Formal game plans have been drawn up. Film has been broken down and shown to the teams. Xs and Os will be on the greaseboards in the locker rooms. The coaches will go through the motions because they are creatures of routine and structure.
But by Game 7 of the NBA finals, it is no longer about the game plan, nothing has really changed there for about three games. It’s about execution. It’s about the ability to adjust and adapt when Plan A is taken away. It’s about getting the 50/50 balls.
The Lakers know what they have to do to win. The Celtics know what they have to do to win. And they are a lot of the same things.
Control the paint. The most overused statistic for this series has been “the team that wins the rebounding battle has won the game.” It’s true, but that is a result of other actions, a symptom of the real cause. The team that has been able to enforce its will defensively in the paint has won the games. The team that kept the other team shooting jump shots. The team that took away the easy baskets driving to the rim. Doing those things leads to missed shots, which will mean more rebounds for a defensive team working hard inside. That is how you win.
Get transition baskets. Both teams stymie each other fairly well in the half court, easy baskets are hard to come by. However each game one team has forced more missed shots and created more turnovers, then used those to get out and run. The team that can get easy buckets in transition will win the game. Look for Rajon Rondo, who did not get run a lot in Game 6, to really look to push the pace.
Make the other team’s stars work. Ray Allen has taken over a half this series. Kobe Bryant has taken over a quarter. Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol have had good games. Any one of those guys is capable of winning one game all by themselves on the right night. If teams can defend and force one of the other guys on the team to beat you, not the guys who do it every night.
Doing all those things comes down to the basics. Execution of the game plan. Boxing out. Not losing track of your man on defense. Being smart but aggressive. Wanting that loose ball more than the other guy.
This game — this championship — is going to turn on those things, what sometimes get called the little things. One little thing, maybe.
And it won’t have anything to do with what play was drawn on the greaseboard before the game.
Tim Duncan has retired from the NBA.
But if you think that means he’s not still wearing Punisher T-shirts and is not still working out and staying in shape, you should watch the video above.
San Antonio-based kickboxing trainer Jason Echols posted a Facebook video of him and Duncan sparing, and the 41-year-old five-time NBA champ is still kicking a**. Sure, this sparring is at half speed, but if Duncan were going all out he could do some real damage.
He’s probably even got a move called the bank shot in his repertoire.
(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)
I feel LeBron on this one. I have two daughters who play on club soccer teams and I get more frustrated, angrier at referees, and generally am far more emotionally invested their youth games than any NBA game. Over the years I have learned a lot, both from and saw it echoed in Coach David Thorpe’s book, about how to be supportive to them and their experiences, not make it about my feelings and wishes.
But sometimes you need to step in.
LeBron James is in Las Vegas and so far all the stories have been about how he is working out with Derrick Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Chris Paul, and what does that all mean (nothing, NBA guys often work out together all summer, especially teammates and guys who share an agent). But he’s also there for the AAU Adidas Uprising tournament where his son is playing.
And when LeBron saw the score was wrong, he went over to the scorer’s table at a time out to tell them.
I love the way the scorer’s wave him off, like they would any parent who walks up and complains.
Then they corrected the score, because LeBron was right. You knew he would be, the man has an eidetic memory about basketball.
NBA offenses in 2017 may be highly advanced, but there is always room for a good old crossover.
That’s why we are bringing you 10 of the best crossovers from this past season. Some of the usual suspects — like Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook — bless the list.
Take a look at all of the highlight plays above and let us know what you think.
Meanwhile, I expect we will see more players doing be Shammgod next season.
The 2016 NBA season will be known for the MVP battle between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Or will it?
It could also be remembered for the Golden State Warriors seeking and achieving their redemption over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals.
No matter what, there are always great dunks to be seen in the NBA on a nightly basis.
Take a look in the video above. Do you agree with No. 1?