From the opening tip, you could tell that the Pistons were going to rout the Nets tonight in Detroit. With the playoffs on the horizon, the Pistons are firing on all cylinders (pardon the pun) and look ready to make it back to the finals.

Defensively tonight, the Pistons strategy was to trap all ball-screens on the perimeter, especially against Devon Harris. At first, it didn't work very well because the traps were too slow against a speedy Devon Harris. But they tightened it up and started setting solid traps and forced Harris to cough up the ball. Lawrence Frank of the Nets is no idiot though, he adjusted and had the Nets set fake picks to throw off the defense. Here are a couple of trap sequences plus the bonus Nets sequence with the fake and quick slip,

Trapping the Ball-screen:

I like the concept of trapping the ball-screen. Especially against teams that use the ball screen or PNR to start their offense. It forces the other team to run something else, something that they're probably not as comfortable running. Harris got a couple of gimmes on some bad traps early on, but then the Pistons started trapping hard. Also watch how the other 3 defenders collapse to protect the paint. Always, protect the paint first, if the pass goes to the perimeter, then you can closeout, but you must not allow easy baskets going to the rim,

Fake Screen beats Trap:

And this I love. Lawrence Frank is too smart a coach to get fooled by this trap. So after timeouts he adjusted and ran sets that didn't use the ball screen, or even better, they faked the screen and slipped to the basket. Against teams that are overly aggressive, remember, walk to the ball, then cut to the basket and go over the top,


As always, defense and rebounding lead the way for the Pistons. They have plenty of depth this time around which makes them all the more dangerous heading into the playoffs. As for the Nets, it's been a bad year altogether. But I still like Lawrence Frank, I think he is a smart guy but I think he's missing some athletic forwards to run the kind of fast-break offense he desires.

If you like Lawrence Frank like me, then you should check out Lawrence Frank's DVD on early offense. Talk hoops strategy at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other great coaches from around the world.