Film Room: Scoring in the Paint Versus the Lakers

The Denver Nuggets live on points in the paint.  In game 1 of their playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers, they had no problem getting into the paint, what they had a problem with was scoring once they got there.  The story of the game was the triple double by Andrew Bynum who completely controlled the lane defensively for the Lakers.

All hope is not lost; the Nuggets need to simply do a better job of taking advantage of the times they get in the lane.  Denver finished with 44 points in the paint, a respectable total, but when you consider how many more points they could have had if they did not offer up so many meek attempts that were thrown back, there is hope Denver can get their offense back on track.  In the Film Room session below, we take a look at what Denver must do to improve their offense in the paint.

Editor’s note: Once again, I am having difficulties with the new software I am using. My non video images are not being displayed (such as the images of the wide open corners and the into and exit image, when I upload the video. Everything is fine when I save it, but when I upload it to Youtube it is different. I apologize for the poor quality.

In our pre-series primer on the Lakers clog-the-lane defensive philosophy I mentioned how the Nuggets cannot simply run their first action and then settle into iso mode.  In game one, they were very impatient and as shown in the first couple of clips, they were constantly attacking the Lakers set defense from isolation sets.  Denver must show more patience in game 2 by moving without the ball and not giving up after the Lakers stop the initial pick and roll.

UPDATE:  Here are the missing frames from the video showing the open corner on penetration.

Afflalo wide open in the corner.

Afflalo needs to move to the open corner and Gallo needs to drift back to cover against the fast break.

  • DH

    Spacing, ball movement, movement off the ball, and finding the open man on the drive were all lacking. Also, as GK has mentioned in interviews, our screens were weak and the ball handler was often going too early. All of these things are correctable. I expect a much more efficient offensive effort in this game.

    Obviously, pace is tremendously important. But when we are inevitably forced into half-court sets, we have to get the Lakers defense (especially Bynum) moving. That means patience and swinging the ball from one side of the court to the other, with good spacing. It means lots of off-ball movement. It means penetrating with the idea of making the pass, even if it’s a kick-out. It means involving Bynum in the P&R or P&P. Anything to get the Lakers D moving.

  • JOliver

    You can’t underestimate the power of fundamentals if you’re the Nuggets. A simple jump stop in the lane and a head/ball fake will do wonders for this time. Lawson needs to utilize this simple, fundamental move. If Bynum/Gasol come from the weak side, give them a head fake, and either take it into their chest to eliminate their length or dish it off to a wide open big man or an easy dunk. Drive, Draw, Dish–it’s that simple.

    • phibuffa

      To your head fake comment. I watched a clip that had all of Bynum’s blocks on it (I know, I’m a masochist), and not once did any of the Nuggets give Bynum a head fake. He was going as soon as they were with no hesitation.

  • DH

    Jeremy, Since you apparently went back and re-watched the game, I’m wondering what you think of Karl’s assertion that Bynum should have been called for illegal defense “30 times”. Of course, George was exaggerating, and trying to bait the refs a little. But did you see some validity to his complaint?

    I suspect that Bynum had it right when he said that we made it easier for him by sending cutters his way. Then all he had to do was make temporary contact with the cutter and it was no longer illegal defense. I don’t have the game recorded, so let me know what you think if you have time, and if this is of interest to you.

    • phibuffa

      One of my friends said he thought Bynum violated the three second rule on at least three of his first half blocks. Not sure, as I did not really watch for it.

  • phibuffa

    Maybe George can start Moz on Bynum and have him camp outside the paint to one side and hit some jumpers over Bynum to keep him out of the paint. You already showed how Moz is pretty effective at banging with Bynum.

  • Omar

    nice analysis. Excited for game 2 and see how they adjust.