the rebounding. Yes, one would argue that the Heat stars had an off night, but many of those instances by those two were solely their personal mistake committing a collective 9 turnovers.
Aside from Lebron and Wade, all the other matchups including the 4, 5 should be exploited in favour of the Pacers. Yes Shane is a pretty good charge taker and perimeter defender. But that matchup can certainly be taken advantage of because I think that Hansborough (if he were to be guarded by Shane) would have much more size and would therefore have a tendency to draw fouls. With that being said, I really hope Danny Granger is alright with that rolled ankle as we will see gametime come Thursday. Granger if he were to come back has more foot speed to contend against Battier and should therefore call for some sets to be run for him.
The 5 being Ronny Turiaf and probably Joel Anthony as they lack a definite center on this Heat team can also be exploited. He is not known for a tremendous defensive presence in protection of that painted area. As well, despite Ronny being a good “hedger” for a lack of better word on the pick and roll, the high screen is something that can be effective against him to exploit that matchup once they get the switch with Hibbert and Hill or Collison. Of course no one can forget the Heat duo as they bring an active weakside help. Nonetheless, they are for sure going to key in once that penetration becomes a norm off that pick and roll and the 1-to-5 matchup gets exploited. With Wade and Lebron coming from the weakside for help, the Pacers can kick it out to shooters (and this particular 3 point shooter aspect is what I think Larry Bird should look at to build around West and Hibbert in this upcoming offseason).
(An aside, the flagrant action was just bogus. In the first flagrant 1 called against Hansborough, I don’t disagree with that. There certainly was definite contact on Wade at the head despite Tyler’s initial momentum as going for the basketball. However, the next two flagrant fouls against both Haslem and Pittman were ones that the league should look at with severe seriousness as these types of actions should not be at all tolerated no matter what stakes are being played in these games. Physicality is one thing, but hurting people is another. There was clearly zero intent on both Haslem and Pittman’s part for going for the basketball, and in fact there was clear evidence to show the players were the targets in those horrid actions. Why the officials didn’t call either a flagrant 2 is beyond me. I trust the league office will do what is right in order to bring justice and fairness for the Pacers.
And lastly, on Granger’s part of the “stupid” physical play as Lebron labels it, or the trash talk or what have you, just play basketball, please. Enough with this bogus back and forth stuff between Danny and Lebron or Wade. Same with Dahntay Jones. Just play the game, as simple as that. Karma will come back to bite you just as it did for Granger.)
As we look ahead to Sunday’s game 1 between the Thunder-Spurs series, let’s examine what each of these teams have been able to do or not do in the prior round against the Lakers and Clippers respectively.
Thunder and Lakers
In game one of this former rematch of 2011’s western conference final rivalry, there was essentially a flow to the Thunder’s offense. Westbrook credited points from basically anywhere on the court, the drive, the pull up, the post-bank shots, we seen it all. On westbrook’s part, with his jumper being so deadly from 17-19 feet, I just don’t quite understand why the Lakers didn’t collapse on Westbrook after they witnessed him go at such a high rate on those pull up jumpers. They tried to protect the drive so much that they left themselves at the mercy of the third year guard out of UCLA. I agree what Kenny said on TNT about forcing the drive and not allowing the pull up because Russ makes better decisions there. Yes..and no. He does make decent decisions off those screens. However, he pulls up way too blatantly off those Perkins or Ibaka screens as he very often does rush his pull up jumper. My conclusion on Russell westbrook is that the S must key in on him and force him to run side pick and rolls and trap him in those situations as Russell is most effective at the high screen and roll around the free throw line area. His decision is very on and off as he makes the correct reads sometimes which results in his 27 point effort in game one, as well as 37 in game four and 28 in game five.
In terms of Durant, he had some off nights against the Lakers where he struggled when relying too much on the jumpshot ala sizing up the defender from three, pulling up and forcing when coming off that screen when there is a clear double waiting to come. I feel that OKC should run more sets for him in the future like zipper for instance where u have a sort of pin down screen for Durant to the top of the key at the three point line (or closer) for that jumper. They can really use Westbrook as a decoy in the post and take advantage of the shorter Tony Parker just like he did to Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions. As well, I think that they can execute some Ray Allen series like pin down screens, down screen flares, misdirection screens, cross court screens, single doubles. All those plays should be ran for Kevin Durant coming off the ball and off screens.
I know what you’re thinking. Kevin Durant isn’t a pure shooter per se, and he needs the ball in his hands to create. I agree but on certain occasions. He is not credited enough for his ability to shoot the ball coming off screens to catch and fire. I really think scott brooks should explore these options as they can really expand their offensive strategies with these plays.
In accordance to the Lakers game though, there where certain times where the Thunder did effectively run Durant off curls to catch and shoot.
As well, off the screen, and catching does not necessarily mean he has to shoot. He can utilize those by means of getting to the basket or once off the catch, one two dribbles and pull up.
There are many options for this and it will be interesting to see where scott brooks goes with this.
In discussion about the former 6th man of the year, I think that he is superior to Durant or Westbrook in terms of creating off the bounce. I’m sure many of you heard that James should be more of a facilitator when he’s on the floor especially with Westbrook and or Durant as well. I totally agree. He makes the correct reads off the screen and rolls. He is most effective at the high screen and roll that extends beyond the three point line. Its more like a spaced out screen and roll set between Harden and Collison (whose combination I think is most effective as opposed to with Perkins and Ibaka). What James needs to improve though, is scoring coming off that screen and roll. Much like the situation with westbrook in that screen and roll, the big will always be reluctant to come out and guard the shot. Hence, Harden must take full advantage of that and pull up to shoot the midrange or three which is more effective at.
In the Lakers series, Harden struggled at times because he was indecisive on whether to drive all the way to the rim or pull up and shoot. Such an indecisive tendency caused James to poorly manuever himself in games like game 4 especially.
Westbrook, Durant, and Harden will be the only discussion, offensively because their plan of attack really focuses between the OKC big three where the rest of the team keys in time to time and on garbage points.
Again we begin with westbrook on defense. In the lakers series, he was matched up with sessions and blake.
Against sessions, russell sometimes makes the wrong reads on what sessions will do and how the screen will be utilized between ramon and bynum/gasol and tends to overplay ramon’s jumpshot. As a result, we see ramon get quite a number of timely floaters. He is more of a slashing type point guard hence russell shouldve been more reluctant to guard the jumpshot than the drive.
Blake is more of a guy who will slash less to the basket and will shoot the three more than sessions. Russell played him the opposite as he did sessions defensively. You want blake to drive to the rim because he isn’t good enough to finish at the basket. Once he gets into the paint he is much more flustered. With that being said, russell should trust more of his teammates to give the proper help on blakes drive.
Russ will need to adjust on how to play the offensive player better in the spurs series.
Off the ball, he seems to have a tendency to lose his man as well and does not keep him in his sight allowing wide open looks. Focus should be improved.
As a help defender, russell sometimes over commits, and as well commits at the wrong time and rotation as he may be one of the further help defenders who rotate over which causes a disruption in the defensive set because now you got the wrong people matched up and therefore would lead to semi-good looks for the opposing team.
Durant was matched with world peace and kobe a lot in this series and was exploited by the lack of strength. He will more than likely need backside help to cover his man. Kobe is a phenomenal player but only got good post positions because KD didn’t get him off the spot enough.
Ibaka was getting great blocks all over in the lakers thunder series as he is a great weakside defender. Most of his blocks are weakside. If he continues to do this, Thunder will be a fearful team to watch in the series.
More often than not when the perkins guards the pick and roll he is exploited because his hedge isn’t aggressive enough and leaves such a wide gap which allows for the split between. He also doesn’t have enough foot speed (I know he had a right hip injury, but still) to recover and guard. He needs to improve weakside help.
Thunder against the spurs
Westbrook needs to be assertive in his decision making and make the right reads off pick and roll coverages. If the spurs do in fact as a team collectively key in on his pull up, he needs to know where that next pass should be before he makes that potential pull up jumper.
He can also exploit the matchup against parker by playing in the post. He is overlooked for his effectiveness on the block (when he is under control of course)
I mentioned before that screening, and coming off screens will be essential to durants offensive expansion, personally he can be more effective coming off the screens like such versus being on the ball off isolation situations or short shot clock scenarios.
He needs to exploit that high screen and roll as much as possible against the spurs. At that two spot, danny green, gary neal, kawhi leonard will be matched up with james potentially. Besides kawhi leonard, the former two are not as great a defender than the latter and is therefore a matchup that can be taken full advantage of by James. I trust his decision making off the bounce if and when the spurs key in on his screen and roll usage.
The rest of the team
As for the rest of the thunder personnel, especially the bigs, they should set hard screens on and off the ball because that will be where most of the thunder offense. More often than not in the lakers series, the “screens” especially off the ball weren’t really screens but slight separation created between the cutter and the defender, which allowed for the defensive player to recover quickly.
Again we begin with the defense of the 1 which will be a major task by russell westbrook to contain penetration by tony parker into the painted area.
Tony parker is most effective at creating off the bounce off screens and the give and goes. For starters, russell must work with his fellow screen defenders ala ibaka, perkins, collison, mohammed, etc. in order to force parker to the sidelines where he is less effective at. This is more or less the same defensive philosophy for containing westbrook. With this defensive pressure occuring I can envision the spurs making correct reads off the ball and making the right cuts toward the basket (which might devastate the thunder if on the flipside westbrook is pressured).
As I mentioned, tony parker is good at give and goes..as well as coming off curls and cutting towards the basket. Russell westbrook has a tendency to lose his man within his vision and leaves him wide open (ala the steve blake scenario in game 2). He must key in on every possession whether tony is in the game or not. He must rotate better as a help defender as well, and understanding who should be the one helping, whether its him or someone else.
Durant should take advantage of his length in the denial of the ball against the shooters. Despite most of the shooters being spot up shooters on the spurs, time to time they do run single doubles and off those curls, kevins length will help as well as denying the spot ups.
Tim duncan’s favourite spot is more or less the left block going over that right shoulder and sometimes facing up and knocking that short jumper. Ibaka despite being a great weakside defender should force timmy D into the baseline more to effectively limit Duncans ability in that block. Tim also has a tendency to make that sweeping hook, and if ibaka chooses to expose that hook shot, there should be already quick strong side help from the guards to traffic that space to prevent that shot.
I will discuss about the spurs execution offensively and defensively in the prior round as well as the lookahead in their schemes against the thunder in the next post of the thunder-spurs preview.