PHOENIX DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO DEFEND THE THREE LATE IN THE GAME AND, THUS, LOSES A GREAT CHANCE TO BEAT THE SPURS

                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

 

 

 

We recently wrote in this column how Memphis’s inability to defend the three-point shot late in the game cost them the National Championship (Sports Plus, April 8).  On Saturday, April 19, Phoenix made the same mistake and it allowed San Antonio to tie the game in OT, a game the Spurs would eventually win.

    

Here’s the situation:  Phoenix up three, Manu Ginobili with the ball across mid-court with about 9.5 seconds left.  Being guarded by the intelligent Steve Nash, the Spurs’ Tim Duncan sets a pick for Ginobili above the three-point line to the right of the top of the key.  As Ginobili comes by the pick (moving to his left), Shaq goes to Ginobili and Nash goes to Ginobili (8 seconds, 7 seconds left) as Ginobili turns the corner going to the basket (6 seconds left).

    

At that time, up three, Phoenix has five defenders BELOW the three-point line.  In 2008, HOW CAN THAT BE?  The only way Phoenix can’t win is if San Antonio hits a three (or if Ginobili gets fouled and makes a layup, but Nash is too smart for that).

    

Phoenix should have (and could have) defended the three-point line.  That is, once Ginobili goes below the three-point line, his two-point field goal (assuming he makes it) CAN’T tie up the game.  Only a three can.  So Shaq never recovers as Ginobili throws it to a wide-open Tim Duncan (5 seconds) who buries his first three of the year (3 seconds left) to send the game into double-overtime.

    

Nobody seems to understand this.  On Sunday on ESPN, none other than Mike Lupica said:  “The Suns have to be thinking, ‘we did everything right on that play, we did not let Ginobili get to the basket, Shaq did the right thing and there’s Tim Duncan.’”  WHAT??

    

“We did not let Ginobili get to the basket.”  That’s a good thing for all but about the last six seconds of a game you’re up by three (like this one).  Play it out.  Ginobili pulls up for a short jumper or goes all the way to the basket.  If he misses a two, the game’s over.  If he makes a two, Phoenix is still ahead and puts the ball in Nash’s great foul-shooting hands with what, three seconds left, two seconds left?  The game is over.

    

“Shaq did the right thing.”  Shaq did the right thing UNLESS it was very late in the game and your team is up three (as in this game).  To switch on the pick is the right thing but to go below the three-point line is frankly, a stupid thing, especially when your man (Duncan) is all alone at the three-point line.

    

If you say that this was Duncan’s only three of the year, you’re, unlike Duncan, badly missing the point.  When you’re up three, if you can get the opposition to shoot from inside the three-point line as close to the buzzer as possible, you’re going to win the game.  If you allow anyone (good or bad from three) to get a wide-open look, you’re asking to lose the game in the next overtime (as Phoenix did).

    
I’ll say it again:  Someday, somewhere, some coach is going to defend the three-point line rather than inside the three-point line.  Once it becomes obvious to coaches, the game will be changed forever – three-point defense in the last seconds of a game will be much different and everyone will fall in line.  Why it hasn’t happened already is beyond me. 

 

 

 

 

We recently wrote in this column how Memphis’s inability to defend the three-point shot late in the game cost them the National Championship (Sports Plus, April 8).  On Saturday, April 19, Phoenix made the same mistake and it allowed San Antonio to tie the game in OT, a game the Spurs would eventually win.

    

Here’s the situation:  Phoenix up three, Manu Ginobili with the ball across mid-court with about 9.5 seconds left.  Being guarded by the intelligent Steve Nash, the Spurs’ Tim Duncan sets a pick for Ginobili above the three-point line to the right of the top of the key.  As Ginobili comes by the pick (moving to his left), Shaq goes to Ginobili and Nash goes to Ginobili (8 seconds, 7 seconds left) as Ginobili turns the corner going to the basket (6 seconds left).

    

At that time, up three, Phoenix has five defenders BELOW the three-point line.  In 2008, HOW CAN THAT BE?  The only way Phoenix can’t win is if San Antonio hits a three (or if Ginobili gets fouled and makes a layup, but Nash is too smart for that).

    

Phoenix should have (and could have) defended the three-point line.  That is, once Ginobili goes below the three-point line, his two-point field goal (assuming he makes it) CAN’T tie up the game.  Only a three can.  So Shaq never recovers as Ginobili throws it to a wide-open Tim Duncan (5 seconds) who buries his first three of the year (3 seconds left) to send the game into double-overtime.

    

Nobody seems to understand this.  On Sunday on ESPN, none other than Mike Lupica said:  “The Suns have to be thinking, ‘we did everything right on that play, we did not let Ginobili get to the basket, Shaq did the right thing and there’s Tim Duncan.’”  WHAT??

    

“We did not let Ginobili get to the basket.”  That’s a good thing for all but about the last six seconds of a game you’re up by three (like this one).  Play it out.  Ginobili pulls up for a short jumper or goes all the way to the basket.  If he misses a two, the game’s over.  If he makes a two, Phoenix is still ahead and puts the ball in Nash’s great foul-shooting hands with what, three seconds left, two seconds left?  The game is over.

    

“Shaq did the right thing.”  Shaq did the right thing UNLESS it was very late in the game and your team is up three (as in this game).  To switch on the pick is the right thing but to go below the three-point line is frankly, a stupid thing, especially when your man (Duncan) is all alone at the three-point line.

    

If you say that this was Duncan’s only three of the year, you’re, unlike Duncan, badly missing the point.  When you’re up three, if you can get the opposition to shoot from inside the three-point line as close to the buzzer as possible, you’re going to win the game.  If you allow anyone (good or bad from three) to get a wide-open look, you’re asking to lose the game in the next overtime (as Phoenix did).

    
I’ll say it again:  Someday, somewhere, some coach is going to defend the three-point line rather than inside the three-point line.  Once it becomes obvious to coaches, the game will be changed forever – three-point defense in the last seconds of a game will be much different and everyone will fall in line.  Why it hasn’t happened already is beyond me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved. 

 

Advertisements

One response to “PHOENIX DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO DEFEND THE THREE LATE IN THE GAME AND, THUS, LOSES A GREAT CHANCE TO BEAT THE SPURS

  1. Manu is without a doubt Spurs focal point of the season. Whe needed on most occassion, he delivers. Spurs are going to need a lot from him if they want to win this series. Any comments from yourself?

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/04/playoffs-news-win-for-manu-scola-makes.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s