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Thread: Winning with Defense

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Winning with Defense

    I think most of us are pretty aware of the still sputtering offense, with FG% that just won't come to life for guys like Danny and Tyler especially, along with a standard slow start to nearly every game they play.

    Naturally we all scratch our heads about how they are doing this and typically the answer is roughly rebounding, making plays and then a slight mention of defense.

    Now rebounding is great, the Pacer rank FOURTH in rebounding differential, which is about the best read you can get on that stat from the regular numbers.

    But I think it's more surprising that the Pacers rank 4th in both AdjustedFG% against and Points Per Shot against, this despite being a bit lower on the 3P% rank and middle of the pack in terms of FTAs allowed.

    They are fouling and they are allowing teams to be respectible enough from the arc, but inside the arc they are killing teams, and that's where the wins are coming from.

    It's not just Roy either. Paul, Granger, Foster and even Tyler have been tough on people inside. Apart from Foster, each is a surprise in his own way.

    Paul has been so inconsistant this year with sudden intensity drops, that it can be overlooked when he collapses to the rim for a big block or disrupts the passing lane, but he's doing this far more than he's "flaking out" on offense.

    Granger was a guy most of us were starting to write off as a defensive player, longing for those first few seasons where it seemed to be a Artest-inspired passion. But this year he's also coming to the lane/rim all the time to get in someone's face. Look no further than to his block that led to his taunting technical a few games ago for a classic example.

    And while everyone loves Tyler's hustle, in the past a lot of it was misplaced and out of position. Lately he's been much better at closing out on guys, having the hand in the face of the right guy at the right time, and of course still being insanely tenacious around the ball. Best example for him might be taking it straight out of Garnett's hands the other night as KG came to the rim.


    West has been professional and solid, but not quite as noticeably dominate. And it would be unfair to discount Hill here because he's also been really good at coming to the paint to disrupt the passing lanes or at least send guys into the paint off balance after having to avoid his defense, setting them up for his teammates.



    And on top of it all I think a lot of credit goes to the coaching strategy. The help defense has been great, especially on the drawn out PnR hedges up top where guys like Roy are slow to get back down the lane. In the past this would have crushed the team, but now they seem to always have someone watching their back which makes a huge difference.


    I'm sure a pay-stat site could tell us, but I don't know where else we could easily find the stat on "highest PCT of shots coming with 10 seconds or less on the clock" (or 2, 5, whatever), but I'd bet that the team ranks high in that area too. Even when teams pull out shots it's coming after a ton of work cycling through a lot of options and often on a lucky bail out.

    You accept those because over time the make rate isn't very high for teams and no one wants their offense living off of "I hope this works". Right now the Pacers defense is forcing a lot of teams to spend most of their night saying just that.

    My condolences to those fans that hated the JO/Ron teams (the good ones) because of the ugly defensive ball and low scores because right now it looks like this is the wagon you are hitched to this year.


    PS - the teams ahead of Indy on both AFG% and PPS? Bulls, Lakers and Philly. And only the Bulls and Lakers are also better in rebounding differential.

    That's the company this team is keeping right now - 3 of the top 5 teams by wins.

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    thx4tehmRys Danny! daschysta's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Defense is something we can control too, when we stake wins on defensive intensity and effort we control our own destiny. It's also the type of ball that wins playoff games. Supposedly we've been focusing on offense primarily over this 4 day break, since vogel hasn't had the time in the shortened camp to really fine tune it. If we can manage to be even average offensively, combined with our defense and rebounding (smashmouth stuff) we could seriously be a very, very good team that has a chance to suprise in the playoffs this year.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    I like to win.

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
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    Droppin' knowledge, yo. Mackey_Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    My condolences to those fans that hated the JO/Ron teams (the good ones) because of the ugly defensive ball and low scores because right now it looks like this is the wagon you are hitched to this year.
    The bad offense has seemed to be a theme throughout the NBA so far this year. The lack of prep time is a pretty glaring reason, and has been brought up many times.

    The teams that are able to defend consistently are the teams that will be able to win consistently. That bodes very well for this team.

    The effort has to remain throughout the season. I worry about what happens when a little adversity hits. At some point, we will experience a losing streak. How will this young team, and young coaching staff react? I hope they choose to stay the course, rather than make the rash, unnecessary changes that we saw last year (from both coaches).

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    But I think it's more surprising that the Pacers rank 4th in both AdjustedFG% against and Points Per Shot against, this despite being a bit lower on the 3P% rank and middle of the pack in terms of FTAs allowed.
    Nice post.

    One downside of stacking the box I mentioned in another thread. Opposing perimeter aces generally are getting between 2-4 wide open 3pt looks per game, and it's largely PG who seems to be failing to keep an eye on this, not even coming close to closing in on the shooter. 2's seem to regularly have 5-7 feet of air between them and any defense.

    My guess is that as PG learns to both defend the paint and keep his eye on the wing player, these open looks will decrease, and the defensive 3pt% will go down. This does not happen when Hill is on the court.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Mackey_Rose View Post
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    I worry about what happens when a little adversity hits. At some point, we will experience a losing streak. How will this young team, and young coaching staff react? I hope they choose to stay the course, rather than make the rash, unnecessary changes that we saw last year (from both coaches).
    Not too concerned about that. Last year we had a 6 game losing streak near the end of the year and we could have packed it up and forgot about the playoffs and coasted. They did no such thing. I think getting blown out by the Heat by 505 points qualifies as adversity as well. Yet, they just came back to win.

    I'm not going to worry myself about that.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Been really enjoying Granger's resurgence on D. I've been down on him the last couple years because I felt his offense wasn't good enough to overcome some lazy D and selfish play. But this year he's been a force on the defensive end. Hill has really helped upgrade our D at the guard position, West is solid, and Hibbert has done an amazing job of making players change their shots while avoiding the foul.

    All in all, nothing excites the fan base like hard nosed D, blocking shots and fighting for boards especially on the offensive end, and this team has done a great job of it so far.

    On NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk Power Rankings
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    What I love isn't that the Pacers are in the fifth spot, but what it said under the Lakers:
    "10. Lakers (9-5, LW 11). Winners of five straight until they lost to the Clippers Saturday. The Lakers have won these games with great defense and average offense, despite Kobe scoring 40+ in four straight (Lakers fans, go look at the numbers before you curse my name). Brutal schedule this week: Dallas, Miami and Orlando back-to-back, then the upstarts in Indiana."

    We're now considered part of what makes a brutal schedule!!
    Danger Zone

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    My condolences to those fans that hated the JO/Ron teams (the good ones) because of the ugly defensive ball and low scores because right now it looks like this is the wagon you are hitched to this year.


    PS - the teams ahead of Indy on both AFG% and PPS? Bulls, Lakers and Philly. And only the Bulls and Lakers are also better in rebounding differential.

    That's the company this team is keeping right now - 3 of the top 5 teams by wins.
    Didn't dislike the D of the JO era. Disliked the offensive slowdown and pitch to JO in the post. And that was a Carlisle thing, and given the personnel and the rules at the time, it was a legit strategy. But ugly basketball. It was made worse because everybody just stood and watched. Whether the fault was JO for seldom passing, or laziness about cutting, I can't say. Chicken or the egg.

    There won't be a return to that for multiple reasons.
    Last edited by danman; 01-17-2012 at 02:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by danman View Post
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    Didn't dislike the D of the JO era. Disliked the offensive slowdown and pitch to JO in the post. And that was a Carlisle thing, and given the personnel and the rules at the time, it was a legit strategy. But ugly basketball. It was made worse because everybody just stood and watched. Whether the fault was JO for seldom passing, or laziness about cutting, I can't say. Chicken or the egg.

    There won't be a return to that for multiple reasons.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Outside of Jones , Collison and Pendergraph all of the Pacers who have played have a D per 100 possessions under 100.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by danman View Post
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    There won't be a return to that for multiple reasons.
    Just wait until JO is ready to dominate again...

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by docpaul View Post
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    Nice post.

    One downside of stacking the box I mentioned in another thread. Opposing perimeter aces generally are getting between 2-4 wide open 3pt looks per game, and it's largely PG who seems to be failing to keep an eye on this, not even coming close to closing in on the shooter. 2's seem to regularly have 5-7 feet of air between them and any defense.

    My guess is that as PG learns to both defend the paint and keep his eye on the wing player, these open looks will decrease, and the defensive 3pt% will go down. This does not happen when Hill is on the court.
    I agree, though at some point you just have to make a choice and realize that players aren't going to be able to cover it all. I like forcing the extra ball movement almost in a Tampa 2 strategy - ie, you give up little plays because the attitude is that more plays means more chances to get a TO or have the other team screw up.

    If the other team is up to the challenge of working through 7 stages of offense (PnR, reset and PnR again, pass to baseline screen, kick out, rotate, drive and dish and finally take the corner 3) well then they are just going to beat you. But that means that all 5 guys had to touch the ball and make at least one quality play.

    Given the often selfish, 1-2 player offenses we see from many teams this is a pretty sound attack.


    The team that gets hot from 3 does leave the Pacers vulnerable, but then the key will be to punish those 3pt experts so much at the other end that they can't stay in the game. So far the offense hasn't been able to do that.

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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by danman View Post
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    Didn't dislike the D of the JO era. Disliked the offensive slowdown and pitch to JO in the post. And that was a Carlisle thing, and given the personnel and the rules at the time, it was a legit strategy. But ugly basketball. It was made worse because everybody just stood and watched. Whether the fault was JO for seldom passing, or laziness about cutting, I can't say. Chicken or the egg.

    There won't be a return to that for multiple reasons.
    I'm not sure Carlisle had a choice if he wanted to keep JO happy but whatever the reason, it needed to go. The worse thing about running slog ball with JO was watching his lack of passing and woeful shooting percentage from the PF spot.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    By the way, one problem I've had the last year or so is being much busier with work and other stuff that cuts into my reading/posting time, so my apologies to all the posters who've made mentions about the defense in other threads. I didn't see a "master" thread for the subject which is why I started it.

    It's been like this growing topic and awareness where we are all trying to learn the team's identity. Inside power offense we saw last year, more use of bigs in general, but really it was tough to read much beyond "post up Roy" last season.

    Then add in West and Hill, remove Josh and Rush, and increase the usage of Tyler and Paul in a more formal manner, rather than just as part of the youth development, and it's been kind of tough to know just what the team's identity is.


    Yes, it won't be JO-ball on offense, and as a Rick fan I felt like a lot of that was based on JO's personality, salary and the rest of the team's offensive skill set, but to be fair to that team the offense this year early on is bad even by the measure of the lockout lowered bar.

    The Pacers are just not a good offensive team right now. In some ways its worse than slow down ball because this is often more slop, junk, starts and fits. It can be maddeningly poor in long stretches with surprising, sudden bursts of really good movement and plays.

    One minute you have a PnR, a low post score, then a low post give and go layup and it feels like a well constructed playbook and attack plan, then the next minute the spacing goes to crap, the floor freezes and you get some one on one junk.


    So this thread was contrasting that with the defensive system which has felt surprisingly reliable. I expect them to get stops now. I didn't know to feel that way a few weeks ago. Better, sure, but not dialed in and aggressive.

    And in my opinion the push to drive the offense toward the baseline (ie, scoring in the paint or near the low block) is also helping the defense by reducing the amount of nasty transition situations they put themselves in.

    You want to come at the Pacers, you better bring a deep playbook or an insanely hot shooter.

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    Default Re: Winning with Defense

    playing defense=winning!
    With the #3 pick in the 2015 draft, your Indiana Pacers!

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