miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2015

Final Four 2015: Cool Goudelock Down

Photo: Euroleague.net
A lot has been said about Real Madrid's offense in the semifinal against Fenerbahce. Not so much about some defensive details during that game. It is clear that their offense was flowing big time, the ball movement was great, they shared it the right way, the quality of the passing absolutely delicious… But they did some good things on the other half of the court too.

Let's take a look at how they cut Andrew Goudelock's rhythm during the first two quarters of the game. But first one more example about something we've been talking about lately, numbers. You can check Goudelock's points and immediately think that he was dominant (34 minutes, 26 points, 9/11 2PT, 2/6 3PT) But, if you want to dig a little bit more, you will find out how at the end of the second quarter, he had 6 points (2/3 2PT, 0/4 3PT) while his team was trailing by 20 (55-35) and the game was really far from where Fenerbahce would have wanted at that moment…

From the outside, and not knowing first hand what was Real's game plan, it looks like they paid good attention on Goudelock, probably the best 1x1 player in the competition. Let's take a look at some clips:

In the first video, we can see Fenerbahce playing one of their most frequently used sets. They set a down screen and then they play a hand off pass. Not only the player guarding Goudelock is committed to the task in hand, but also the other players are really aggressive. Real gave up some other options while trying to decrease Goudelock's production, which is normal when you focus in one player.

I was talking about cooperation to stop Goudelock before. In the next video we see that team work again. Two clips in which we can see up to three of Real's players (and in the first clip, a fourth giving a hand too) guarding Goudelock in the same play. Yes, he scores in the second one, but every effort counts and they keep making his life a little bit harder with their defense.

More examples, hand off and ball screen situations. We see how the screener's defender is aggressive to stop Goudelock. Aggressive hedging, and again, it is clear that they rather prefer other players to have the scoring opportunities. Help side defenders work against those other options, trying to avoid the easy shot, forcing some drives, rotating…

The last clip might seem naïve, but it is not. A "no helping" policy is advisable when facing some players. It appears Real Madrid decided to use that strategy with Goudelock. There were some actions where helping would have been a right move in a normal situation, but the defender decided not to. Take a look at the next clip.

So let me ask for your opinion: Was Goudelock's defense a success?

P.S.: You can check all of Goudelock's first half actions, here.

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