Thursday, May 05, 2011 Lowe: Hawks gamble with Crawford guarding Rose

Zach Lowe uses his keen analytical eye and his full-time, professional basketball writing job to put the lie to these two sentences from my recap of Game 2:
Teague again did as good a job on Derrick Rose as could reasonably be expected before switching over to chase Kyle Korver around in the fourth quarter. The Hawks could make the change because Rose remained content (or capable only) to shoot pull-up jumpers when Jamal Crawford sagged six-to-eight feet off of him.
Lowe went to the tape and confirmed that the Hawks got killed on possessions where Crawford guarded Rose:
Crawford defended Rose on 17 of Chicago’s half-court possessions Wednesday, or about 20 percent of Chicago’s total trips down the floor. That is not a token number; that is a significant chunk of game time.

So I decided to re-watch all 17 of those possessions to see how Crawford and Atlanta managed. Nearly all of them came with Kyle Korver on the floor, and that’s not a coincidence; the Hawks do not believe Crawford is qualified to chase Korver and navigate screens, and so when Korver enters the game, they shift Teague onto Korver and Crawford onto Rose. Otherwise, Crawford typically guards Keith Bogans or Ronnie Brewer.

In any case, here are the results:

Chicago’s offense: 23 points on 17 possessions

That works out to 135 points per 100 possessions. The league’s best offense typically scores about 114 points per 100 possessions. In other words, Chicago did rather nicely.

Rose’s stats: 4-of-8, eight points, three assists, zero turnovers

So on all the rest of Chicago’s possessions, including fast-breaks, Rose shot 6-of-19, dished out seven assists and committed all eight of his turnovers.

Now, this isn’t all on Crawford. He had nothing to do with the three-pointer Bogans hit late in the first quarter as the shot clock was running down on a Rose/Crawford possession. But overall, a lot of Chicago’s points on these possessions stemmed from either Crawford’s inability to deal with Rose or the height advantage Korver enjoys over Teague. In fact, either Rose or Korver served as they key offensive player (either the shooter or the last passer who set up the shot) on 16 of those 17 possessions. That is remarkably smart offense.

1 comment:

Adam Malka said...

All of which raises the question: why not put Korver on the floor whenever Crawford is also on it? Tom Thibodeau knows Crawford will get about 30 minutes of floor time... so long as he has Korver out there too, then the Hawks are at a structural disadvantage on defense the entire time.