About that 55% shooting allowed
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 anÂ anomalyÂ 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.Â 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.