Living in Vancouver, I get a lot of Toronto Raptors games. I watched them lose yesterday to the Hornets and though the Bobcats looked like a gimme game tonight, it proved to be anything but. It was a game of runs for sure. The Raptors made their run in the 1st, then the Bobcats stormed out in front in the 2nd. The Raptors tightened the screws in the second half and would hold on to win. I like the Bobcats, but they just have too many chronic injuries right now. They won't be making the playoffs again, but they have a nice future.

In this play right before the half, Raymond Felton takes advantage of a bad hedge by Nesterovic and gets right into the lane for a wrap-around pass to Okafor for the dunk,

Actually, I just posted the other day about the hedge technique showing Kevin Love of UCLA running it to perfection. The thing about it is, the hedge is not an easy maneuver to learn and master. If not executed properly, your defense can be placed way out of position as you essentially lose 2 defenders.

Splitting the Double:

In the slow motion capture, you can see what goes wrong here. Nesterovic comes out for the hedge late. Therefore, he attempts to make up for his mistake by taking a step outside and does not maintain contact with the screener. For a quick guard like Felton, that's like the parting of the red sea,

Proper Hedge:

To properly hedge, the defender must defensive slide North-South (baseline to baseline). The defender must also maintain within hand contact with the screener until the ball-handler has crossed at least half-man, then sprint back in recovery. Kevin Love of UCLA shows us how it's supposed look like,


This post kind of morphed into a how not-to instead of a great play. But for the Raptors, their Achilles heel right now as they approach the playoffs is perimeter defense. They allow way too much dribble penetration and they play soft. They have a lot of skill offensively, but against good teams like Detroit and Cleveland, they will have problems defending the perimeter. They simply don't have the quickness (as witness in the improper hedge), nor the physicality to match.

If one of your players is looking for quickness improvement, Alan Stein has a new DVD on improving reaction and quickness. Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to get all of your hoops fill.