Three reflections on Utah Jazz's 116-95 win over writer Andy Larsen, drummer for the Washington Wizards Salt Lake Tribune.
Bradley Beal scored 40 points in his last two games, including 17 shot attempts against the Grizzlies. So, at the top of Jazz's screening report, there was a big headline: STOP BEAL.
Jazz did. They refused the ball on every occasion, making it difficult for Beal to even put the ball in his hands. Of course, the Wizards started to take it out of the screens, but the Jazz used a defensive strategy called "locking at the top" to prevent it from opening in motion either.
For a really great discussion on locking up, check out Dylan Murphy's page here at the Basketball Dictionary. Essentially, you protect the player when he is about to go around a screen, which means he has to cut back.
Sometimes it means layups like that.
This setback is a dangerous pass when Gobert's long arms are threatened and Joe Ingles is long enough too, so this pass must be perfect. Tonight the wizards were not really there.
So another common strategy is this one, where the shooter comes out of a screen on the other side of the ground. This video is that of Joe Ingles at the top of the hierarchy, Kyle Korver while he was at the Cavs. Korver goes to the other side of the ground to recover the screen. Ingles is desperately on the run.
Beal probably did not do that as much as he wished, given the Wizards system, but when he did, the Jazz also did a good job of sending help to prevent this pass .
The cumulative result was that a lot of Beal did not have the ball. Ingles did a fantastic job in staying physical, but in the rules, while applying this strategy.
Naturally, teams usually end up at the spot where the open players are, and playing 4-on-4 is a huge advantage for the offensive compared to 5 to 5. Look at Royce O 'Neale at the bottom of the screen: he actually starts to help with a step, as he usually does, but then he realizes: "Oh, no, I'm keeping Beal and I have to stay one foot away. him at all times. "
This is not a tactic that you use often, but it is useful when you face the best shooters in the league. Beal said he had not been so much protected from the face since high school, but the strategy worked perfectly for the Jazz. He scored only 15 points, and the Jazz is imposed.
2. The defense of wizards was really bad
I could not believe some of the defensive games of wizards, and not in a good way.
Quiz: Who's the best shooter, Joe Ingles or Ricky Rubio? Jabari Parker fails miserably at this quiz. Duke is a better school than this one.
Okay, but Ingles misses the shot, but the Jazz gets the offensive rebound anyway. The Wizards have the opportunity to fix their mistake! Except that Parker goes back to 10 feet of Ingles again. Gobert installs a screen, but I'm not even sure he needs it; I'm sure Parker would never have closed.
This game is from earlier in the game, but I think it's even worse. It's a communication error, I suppose? But what does Parker think is happening here?
Do you remember when Parker was asked this summer to improve his defense? "Well, I do not know, I'm staying true to my strength," Parker said. Look at all the players in the league. They do not pay players to defend. "
He was not the only culprit, but it was he who made it most obvious. There's a reason he's in his third team. With a $ 20 million club option for next year, maybe it will be four very soon.
Parker led the Wizards with 19 points tonight. Points are not everything.
3. Do not keep Gobert with a little guy
The Wizards started Bobby Portis in the center tonight. Portis is taller than I thought: he's 6-foot-11, with a 7-1 wingspan, but he still has no game against 7-1 Gobert, who has a wingspan of 7-9.
Before, you could get away with it. I remember that a few years ago, Portland head coach Terry Stotts placed Dorell Wright (6-9) on Gobert and had some success, because Gobert could not really take advantage of the lack of experience and general lack of coordination.
Now you can not get away with it. At this point, protecting Gobert with a little guy gives rise to many baskets like this:
And tonight he even showed a match after a patient here:
Some of these problems are simply due to the fact that Portis is not a very good defender, but it is a very good gesture of Gobert.
Gobert thinks the Jazz should play more with him with these inadequacies, and of course, I guess he's right. But hey, the other alternative is to get shots for Mitchell, Ingles, etc., then get the offensive rebound of Gobert if the shot is missing. Either it's pretty effective.