Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Rockets Shut Down the Raptors’ Chances for a Tie

(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The Raptors faced off against the Rockets on Tuesday night, and with ten seconds left, the Rockets led by three.  The Raptors had the ball on the sideline with the chance to tie.  In two previous games the Raptors ran plays designed to get the inbounder, Jose Calderon, open for three.  Let’s take a look at what the Raptors ran and how the Rockets handled it.

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New Post at Hickory-High.com on Denver’s Transition Game

There’s more over there, so go check it out!

Denver also creates transition situations through sheer hustle, even when the numbers don’t seem to be in their favor.  Because George Karl stresses it so much, Denver is running while the other team jogs back on defense, especially the big men.  You would expect this from a high energy player like Kenneth Faried, but Nenê and Timofey Mozgov are also sprinting to the rim.  With Ty Lawson’s speed and Andre Miller’s passing ability, those big men are often rewarded for their hustle.  The video below shows how hard the Nuggets work to get their transition opportunities.

What Happened to Amar’e Stoudemire?

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Much has been made of Amar’e Stoudemire’s poor performance this season, so the All-Star break seems like a good time to look at how his season has gone.  His lack of involvement in the pick and roll has been greatly discussed and seen as a big reason for his struggles.  While he was heavily involved in and successful at the pick and roll in Phoenix, Amar’e had a PER of 22.8 last year with the Knicks while only seeing 2.4 pick and roll possessions per game.  He is averaging a similar number of pick and roll possessions with Jeremy Lin in the lineup this year, yet his PER is his lowest since his rookie season.  Let’s take a look at the other aspects of Amar’e’s game and what’s going on.

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Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Prevent David Lee Heroics

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

We’ve already taken a look at how the Lakers and Wizards have defended late game inbounds plays.  Clinging to a one-point lead with five seconds left, the Grizzlies were tasked with stopping the Warriors’ inbounds play.  Let’s see how they handled it.

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New Post on Bismack Biyombo’s Active Defense at Hickory-High.com

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Biyombo’s game is not just weakside blocks, either.  Biyombo has demonstrated flashes of greatness in defending the pick-and-roll.  He shows a willingness to get to the perimeter to help his pick-and-roll partner.  On multiple occasions, he has hedged to reroute the ball handler and then recovered to block the shot of the open man.  With the amount of ground he covers, it’s like having an extra player on the floor. The video below shows some of his impressive moments defending the pick-and-roll.  Keep an eye on how far he travels to get to the ball.

How Does Gilbert Arenas Fit Into the Lakers’ Plans?

The Lakers are interested in finding some scoring punch  to support their big three of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.  According to reports, Gilbert Arenas could be the man for the job.  Last year, Arenas was brought into Orlando to come off the bench as a perimeter shot creator, which is similar to the potential role he would see on the Lakers.  Let’s take a look at how Arenas might fit into the Lakers’ plans, using his play from Orlando as an example.

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Kobe Bryant Stops the Raptors from Running Their Favorite Play

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

The last time we saw the Toronto Raptors running a last second out of bounds play, they screened for inbounder Jose Calderon to get him an open three.  With some help from Nick Young, their plan nearly succeeded.  So with 3.7 seconds remaining, let’s see what head coach Dwayne Casey diagrams and how the Lakers handle it.

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Steve Novak Enjoys the Jeremy Lin vs. Ricky Rubio Matchup

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

The matchup of Jeremy Lin and Ricky Rubio brought plenty of fans to the Target Center, but it was Steve Novak who put the Knicks in position to win the game.  Let’s take a look at how Novak, a player whose only offensive skill is shooting threes, found himself wide open in crunch time.

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New Post on All Star Snub James Harden at Hickory-High.com

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One way Harden improved his overall numbers was to focus on his strengths.  He was excellent as a pick-and-roll ball handler last year, ranking 9th in the NBA in points per possession.  This year, he’s been involved in more pick-and-roll possessions per game, and he’s become even better at it.  Harden is at his best when attacking the hoop, and the pick-and-roll puts him in position to do just that.  Harden has become an excellent finisher; he’s shooting 70% at the rim, which is better than the average center.  Watching him turn the corner and slash through traffic makes those comparisons to Manu Ginobili seem very appropriate.

 

 

Nikola Pekovic Playing Prison Ball

AP Photo/Alan Spearman

Nikola Pekovic has undergone a complete transformation into a highly useful player this season.  His PER has jumped up to 21.6 from a below league average of 11.2 in 2010-’11.  He’s shooting at a higher percentage and hitting the offensive boards at a much higher rate.  Since last year, Pekovic has improved in almost every offensive situation:

Despite having the 5th best PER among 1st and 2nd year players, he still got snubbed from the Rookie-Sophomore Game.  Let’s take a look at Pek’s under-the-radar success.

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