Defense on KD and a tribute to Tucker

During game 3 KD could get his going repeatedly at the zone with Tucker unsupported , that said Tucker still put up quite a fight despite being at a constant disadvantage on every pick.

Taking a look at KD’s highlights in game 3 and then game 4 its easy to see the progression of the gameplan to allow KD’s defender to stay in the play .

Game 3

Kevin Durant 30 pts 11 rebs 5 asts vs Bucks 2021 PO G3 - YouTube

0:53 In something that we’ll see a lot this series is Tucker denying KD to go up for the pick and get the ball as that would give him an open three with Brook in the drop. As Tucker sends KD baseline Brown gets a wide open floater with the how low Brook was playing.

1:06 This time KD brings the ball down and into the pick so Tucker doesn’t really stand a chance of really getting back in the play and contesting but he goes for one of the classic vet moves . As he cant actually contest the taller KD who is also a step ahead of him Tucker rather than going for the ball puts his hand straight in front of KD’s eyes trying to get a reflex reaction that could cause him to miss.

1:24 Again Tucker gives KD the baseline denying him a pick on top. Here Tucker does one of his smartest moves which will see a few times. Rather than being reactive to what KD is doing Tucker goes for the ball on the outside knowing that KD will immediately turn the other way thinking he caught him slipping while Tucker is already moving to beat KD to the spot. This is a classic example of leading utilized by the slower stronger player and again rather than going for the ball he puts his hand on KD’s eyes.

1:37 Again Tucker denies the pick to KD and sends him baseline but this time KD adjusts and fakes the cut to get some separation from Tucker , turns back to freeze Tucker getting the ball and the fakes going for the screen knowing Tucker will try to deny it and immediately goes baseline . Again with Brook low Brown gets an open floater. In this play KD did a double crossover on Tucker before even catching the ball since he knew that Tucker would try to take away the pick at all costs , I got to say I don’t really like him but this was a gorgeous move by KD.

1:44 Here we see the difference between Tucker and someone like Khris , Khris tries to deny him the handoff pick and sends him baseline but overcommits so KD slips him easily. Again Brook way too low and an open floater.

2:11 Not gonna lie this was a braindead play by Jrue , Giannis was in a prime position and had already switched but Jrue also went at KD gambling for the ball giving Harris of all people an open three .

2:22 This time they played the zone drop like a fiddle setting a double screen to first put Jrue behind and then out of the play completely with Brook backing down guarding no one and a wide open mid. I know Brook will not be able to hang with KD in prolonged play but this was stupid , had he switched to KD he could have contested or force a reset with KD trying to pull him to the perimeter. Giannis had the Brown cut covered and Jrue could have contested on top if they kicked it to Blake.

2:30 By this time Bud was getting Brook higher and higher on the pick trying to keep him in and salvage the zonedrop. Knowing Tucker will deny the pick KD fakes it and goes for a crossover on the other side leaving Tucker behind , Brook backs down wildly and in a way that he cant even plant and contest even if KD went deeper into the paint . This was a bad play for the Bucks but still had Brook played it correctly he could have given hard contact to KD leading him towards Giannis rather than freely giving up ground which also could have given Tucker enough time to get back in the play.

3:23 Here we see the difference between how Tucker plays KD and about everybody else , Jrue tries to plays up defense on KD straight up so KD reads the situation and loses him on the turnaround. Tucker was expecting Jrue to beat him to the spot in the baseline causing KD to turn the other way and land straight onto Tucker but that never happened.

3:29 Again as Tucker gets caught on the high pick Brook backs wildly with no resistance giving Tucker no chance to catch up and another open midrange.

3:39 Same play , also this was pretty ridiculous as Brown had a basically constant moving screen shadowing Tucker not allowing access to the left side as whenever Tucker would moved towards him he would screen . Tucker does the best he could in the situation with a stutter step fooling Brown and avoiding contact.

3:49 Again same play and Brown shadowing Tucker for the pick

3:58 This time the Nets were determined to get the three on top Tucker had been denying them all game , Brown fakes the pick to get Tucker to overcommit going over and again KD fakes the cut to get Tucker one step lower so that now he can go for the handoff pick on top and for a semi open three. This was an excellent design by the Nets and another great vet move by Tucker who just manages to get his right shoulder between KD and Brown using it as a crowbar when they closed together to use their momentum to separate them and pass through . This thing works but it also hurts and a few people have popped their shoulder that way.

Game 4

Kevin Durant 28 pts 13 rebs 5 asts vs Bucks 2021 PO G4 - YouTube

0:42 Again Tucker denies the pick on top and sends KD baseline

0:59 This time the Nets basically set a triple pick for KD with a double screen ending in a Brown handoff targeting Brook so Tucker read the situation and went for a win win play in a lose lose situation . Look at how he bumps Kyrie on the first pick basically bulldozing him out of position , if they call it a foul great we reset a lost play and as they didn’t call it Tucker was able to break their pick line taking Kyrie out of position going under and meeting KD on the other side to contest.

1:19 At this point we are starting to see the difference when Brook is in the play versus a smaller player keeping tight and delaying for Tucker to stay in play. In what was to be a Harris pick into a Blake handoff targeting Brook Pat gets in and delays KD just enough to put him out of position and get Tucker back in there before getting back to Harris to demy him the ball . At the same time Jrue takes advantage of the broken play with Blake waiting and picks the ball

1:41 Getting ready for their classic pick targeting Brook but this time Johnson stupidly stays in the play giving KD a pick that would send him right into Giannis and keeping Jrue in there as well nearly ruining their play but KD makes a hard shot over Tucker

1:55 This time Khris does a good job of going over the pick and staying with KD and Portis supporting him but KD an even better job breaking Khris faking turning around towards the pick.

2:09 Similarly to the play in the third game Jrue is posted up by KD by this time he does send him to the baseline like Tucker though not as aggressively and has a decent contest expecting the turnaround.

2:16 Another post up on Khris this time but he tries to play it straight rather than leading KD to limit his options and gets eaten alive.

2:24 Again the difference when Brown is guarded by a small player who stays high to support . Rather than backing down Pat steps in the way allowing KD to only try going very wide right into Jrue , having that delay Khris gets back in the play . As they reset for a pick on the left Brown starts shadowing KD’s defender for the pick but this time Pat is right behind him waiting and as KD slips Khris rather than open ground he finds Pat sending him wide.

2:37 This time the Bucks try the same coverage but with Brook rather than Pat , while this time Brook delays KD correctly to get Tucker back in the play he never switches back even when things are covered leaving an open floater on the roll.

2:49 Same play only this time Brook is on the wrong side meaning he is never in position to delay him and can only chase him . Giannis sees this and steps in but they get an open three out of it.

2:59 Same play and again Book cant stay in front but Giannis and Khris step over and cover the paint

Game 4 defense highlights

KD Frustrated With Bucks Defense And Refs In Game 4 Loss - YouTube

0:02 Similarly to the last play showed on the 3rd game Tucker uses his shoulder as a crowbar to open up the pick and KD feeling the contact throws it up.

0:10 Similarly to every other time these to were in the side Tucker sends KD to the baseline ready to meet him there but this time KD rather than posting faces up meaning Tucker cant overplay since KD will just pass him on the baseline so Tucker forces his hand going for the swipe to get KD to go there when he wants him and he gives him hard contact which he then takes away to unbalance KD when he went up for the shot (preparing for contact). Absolutely amazing adjustment and leading by PJ.

0:39 Again Tucker swipes to send KD baseline when he wants him and another excellent contest.

0:45 Tucker overplays it trying to protect Brook from the Blake handoff targeting him but when KD slips him on the baseline amazing read by Pat who sees whats happening before KD even really makes his move . KD was blocked there by Pat because he didn’t expect a player to have rotated so quickly.

0:57 This was the best the Brook has done in this case delaying and neither backing wildly or giving a driving lane on the side but KD manages to beat Khris with a stutter and again an amazing read and rotation by Pat who only fully commits and moves over just when Khris is beaten.

1:10 Good job by Forbes stepping over and allowing Khris to get back in the play

1:20 Portis doesn’t allow KD to use the screen and Giannis delays for Khris to get back in the play.

1:56 If this was designed it was a very smart move if not it was a pretty big gamble by Khris, similarly to Tucker swiping to get KD to commit to the turnaround Khris does the same with Jrue already in position on the other side.

2:04 Once again rather than Tucker Brook here we have Tucker and Pat showing the advantage with Pat shadowing and taking every option away before KD ever gets to the pick staying always in the right position. KD gets frustrated and tries to get free throws.

Throughout the series Bud has recognized the issues with the zone drop and the Nets trying to target Brook on the pick n roll and initially he adjusted late in game three by bringing Brook higher which took away the floater but didn’t delay KD giving him still good looks. In game 4 Bud took it even further trying to use Brook to delay KD which while it worked on some plays was pretty unreliable with Brook getting out of position or forgetting to return to his man more often than not . On the other hand the small lineup is no more just an idea but an actually proven tactic playing KD extremely well in the minutes it was implemented and powering the Bucks to a massive run to catch and pass the Nets. As shown in the highlights nearly every time KD has scored or gotten a good shot is a product of the Nets targeting Brook on the pick n roll so now it remains to be seen whether Bud increases his small lineup minutes or whether he keeps going with Brook on Brown on defense and spacing on offense (which doesn’t really worth it IMO) and if Brook figures out how to delay without overcommitting or getting passed by.

In regards to Tucker the dude is putting on an absolute clinic of legal and somewhat illegal vet moves . Other than constantly trying to get KD to react by putting his hand right in his face when shooting , Tucker has been leading KD rather than reacting to him and he has been giving KD hard contact and when KD is prepared for it he gives ground to unbalance him. One of the not so legal moves he does is when KD is trying to get past and he is on his side and as he goes up to shoot Tucker rather than putting his off hand on his hip he is putting it on KD's arm just below the elbow. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book and you can pull it off fairly safely , when the shooter goes up his hand bumps on the defenders arm which can dislodge the ball and even if it doesnt it unbalances the shot . This pretty much never gets called because unless the ref is expecting it because it seems as if the shooter initiated contact going up. Also i have to say his shoulder must be killing him using it to crowbar open all these moving screens.

So good to have you PJ.

FanPosts are user-generated blogs-within-the-blog. We require that members abide by our <a href="" target="new">community guidelines</a> and keep things respectable.