The NBA Finals 2013 are in full swing and it’s a perfect time to share some random basketball thoughts and game observations in Volume 3 of the Quick Hitters feature. Check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 for more juicy, thought provoking basketball ideas and tips. The Miami Heat broke the game open late in the 3rd quarter and played a very good defensive game leading to a 103-84 win to even up the series 1-1.
NBA Finals Game 2 Report:
1. The Miami Heat are being very active with their hands on defense and have gotten plenty of deflections early on. The deflections have thwarted San Antonio’s pocket passing and throw back passes to their bigs after their precision ball screening or handoff actions. The Spurs only had 3 turnovers in Game 1, they already have 4 in the first few minutes.
2. The Heat are switching the Spurs’ ball screens late in the shot clock. This has effectively taken away the Spurs Pick and Roll actions and spacing attack. The switches have forced them into using the dribble to isolate and try to make a play. The Heat defense is too fast and physical for that to be consistently successful.
3. Danny Green is playing off the charts and keeping the Spurs in it early. Spurs have made the three point shot even though some have been forced and out of rhythm. Great read by Danny Green in the first half, fading on the wide pindown when Wade tried to shoot the gap.
4. “Birdman” Chris Andersen always makes a quick impact. He had a great sprint to set the screen in the first half to open the ball handler up and catch the pass on the roll for a two-handed dunk.
Being able to finish around the basket in various ways is one of the most important skills to have as a basketball player. The Eurostep, made popular by Manu Ginobli and Dwayne Wade, is a new and rather unorthodox way of finishing a drive in the paint. During Game 3 of the NBA Finals, LeBron James executed the Eurostep perfectly, finishing a key fast break with an AND 1 layup. The reason why LeBron James’ Eurostep worked so well was the way he preceded the move with a quick and decisive in and out dribble.
Going into this much anticipated NBA Finals series, we all knew the potential there was to see some “small ball” lineups. Both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are regarded as the two most athletic teams in the league. In the same sense, they are two teams that don’t have a lot of conventional size up front and/or frequent low post scoring from their bigs. With all of the above taken into consideration, both teams opt for switching on defense to keep similar size and speed matchups and avoid getting into a help and rotate situation where offenses can take advantage. Switching also helps take away lots of the pick and roll action that is so dominant in the NBA. Often times, switching every screen can stall another team’s offense, causing them to stand around and watch as one player ioslates and usually forces a tough shot (see Miami Heat’s 4th quarter in Game 1).
He has long limbs, quick feet, broad shoulders, the strength to bang with any size player, the intelligence to recognize offensive tendencies and is extremely active. No, we are not talking about Scottie Pippen (widely regarded as the best perimeter defender of all time). We are talking about Thabo Sefolosha, the starting shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sefolosha, an unsung hero of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, is finally getting some of the attention he deserves.