Nuggets vs Lakers – Lakers Defensive Philosophy

The Los Angeles Lakers are a very good defensive team.  A big part of that is they do a good job of forcing their opponent to go to their second and third option on offense thus encouraging their opponent attempt low percentage shots.  Against the Nuggets L.A. will attempt to pack the paint and close off the driving lanes to the basket.  As a result the Nuggets will be able to get open looks from the perimeter, but they are low percentage shots.  In the following Roundball Mining Company Denver Nuggets Film Room segment you can see the Lakers’ philosophy of remove the first option and close off the lane in action.

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  • al68

    Creo que no nos debiamos de fijar en los Lakers, lo principal es que ellos atacan de pena y sobreviven gracias a su talento -briant y Gasol- y a la fuerza de Bynum, si nosotros defendemos bien y robamos balones para hacer FB tendremos mucho ganado. Este año veo que es un equipo que se frustra mucho más que en años anteriores por lo que creo que lo mejor es buscar una defensa muy agresiva para robar balones y presionar toda la cancha cuando podamos para dejarles poco tiempo de posesion y conseguir un tempo mas rapido.

    Si nos lo creemos les ganamos en 6 partidos esta año son mucho peor equipo de lo que dice la clasificacion.

    From spain Go nuggets!!!!!!

  • Taylor

    WOW! I am excited for this series this year, in the past not so much but I have some faith in the nuggs this year. If Ty can stay aggressive against a really long lineup and not discouraged, Afflalo, Gallo, and Al keep the defense honest, and McGee step up and just get in the way and make it tough for the Laker bigs then I believe we have got a really good shot. Im excited to see Brewer try to get under the skin of Kobe! Kobe cannot beat the nuggs himself hopefully we can keep the rest of the crew from getting hugely involved, and for everyones sake do not let a “B” player at best like Barnes kill ya. Lets go Nuggs nobody has given you a shot to win this thing lets give them something to talk about!

  • slader

    Great take on the Lakers’ D!
    I agree that the Nuggs need to keep the ball moving, but I would specify “moving around the perimeter”. We often run a series of light screeen & rolls at the top of the key that gradually broaden access to the lane. This doesn’t work against the Lakers’ twin towers, who just hunker down. Gotta make them rotate sharply, or no lane will open.
    Also, if we run the P&R thru Gallo or Dre, it leaves our best 3pt shooters ( AAA, Al and Ty) available for the kickout, rather than Brewer or Gallo.

  • zebort

    That’s cool! How about an analysis of what Denver has to do on defense to stop the Lakers?

  • Thomas

    Lakers will play half court and will throw zone defense whenever we get things going.

    Our only chance is rebounding – we need to hold our own for 48 minutes at both ends of the floor.

    In my view we cannot afford to have Al and Dre getting the kind of minutes they saw in the regular season – it will expose our team defensively and that may very well be too much to overcome.

    What are the odds our coach will do something like that?

    We will need two rebounders at all times on the court – be it Faried, KK, Mcgee, Moz or Bird. Anything less will take us to the all to familiar first round exit.

    • DH

      It’s funny… In the chat with the guys from the Lakers forum, they brought up Al and Andre as two of the guys they were most worried about. They said Al could spread the court and draw out one of the Lakers bigs. And they said Andre has consistently shown the ability to get inside and score against the Lakers. In their opinion, Al and ‘dre should get big minutes.

      In my opinion, we should use both some bigger lineups and some lineups with Al spreading the floor. We want to give them different looks and try to make them adjust some to what we are doing. I would use more of the bigger lineups, because rebounding (offensive rebounding, in particular) is the key to the series, IMHO. But I would definitely get Al out there some, to see how they handle it – and stay with it longer if it happens to be working.

      As for Andre, I don’t see how we can use him and Ty on the floor at the same time if Kobe is in the game. Hopefully, George will play Andre purely as a backup PG. That’s what he appeared to do in the last Lakers game. (In that game, Ty wasn’t playing well, so Miller stayed in and Ty sat.)

  • phibuffa

    Nice work, Jeremy. I think the Nuggets are playing much better lately than whenever this video was taken.

    In particular, Faried seems more active and does not just sit there, loitering on one side of the paint, allowing his man to just park underneath. There seem like a lot of opportunities for lob dunks there, too, if the bigs can pull their man out a bit from the basket and the Nuggets have someone dive down to the hoop. I want to see Gasol try to stay with McGee when he draws him out a bit and then takes that quick step to the hoop and takes a lob from Miller. That should be cash money, right there.

  • lil pau

    Laker fan here. This is really a terrific primer on what the Lakers do defensively, but I have a couple of thoughts from the purple and gold perspective:

    1. You will probably see a discrepancy between how Sessions and Blake play the PnR. Generally, Sessions goes under and Blake fights over. I think this more about Sessions laziness (and perhaps protecting his hurt elbow) than a cornerstone of the Lakers defensive philosophy as you suggest in the first clip. Blake is no defensive genius, but Sessions is far worse (although of course 100x better on offense).

    2. The Lakers switch in which McRoberts ends up on Ty Lawson is, imo, an example of one of the failings of the Lakers’ defense– they seem to switch far too easily and end up with a big getting destroyed by the opposing PG.

    3. Bynum alternatively hedges hard on the PnR and sags back into the paint. He seems to have been given some freedom to play back at least until the PG hits some midrange jumpers, but fails to adjust on occasion, which is why he was benched against SA in favor of Hill.

    Maybe I’m just a nervous Lakers fan, but I think our defense was superb early in the season, but looks a lot shakier now. It’s ironic that some of the plays you single out in terms of showcasing the Lakers’ excellent defense would be ones I might choose to show it’s failings. Where of course we are strong is that we have 2 huge guys in Pau and Andrew as well as good perimeter defenders in MWP (not playing), Barnes (possibly injured) and Kobe (when motivated). This makes for a potentially deadly combination– the wings can pressure hard knowing that there’s 14′ waiting behind them.

    I predict a good series.

    • Jeremy

      Very good insights, thanks lil pau! It will be interesting to see the differences between Blake and Sessions on the pick and roll.