This season, the Clippers played against the Timberwolves and the Eagles against the Cavaliers in the play-offs, and they all staged the drama of the team reversing when the center was headed off the court. Is it a coincidence or a trend? Or do they have their own explanations?
The author was depressed for a while after predicting the Grey Wolves Clippers play-off error, and once wanted to close the pen (who cares). However, where you fall, you must stand up. After watching a few play-off games, the author found an interesting coincidence, that is, when the main center is out due to a full or injury, the team can reverse the game. The first example is the seventh-seeded play-off of the West Clippers away from the Timberwolves, and the Timberwolves reversed after Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out. After the end, the Eagles reversed the Cavaliers. But is this a coincidence? Or is the center really limited in helping the team in the playoffs or playoffs? Even hurt the team?
We had a game plan how we wanted to attack them. They played a lot better without KAT on the floor.
This is Clippers coach Tyronn Lue’s postgame press conference after the 4/12 playoff loss to the Timberwolves. Towns was targeted by the Clippers throughout the game. He made 3 of 11 shots in 24 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers, and a plus-minus of -14. In the fourth quarter with 7 minutes and 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, because of his own offensive rebounds, pushing people and grabbing the ball, he committed 6 fouls. The Clippers had a 7-point lead of 93:86 when Towns came off the court, but from then on, the Timberwolves pressed the Clippers to a 23:11 score on both offense and defense until the end of the game, sending the Clippers 109:104 to play the second game. Playoffs, with the seventh seed advancing to the playoffs.
How did the Clippers target Towns? And how did the Grey Wolves come back to life after Towns was gone?
In all fairness, Towns’ 11 actually had three or four line or mid-range jumpers just his own touch when the 3-pointer didn’t make it. But when the Timberwolves Jarred Vanderbilt was on, the Clippers’ defensive strategy was to have center Ivica Zubac guard Vanderbilt, who had no heel and autonomous offensive ability. Power forward Nicolas Batum on. When facing other centers on the perimeter to guard his shot space, but when he tried to cut his physical penalty area, Zubac was waiting for help in the kill zone to interfere with his shot. The Wolves were actually quite used to Towns, Anthony Edwards, and even D’Angelo Russell hitting fourth to close the deal all season, ninth in isolations and starting efficiency (points per possession) in grays. Or near and far, the air-cut edges were not quickly protected and there was no air defense agreement, and the result was that Zubac’s strategy in the penalty area was penalized.
And the Clippers also have a strategy for Towns on the offensive end, which is to let Towns defend the pick-and-roll or screen. As can be seen in the second video, as long as Towns is on the court, the Clippers often use Towns’ defensive Zubac or Marcus Morris Sr. to replace Paul George or Reggie Jackson in the three-point arc as pick-and-roll or screen, while the Timberwolves’ Coach Chris Finch changed his strategy of letting Towns blitz or flank the pick-and-roll during the season, but he maintained the strategy of letting Towns sink to protect the penalty area when facing the Clippers during the season. But this gives George and Jackson the space to hit the mid-range or 3-pointer without interruption after screening, and even when George realizes that the Timberwolves only have Towns in the restricted area, he can choose to attack the restricted area directly because Towns has no protection. basket capacity.
And when Towns made a foul and replaced Naz Reid at 7:34 of the fourth quarter, how did the Timberwolves reverse the Clippers with a 23:11 offensive? After reviewing the content of the game, the biggest difference can be found that after the lack of Towns, the Timberwolves, whether it is replaced by Naz Reid, Patrick Beverley or Jaden McDaniels, no longer use the sinking defense to defend the pick-and-roll, or else it is a pinch or a switch. .
It can be seen that when Norman Powell was about to go up the arc to cover George’s pick-and-roll screen, Russell actively hedged with George’s McDaniels to flank George and successfully let George pass the ball. And because the five players on the field at this time are all mobile players, the rotation of the back defense finally succeeded in defending the Clippers’ three-on-four. And because the Timberwolves had a lineup without Towns that could switch defenses or pinch the ball-handler in an all-round way, which made the Clippers’ dislocation that had played the whole game suddenly become without an advantage. The Clippers scored 8 of the Clippers’ 11 points on 3-of-6 shots, but most of them were difficult shots after matchups. Only Batum scored a three-pointer for the remaining Clippers.
Russell, Edwards and Beverley all made key contributions on offense and defense during the Grey Wolves’ chasing and reversal process, although on the surface, the difference between the Grey Wolves and the Clippers in the last seven minutes of the game was actually just a few goals for the Clippers’ three-pointers There were no gaps and the Wolves went in, but there was a difference in how those gaps were created. After Towns was gone, the Timberwolves’ perimeter defense became more active than when Towns was on the court because he could switch or flank. Beverley’s successful tough defense more or less knew him some gambling defense. There is also a quick enough rotation behind the action to help defense, and the offensive end of the Timberwolves can create a three-point gap for fast break or early attack because of the mistakes made by the rotation defense, plus Towns is not on the court. The Timberwolves’ 5- The out offense gives Russell and Edward room to cut into the paint for a drop or layup
Next, look at another Eastern Conference where the Hawks are visiting the Cavaliers for the eighth-seeded playoffs. The Cavaliers led by 14 points in the first half of the game, and led by 10 points in the midfield at 61:51, but the pigs and sheep changed color in the second half. At the end of the third quarter, the Eagles played a 10:0 offensive to overtake 77:76, and the fourth The Eagles maintained their lead for almost the entire quarter, and finally eliminated the Cavaliers to advance to the playoffs with the eighth seed. Eagles center Clint Capela was forced to leave with a knee injury by falling Cavaliers center Evan Mobley with 30 seconds left in the second quarter, which coincided with the timing of the Eagles blowing a counterattack in the second half. Does Capela’s absence on the court have anything to do with Trae Young or the Hawks’ offensive rejuvenation?
If you look at the game content of the Eagles and Knights in the first and second half, you can find that the Eagles mainly replaced Capela with Onyeka Okongwu after Capela went off the court. And because in the Eagles’ system, Okongwu’s function at both ends of the offensive and defensive ends is actually no different from Capela’s, so the Eagles’ ability to reverse the Cavaliers in the second half has nothing to do with Capela’s injury. If you look at Table 1, you can find that the most critical difference between the Eagles and Cavaliers in the first and second half comes from the three-point shooting rate. The Hawks were 3-of-17 in the first half, Trae Young was 0-for-4, the Cavaliers were 10-of-21 and Lauri Markkanen was 5-of-8. But in the second half, the Hawks made 6 of 14 three-pointers, Trae Young made 4 of 7, and the Cavaliers made 3 of 15 three-pointers.
Does Capela’s absence from the court have anything to do with the difference in the Eagles’ three-pointer? At least Capela’s off-court scoring in the paint against the Hawks isn’t much different than losing. And if you look at the difference between the Eagles and the Cavaliers in the first and second half of some three-point gaps, you can find that there is no difference in the gaps created because of whether Capela is on the court, and the simpler explanation is the first half. ‘s field goal percentage regression to the mean in the second half.
From the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert being targeted by the Clippers’ 5-out lineup last season, to the Bucks reducing Brook Lopez’s minutes in the Eagles-Sun Series, to Towns and Capela mentioned in this article. On the surface, it seems that the center has less influence in the playoffs or playoffs than in the season, and often even becomes a potential target position on the court. There are actually many reasonable explanations for this, including that the center may be pulled to the outside on the defensive end, but in the current situation where basketball focuses on space, outside shooting and mobility, the offensive end wants to punish the opponent through the penalty area or rebounding advantage. The difficulty is relatively high. However, the examples given in this article are actually only the example of Towns to support the above statement, because the Timberwolves did play more aggressively after Towns went off the court, and also played their physical advantages, but the examples of Capela and the Eagles are just a coincidence , and Okongwu, which the Eagles replaced, did not provide features that Capela couldn’t.
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