Home Forums Topics General K5 Smackdown in LA K5 Smackdown in LA


Great question, Stevie. And @Tamao Kawaishould ring in from his perspective, as this recap will certainly be from mine.

I haven’t yet dug into the film deeply, but T and I chatted after the game. He’s installing it as a 3-2 match up, while we run it M2M. His implementation was much more developed in our 2nd game, but overall, ours is more firmly established. 

It was  a very low scoring 1st quarter (8-6), as my boys took the candy and drove into the left side of his wall too often for my taste, turning it over 5x. We were definitely having trouble reading it at first. We forced about the same number of TOs, tho, to keep the game even. We shot about 29% from the field, but held them to 23%.

in the second, we countered with our “Odd Man In” zone attack, which we use against odd front zones, with an emphasis on ball movement. That brought our turnovers down, and more importantly, seemed to open up seams in the zone we were able to exploit. We went on 15-5 tear to break the game open, and doubled them up in the third 12-6.  Better offensive execution seemed to put us in better ORB position as well, and we scooped up almost 80% of available ORBS over that span. Altogether, we out-boarded them 25-13 over those 2 qtrs. (This was strategy, as they killed us on the boards in our 1st match, with their very tough center scooping up 15 against us. We assigned our 4s to erase him, clearing the way for our other bigs and a 2 guard to dominate the boards)

by then, we were in control of the game, and I got a lot of minutes for my developing bench in the late 3rd and 4th.

I will say that neither team shot the ball particularly well (34-29 efg%), and it was a low scoring affair (43-34, about 10 pts below our season average). Part of that for us was my bench minutes (they outscored us 17-8 in the 4th), and part was our poor 3pt shooting (3-16 through three Qs). The latter I credit to thier D, as we are sub-par when catching and shooting east-west. We are far better on inside-out shots, and their zone did limit our paint touches a bit. 

If I have to assess based on this experience, I will say that while the match up implementation is more difficult to read (we had several points where we thought they switched to a 2-3), our ball and player movement seemed to create a lot of decisions for it to solve. Perhaps with more experience, the Hawks could have solved what we threw at them, but to my eye, our M2M implementation was simpler and stronger. We’re able to continually build a strong wall with different players rotating into deny position as their checks move, which creates its own form of chaos. I also like the autonomy it gives players to be aggressive on switches.  While there is something to be said for “putting players in positions of strength” on D, there’s also a strong argument for the confidence that comes from guarding all over the floor. At several points, my 6’5” lanky center was out high guarding ball, b/c their center was bringing it up.  When I asked them to switch coverage to keep him closer to the rim, he said, “l think I’m doing a really good job on him coach.” And I had to agree.  Though I still want him closer to the rim, I think his confidence to step out there when needed makes us stronger. I don’t coach zones in general b/c I think they breed passive defenders, and I like rabid dogs :-).

ok, too long by half, but I appreciate the opportunity to think this through on a Sunday morning in bed. Hope it didn’t bore you. Would love to hear Tamao’s converse perspective.