"We missed some defensive assignments against [Chris Paul] on how we were defending the pick-and-roll. Then we tried to mix it up and play a little zone to get him off balance a little bit. But he made some shots and he got too deep on us on the pick-and-roll a couple times. We went underneath, which was a missed assignment."Because these assignments were missed by Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford, rest assured that no one's playing time was affected.
Jamal Crawford on defending Paul:
"He’s seen every coverage by now. You just have to live with it sometimes."That dismissal of one's own agency and responsibility aptly sums up the limitations of this basketball team.
"As bad as that third quarter was, we were still right there and had a chance. But against good teams we have to be able to follow through on the game plan, especially defensively. On the road you have to have better shot selection."If that was the defensive game plan, an alleged lack of follow-through is the least of the problems. And if you want better shot selection, stop enabling the tenured guards and Josh Smith, jump shooter (48 jumpers vs. 25 shots at the rim in his last 8 games).
"The game was tied at 78-78 and then I think we were stagnant in the latter part of the game. They continued to run their offense. CP continued to create for other guys and put it in position where all they had to do was score the ball or shoot it. They got great looks every time down the floor and eventually that is going to win out."New Orleans won despite making just 2 of 17 three-point attempts and 9 of 15 free throws. They were just massively better at getting the ball inside.
"I was kind of taking what the defense gives me. Our offense, basically everybody is moving the basketball, and if you are open, you take the shot."David West on Atlanta's first-half offense:
"We let them move the ball where they wanted to."Doing what you want rather than what they give you is preferred.
Jarrett Jack on Paul:
"I told him, 'Hey, you have to be a scorer for us. Our offense is kind of stagnant there. You've got to be aggressive and be ready to score."Rohan of At the Hive, on the zone defense New Orleans employed for much of the second half:
New Orleans ran the zone a number of times in the first half; in the second, they went to it on virtually every defensive possession. The Hornets have been remarkably successful employing the zone in limited doses this year; seeing it work over a 20+ minute stretch against a plus shooting offensive team was heartening.
Interestingly, the team used David West to show on to the wings on all perimeter screens. This often led to West and a guard (Jack or Paul throughout the second half) going to a pseudo-trap on the perimeter, with Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor accounting for either the roll or the weakside backdoor cut. It worked with remarkable consistency. The concept of employing Ariza to deny the passing lanes created by screens (instead of having West sit back) was a novel one, but Ariza performed it well. Again, it was yet another wrinkle in Monty Williams' impressively effective defensive strategy.