Good note on defensive stops in the Hoop Tactics newsletter by Bob Kloppenburg and Ernie Woods:
Defensive stops are the determining factor of any game. A defensive stop is a possession in which the opposing team does not score. Defensive stops occur as result of offensive turnovers and defensive rebounds.
Defensive stops don’t just happen. They are a product of solid defensive play.
-- Defensive stops are a key element to all offensive runs: It doesn’t do much good to score, if you don’t keep your opponent from scoring. Blitzes like 14-2 and 10-0 are a result of combining defensive stops and scoring.
-- Defensive stops allow you to play through adversity: During a game, defensive stops buy you critical time when your offense is performing badly and not scoring. If you should experience a 4-5-minute scoring drought, defensive stops will keep you in the game and minimize the hemorrhaging. Instead of falling behind by double digits, you may only lose 2-4 points.
-- Defensive stops neutralize and erase offensive mistakes: Offensive turnovers or bad shots, no matter how severe, can be simply “erased” or cancelled out just by hustling back on defense and making a defensive stop. The only turnovers that hurt are the ones that the opponent scores after.
-- Defensive stops are vital after bad calls and offensive charging fouls: A bad call by an official, no matter how bad, can be simply “erased” or cancelled out just by turning up the defensive intensity and making a defensive stop on the ensuing possession.
During a game, a charge/block foul can be a 50/50 call. Any time an offensive charge is called, it can be “erased” or neutralized with a defensive stop.
-- Defensive stops are a must after allowing offensive rebounds: Increasing the defensive intensity and determination and making a defensive stop is crucial after giving up an offensive rebound. Like turnovers, the only opponent offensive rebounds that hurt are the ones that they score after.
-- Defensive stops are also crucial in catching up at the end of a game: All the scoring in the world will do you little good if you don’t keep the other team from scoring.
-- Finally, defensive stops are critical to protect a hard-earned lead at the end of a game: End of game leads can evaporate quickly without defensive stops. The best way to protect the lead is by making defensive stops.