Thursday, May 8, 2008

Keys to beating the Lakers...

For what it's worth, here are a couple of thoughts -- grounded in experience -- on how to beat the Lakers and Kobe:

1.  In the past, they struggled in pick and roll situations.  Now, they have the ability to switch pick and rolls because of their lateral mobility of interchangeable parts.  Still, Pau is the player you want to to involve in middle pick and rolls.

2.  Defensively against LA's Triangle offense, you've got to meet the entry pass as early as possible.  It's critical that you don't get beat on the elbow.  Guard around the play -- go under the cut, not over it.

3.  On Triangle post-ups with a post and two offensive players on the ball side, pressure the ball/passer while the other defender sits in the lap of the post-up player (typically Pau or Kobe).  

4.  The "Kobe Bryant Rules":   The four players who aren't guarding Kobe head-up need to be aware of where his is at all times.  Whenever and wherever he catches the ball, shrink the floor on the catch.  Get to the two elbow areas and the blocks so that Kobe see a wall on his catch.

Of course, Bryant can drive both ways, but you've got to force him one way so that your guys can over-sag the help to that area.  For example, in SAC and GS, we'd force him left on both sides of the floor.

Kobe will kill you at the line.  Keep his FT attempts down by guarding aggressively without fouling.  Easier said than done...

When you have the ball, make Kobe work.  Wear him down.  Bring him off screens and make him chase you to deplete his energy as the game wears on.

Finally, on the Lakers "52" play -- their bread-and-butter in late-game situations when they need a sure basket -- Bryant is the ball-handler on the pick and rolls.  Trap him early and stay with the trap until he's the passer.