West semis: Winona @ Barcelona

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject: West semis: Winona @ Barcelona

River Division rivals Barcelona and Winona State square off in the western semis. Barca hosts the game, Aabs has the call on game rules.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject:


Winona State


Injury risks:
BAR Petrovic (12) 43 - healhty
BAR Kupchak (16) 28 - healthy

Mitch gets to play this week.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject:

Old School Rules
My Starters: Penny, Alvin, LJ, Kemp, Olajuwon.

Good Luck Winona!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject: Starters: Round 2

PG: LeBron James
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Peja Stojakovic
PF: Amare Stoudemire
C: Nate Thurmond

Good luck to you as well, Barca.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject:


1. Minutes by Position

PG: LeBron James 40, Manu Ginobili 5, Nate McMillan 3
SG: Manu Ginobili 28, Ron Harper 18, Nate McMillan 2
SF: Peja Stojakovic 35, Bo Outlaw 13
PF: Amare Stoudemire 38, Charles Oakley 10
C: Nate Thurmond 42, Darryl Dawkins 6

2. Sales Job
Smooth and calm are not the adjectives to describe Robertson's game. His shoot-it-on-the-way-up jumper is as ugly as they come and he can't begin to match Gervin's ability to score from outside or slither around picks. "The only way you can play him is to lay off him," says the Suns' Davis. "Make him shoot it outside and he's in trouble. That's the only weakness in his game."…. "Sometimes I do some real karate chopping out there and get away with it," says Robertson. – Sports Illustrated, 4/21/86

Both Abdul-Jabbar and Chamberlain have gone on record saying they felt (Nate) Thurmond was their toughest adversary. "He plays me better than anybody ever has," Abdul-Jabbar told Basketball Digest when he was in his prime. "He's tall, has real long arms, and most of all he's agile and strong." In an article in Sport, Abdul-Jabbar also said, "When I score on Nate, I know I've done something. He sweats and he wants you to sweat, too."

3. Offense
Flex Set, Play 1: 25%: PG Clear Out http://members.tripod.com/~coacheshome/flexc.htm

LBJ will get plenty of opportunities to drive off this one. If he can’t get penetration, Manu and/or Peja will be open on the outside, or LBJ can get in position in the post, with Nate drawing Hakeem away from the paint the whole time.

Flex Set, Play 2: 25%: Flex Break

LBJ gets free reign to create or take it to the hoop if he’s left alone; otherwise, the play goes on as planned, if Amare is open as the trailer, easy dunk. If not, Manu gets either an open shot off a double pick, or he sees LBJ to his right, Peja to his left, or Amare in the post. Likelihood of one of them being open off the chaos: pretty high. Note the 5 being close to the 3pt line, keeping Hakeem away from the paint again.

10%: Double Pick

Simple play, but another that keeps Hakeem away from the ball, and minimizes Robertson’s free-lance opportunities.

15%: Syracuse
but 4 & 5 will be switched

Gets the ball in Manu’s hands, also a capable passer. The option of Peja for 3 or Amare cutting to the hoop; if the D sags to guard both, that means they forgot LBJ, only a pass away to Manu’s left, and likely with half the court to create something.

35%: Straight on fast break/misc.: This team’s got the horses to run, and we plan on running hard. Barcelona’s not a slow team, but also not very deep, either. Meanwhile, I’ve got a full well of guys who can come in and still take advantage of a fast break (Harp, Dawkins, Deron)

4. Defense
Basic man-to-man, set on stopping the post player (in this case, Hakeem). Nate’s one of the best defenders at 5 of all time, but Hakeem’s one of the best, no denying that. Force him to the lane, where the opposite wing defender will double team him. With this strategy, assuming the opponent's outside shooters are only average (which they are; their high %s aren’t from being deadeye shooters), I tell our wing defenders that when the ball is in the opposite low post, to drop down into the lane to help double team the star in the lane.


This won’t be the constant defense; we must give Hakeem a couple different looks. He’s too good to keep doing the same thing over and over against. The double will come at different times, of course: right when the ball goes in, not until Hakeem takes a dribble, etc. There will be strict man D played as well. It will involve the perimeter defenders sagging off and protecting against the drive


If Barcelona thinks Penny and Alvin can shoot well enough from 18’+ to win the game, he’s welcome to try. Only deviation will be when Drazen or Majerle is in; his defender won’t sag in. Pick and roll will be defended thus:


Penny may be an advantage against almost every other team (except Sweden w/ Magic), but not here. Ginobili and LBJ both match or look down on Penny, so it won’t be as easy to get it into Hakeem or over a defender’s arms as Barcelona previously thought.

5. Adjustments
I’ll keep this quick.
1. If Hakeem lights up, the doubles come more often, sometimes from Amare on the weak side.

2. Anytime Robertson is on LBJ, it’s straight to the post. Alvin can’t steal it every time, and LBJ is a monster compared to Alvin (6’9” 250 lbs > 6’3” 200). Easy bucket or open man off a double team. Alvin was a great defender, but he can’t guard my best player, period.

3. If Kemp goes off, Oakley comes in. Oak’s not as fast, but he’ll make sure Kemp earns each hoop. No worries about Oak on offense either – people forget he had a solid mid-range jumper to keep his defender honest.

4. Grandmama in the post vs. Peja might be a worry to some, but if Barca elects to do that very often, it’s a) less time in Hakeem’s hands, and b) applying molasses to the offense. Not to mention that LJ was 6’7” (at best) while Peja’s 6’10”. LJ has the strength, but Peja can play off him while having the height and reach advantage.

6. Closing
Up 5+: Deron/Manu/LBJ/Oakley/Thurmond
Play D, make sure Hakeem’s doubled, don’t gamble, and get the ball in LBJ or Manu’s hands with <10 on the clock.

Close either way: starting lineup
Enough picks to get the ball in LBJ’s hands, then let him create. Barca doesn’t have a defender who can slow him down.
Down 6+: Deron/Manu/LBJ/Peja/Amare
Run, Forrest, run.

7. Why we win
Nate’s one of the few who can hang w/ Hakeem, while I don’t focus my offense through him, either, negating Hakeem’s defense some. Barca’s other advantages – Alvin’s D and Penny’s height at PG – are both avoided by having LBJ at PG. Penny can’t see over either LBJ or Manu, while Alvin’s stuck guarding either the 2nd best perimeter player or overpowered by the best. Meanwhile, the Barca perimeter players rely mostly on penetration to keep their FG%s high, which allows me to sag onto Hakeem and Kemp. Grandmama can’t keep up w/ Peja through screens and picks.

And in the clutch – LBJ and Manu outshine any perimeter players on Barcelona by a wide margin, and Hakeem ain’t facing the Knicks or young Magic this time ‘round.

Last edited by Sky on Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject:


1. Minutes by Position
Players Minutes
C – Hakeem Olajuwon 40
PF – Shawn Kemp 34
SF – Larry Johnson 34
SG – Alvin Robertson 18@SG 20@PG
PG – Penny Hardaway 28@PG 10@SF
F/C – Jermaine O’Neal 14@PG, 8@C
SG – Drazen Petrovic 24@SG
F/G – Dan Majerle 4@SF, 6@SG
G/F – Nanny Stopper TBA per Fran “The Nanny” Drescher

2. Sales Job
Looking at his starting five of putting Lebron at PG and Peja at SF shows desperation. They pinned their hopes on Lebron being able to carry this team vs an ATL that features 2 DPOY! Lebron will have a hard time bringing the ball against the ball pressure of Alvin “3.7 Steals a game” Robertson.

Our offense revolves around the talents of Penny & Hakeem. Lebron at PG? Guarding Penny? While bringing the ball up vs Alvin? Or how about Peja vs a PRIME LJ? I think that is child abuse in 48 states. Just looking at Winona’s starting five, The only person with a reputation for Defense is Thurmond. Would he be able to hold the forth from an assault by Penny, LJ, Kemp and League MVP Hakeem?

3. Offense
Team speed between both teams are close and very competitive, so running will be done when the opportunity arises.

Our main offensive sets:

A. Triangle Offense: 45%

The talent on this team calls for the triangle offense. Hakeem being the Fulcrum of the Triangle with LJ and Penny. Weakside part of the triangle will be manned by Kemp/ONeil and Alvin/Drazen. The spacing and movement on the triangle makes double teaming hard and gives our players room to operate.

There is no way to hide Peja’s defensive weakness because he will either be isolated vs LJ, playing vs Alvin on a handoff and drive situation. Attacking the strongside with Hakeem/LJ and Penny. Penny (.512%) and LJ (.526%) midrange game will fully benefit from the triangle. The key is Hakeem on the midpost and his passing ability (3.6 apg). As mentioned above, when the ball is rotated to the weakside there are a couple of options. Handoff and Drive to take advantage of Alvin’s ability to take it to the hoop and Handoff and Pull Up Jumpshot for Drazen’s killer Three ability (.449%) Another key component would be Kemp’s ability for an alley oop if the defense over reacts.

B. Zipper Offense: 30%

Having a player like Hakeem makes us implement the zipper offense made famous by the Celtics. In this offense it creates spacing for Hakeem to operate at low post and entry pass from Penny. If the post isn’t open we can reverse it to other side where an LJ/Kemp or LJ/Oneil vs Peja/Amare situation exist. The downscreen by the PF if played properly results in 1. Kemp/Oneil vs Peja on the blocks and LJ/Penny with speed advantage on the wing vs their PF.

C. Four Down Offense: 25% “Attack Lebron or Peja offense”

This offense will be run by either Penny or LJ as the main ballhandler.
When we run this offense there will be run with these players:
Penny ISO runs with Drazen (.449% Three) Majerle (.381% three) Hakeem and Kemp.

LJ ISO runs with Drazen, Penny, Hakeem and JO.
This offense is meant to attack Lebron and/or Peja on isolations up top.

4. Defense
Man to Man Defense
Lebron - Alvin Robertson
Manu – Penny
Peja – LJ
Amare – Hakeem
Nate – Kemp

1. Defensive Objective 1 – Slow down their offense by having Alvin put full court pressure on Lebron. This accomplish a couple of things.

a. Lebron will expend too much energy facing Alvin’s pressure. Works for us because Alvin is basically gonna be used as our defensive Doberman and disruptor.

b. By the time they set up for offense there will be 14 seconds or less.

2. Defensive Objective 2 – Hakeem on Amare for 18 minutes and JO on Amare for the rest. We put our best big men defender on Amare.

a. In head to head competition, JO has owned Amare. In this year that Winona picked Amare shot .590 for the year. In their head to head Amare shot .492 to JO’s .533. Across the board in their stats JO has owned Amare.

Evidence is damning. http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=onealje01&p2=stoudam01

NOTE: JO comes in fresh after Amare has battled with Hakeem. Hakeem moves over to cover Nate when JO comes in for Kemp.

b. Kemp will cover Thurmond initially. Thurmond is a .432% Shooter. When JO comes in for Kemp, DPOY Hakeem slides order to Kemp.

3.We’ve instructed our SG and SF to stay at home with Ginobli and Peja. When Alvin funnels Lebron to middle he will encounter a VERY CROWDED paint. Amare, Nate, Hakeem, Kemp will be there and finding room to operate is hard.

NOTE: Bottom line is we attack you with a DPOY Point in Robertson and back him up with a DPOY Anchor in Hakeem.

4. To prevent them from running, Alvin is gonna be Lebron’s Shadow. Alvin will live, breathe Lebron James. If Lebron goes to church, Alvin will be his pastor, If Lebron goes to a bar, Alvin will be his sideman, If Lebron goes John Lennon, Alvin will be his Paul McCartney, If Lebron goes Michael Jackson, Alvin will be his Macauley Caulkin.

5. Adjustments
Couple of adjustment
A. If Alvin gets in foul trouble – The Nanny Stopper will be used on Lebron. Just putting defensive pressure on Lebron all game long.

B. If Hakeem gets in foul trouble – JO will come in at Center early

C. If they full court pressure – We have two great ball handlers at Guard and a third one in LJ who can bring the ball up vs. pressure from PEJA? LOLZ

D. If Manu or Peja gets hot, life as we know it ends. Nanny Stopper might be brought in to handle this fire.

6. Closing
We will close the game with a well rested starting five. These guys have played heavy minutes before and knows how to pace themselves for a great closing.

Alvin on Lebron and Hakeem patrolling the airspace.

7. Why we win

We win because we used our immensely talented player correctly.
The Triangle offense features our strengths. Great talent and great passers.

Alvin Robertson will play a key role in this game defensively. He will be able to concentrate on defending because we gave him no offensive responsibility, just play within the system.

Defensively, we gameplanned his two best players. Lebron has to deal with the DPOY in Alvin Robertson while Amare had to deal with the MVP/DPOY Hakeem Olajuwon.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject:

Links embedded within the e-mailed Winona writeup are now up. Judges please be sure to review them.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject:


King James, The Dream, Penny, Grandmama, Reign Man, Chocolate Thunder, Thunder Dan, the Nanny Stopper... which of the great nicknames will pull through?

1. Minutes by Position: For Winona, the first thing that is striking is LBJ at point for 40 minutes. Then Manu. Then scraps for Nate McMillan. No Deron unless they are up or down in the closing minutes. Looking closer, you see LBJ will be playing across Harper or Nate, who are getting a combined 20 minutes at the SG spot. So, there will be some ball handlers on the floor with him. Barcelona got to prep for LeBron at PG and there was no misdirection from Winona when they delivered the game plan. At SF you have a complete change of gears between Peja and Outlaw, who gets more love than he probably ought to.

On the other side, you look at Robertson and Hardaway sharing point duties. JO gets some decent minutes. This may be key with how Hakeem will switch from C to PF at times in this game.

2. Sales Job: Winona pulls some nice quotes regarding the defensive anchor and the opponents soft spots. Barcelona takes a swipe at LBJ at point. Feisty bunch we got here. I like.

Both sides bring up what appear to me to be the key points of the game -- defense at key spots, the point and the bigs. How will they execute?

3. Offense: Barcelona looks to set up the Tri with the Dream in the post. With Penny, Drazen, Thunder Dan and LJ, you might have some nice sequences. Kemp and Robertson could be a real crap shoot. I think the weakside pinch-post type plays with Robertson driving could be stopped by going underneath the pinch post man and playing him for the shot. Kemp will likely be relegated to some garbage-man/opportunity type of read and reacts. JO might find some shots in his sweet spots.

The rest of the half-court sets are split to feature Hakeem in the zipper and then attacking LBJ and Peja in the Four Down. The Zipper should be reasonably effective against man-to-man D. The help that Winona will send will be occupied with some of the off-the-ball movement. They will face post doubles at different times and sometimes when Hakeem goes to the dribble.

Winona will look to set LeBron up via a couple of flex sequences in half court and transition. He will try to find some post-up opportunities in the half court set against Robertson or lanes to attack off the dribble. The post-ups could take time to develop. The iso's should be a good battle.

Next, the double pick action will only be used 10 percent of the time, but allows good action coming off picks that should help disrupt Barcelona's key defensive players. The Syracuse sequence should allow for some good looks for Peja off the screens.

4. Defense: Winona will be trying to send unpredictable doubles on Hakeem, but they will rely on their solid man D from their bigman. They will also look to have Penny and Robertson beat them from distance. When Drazen or Majerle are in, they will hang tight on them as much as they can.

Barcelona will also go man-to-man. LBJ will see Robertson in full-court pressure. They hope this will get Winona into offense late and tire LeBron. "If Lebron goes to church, Alvin will be his pastor, If Lebron goes to a bar, Alvin will be his sideman, If Lebron goes John Lennon, Alvin will be his Paul McCartney, If Lebron goes Michael Jackson, Alvin will be his Macauley Caulkin." Yikes...

They will also throw Hakeem and JO on Amare, looking to shut him down. Amare's got his hands full. Kemp will start on Thurmond. Their D is summed up well: "Bottom line is we attack you with a DPOY Point in Robertson and back him up with a DPOY Anchor in Hakeem."

5. Adjustments: Winona will increase doubles if Hakeem needs them. They will throw Oak on Kemp, if he's producing. They will let Peja alone in the post against LJ, hoping his height will help counter some of the strength.

Barcelona is prepared to throw the Nanny Stopper on the King if Robertson gets into foul trouble. But they will continue to keep the pressure on LeBron. They will also use Patterson on Manu or Peja, if needed. If they face full-court pressure, LJ will do some ball handling against Peja...problem solved.

6. Closing: Key point I see here is that Deron sees time in the final minutes if the team is up or down by more than 5 points. Otherwise, he's on the pine. Winona will go with some small ball if they are down.

7. And the Winner is: Old school rules and a lot of straight man-to-man in this one. A few key battles come to play.

The battle of the point sets the tone. LeBron will be hounded by a good defender, and yes, this will slow down Winona's offense from getting set up. Winona will then try to iso on Robertson and post him up quite a bit. The post-ups are slow developing because of how they are set up. LeBron should be working off the ball more to get into the post. Winona doesn't take advantage of this like they should. When he does have time in the post, LBJ sees some success. Patterson comes in briefly to help slow this down.

Kemp should get locked down in this game. With Kemp on the weakside of the triangle trying to work the two-man action with Robertson, those sequences are easily defended as Winona plays Robertson to shoot and protects against the drive. Kemp will have to work for garbage/hustle type of plays. With Amare on him, Kemp's 3.9 offensive boards per game comes to play. He kills Amare on the offensive glass on multiple sequences, giving Barcelona multiple second chances, of which he converts. What should have been Kemp getting lost, results instead in some Barcelona offensive effeciency. On the other end, Amare is up against Hakeem. His effectiveness on both ends of the court is severely limited. And Kemp handles his own against Thurmond on the D end. Oak is switched onto him for a little bit and helps here, for sure. Still, Barcelona is able to contain the interior bigs on the defensive end.

The Hakeem/Thurmond post match up is a good. Hakeem has to work, but he will still get his. The doubles will come from time to time to help, but this will also lead to some perimeter scores from guys like Drazen and Majerle. Penny also gets into the lane on occasion and looks to create for his shooters if their men leave to help (which they don't do often), so he's able to get some room to score.

Peja finds he's able to get some good perimeter looks and hits. Some nice sequences are set up for him. He gets taken to the post on the other end, and although his length does allow him to get some challenges in, LJ is still crafty and strong. This battle is a push.

Down by more than 6, the Deron/Manu/LBJ/Peja/Amare lineup kicks in for Winona as they try to run. Deron's a bit cold. They can't control the glass, despite LBJ pulling down a few good boards. The uptempo offense can't make up the distance.

We go back to the statement made earlier by Barcelona: "Bottom line is we attack you with a DPOY Point in Robertson and back him up with a DPOY Anchor in Hakeem." Even though there are some other ball handlers out there, the Winona offense is slow to set up with the pressure D on LeBron. The Deron/Manu/LBJ unit improves that, but they give up the interior. The interior has already been contained with Hakeem on Amare and Kemp on Thurmond. Kemp is causing Amare problems on the other end with the garbage work on the glass. Now, they overpower this small ball lineup. Barcelona wins and moves on.

Barca 1-0
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:04 pm    Post subject:

Candy Canes has Winona winnng this matchup, writeup tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:07 pm    Post subject:


Huge gamble taken by Winona to play LeBron the entire game at PG. Yes, he has point skills, but, no, he does not need the responsibility of taking the ball up the entire game. However, this move greatly improves previously questionable floor balance and does help Winona match-up with Penny.

Too few minutes for Drazen/Marle on Barca’s side; the outside shooting is desperately needed.

Sales Job: .
Winona correctly identifies the great defensive abilities of Nate Thurmond. He can do a better job on Hakeem than almost anyone. That said, Barca comes right back and notes that Thurmond is the only ATL caliber defender, outside of possibly Ginobili, in the starting line-up. Relying too much one player defensively is a big part of the judging criteria and that is exactly what Winona does in regards to Thurmond.

Winona on offense/Barcelona on defense:
Expecting the team to get 60% of its offense in early O or transition game is too much for me to swallow. In addition, because James is PG and there is no mention of Manu taking the ball up for relief, James has to take it up against Alvin Robertson all game. Alvin doesn’t have the strength to contend with James’ drives on a play to play basis, but, in terms of on-ball pressure, Alvin is one of the best EVER. James handles aren’t tight and he relies on strength, speed, and explosion to blow past people. He will struggle to take the ball up against Alvin jamming the transition game and forcing Winona to operate with less time on the clock. Winona doesn’t win the rebounding battle (to control the break) as Barca has better rebounders at every single front-court position AND Penny is no slouch on the boards out there with James.

The double pick will be extremely effective against Larry Johnson as he’ll have trouble catching Peja around screens. Manu will also get attempts in this fashion, and he’ll convert at a fantastic clip as always.

Winona made a smart choice by limiting Amare’s touches against the fantastic interior defense of Barca, but also not completely eliminating them altogether. Amare is an important offensive weapon in more than just transition. Barca responds with Hakeem on Amare for 18 minutes and JO in the other opportunities. Amare might score, but nothing comes easy.

A big focus for Winona is James up top going one on one. Barca knows the shooters are too good around James to sag and thus they decide on funneling James to the middle. He expects the paint to be too crowded for James to operate. True, the paint is crowded on the ground, but James rises to rarified air and collects fouls in the middle as well as a few lay-ups, turnovers, and rejections. Where is the James/Amare or Manu/Amare pick and roll? LeBron is excellent operating off of a pick and not just in isolation situations at the top or at the wing. Winona assumes that Hakeem will respect Nate’s shot. He won’t and at 43 FG%, he won’t be paying the price.

Barcelona on offense/Winona on defense:
By running the triangle 45% of the time with a serious lack of outside shooting, Barca is asking for trouble in the half-court. Barca’s strength is individual shot creation not crisp ball-movement, overall team play, and jump shooting. The personnel does not call for the triangle. Winona capitalizes beautifully by instructing their players to sag and double Hakeem from the wings.

When Hakeem kicks out, he’s kicking to poor outside shooters in Robertson and Johnson (LJ hasn’t developed his outside game yet). Penny will make you pay occasionally, but he’s no sniper. Barca’s perimeter guys will do well in the mid-range looks they create off Hakeem’s kickouts, but, overall, the team is living off of jumpers when its strength is inside play. James on Hardaway takes away a big piece of the usual Barca offense.

However, Barca finds great success with the Zipper offense which affords successful wing isolations that attack both LeBron and Peja who are out-matched on the perimeter against Penny and LJ. This results in opportunities at the hoop and showcases the great individual talents of Hakeem and co.

When Four Down rolls around, it brings even greater success. Drazen and Majerle are in the game and Barca milks excellent match-ups getting an open look every single time it uses this offense. LeBron and Peja cannot stay with LJ and Penny on a consistent basis and will struggle to do so even on an inconsistent basis.

The game plan specifically states that James is to post up Alvin Robertson should he guard him. There is one snag… James has no post game. This will go nowhere. James doesn’t like to post, he’s never been effective in the post, and it is not a skill he has refined. This has some minor degree of success because of the sheer difference in size and strength. James will learn a bit on the fly because he’s that good, but it won’t be as effective as Winona is anticipating.

No adjustment for Winona in case of Thurmond foul trouble?

Neither team makes too much of a change as Winona has a little more emphasis on Ginobili which isn’t a bad thing in the clutch whatsoever. Isolations will be effective with the quality of shooters surrounding Gino and James.

And the winner is…
Both teams took major strikes early in my book. Winona expects to run far more than is humanly possible with any roster. They just won’t get enough rebounds to do so and with James facing Alvin’s pressure it is just impossible. However, Barca comes right back and makes a huge offensive mistake of his own. Penny is a ball-dominant PG and everyone on his perimeter needs the rock to score. The triangle is not an ideal system for this group. However, past that point Barca better utilizes the remaining half-court looks by getting Hakeem touches in the Zipper with Penny/LJ creating. He then brings in a powerful set with Four Down and two great outside shooters with a mismatch that can be milked up top.

While Winona’s sets complimentary to James are decently effective, they aren’t as indefensible as Barca’s. Yes, Gino and Peja will get open looks off the double screens that seem to be in every play, but this form of attack isn’t as hard to guard as a surefire defensive mismatch. While James will carry the offense all night beating Robertson from different angles and keeping the game close, even stealing a few leads here and there, Barca will begin to pull away in the fourth quarter because James has too many responsibilities. He has to guard the opposing PG all game and thus is involved in every defensive play (for the most part). Then he has to take the ball up against Robertson, get past him into the teeth of a DPOY defender where he still needs to finish. LeBron has too much to do based on this offensive game plan.

As the fourth quarter develops, LeBron’s legs begin to go as Penny beats him with more frequency and his sloppy handling leads to Robertson steals. Despite all this, James still keeps it close because Robertson just isn’t a fantastic match-up. In the end, it comes down to a battle of wills in a game that has been, for the most part, pretty ugly: Hakeem on regular rest and reduced responsibilities versus Thurmond against tired LeBron with too many responsibilities versus Robertson. Hakeem, with a little help from Penny attacking James on the other end, beats out LeBron. Barca wins in a “close” game where each point seems worth more than the scoreboard is showing.

Barca 2-1
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:13 pm    Post subject:


Winona makes Deron Williams disappear and stars Peja at 3. No surprises from Barca.

Sales Job
Winona sets up Alvin as a bricklayer and Thurmond as all-world D. Both statements are true. Barcelona hints that Alvin is going to steal Bron blind and that Winona only has one great defender in the starting lineup. Both statements are true.

Winona on offense/Barcelona on defense
Bron vs. Alvin. The NBA single game steal record is 11. Alvin’s best is 10 in a game, did it three times. James had 10 to’s twice this year vs. Boston and Pierce, 8 vs. Charlotte and Gerald Wallace. Neither defender is anywhere near Alvin’s class as a thief and in this game LBJ is at point. Hide the women, the children, the silver, the stocks, the birth certificates…

Robertson picks up James full court gets some steals there early, Winona adjusts by giving James a big target halfcourt and he throws over the top to beat the pressure and save clock.

Bron can back Robertson down and will, but as soon as he faces up Alvin is a threat to get the ball. LBJ has the ice plays but after losing the ball in face up so frequently James will be forced to adjust and keep his body between the ball and Robertson, attacking at angles instead of straight at him. Problem is that play develops in slow motion and the defense can easily react, you can hear the beep beep beep as LeBron starts angling/backing Robertson down.

Winona still has opportunities once LBJ gets to the block with James creating fouls, but defenders are staying on the shooters so the open man is Nate elbow and he’s streaky. 43% shooter, factor in the easy looks and putbacks down low and he’s under 40% from midrange.

Instead Bron needs to work for position OFF ball, seal Alvin on the block, get post entry and then post up Alvin mercilessly until Barca cries madre de dios. However off ball post up is never specified as an adjustment, Soy calls for Bron to go to the post but every play begins with the ball in LBJ’s hands.

In the third option of the flex, Bron is on the strong side post off ball. The quick hitting post up at last. Thurmond has the ball elbow and is only a 1:1 ato passer, Hakeem/JO is on the 4 and in the third option of the flex set the 4 is very near the 1. Easy for Hakeem/JO to sink to James as soon as the ball swings up to Thurmond. They deny the LBJ post up and concede the baseline jumper to the 4.

Double pick gets open 3’s for Peja, but it’s just 10% of the offense.

Running 35% of the time, not buying it. Barcelona is running triangle and zipper, both offenses have the guards high, feeds into transition D spacing. Both offenses have two bigs low to board. Nate is a great rebounder, but so is Hakeem. Winona doesn’t have a speed edge to exploit. This is a wash.

Barca talks up how JO limits Amare on offense, but look at the box scores and you see huge TO numbers for JO. He can’t handle an uptempo game vs. Amare and protect the ball. Stoudemire doesn’t shoot for his normal percentage but O’Neal gives the ball up – a lot.

Barcelona on offense/Winona on defense
Triangle with Hakeem in hub and spoke. Olajuwon is 3.6 apg/3.4 to, he’s not an efficient passer. At 1 the defender can dare Alvin to shoot and play him solely to finish. At 3 LJ has a speed edge on Peja can cut and finish or pull up on him. Penny can cut off the high screen to beat Manu, but Olajuwon is not going to be consistent in feeding cutters. He got his assists in kick outs to shooters. Barcelona will only have consistent success in the tri when Petrovic is in. He forces the Winona defense to extend and gives Hakeem a kickout target.

The zipper is more effective, opens the floor. Four down Penny should create off the dribble vs. LeBron to set up the deep shooters and finish, which then sets up Hakeem. This is their most successful play but it’s only 25% of the offense. Barca gets open looks, but points in the paint are sporadic. With Thurmond making it tough for Hakeem inside the others have to pick up the scoring and they can’t do it consistently, lot of jumpers.

Winona sends LeBron to the post on Alvin but with the ball. That forces slow mo angles and backdown and the defense can read the play in Braille.

Winona finally lets Doughboy play to close, down by more than 6. Deron’s fresh but ice cold and will need to ramp up, vulnerable to turnovers and misses early then he finds a groove. James can finally play off ball and goes off but it’s too little too late.

And the winner is….
Barca. Winona assumed LeBron could get to the post quickly vs. Alvin with the ball. Not when he loses the ball so often in face up and he’s forced to back Robertson down or take angles instead. Combine that assumption with no LeBron off ball post up with bigs pulled away and that’s the game.

Barca made wrong assumptions as well, Hakeem is not hitting cutters consistently in the tri. Game came down to Thurmond and Amare jumpers and Peja 3’s 10% of the time for Winona. Barcelona has LJ vs. Peja finish/midrange, Olajuwon step out jumpers, Petrovic 3’s and Penny creating off the dribble 25% of the time. Advantage Barca. Game Barca.

Barca 3-1. Barcelona advances to the western conference final.
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