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November 03, 2012

Pre-game chatter on Charlotte Bobcats' zone defense, Kemba's minutes

Some pre-game strategy talk, resulting from the heavy and successful use of zone defense by the Charlotte Bobcats Friday night:

                As I wrote in my game story, Pacers forward David West was angry with his team’s poor reaction to the Bobcats’ matchup zone. He said the Bobcats were “junking up’’ the game, and the Pacers weren’t very smart in making the Bobcats pay for it.

                Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle noticed. He mentioned in his pre-game comments to the media that the Bobcats were in a zone for 47 Indiana possessions Friday, which I’d guess was at least half the Pacers’ total.

                I asked Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap about the zone pre-game Saturday and he made it clear that’s a less-is-more strategy.

                “To play a zone in a protracted way in the NBA is very dicey,’’ Dunlap said. “Get it on and pull it off. Zone isn’t the answer, but it’s something we can do from time-to-time.’’

                --Speaking of strategy, Carlisle has decided heavy play-calling is counter-productive in the
NBA, particularly for a team with title aspirations. He says the scouting at this level is so strong, you’re better off teaching players to create shots off motion and instinct.

                “Each year I’ve been in coaching, my menu (of plays) has gotten shorter and shorter.
You teach them to make plays, not to run plays,’’ Carlisle said. “Play-calling in the playoffs doesn’t work.’’

                Call it motion offense, passing game, whatever -- Carlisle believes: “When it clicks, it really works because it’s random.’’

                --Dunlap said post-game Friday that he has to monitor Kemba Walker’s minutes, to keep him fresh and effective. Walker, who scored 30 points in 31 minutes, tailed off in the fourth quarter, shooting 1-of-8.

                Dunlap said ideally, particularly early in a game, Walker would get a break after six or seven minutes of hard play. The other thing Dunlap mentioned was the value of playing Walker alongside fellow point Ramon Sessions some. That means sharing what Dunlap calls the “pushing and pitching’’ – penetration that is so energy-consuming.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 3, 2012 at 07:58 PM | Permalink


How are we supposed to support this team when the channel that's supposed to be showing the game is showing an absurd football game for our market? Who the heck is watching Stanford vs. Colorado in North Carolina?

Posted by: fleiter | Nov 3, 2012 10:21:02 PM

The game is on, but the "Guide"is displaying the wrong listing and saying college football.

Posted by: Fan | Nov 3, 2012 10:32:08 PM

Yes, it would have been nice to see the Bobcats play the Mavericks here in South Carolina, but instead there was college football. Somebody please get it right!

Posted by: Roosevelt Simpkins | Nov 4, 2012 1:25:51 AM

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