About that 55% shooting allowed

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It would be real nice to be able to point to one thing in last night’s 128-115 loss to the Knicks, one area of emphasis, and say that’s where things broke down. But to be honest, you really can’t.

On the whole, the Spurs simply allowed the Knicks to knock down too many shots. Looking at the Synergy Sports numbers, there didn’t seem to be one area that stuck out. It was all of them.

Every single type of play the Spurs defended, with the exception of the junk drawer-like “All Other Plays,” resulted in San Antonio’s defense allowing more than 1 point per possession. For the game, the Spurs gave up 1.2 PPP (128 points over 107 possessions).

The area that was a bit of an anomaly is possessions that ended with the pick-and-roll ball handler taking the shot. On the season, the Spurs are allowing just .76 PPP in these situations, with opposing teams scoring just 36.2% of the time.

Against the Knicks, however, San Antonio gave up 1.05 PPP and New York scored 52.6% of the time.

San Antonio’s strategy on New York’s pick-and-rolls was to not hedge on the picks. When Amare Stoudemire or Ronny Turiaf set a pick on one of San Antonio’s guards, the big man helping on the play hung back and kept an eye on the roll man. So when a Knicks guard, Raymond Felton for instance, came off the pick, they had an opportunity to pull-up for a jump shot.

The Spurs were far more concerned about New York’s big men rolling to the basket for easier shots and were willing to give up mid-range jumpers and space for the guards to drive. Problem is, New York was up to the task and shot 47.1 % from the field on these plays without a single turnover.

The wrinkles San Antonio uses to defend certain situations change on a game-to-game basis, and against the Knicks their strategy was to allow the open jumpshot and prevent New York from hitting the roll man (and San Antonio succeeded, only six possessions total in the game). Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out for the Spurs this time.

[Update] Also on the defensive end of things against the Knicks, our amigo Sebastian Pruiti at NBA Playbook takes a look at the three defensive possessions right before Coach Pop pulled the starters. There’s some good stuff here, so take a look.

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  • NYC

    Interesting. So are you saying the only thing we could have done better was to take care of the ball and not commit so many turnovers?

  • TD = Best EVER

    That’s because we don’t play D like we used to. We don’t have two 7 footers to clog up the lane when we get beat off the dribble on our rotations…..

    This is why we either have to have the ENTIRE team on a string Defensively. Or we need a trade for a Defensive big to help protect the rim. Its to hard for all 5 guys to be on a string like they need to.

    To protect the rim, you need to
    1 – have great ball/man vision.
    2 – know what rotation you need to make and why
    3 – have the foot speed to get there quickly
    4 – have the skills to STOP the man from scoring

    Now who does this describe on our team? Ya, I know, not many.

    Everyone on our team can do the 1st 3 steps pretty well. But the 4th has been lacking all season beside Timmy, who doesn’t always get there on time anymore. So now we don’t have a GREAT Defensive big – 2007 so we can’t just put a good Defensive big out there and win anymore. First we need to find a 2nd good defensive big and start letting Dice get some rhythm. So he can be one of our Bigs come play off time. And then we will still need someone to help Timmy really put the clamps on the painted area.

    On a side note – The Warriors just released Rodney Carney. not sure why – i guess they didn’t want to pay him. But he can shoot the 3 (40+% this season) and is 6’8″, young and athletic! Just something we should look into.

  • TD = Best EVER

    Stop trying to gloss over the Horrible D with all this TO talk. Look it up the Spurs are either on pace or better NOW than any any of our Championship seasons. WE even had some years where we were close to 16 TO’s a game. Saying we need to stop turning the ball over is like saying we need to stop breathing, stop being who we are. We have always turned it over 14 times or so a game and we are again this year. Tony, Manu, Timmy, aren’t gonna become better ball handlers at this point in their careers. This is WHO WE ARE, and always have been. So more assists, better D, and a trade are what we need. Not fewer TO’s.

  • Tyler

    Over the course of an 82 game season, there is always going to be a handful of games that no matter what you do, you’re not going to win.

    Last night was one of those (and our first so far).

    The way NY was shooting the ball, there probably wasn’t a whole lot we could have done strategically-wise that would have stopped them.

    If you’re a player, forget everything about this game. Erase it from your memory. Move on to the next one.

  • DorieStreet

    @ TD = Best EVER

    We don’t play D like we use to because we don’t have those type of players. Blair is not 5-0/RJ is not Bruce/Bonner is not Horry. We can improve and will improve on defense. But since we are not there yet, let try to get better in ways that won’t contribute to a defeat in SOME GAMES. Last night was 1 contest in 82 that started out and continued as a playground game. (It probably won’t happen again.) But since our D was subpar, it meant for that 1 GAME we compensate for that–making shots -which we did until mid- 4th qtr.- and take care of the ball more- which we did not. Maybe we should follow South Beach’s lead- after recently giving up 58 1st half pts. to the Knicks & 119 to the Rockets last week, Heat hc Erik Spoelstra held a “training camp-style” practice, focusing on defense. The next game they got down at home to GSW by 20 pts and trailed 72-58 at halftime. The Heat shut down the warriors’ shooting in the 3rd- 5 for 20, resulting in 12 pts. They then allowed GSW only 23 more in the 4th, winning 114-107.

    My last comment about last night. Let’s improve in all phases of our game, the things we used to be great at (such as the D), the things we are average at (TOs) and the things are subpar at (FTs-but we’ve improved). All of this along with our bigs stepping up (or per your suggestion, add a player) will help us continue to get better and win more than our share of the remaining 48 games, starting tonight in Boston. If we can’t win both games of our BTBs, let’s win one.

  • doggydogworld

    We don’t play D like we used to because the rules (and their enforcement) have changed.

  • irongiantkc

    TD=BE
    Didn’t mean to irritate you before. If you’ll go back to our posts from the “Empty Gym” post, I hope I was able to address some of your comments. I am interested to hear some of your responses.

    In response to this post, I thought you were right on with the comments about the TO. 16 isn’t the problem. 6 is. I agree about your assessment of the D, but for the life of me, can’t understand why you’re still asking for a trade. One, the team’s record is too good. Who else trades unless their deficits are translating to losses? Two, what big would we trade for that would play more minutes than Splitter is right now? Haven’t you considered that Pop isn’t intentionally keeping him out? Maybe, he just isn’t earning the playing time. What big would we get of value that wouldn’t require one of the Big Three or the Big Four incl. RJ. All of them have pretty big guaranteed contracts. Who out there is better than Blair or Bonner? Granted Bonner is the biggest guy other than Nowitski never to play inside, but still.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ DorieStreet

    “If we can’t win both games of our BTBs, let’s win one.”

    Amen – We need to win as many games as possible to unsure home court through out the playoffs.

    @ irongiantkc

    “Didn’t mean to irritate you before.”

    All Comments are welcome and saying we DON’T need a trade doesn’t irritate me at all. Saying Timmy isn’t a big man – that’s different. But to the former – and the reason I keep bringing it up is that its very hard to remake yourselves mid season. We aren’t the Heat with a bunch of new guys trying to get along and work together. We have all been around a while, with a few exceptions. So when people say we need to get better at D, I think to myself how. The Dallas Mavs wanted for years to get better at D – it took a trade to get it done, because all the preaching in the world wasn’t gonna make Jet, DIRK, and company good defenders.

    So what we can do is slow the game down some – give your D time to get back in transition and get set up. This also helps in keeping you match ups and not getting crossed matched during transition.

    Or back to my trade theory – remember we had Garret Temple(who had good size and hustled) on the roster until he got hurt and then we waived him. So we don’t have to get a big, although that would be best. We can get a SF who can defend 2-3′s and that will allow Hill to guard point guards. i posted earlier that Rodney Carney is available and could be another Shane Battier or Bowen type in a few years if he gets the minutes in the right system. And he make very little.

  • rob

    The game against the Knicks was a typical type of game where one team exceeded exceptionally well in what they do and the other doesn’t.

    This was a Knicks team that played above their normalcy and a Spurs team that didn’t play up to theirs.

    Sh…It happens.

  • Juan B.

    “On the whole, the Spurs simply allowed the Knicks to knock down too many shots.”

    You hit the nail on the head. That’s the name of the game.

    Though it was a statement win for a team like the Knicks, who is reestablishing some type of recognition on the court; it is a simple bump in the road for a veteran team like the Spurs.

    Much like my beloved Lakers, they will not stress a regular season loss for long; especially not to a team that is clearly not better than their own (A la Lakers 82 – Spurs 97, 12/28/10). Its only one game.

    These rings are getting heavy!

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