We talk alot about adjustments being key to winning basketball games. As Roy Williams says, your gameplan is only as good as the first 6 minutes, then it's all about the adjustments you make in the game. Tonight I watched the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Miami Heat.

Credit goes to Pat Riley and the Heat who made the first good adjustment on defense to combat the Lakers triangle offense. The Heat were fronting the post. Phil Jackson is too wise (and probably old) to fall for that one, so all the Lakers did was make quick passes to change the angle of entry to take advantage of the defensive rotations and get the trigger pass (lob) into the post. After that was working, the Heat went back to a traditional chest-to-back defense in the post, and the Lakers used their superior passing again to great effect. Here are a couple of sequences from the first half,

I like fronting the post as a general defensive philosophy. The lob pass is the most common solution against a front, but it is problematic for a couple of reasons. At the lower levels, kids have trouble making a good lob pass, it usually results in a turnover. At the higher levels, when you introduce M2M help defense, the straight lob again presents problems. Often you'll need to cut and fill guards then make an extra pass to gain a better angle for the lob.

Gaining Angles for the Lob:

It's the Lakers standard set for the triangle, but the Heat are fronting so help side is ready to pinch Gasol and intercept a lob attempt.

So, what the Lakers do here is they exchange guards, O1 goes to the corner where O3 comes to fill the top of the key. This exchanging of the guards helps in that the defenders must rotate and thus the help side defense is disrupted temporarily.

Then, the pass goes from O2 to O3 at the top of the key. Once this happens, X5 tries to adjust the fronting over Gasol, but O3 automatically has a great angle for the lob with little help defense to deal with.


The Lakers were killing the Heat early with the lobs. In the second quarter, the Heat went chest-to-back, where the Lakers went back to their traditional triangle offense and killed the Heat with great passing out of the post. Basketball is about adjustments, you make a change, I adjust. I make a change, you adjust.

Now that we're approaching the end of the season, a good skill development video to check out is Billy Donovan's DVD on Individual Skill Development within Your Offense. In it Donovan goes over teaching your players those specific skills that will make them a successful player during the season. As always, please check out the X's and O's Basketball forum to talk hoops and exchange notes and ideas.