The Grizzlies outscored Phoenix 54-37 in the second half of yesterday's game. So was it the Suns becoming the team everyone thought it would be at the beginning of the season? I think it to be due to successful offensive and defensive changes at the half from our coaching unit, resulting in a great win led by our back-up bigs. Can we continue the great offensive play, particularly in the third, against the rival Clippers?
The third showcased the Grizzlies' offensive adjustments, and we'll have a look at implemented sets, which hopefully will be used against the Clips.
Third Quarter - 36 points
How on earth did a line-up of Conley/TA/Tay/Ed/Koufos score 36 points in a quarter? Through Dave Joerger's new offensive playbook, which favours ball and player movement over more stagnant inside out play. You're not going to dump the ball into Ed or Koufos and work off them time and time again, so at the half the Griz came out implementing some new sets, that although did look rusty at times, were very effective.
(Part of the reason may also be due to Phoenix's fairly so-so defense, giving up 102 ppg for 20th in the league) - Clippers are a few spots lower for 103 ppg
The most notable stat from our third quarter box score was probably that Ed, Koufos and Leuer all shot 100% from the floor for a combined 19 points. Mike's 5 assists and TA's 2 assists further back up that the Griz's ball movement and sets worked really well this quarter (bar a few plays, one with a timeout called and one with a Calathes step back rainbow, sigh).
The Grizzlies were very crafty, led by Mike, in their pick and roll plays off a horns set (see below: two corner shooters, two big men on elbows, ball handler), that led to easy looks for our bigs. But give them credit for finishing all the plays in a variety of floater and hook shots.
Below you can see Conley moving to his left, and Dragic is a step slower, waiting for a pick from Ed, who is actually cutting down to the low post.
Dragic is a slow to recover when Conley cuts back into the middle as he thought he would be dealing from an Ed pick on the other side. TA also cuts across to create space for Conley and to get Green in the way of any help defense.
Conley comes to the top of the key, forcing Len to cover him, which leaves Koufos opento finish on a nice hook shot. The help defense meanwhile has to fight through Gerald Green to stop Kouf. A really nice pick and roll play.
Leuer is in for Kouf in this play, which begins with the same cut by Ed to the low post, but this time Conley goes to a Leuer screen to his right.
Conley wraps around the pressure on the pick and passes to Leuer, whilst Ed establishes deep post position.
Leuer definitely should have fed Ed, but drives, and finishes on a turn around hook shot anyway.
Another variation which i thought was really interesting was having Conley run around screens, in this case a double screen that traps Bledsoe, who fouls Koufos. This could be a nice way to get open looks for Conley, who is often left to create something from nothing.
These sets engaged all the players on the floor through ball and player movement (essence of Joeger's coaching philosophy), and generated great looks for the Griz. With Zach looking to return against the Clips, hopefully these sets can be used along with and complementary to the inside out brand of basketball Memphis employs.
Offensive suggestion for the Griz
Alright, I suppose Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are more agile than Markieff Morris and Alex Len, Jared Dudley is smarter on D than Gerald Green, and CP3 is a little more engaged that Goran Dragic on this side of the game. But the Clippers team defense hasn't shown they can work as a unit yet, which means ball movement, cuts and neat passes are a must to take advantage of their poor communication.
The Hawks are a fun team to watch on offense, who employ a whole range of varying sets, averaging 24.1 assists (4th) per game. I also like them as they beat the Clippers their last game, so just like how I looked at the Magic's defense, I'll try and show some nice offensive plays the Hawks utilised, so we can whoop that clip.
- Horns pick and roll
Horns works well against big men that try to hedge on picks (Blake Griffin), as the ball handler can just turn back the other way, as what's happened above. Below, Teague has switched to a pick from Milsap to Brand and Blake is caught in no man's land, whilst Deandre is forced to come across onto the rolling Millsap. This has opened up a nice lane for Teague.....
....who takes advantage of the poor communication for the Clips (below) and draws in essentially their whole team, leading to an open Milsap mid range jumper.
So with a fairly simple pick and roll play confusing the hell out of the Clippers, the above plays against the Suns would hopefully create the same havoc.
But the Griz won't heavily rely on pick and roll sets, and neither did the Hawks. Milsap had 6 assists, a few off nice cuts in post-up sets eerily reminiscent of what the Griz run with Z-bo. The Clippers swingmen fall asleep on cutters, the Griz took advantage of this last time, and need to again, as Atlanta did.
The worst defensive possession of all time, DeMarre just runs around Milsap who hands it off to him for the bucket. Blake hasn't told Dudley he's backing into a screen, so he just stumbles into it whilst Blake seems intent on making sure Milsap can't get the rebound off the open lay-up.
A combination of the new and old on offense is necessary to beat the Clippers. They have capable one on one defenders, but are useless as a team on that end, so ball and player movement is a must to carve them up. Some of the sets used against the Suns in the second half need to be implemented particularly when Z-bo is taking a breather. But when we play through him, it needs to be done as a team, with cutters and shooters (shooter?) creating space for him to work and providing opportunites for easy buckets.
Even with Marc they aggressively doubled him last game, so they will probably open with the same tactic, meaning we need a combination of last year's plays and Joeger's new sets.