Over the next few weeks, Jordan Kahn will be providing video breakdowns of key sets and plays from many of the playoff games. Check out previous entires here. Find more from Jordan at Basketball Things and follow him on Twitter @AyoitsJordan.
Critics of the Miami Heat (and head coach Erik Spoelstra) often complain about the lack of imagination and movement in the offense. One way to work around Miami’s sometimes stagnant offense is by attacking in transition. But even when Miami doesn’t create turnovers on defense, they can still get transition opportunities through LeBron James’ supreme talent. Similar to Jason Kidd in his heyday, Lebron is versatile enough to grab the defensive rebound and push the ball up the floor to take advantage of a retreating defense.
In the videos below from Game 7 vs Boston, Miami doesn’t have a numbers advantage, but we see Lebron attacking before Boston’s defense gets set. In this first clip, Lebron pushes the ball up the floor after a rebound. Watch Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce on the play. When Lebron starts his move to the hoop, neither player is prepared to help, as they are still tracking their men. Lebron ends up getting the basket and the foul because Pierce is a split second late getting into the lane.
In the second clip, Lebron again attacks the Celtics’ defense before it gets set. Watch how Pierce is still in his backpedal when Lebron starts his move to the basket. Pierce can’t recover in time and Lebron gets a free dunk.
Any NBA defense can look good against repeated isolation plays. These semi-transition baskets show one way to open things up for Lebron in isolation. If the offense starts getting bogged down against Oklahoma City, Lebron could help matters by hitting the defensive boards and initiating the offense himself.