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Old 03-26-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
ZeN
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Default TrueHoop: How the Lakers Play Defense

How the Lakers Play Defense

March 26, 2009 12:21 PM




Quote:
In this case, Laker assistant Jim Cleamons is quote talking about how the Lakers play defense.

Their D has been praised all year by scouts and experts. Right now they're sixth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and first in offense. When you watch, you can often see that it is good. And being first in team efficiency rankings, and high in another, is usually enough to win a championship. (Cleveland is fourth in offense and third in defense at the moment. Boston is first in defense and fifth in offense -- last year's title winning team was first in defense and ninth in offense.)

I bring this up because how well the Lakers play defense could well determine who wins this year's NBA title. Here's Friedman, quoting Cleamons, who sounds like he thinks the Lakers could get better at playing defense:

"The only thing we're doing is what a lot of teams have decided to do: basically, playing a man to man defense that is actually a zone; we're sending an extra defender over in situations that we feel threatened. There's no big secret about it; that's what we're trying to do: give more help when we can and we've been fortunate thus far."

When I followed up by asking Cleamons to compare the current Lakers' defense with the 1996 Bulls championship team (for whom he was also an assistant coach), he replied, "That (Chicago) team had a certain chemistry in that they knew how to help. That's why we have gone to the scheme we are using this year: guys don't know how to help-when to come over, when to get out. If these guys understood that schematic then we wouldn't have to change up. We would have just gotten better at what we did" (emphasis added). In other words, the truth about the Lakers' defense is precisely the opposite of what Pelton wrote: the so-called "new" scheme was not some kind of defensive revolution but rather the coaching staff's attempt to organize the defensive efforts of some players who do not have great defensive instincts. As the Lakers have faced stronger teams and more road games, it has become apparent that their defense is not as great as Pelton suggested.

A couple months after my first interview with Cleamons, I caught up with him again and asked him to give a "mid-term" report card on the Lakers' defense. He said, "Anyone who watches film and is a student of the game would see that we don't play with the same intensity day in and day out, game in and game out. If you are going to be a championship caliber team, your defense is the one area that doesn't waver. We aren't good enough on a game by game basis to do what we need to do to say that we are going to be accountable in the end. Then, our rotations are not always what I like to call 'on point.' Sometimes, they are nonexistent, sometimes they are a little bit slow. If you are a good defensive team, then you play better on the defensive end then you do on the offensive end, because that (defense) is where you are really linked together; (in that case) the team has a feeling of when they have to help and a sense and a presence of how they need to get there so that when the ball moves and flows your defense is not always reacting. You are kind of ahead or you arrive right on the catch so the offense knows that you are there and there are no gaps in your rotations."


http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/...y-Defense.html
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: TrueHoop: How the Lakers Play Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeN
How the Lakers Play Defense

March 26, 2009 12:21 PM







http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/...y-Defense.html
Thanks for the info/link Zen. I felt Cleamons was on the money regarding their intensity. When they beat Boston and the Cavs on the road, I thought, they were focussed and full of energy, then there were times even at home where they seemed out of it, relying on their offense to win more.
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