After the debacle in OKC, Jaylen Brown had some very harsh words and decided to set an example for this trip to Dallas under good circumstances. During Thursday’s video session, he spoke up and offered to deal with it Luka DoncicThe Mavericks’ No. 1 threat was just named Player of the Month.
Of course, no single player, even a very good defender, can stop a phenomenon like Luka Doncic, but Jaylen Brown was the first knife and the help of his teammates limited the Slovenian to 7 of 23 shots and only… 3 turnovers!
“What’s great about Jaylen is that he wanted to defend Doncic.” Joe Mazzulla confirms. “He had three fouls (note: including two attacks) and that kind of threw him out of his rhythm in the first half. But I also saw that he did a good job in the 3rd quarter, not forcing it, playing the way he should. I understood that the team was fed by all this. »
Change on all screens
In fact, the Celtics opted for solid individual defense, and Al Horford, who got in front of Luka Doncic after a pick-and-roll, forced him to take a complex shot or stop off the dribble. The other four defenders then turned their attention to their players, sometimes even turning their backs to prevent Luka Doncic from clearing the ball.
Another directive: the fact that each screen changes from leader to pivot. Luka Doncic’s main defender never had to go through screens. The versatility and communication of the Boston defenders allowed the Slovenian to lose ground.
“You have to know the ‘keys’, read the offense, be aware of the space, know where everybody is.” Lists Boston coach. “You have to know who can help and who can’t and just be together on defense. »
Another apparent strategy: the option to push Luka Doncic toward the base and only take him with two when he’s in the low post. It’s often Marcus Smart who steps up to help Jaylen Brown, Derrick White or Jayson Tatum. The ball stuck to the 3rd linebacker on the sideline and the only solution for Luka Doncic was on the opposite side for a very risky, if not impossible, pass.
“We did a better job limiting his assists” Joe Mazzulla continues. “He makes eleven free throws and that’s good. We limited his free throws and passes. We took away the 3-pointer from him and forced him to go inside for contested 2-pointers. I think that we have done a good job in this field.”
After his arrival, by silencing Luka Doncic, Boston limited the Mavericks offense to 95 points with just 15 assists.
After dropping 150 points against the Thunder, the 2022 finalists proved they still have one of the best defenses in the country. As Jayson Tatum and his coach explained after the game, the goal now is to achieve that kind of performance consistently, not when the odds are high.
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