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Thread: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

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    Default Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Hello all. Once again I want to post a few thoughts on some observations from some little, mostly unnoticed Pacer strategies from games 2 & 3, both of which I missed parts of due to work. However, I saw enough things that I havent seen discussed yet on here that I wanted to bring them up, and to ask a question or 2 of my own for those who have an eye for things like this.

    I mentioned in my analysis of game 1 that a big question I had going into game 2 was: How would we would handle success in the opener? I was disappointed but not overly surprised that we fell in this instance by coming out a little flat and lethargic. To be good, a team not only has to develop the toughness to handle adversity, but the concentration and maturity to handle success. We failed that handling success part of it, but bounced right back in game 3 with a road win. Now, our team is back home for a few days before playing again on Tuesday night....will we learn anything?

    In the game against New Orleans, I actually thought we got decent shots for the most part, but failed to recognize why that was. Against the sagging New Orleans defense, we took open perimeter shots, but what we didnt realize is the reason we were open is that New orleans thought we couldnt make a high percentage, and they were right. Those long range misses led to easier baskets on the other end, and failed to pressure the interior defense of the Hornets, particularly the poor defending Peja. Our guys have got to learn the difference between taking a GOOD shot, and taking a GOOD ENOUGH shot. I thought with a little more patience we'd have been much more effective against the Hornets.

    The thing I took from this game the most however from a strategic standpoint was our defending of the Hornets pick and roll. For big parts of this game, the Pacers tried to trap the ballhandler, and I absolutely LOVE that idea....its exactly what Id do against the Hornets and most every other team in the league. Unfortunately, we werent very good at it. Our trappers didnt attack the ballhandler hard enough and let him dribble out of it at times, and our rotations away from the ball were slower and more unsure than id expect. It looked like the pacers had decided to trap that screen/roll sometime before on gameday, and hadnt properly practiced it or prepared the team enough. I hope however that we go back to it, because that in my view is the single best way, most consistent way, to play that defensively....it wasnt the idea, it was the execution of it that was bad.

    In game 3 against the Knicks, I was very happy RC decided to stick with the same lineup, after calling out Harrington and Granger a little bit after the loss. I think its fine to use the media to your advantage to send a message, but then you have to play those guys to see if it got through or not. Clearly, I thought not just those 2 but the rest of the squad was more focused and energetic, although I'm not sure our level of play was all that different, just our intensity. Interestingly, I think it was a different kind of mental game on RC's part to be critical of in my guess are 2 of the most well liked guys in the locker room (just my guess about that.) That reminded me of my coaching days when I really would get on a popular, tough minded kid very hard at times, not just to be mean to him but to get thru to the rest of the players, who maybe couldnt mentally take the criticism as well as that other tougher player. For instance, RC mildly being critical of Jackson, Oneal, Sarunas, or Harrison in the press might have an entirely different reaction by the team and the individual players than doing the same thing to Harrington and Granger. As a matter of fact, I wouldnt be surprised if that entire episode was staged just a bit.....meaning RC might have forewarned Harrington and / or Danny he was going to do that. I'm not positive about any of that, but it makes sense to me, and if its true I think its a very clever ploy by Carlisle to do things like that.

    The strategic moves in this game were the playing of the zone defense and the offensive scheme in the second half. (I missed the first half and only listened on the radio while driving home). I'll get to the zone in a minute, but for now lets talk about the Pacers half court offense a little, and the "Isiah" factor for the Knicks.

    I'd already charted out and drawn the Pacers favorite set play from games 1 & 2....the "screen the screener flex action" along the baseline out of a pairs set, with a flare screen outside for our point guard. We ran that a ton of times in both the first 2 games, and I can only assume we ran it alot in the first half of game 3. However, to begin the 3rd quarter the Pacers ran a wing screen/roll for Tinsley and Harrington out of a very creative yet basic box set. This was easy for me to draw, because the Pacers ran this 5 straight times to begin the half, and numerous times the rest of the game, eventually expanding it to the other side of the floor and using different players. If I had a telestrator it would be easier to describe, but let me say it was effective in its design. How it worked for Harrington was that he recieved a diagonal downscreen himself, causing the Knicks defense to have to react to that action. Then, Harrington would continue his flash to the basketball and set a middle ballscreen for Tinsley (once again using the principle of screen the screener that RC loves so much). Anyway, the key to this screen being so effective is harrington really sprinting hard to the screen, leaving the man trying to guard him trailing it, and in no position to hedge very hard on Tinsley coming to the middle of the floor. Tinsley was great at going to the middle, and then hitting Harrington on the "fade" after ballscreening, ending up somewhere on the right wing area. Tinsley repeatedly passed the ball back to the wide open Harrington for a variety of open shots, including one 3 pointer in a very quick span.

    The Pacers eventually began running this to the other side of the floor as well, with a variety of ballhandlers and JO as the screener. Again, the bewildered Knick defense had no answer, as we scored almost every time we ran this particular set play. To his credit, RC kept "picking the scab", running it over and over and over until the Knicks finally adjusted.

    Finally, after seeing this for about 18 minutes or so, Isiah finally had his guards push the ballhandler toward the baseline and away from the screen when we ran this. This happened somewhere in the mid 4th quarter, and at this point we had ran it lots in this quarter too, with Sarunas as the ballhandler in this case. This adjustment actually worked a couple of times, as Runi was forced to break the play off and try and create something unplanned. Unfortunately for New York, the stupidly fouled Sarunas a couple different times, and when we were forced to take a bad shot out of this play ( a rare occasion), it was those possessions where Granger got offensive rebounds for us.

    So, after 3 games, the Pacers have shown in my mind 2 signature plays so far. These are plays apparently the Pacers can "hang their hat on" it would appear. You may remember me starting a thread a few months ago wondering what set play would become our bread and butter play, apparently these are 2 of them so far.

    For those of you who saw us in the zone more than I did, please if possible in this thread tell me how we looked in it, how we were aligned, who was playing, and how did the zone shift? I suggested in a zone thread earlier in the summer a 3-2 point zone used alot back in the day by Dr Tom Davis at Iowa....I assume we didnt actually use my exact idea, but I am curious what we exactly did from a technical standpoint, and how we looked doing it.

    As we go into the second week, its important that we keep being positive about this team, and start developing some patience....we are a work in progress but I basically like what I see so far. Clearly, we have a long way to go, but the enthusiasm, teamwork, and the coaching adjustments of the Pacers have me intrigued about this team's potential, while being realistic with my expectations. We need to grow up a little as a team and win this first home game back, which I think we will. I can tell you that my gambler friend who I mentioned in my last thread called to make sure I was aware of his "first game back home after a road trip theory" with the pacers, and how they lost a lot of games in that circumstance last season. Its time we show we can play well twice in a row, and put some wins against these bad teams in the bank while we can.

    As always, all this is JMO.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    I'm no where near the coaching mind you are yet, but I would say we looked effective in the zone. It was obvious that we didn't have it down pat just yet, but there were flashes where it was obvious it was working. The Knicks really stuggled to adjust to it more than anything else as it seemed it was a wrinkle they were not expecting from us.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Thanks T-Bird I learn a lot from your well written posts.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Did you ever think of applying for a job with the Pacers?
    Here, everyone have a : on me

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Rick kept yelling out "thumb, thumb thumb!!!" in the third quarter. I wonder if this is the play that you mention or does it have another meaning.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchConnection View Post
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    Rick kept yelling out "thumb, thumb thumb!!!" in the third quarter. I wonder if this is the play that you mention or does it have another meaning.
    I don't know. I havent been able to pick up the actual names of the plays so far. if anyone else on here has, please report in.

    That actually leads me to another observation about coaches that always confused me....which is why do some coaches keep the same names to their plays for years and years? Wouldnt it be smarter to change what you call them? Things that make you go hmmmmmm.....

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Always a pleasure to read, T-Bird
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    I don't know. I havent been able to pick up the actual names of the plays so far. if anyone else on here has, please report in.

    That actually leads me to another observation about coaches that always confused me....which is why do some coaches keep the same names to their plays for years and years? Wouldnt it be smarter to change what you call them? Things that make you go hmmmmmm.....
    Yeah, I'm trying to listen and match them up as well but so far haven't (other than what I think "High 4" is, which could be wrong).

    I did notice a play vs NY that I hadn't seen before. I haven't been able to watch the whole game on Tivo yet, so this was just in the first quarter, but it caught my attention as maybe a screen the screener but turns out to be more complex (IMO).

    They scored their 3rd basket with it via Granger, then came right back to it.

    9:00 mark, out of bounds, Granger throws it in to Al who is high left lane (outside the arc). JO is just above the right elbow, Tinsley runs through the lane to sit high right wing (on the arc). So basically 3 wide high. JO eventually drifts closer to the arc to pull his man (Curry) away from the lane action.

    Jack flashes to the lane from the right baseline wing and shows his hands for mid-lane post position. This is play option #1. No go so they go to the next option.

    Al passes to JO and then Al goes to the left mid-block to set a screen (for Jack eventually). Meanwhile Jack clears the lane by moving to the left low block area to screen for Granger coming from the left wing. In this case the play ended here since Granger had backdoored his man even without the Jack screen. JO passes in for the open layup. Option #2.

    However when they ran it again this wasn't there. Even on this play Jack was running his part which is to curl all the way around Al's screen. This leaves him open and coming to the lane for JO to hit him with a pass for a layup attempt. Option #3.

    This is what they do the next time, though Granger actually goes into traffic instead of the baseline which helps disrupt both his man and Jack's (QRich). The Knicks are forced to attack Jack who now has his man beat and is a few feet in front of the rim.

    Al's man leaves him to stop Jack, Granger's man shows a flash to help as well, so Jack simply leaves it to Harrington who is now free and behind the defenders (meaning closer to the basket) and Al puts in the easy layup. Option #4.

    Granger would also be as free as Al if his man helped too much on either Jack or Al which would make him a similar option on the other side of the lane. Option #5.

    And JO is a serious threat to step in on his man and drop the elbow/FT line jumper if he sags to the lane to help out on the Jack curl. Option #6.

    Also note that the play was completely done by the 12 second mark after a Knicks basket (full length out of bounds). Again, I haven't noticed this particular play before. Could be that they've run it for years, but I sure never noticed it till the NYK game.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    While it's fun to figure out what the play calls are, I'm a little paranoid about giving a public lesson to the opposing teams.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by Los Angeles View Post
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    While it's fun to figure out what the play calls are, I'm a little paranoid about giving a public lesson to the opposing teams.
    lol I thought about that too.

    I think guys need to put a password on such highly argumentative coaching - style posts. We don't need any other teams spies to find out the schemes here
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

    - Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitons View Post
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    lol I thought about that too.

    I think guys need to put a password on such highly argumentative coaching - style posts. We don't need any other teams spies to find out the schemes here


    Every team has a coaching staff, a hard-working multimedia staff, and scouts that dissect every part of every game. I don't think anything discussed here will be top secret to other teams.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    Every team has a coaching staff, a hard-working multimedia staff, and scouts that dissect every part of every game. I don't think anything discussed here will be top secret to other teams.
    I know man that's why there's lol and in my post
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    I have to say, I think our zone was downright bad at times, the Knicks just weren't able to take advantage of it. When I coach my kids at a zone, I really pound in the idea of the rotation aspect of the zone. There were a couple plays were our low block/wing defenders were extremely slow to rotate, and their position wasn't filled. 4 or 5 plays in a row Eddie Curry was wide open in a spot that wasn't filled, but he didn't get the ball. Not to mention the fact that the Knicks were unable to beat the zone by knocking down perimiter shots.

    But for how bad we looked at some times, Darrel and Sarunas were very good in the zone. You can tell how much better Sarunas' team defense is already. When you play zone that type of thing is really easy to see, and Sarunas looked good. Jermaine is also very good as the middle man stopper in the zone, in fact he may be one of if not the best in the league at that. I haven't watched every team play zone, but Jermaine did the best job out of any Center I've seen in the zone, including Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac@Section216 View Post
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    I have to say, I think our zone was downright bad at times, the Knicks just weren't able to take advantage of it.

    I think that's why the zone works, at least as a ploy to disrupt the flow. Teams aren't able to execute that well against a zone because it's relatively new in the NBA, even if a team's zone has several flaws.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    I think that's why the zone works, at least as a ploy to disrupt the flow. Teams aren't able to execute that well against a zone because it's relatively new in the NBA, even if a team's zone has several flaws.
    I can buy that to an extent, but better offensive teams will exploit the weakness of our zone. With that said, we probably knew there was problems with it, but also knew that the Knicks wouldn't be able to beat it, so we used it anyways. I don't expect us to use a zone against better offensive teams. At least I hope we don't.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    For those of you who saw us in the zone more than I did, please if possible in this thread tell me how we looked in it, how we were aligned, who was playing, and how did the zone shift? I suggested in a zone thread earlier in the summer a 3-2 point zone used alot back in the day by Dr Tom Davis at Iowa....I assume we didnt actually use my exact idea, but I am curious what we exactly did from a technical standpoint, and how we looked doing it.

    I saw two different zones. I'm not sure what the zone used in the first half is called, but it was almost like a box zone with a player floating between the top of the key and the post. I'm going off of memory so I could be wrong.


    The second half appeared to be a 3-2, for the most part. It seemed to be pretty effective with O'Neal in the game, because it'd force the Knicks to penetrate, but once they were around O'Neal they would kick back out for a three.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis/observations in games 2 & 3...."games within the games"

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    I saw two different zones. I'm not sure what the zone used in the first half is called, but it was almost like a box zone with a player floating between the top of the key and the post. I'm going off of memory so I could be wrong.


    The second half appeared to be a 3-2, for the most part. It seemed to be pretty effective with O'Neal in the game, because it'd force the Knicks to penetrate, but once they were around O'Neal they would kick back out for a three.
    Yeah, vs NY it's a couple of different zones. a 2-1-2 I think for some points, a 3-2, and early a 2-3.

    Typically it looks pretty good when players didn't gamble. They did let Curry get too many mid-lane looks, but they forced many jumpers and spread the passing lanes which created better steals chances.



    Back to that play I described, they ran JO in Jack's role at one point and got him an elbow jumper out of it (he stopped curling and pulled up for the shot instead). They ran it to death in the first half.

    Then in the 2nd it was almost totally gone. That's where you saw T'Bird's play getting more work, though they mixed in some other stuff, including screens just meant to setup the 2 man game (like a JO-Jack give and go, which is insta-money IMO).

    I need to get VisioTech reinstalled so I can post diagrams rather than writing it out. It's too hard to picture this way.


    And yeah, if teams aren't scouting the Pacers as well as us then hire my a**. 60K/year and I'll even cut games up in the edit bay and sort them by type/player/result.

    It's fun as a fan to get to know a team's plays and player's go-to moves/plays. For example, get Sarunas the ball and let him work off the PnR drive to the lane. He shoots a lot better off the dribble IMO, plus you have to love the passing from him in this situation. Even as the off-guard this is the way to use him. Don't waste time with catch and shoot plays for him, he's not a Peja/Reggie type.

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