Some suggestions on how Memphis can beat LA, from some guy in Sydney.
An encouraging start to the road-trip led to Memphis winning their first back to back games this season, both coming on the road. Yes, it was against the Lakers, yes it was against the Kings, but both were fairly encouraging wins, but most importantly, the defense of the Griz seems to have returned. Hopefully all the creases for the Griz can be fixed/altered in time for the Clippers and Warriors (then the Spurs and Rockets).
Pick and Roll Defense
The Clippers offense starts with the pick and roll, and with the maestro CP3 running it, there are numerous options. It comes down to a case of picking your poison, in whether the big man should pressure the ball handler coming around the screen, or whether they should sag off and protect the paint. Memphis pressured the Lakers well, and sagged off the Kings (worked well except on Isaiah), so let's look at the example of the Thunder (lost) and Magic (won), and how they defended the Clipper pick and roll.
On the play above, Ibaka steps up to pressure CP3, who feeds Blake nicely. Although I hate him, Blake is a great passer (3.3 assists/game), and because the Thunder wings have stayed on their shooters he feeds Deandre.
For the easy dunk.
On this play, Adams steps up and CP3 drives past him easily, finishing uncontested at the hoop as the shooters as well as Ibaka have stayed home on their men.
The Thunder stayed home on their men effectively, (6-16 from three) but that’s only half the job. For a team that ranks second in the NBA in assists (mainly due to CP3’s 12 at the moment), you need to shut down the passing lanes to the big men as well. In this game, the Clips had 30 assists and were +15 on the boards, both causes of the big men coming out to pressure the ballhandler
The Magic played the Clippers really well in all facets, and I’ll make my earnest attempt to show you why, and how the Grizzlies can emulate them. With two slower big men, similar to Marc and Z-bo (Vucevic and Maxiell) Orlando had their bigs sink back into the paint on pick and rolls, forcing mid range jumpers from the Clippers. More effort could have been put in by the guards at recovering over Deandre and Blake’s big bodies, but overall it was an effective strategy.
Here, you can see Vucevic fading from the Pick and Roll to stop penetration, whilst all the defenders are staying home on their man. Deandre is stopping Jameer from recovering effectively, but CP3 has to settle for Blake mid range J which he makes. Obviously this method isn’t flawless, but was effective with starting lineups, and reduced the pick and roll to two main options, a Blake or CP3 mid range jumper.
Blake's and CP3’s shot charts respectively. Chris is quite effective pulling up going left, whilst Blake clearly prefers that side of the court more, for both posting up and shooting. I believe that although they can make these shots, they’re the ones the Griz want the Clippers to take, rather than an easy feed inside to one of the big men. For the record, The Magic held the Clippers to 21 assists, 37% FG and 16% from deep.
Pressuring Curry coming off screens worked against the Warriors, and this method also worked well against the Lakers, but CP3 is more of a pass first point guard, and definitely not the shooter that Curry is. The big men need to step up defensively by stepping down, and not get run around trying to recover to their men. This will also help them on the boards, as they’ll be closer to home and should be able to track the Clippers in for box-outs.
Before I get into this, I think TA should be given the assignment of guarding CP3. If he doesn’t start fouling unnecessarily, it will save Conley chasing him around all game, but also Tony should thrive in the challenge of physically fighting over screens and competing with Chris and his little "let you get in front of me so I can elbow you" move. I’d have Conley on JJ, but could potentially move him onto the recently passive Dudley (6 shot attempts a game), as the Magic did here.
Now, having TA on CP3 should stop the over-helping issue he’s been having, as Chris likes to have the ball in his hand. I think Quincy and Jerryd will need to have good games defensively in staying home on shooters (Tay and Miller may be too slow) for the Griz defense to succeed.
Look how tight these defenders are on their man! Griz need to try and emulate this.
Other Miscellaneous Suggestions
-Foul the **** outta Deandre if he gets this close (Come to the Grizzlies Afflalo!)
-Have Marc play Griffin one on one defensively, and hopefully he forces more 360 spin hook shots.
I mentioned this in my last post, but the Grizzlies can’t over commit on the offensive boards as they have been doing. If Zach has established position or the ball isn’t coming your way Grizzlies, GET BACK ON D! Having multiple Clippers compensate for Zach will slow down the pace, but a more consistent way to slow down the leagues 8th fastest offense is to just to get back into your defensive set early.
Wonder why Deandre and Blake are averaging so many boards so far this season…… (everyone's hustling to get back and stop the transition)
Just to further demonstrate how deadly they are in transition, its not only lobs, but quick screens for quick plays, how the hell are they completely set and CP3 has already come around a screen within 4 seconds???!
The Clippers really aren’t the best defensive team, but the Grizzlies need to take advantage of the inside match-up they have over the Clippers. If they put Blake and his T-rex arms on Z-bo, go through Z-bo, otherwise run the majority of the offense through Marc. Running wings off screens is effective against the Clippers as Dudley and JJ aren’t the most aware players on that end.
Caught snoozing on a backdoor cut to the basket.
Give and go’s with Marc and our wings have worked fairly well so far, but the chemistry between he and Zach should shine in this game (fingers crossed). The hi and Low offense they have been running well lately is perfect to combat Deandre and Blake who don’t seem to like contact, and the multitude of bigs on our pine should run over the backups of Mullen, Hollins (?) and Jamieson (??). Furthermore, penetration and kick outs from straight line drives seemed to work well for the Magic, and should be an avenue explored throughout the game.
Shortening the rotation has worked wonders for the Grizzlies lately, and should be continued if all is going well. However, if the offense starts to collapse I think Calathes rather than Bayless could be great against the Clippers, as he penetrates well and seems to have 360 degree vision. Having him play with Conley, who could slash and cut to his desire would open up new opportunities inside for the Griz.
As a further note, the Clippers will most likely go small at some point, and if Zac or Koufos is struggling defensively and not dominating offensively, Ed should be freed. He’s defended stretch fours surprisingly well, and if he commits to attacking the paint and grabbing boards, could help combat the Clippers lineup possibilities.
- Big men : protect the paint (allow the mid range)
- Big men : this should help dominate defensive glass
- Wings : stay home!
- Everyone : Don’t go all out on offensive boards, GET BACK ON D!
- Off ball cuts, hi low offense (run it through Marc)