Lakers vs Nuggets Scouting Report – 10/23/2009

Pre-Season Game #8

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (a reference for those of you still enjoying vinyl), we know that the first major threat from the Nuggets is their transition game. They do such a great job of looking up-court once they get possession of the ball. This thrust creates mismatches and puts defensive communication to the test. In the game last night there was a clear example of how they hurt us in this fashion last night. In the play, the Nuggets get the rebound and immediately get the ball to their quarterback, Chauncey Billups. Whether the first pass is up the floor or in this case after Billups takes one dribble, they always look to pass the ball up the floor to create an early scoring opportunity. In this case they got the ball to Carmelo in a scoring position and on the weakside of our defense we had a breakdown in communication. This leads to an easy dunk for Denver. We must do a better job of limiting these types of baskets.

We also saw in the game a good example of a basic sequence within our triangle offense. One of Lamar Odom’s special skills is that he can rebound the ball on the defensive end and initiate the transition. In this example he gets us into our offense with a dribble entry. One of the principles of our offense is to simply pass the ball to the first open man you see. As Lamar pulls the ball to the wing to set up the strong side triangle he sees Derek Fisher open at the top as his man has decided to play off him in order to help clog the paint. Fish gets the ball and immediately passes to Artest at the position we call “pinch post”. The fact that Fish makes a hard cut also helps keep our offense flowing effectively. On the weakside, the defender guarding Kobe gets caught “playing the play”. What that means is that he knows that Kobe is supposed to pop up off the screens and the defender anticipates this and changes his positioning. Kobe correctly reads and reacts to this mistake and cuts hard to the basket opening the passing lane for the unselfish Ron Artest to make the assist on Kobe’s reverse lay-up. This play is a good example of how some simple basketball fundamentals executed within our offense can create an easy scoring opportunity.