Identifying correctly what actually lost last night’s game for the Raptors
The Toronto Raptors lost a hard fought game to the visiting Atlanta Hawks last night:
Atlanta Hawks 104
TORONTO RAPTORS 101
Complete Game Info
but, instead of whining about the discrepancy in fouls called against the Raptors by a fairly veteran crew of officials … i.e. Bill Spooner, Rodney Mott and Haywoode Workman … which is really as good as it gets for a Wednesday night in the NBA with 11 games on the slate, what the Raptors and their rabid fanbase should actually be moaning about today is the poor defensive execution displayed by their own team on the following possession which allowed the Hawks to take the lead for good, on a simple “catch-and-shoot-3PT-shot” by notorious Raptors killer, Mike Bibby, with Atlanta down 2 points and 10.3 secs left in the 4th quarter:
Q1. Which of the following individuals for the Raptors was at fault for failing to carry out his assignment properly on this specific defensive sequence?
i. Jose Calderon,
ii. Amir Johnson,
iii. DeMar DeRozan,
iv. Andrea Bargnani,
v. Leandro Barbosa,
vi. Jay Triano?
A1. If you’ve been a regular visitor to this blog over the last several years, then, you should already be able to answer this question correctly for yourself.
When a team is currently ranked:
A. 26th in [5th last] Points Allowed [i.e. 105.1], and
B. 30th [last] in Defensive Field Goal % [i.e. 49.2],
that team’s supporters need to understand that the primary reason they lost a very winnable game last night has nothing to do with the poor quality of officiating their team received but the poor quality of defensive execution by specific players and coaches when the outcome of the game was actually on the line.
FWIW, here’s the correct answer to the question posed above:
i. Demar DeRozan … did his job properly.
ii. Amir Johnson … did his job properly.
iii. Andrea Bargnani … failed to do his job properly.
iv. Leandro Barbosa … failed to do his job properly.
v. Jose Calderon … failed to do his job properly.
vi. Jay Triano … failed to do his job properly.
re: Bargnani [i.e. near screener's defender]
The primary responsibilities of the screen defender – in the double screen action – who is closest to the inbounds passer is to:
- see the 2 cuts happening from the player located above/below the double screen [i.e. Mike Bibby]
- jump out on the near/high side of the double screen to deter and/or intercept/deflect a direct pass to the shooter popping out at the top of the key
re: Barbosa [i.e. inbounds passer's defender]
The primary responsibilities of the inbounds passer’s defender is to:
- ”jam the passer” so that he is not able to complete a direct pass to a teammate cutting to the top of the key with the benefit of a single, double, or staggered set of screens
re: Calderon [i.e. weak side shooter's defender]
The primary responsibilities of the defender who is checking the player located above/below the double screen is to:
- “stay below” and towards the “basket side” of his own check
- “switch” vs any little-on-little cross screen action that ahppens below the double screen
- “chase” the shooter who comes out towards his side of the floor “around” the double screen action at the top of the key … and into the area of screen defender who is nearest the inbounds passer … by “trailing” on the hip of the shooter rather than attempting to fight “through” the middle of the 2 screeners
The primary responsibilities of the head coach whose team is leading by 2 points with only 10.3 secs left in the 4th quarter and the opponent with the ball in a sideline out-of-bounds situation, when coming from a called time-out is, to:
- Ensure that his players fully understand what they MUST DO in order to NOT GIVE UP an open 3PT-shot … either, from the top of the key, or the near wing/corner … which can lose them the game, outright, as opposed to surrendering a 2PT-shot which can only tie the score
re: Amir Johnson [i.e. far screener's defender]
The primary responsibilities of the screen defender – in the double screen action – who is furthest from the inbounds passer is to:
- stay below the double screen, in order to cover whichever screener might step towards the basket in response to the actions of the near screen defender and the weak side shooter’s defender
re: DeMar DeRozan [i.e. ball side shooter's defender]
The primary responsibilities of the defender who is checking the shooter located in the ball side low post is to:
- “front” vs this shooter so that he does not receive a direct entry pass
- “switch” vs any little-on-little cross screen action which occurs below the below screen
- “chase” vs any cut made by his individual check which does not involve the use of a single, double or staggered set of screens
Kudos to the Hawks’ Larry Drew, Jamal Crawford, Al Horford, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby for doing each of their jobs properly and executing this basic offensive play!