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NY Zone Sinks Sixers

Charles Shackleford's Top Hat on Jan 14 at 8:50


I was at the game last night. I can't believe you are not picking apart Jordan's rotations more. The Knicks spent the entire game with size mismatches at every position yet 1.) we never saw the jrue, iggy, thad, brand, sam lineup, 2) he waited until the 7 minute mark of the 4th to insert Speights who absolutely dominated those 7 minutes 3) he played Thad at the 4 way too much and the Knicks got to the rim and got a ton of second chance points.

This was one of the most frustrating games i have ever been at. I spent part of the ight making everyone in my section uncomfortable by screaming the Jordan is the worst coach in the NBA. For him to insert Speights for Thad when we were getting killed on the glass and to play Jrue down the stretch. Jrue was doing a great job of probing the zone. A few turnovers, yes, but in general we were getting actual offensive possessions when he was in. But he came out at about the 9 minute mark of the 4th and that was it. If it weren't for Speights finally getting off the bench we lose by 15 last night.

I was actually angry at the game last night. Everyone is doing the Carlton cam and diving over one another for T shirts and i am sitting in my section 112 seats stewing.

Every morning i am going to Philly.com first thing just to see if he has been fired yet.



Relative to the other 37 games he's coached for the Sixers, this one wasn't really that bad. Everything you said is true, he's still a horrible coach, but I can probably point out about 25-30 games where his rotations were worse than tonight.

JohnEMagee on Jan 14 at 9:51

he played Thad at the 4 way too much

You can say that about every game though can't you?

IMO Thad is their worst interior defender. Can't rebound. Can't block shots, can't impact plays with weakside rotations.

Still asking 2 years later why they think Thad is a PF. Who decides that a guy built to be a SF and the softest player on the team should play PF? I appreciate that he has good post moves, but can't he do that at SF?

He could probably be more effective in the post as a SF defended by 6'7" SF's, assuming we have a PF capable of hitting a midrange shot.

(gee, if only we had one of those sitting on our bench).

The Sixers called timeout after Lee hit that shot with 13.3 seconds left. A decent coach pulls out the dry erase board and draws up a play. Eddie Jordan just said, "drop it into Speights and lets see what happens." There was no backup plan, as evidenced by the other 4 Sixers just standing around. Therefore, the best shot the Sixers get at the basket in a one point game is a three pointer by a guy who averages 3 PPG. Unreal.

JohnEMagee reply to Johnny Goodtimes on Jan 14 at 10:34

Going to Speights in the low post the way he was dominating that 4th is not a bad call, but I'm not sure the last time I saw any NBA coach bring out a dry erase board and draw up a play (or college for that matter), it's not the movies. From what I've read, Speights was slow in reacting to the double (triple) team.

My thought is that down 1 (or 2) with that little time on the clcok, as much as I hate to admit it, you put the ball in Iversons hand as he is most likely to get to the basket (and finish) on this team OR draw the foul...that's the call I would have made.

Eh, coaches draw up plays in those situations in real life too. Speights did a decent job of getting rid of the ball, my problem is the Sixers didn't give him an outlet anywhere near the strong side of the floor. Everyone was on the weak side, so it was a difficult outlet.

You couldn't really iso Iverson because of the zone, he would've just been smothered up top by two defenders, some kind of a pick and roll/pop play probably would've been the best choice, but again, Speights was actually making things happen against the zone off the bounce/backing his guy down. Don't really have a problem w/ going to him, and they made the right play, just so happens the guy who was open because of the double was Carney, for a three. He had hit three of them in the quarter, so it's not a horrible shot. Roughly 37% chance you win, 63% chance you lose. You'd like better odds, but whatever.

Game wasn't lost on that last possession.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 14 at 11:03

Jordan felt it was a coinflip chance of making it according to his post game comments.

I can't recall seeing an NBA head coach with a dry erase board drawing up a play in a long while - I know they call plays - I just don't recall one being thought up on the spot (nor would I trust Jordan to come up with one anyway) as opposed to just calling one from the play book :)

I'm not saying they 'lost' on the last possession - they shot horribly the whole game...so even with the rebounding advantages the game was much closer than it should have been and they shouldn't have lost...so this is one of those 'wins' if they had a better coach?

Yeah, I mean, is there any question the Sixers are the more talented team?

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 14 at 11:17

Well, aside from Iguodala of course yeah

Larry Hughes scored 39pts in a game last year, wish we had him instead of that stiff Iguodala.

JohnEMagee on Jan 14 at 11:26

Here's a question more about the fundamentals of the game then just last nights game.

You're a team with no real good perimeter shooters but a lot of good slashers, you have two 'big men' who aren't half bad in the post (one in the high one in the low), and you're playing against a zone...how do you break the zone so that you get good looks FOR YOUR TEAM?

Good question, personally, I think you have to still attack the weakest defenders in the zone, if you can. In last night's case, that's Nate Robinson, Gallinari, Lee and Harrington whenever they were in the game. Ideally, you put two of them into a play, force help to come from the other guys then move the ball quickly. A pick & pop/roll with Brand and either Iverson/Jrue could've worked, had Brand been hitting any shots.

Another way is to have a really good ballhandler constantly probing the defense, like Jrue did in the third quarter. You put pressure on the gap between the top two defenders, that sucks one of the low guys up and essentially creates a triple team on the ball, opening up the baseline on either side of the hoop really for a post player or a cutter for the wing.

Of course, the easiest way to get a team out of a zone is to put a couple of shooters on the floor and start raining threes. If any game called for Kapono, it was probably this one.

One more thing you can do, that they did maybe one time. Flash a big to the foul line, behind the top two defenders.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 14 at 11:37

Of course, the easiest way to get a team out of a zone is to put a couple of shooters on the floor and start raining threes. If any game called for Kapono, it was probably this one.,

Yeah well, that's why I was very specific in my question cause 'a couple of shooters on the floor' isn't something the sixers ever really have :)

Thanks for the answer...so there were ways around it aside from shooting way too many 3's like they did last night...

Yeah, I mean a zone doesn't suddenly turn crappy defenders into good defenders. You still need to attack the weaknesses. And a team shouldn't be that flummoxed by a zone, you'd think with all the time they spend practicing their offense they'd be capable of running a few plays against it.

This actually goes back to something I said last night:

Jordan fails in running an organized offense. The PO is all about flow and letting the players on the floor dictate the "play" depending entirely on how the defense handles certain "if/then" scenarios.

But they have watered down the PO, per Stefanski, so now they are running some version of standard NBA sets, that essentially consists of creating a series of iso situations for players. There are no plays to create easy shots by design for specific players. Everything is overly dependent on the player to get it himself or to have the shot created by a teammate.

That brings us to Iguodala's night. You brought up flashing to the foul line. There is no reason why Dala should not have been that guy last night, especially since they were playing super-small. He can pass, hit the foul line jumper, or, if you get him the ball on the move, he could get a driving lane.

But that goes back to something I've lamented all season about Jordan's offensive "prowess". They don't get layups/dunks by design anymore. They used to get a few easy buckets off duck-ins and back cuts for lobs in the half-court every single game.

Yet another reason to fire EJ, I guess

I personally don't like going to the post at the last play of the game, especially with no strong side help. Even if it was there, it'd be another look at 3. We needed a pick and roll to get in the lane and make something happen.

You can definitely make the argument. It wasn't the most inventive play, and it didn't look like there was an option b if/when he got doubled, but they got a good look albeit from three. I had a much bigger problem w/ the play before that on the other end.

Shawn reply to Brian on Jan 14 at 14:08

completely agree. D'antoni took advantage of our defensive mismatches, and we went into the post (which means an open 3) when we needed a 2. Eddie had no answer for the zone - it should be iguodala or lou taking it to the paint.

Does anybody have an idea of how many times teams have thrown a zone at us for an extended period of time? Is this the first time we got dominated by it and have we handled it better before? Hopefully, we dont see much more zone D from other teams against us considering how bad we played against it.

Watching last night, it looked like they had never even gone over an offense to run against a zone.

What do you guys think about Brand last night? He hasn't looked that bad in a while. I was kind of surprised.

johnrosz reply to Scott on Jan 14 at 15:57

I'm just glad his ankle didn't explode when Jeffries put that hard foul on him in the first half, his leg bent backwards kind of awkwardly. My greatest concern with Elton is his futile attempts to deposit 2 after hes grabbed himself an offensive board. He either gets stuffed once or twice, or travels. Zero explosion from the standing position under the hoop. Don't know if thats worthy of the phillymax

I think IA9 has given up on this coach. Last night's game shows me that in the way he "played". Last year he would had been driving and trying to make things happening.

Ya'll thoughts???

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