As we say all the time, playoff basketball is all about adjustments and I really like what Mike Brown did defensively tonight in the Cavs win over the Celtics. They decided to have Delonte West overload the ball side leaving Rajon Rondo completely open.

The premise being that the Cavs feel that they can live with Rondo taking open jump shots until he proves to them that he can knock them down consistently. A gamble? It sure was, but down 2-0 it was a calculated risk by Mike Brown who really had nothing to lose, and it payed off big time. When Doc Rivers countered by having Sam Cassell sub in for Rondo, things didn't get that much better. In fact, both Rondo and Cassell played terrible shooting just 3-for-10 and 0-for-6 respectively and combining for just 2 assists in over 40 minutes of combined floor time. Here were a few sequences from that crucial 1st quarter in which the Cavs used to jump out to that huge 20-point lead,

Defensive Overload:

It was basically the same concept of tilting the floor that we saw the Lakers use against the Nuggets in the first round. Choose 1 defender (the one defending the worst offensive player) and have them play help-side exclusively,

A couple of times, Delonte West took the charge which discouraged the Celtics from driving into the lane. Later in the 2nd half, Rondo and Cassell were taking the open jumpers and weren't hitting them.


Now that the Cavs have made their adjustments, it's up to Doc Rivers to come up with something that will keep the Cavs defense honest. It's really just a numbers game, like in football, on defense, you load up the box to stuff the run. So now on offense you have to turn the edge or throw over the top to keep them honest. What will the Celts do to adjust?? Though Sam Cassell did struggle tonight, I think he is a better scoring threat and through the later 3 quarters, the Celts did stay pretty even with the Cavs. Expect to see more Sam in Game 4 in a 4-out spread.

For a new M2M defense video, check out Mark Fox's DVD on Building a M2M Defense. I like his idea of emphasizing taking charges. This fits well with the tilting the floor concept if your help-side defenders are going to contribute, they need to step up and take some charges. Talk hoops strategy at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other great coaches from around the world.