Warning: if you’re not into the finer points of the pick and roll, do not follow the jump. But a co-working FrontBurnervian offers what I think is pretty astute analysis:
So, I’m not sure why I’m wasting good work time on this (the work environment must be wearing off on me), but I felt the need to pass along my thoughts on the Mavs game from last night. This whole series has, in my opinion, gone well and not-so-well for the Mavs based on one key fundamental of the game. That fundamental is how the Mavs have defended (and run when they are on offense) the pick and roll.
In years past, they have been decimated by the Suns and Spurs running an effective pick and roll offense. Nelly apparently has done his research and came to play with a serious dose of kryptonite in the form of the high pick. In games 1, 2, 3 and 4 the Mavs played it the same way: terribly. They would do one of the following two things: 1. Both get caught up in the pick being set and allow the guard to drive the lane alone — thus forcing the low post man to either foul or come off his man and leave him wide open for the dish and dunk or 2. Both try to switch and take the guard — thus leaving the pick man to release and get the pass causing the same problem for the low post man, if he was even there to contest the lay-up.
The Mavs, on the other hand, apparently don’t feel like the pick and roll is that effective in their offense. When they run it, they either just breeze by the pick man leaving enough room to drive a Tahoe between them and the pick, or they fake the pick and dribble into the strong side defense with double coverage never looking back to see if the pick man is now open. It’s very frustrating.
In game 5, however, the Mavs did a MUCH better job of switching and defending or of looking for the pick and getting around it. They played a much better trap game in the high slot and didn’t allow themselves to be taken out of the play. I know that Avery is a great coach and has drilled them over and over on this, so I think it probably just comes down to desire and determination. If you want to be taken out of the play on a pick and roll, you’re going to be. But, if you want to fight through it and play tenacious defense, then you are going to do that.
I love the Mavs and hope that last night’s game has served to wake them up and give them some momentum (and determination) going into that den in Oakland, but I just don’t know how they are going to respond. Seeing Dirk hitting his free throws down the stretch and taking the big shot did my heart some good. But, it’s a long way for me to go before I can quit taking those pills for my stomach ulcer… and the pills for my heart arrhythmia… and the Imodium for my other problems… all Mavs induced.
Anyway, hopefully tomorrow night will be a really boring 24 point win for the Mavs, but with this team you never know. In my opinion it’s all gonna depend on whether or not they want to defend the pick and roll…