I was watching some Euroleague action earlier today and took this excellent clip from the Riga-Lukoil game at the ULEB Cup. This is a great sequence that shows great fundamental M2M team defense. When you watch it over and over, you can't not admire the way they move together to help and recover, stop penetration and force the long shot. It's like watching 5 Bruce Bowens out there. It's really what we'd like all our teams to look like when playing M2M defense. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below (Lukoil is the red team, Riga is yellow).

Some random thoughts from watching the video,

- I love how each defender really chases coming off the screens. No laziness, or cheating underneath. I actually don't like my players cheating underneath, I prefer that they chase and hustle hard. Cheating underneath forces you to compensate with switching, etc..

- Watch the middle defender, watch how he shows and recovers. He's help-side but he's active and on his toes. Too many times, I see help-side defenders and they're stationary, they don't move and when the ball gets reversed, they get caught napping because they're not active.

- Stop the penetration. I love defenders who can closeout and stop the penetration by themselves without help. The Lukoil defender does a great job of closing out to prevent the shot, then beating his defender into the paint forcing the pass out, he does this without help which is key.

- No unnecessary jumping. I hate it when players jump to block shots, especially on the perimeter taking them out of the play and creating a numbers disadvantage. All you need to do is get your hand up.

A great DVD that breaks down the man-to-man fundamentals is Geno Auriemma's 8 Essential Defensive Drills DVD. Coach Auriemma is the head coach of multiple national championship winning lady Huskies of UConn.

Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss.