Slips,rotations and ball in the air.
Yesterday I listed three areas of play for you to observe for the Spurs game:
a- Defending 'pick and slip cuts'- Lopez struggled vs Duncan in these situations early in the game...also the off the ball defenders at times were late in deciding "who takes the roll or slip cut?"...it improved as the game went on,but this is an area that will be worked on as all teams run these packages.......
b- Defensive Rotations- Spurs are one of the best in the NBA in spacing the floor...place players in the corners and Parker is terrific at probing and creating off ball screens...plus Duncan is a special player.The Horents at times were a step slow in reacting to these actions as "off the ball defenders" were not reacting quickly enough vs penetrations.....as the early stages of the game proceeded use saw flashes of some solid reactions....young players can struggle in this area as the offensive actions can be so quick....experience is the best teacher.
c- Ball and Player movement- In the first half the Horents did a very nice job with their spacing,ball and player movement.Vasquez played within his limits and played alert basketball...his court vision was solid...I like the Horents actions towrd the rim and their off the ball movement plus sharing of the ball ( 26 assists on 35 made FG;s)
Whast important to observe is 'where and when the Hornets are getting shots'. They had some good looks that were simply missed.The plus is they got open looks becuase of the movement we're talking about....so the actions created open shots...now you just have to make them.
d- Ball in the air- late game both teams garned in some missed shots for offensive rebs or re-sets.The 3rd qrt was damaging as the Spurs ripped off a 17-5 run with rebs and open floor play...NOLA def rebs slipped during those moments.
The Spurs locked down New Orleans in two of the most critical trips in the game late in the 4th.You could see them amp the ball pressure and jamming passing lanes.The Hornets failed in not breaking off a play and creating on their own or seeing the tough man to man and providing some " bail out lanes" ( shorten the length of the ball by going to help the man with the ball)...that hurt the Hornets.An area where youth is punished...they will learn the value of this as they gain experience.
A very entertaing Opening Night.The game got away from the Hornets in the 3rd but, lets give credit for their battling back to make it go to the wire.
*Killer poise by the Spurs as their ball movement and spacing was perfect when they found Tony Parker at the 50 second mark open for the 3 ball.....obvious experience.