Saturday, June 6, 2015

NBA Breakdown: 'The LeBron Rules'

Kerr has masterminded a gamplan, but will it work?
Heard a lot of, "We just have to stick with the gameplan" coming from the Golden State Warriors players after their 108-100 Game 1 win in the NBA Finals over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. Head coach Steve Kerr when asked about the team's plan on defending LeBron James, who dropped a Finals-career-high 44 points, he said, "If I tell you, will you promise not to share it with anybody?" It all seemed obvious what the Warriors gameplan really was by that point. Clearly, they are content with allowing James as many isolation situations as he would like, and will rotate multiple defenders on him to give him different looks, but they WILL NOT double or trap him and allow him to be effective as a play maker. This is ultimately the gameplan or 'rule' that Kerr has devised to contain the 'Chosen One'.

How do you stop LBJ? Don't let him PASS.
44 points from LBJ combined with only six assists is a formula that the Warriors look willing to "stick with". Who ever would think that this is the best way to defend LeBron? Kerr, who was not yet a teammate of Michael Jordan when the Chicago Bulls were battling the 'Bad Boys' Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference playoffs in the late 80s (ironically, he was on the Cavs) was a witness to a successful method of stopping an elite scorer. The method was originally to stop Jordan at all costs and physically wear him down.  The opposite scheme worked in Game 1 for Kerr and the Warriors against LeBron, although Kyrie Irving (23 points) had a solid game, J.R. Smith (3-13 FG, 9 points) was virtually ineffective. But on the downside, LeBron did have the ball in his hands on the final possession of regualtion with a chance to win the game. If he makes that shot, hard to say if the Warriors would be willing to continue with that strategy after losing Game 1 at home.

MJ took a beating vs. the Pistons but eventually broke through
There's gonna be adjustments made, and James, normally a model for effeciency, won't normally take 38 shots to get to 44 points. He's probably gonna try his best to get other guys in a rhythm earlier in the game so that when the 4th quarter rolls around, everyone won't be standing and watching just waiting and expecting for him to make a play all by himself. If there's any indication from the Warriors comments following Game 1 however, the 'LeBron Rules' will be in effect for the duration of the series. Klay Thompson summed it up best by saying, "He's gonna have to beat us four times playing like that. Hopefully he wears down."

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