Good M2M defense and the NBA almost seems to be a mis-nomer these days. But the reality is that no NBA team will go anywhere unless they are able to defend M2M well. Tonight, watching the Celtics/Kings game, the Celtics came out of the half tied for the lead but gained the upper hand by turning up the pressure on defense. They were cutting off penetration, contesting shots, trapping in the corners, rebounding, helping, switching, basically everything that you expect your team to do on defense. This sequence I took a clip of typified that effort that really helped the Celtics get separation and win the game. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

I've written many times before, good M2M defense isn't any kind of secret. It's just hard work. You can always tell the teams that work hard in practice, just by the way they play defense. The ones that are working the ball, helping, switching, communicating, those are the teams you know that are working it. And I'm not talking about pressing or trapping teams, I'm talking about good half-court M2M teams. I've seen great athletic teams play poor defense and get beat by weaker teams that executed well on offense and out-worked their better skilled opponents defensively.

2 on 2 Closeout Drill:

I've run variations of this drill 3-on-3 and even 4-on-4. It's similar to a shell drill but you want to just emphasize the points that are important to you (force baseline or middle).

Coach passes to offensive wing. Defender closes out, here I'm emphasizing force baseline so you want to make sure your players are in a closed stance. The help defender has to shift over. There is a skip pass to opposite wing and again you want to closeout and help needs to shift.

The offensive wing with the ball then drives baseline. The opposite wing drags down to the corner. You want the help side defender to come down and close out the penetration. Force the skip pass. The trail defender then has to switch and closeout on the skip pass.

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.

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