martes, 23 de junio de 2015

ACB Final Games 1 & 2: Review

While we wait for the third game of the finals, let's take a look at what happened in the first two, and let's try to find out if Barcelona can find arguments to avoid the 3-0.

It's clear that Real Madrid was (one more time) a well oiled scoring machine in game 2. But, it is also true that their defensive activity was better than in the first game. You can't isolate one side of the game and consider it the only reason why a game is won or lost. But a quick first look at both games box scores show that FCB scored 40 points at halftime in game 1, and 32 in game 2. Of course we would need possession data to get better accuracy, but as a sign it is interesting.

Let's take a look at some details we saw during the first two games of the Final:

FCB found some good looks in low post for their bigs

and also for DeShaun Thomas, who is being their main option at the beginning of the games:

Here we see how he attracts the defense and finds Lampe beyond the three point line.

In the second game, Real played more aggressive to stop these options, with quick defensive reactions, with good team work collapsing the paint, more contact, and even using some fouls. Good overall defensive focus, which helped setting the tone of the game, as we can see:

I wrote about mismatch situations some weeks ago. They are becoming more and more important. In the first game we saw how both Real and Barça scored off the mismatch.

In the second, Real Madrid bled Barcelona with these situations, specially during the first two quarters. Even when they decided not to exploit the first advantage they just created, they ended up scoring (opposite side, Carroll's pull up jumper)

Also, they have been getting stops against mismatches in a regular basis during these two games. As I mentioned before, using their fouls wisely helps setting the defensive level. Another example of individual commitment and team work.

Focusing on the offensive face now, we've seen FCB scoring inside, and this will be important for the "blaugrana" team. As important or more will be to diminish Real's inside points.

Which won't be easy because Real's outside threats are huge, but FCB should try to find their way on  defense. In the first two games we saw some good actions, along with some others not so good or plain bad. Real Madrid is punishing almost every single mistake (one on one, help side, defensive rebounds) 

Both teams will try to find as many wide open shots as possible. As we saw in the first game and in one of the last clips from the second one, three point shots coming off offensive rebounds are a good "easy" points source:

FCB will be looking for reasons to be optimistic, one should be Doellman and Hezonja's spacing in ball screen situations. They are creating a good amount of opportunities, both players are shooting well and will probably be confident in the third game. 

Let's hope to see a very good third game, and may the best team win!

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