The TNT halftime crew of Chuck, The Jet, Ernie and guest Dwyane Wade were talking about the Pistons dismantling of the Sixers and what they said about exposed weaknesses in the playoffs was absolutely the truth at all levels of basketball. In the regular season, you can get through without being exposed, but when you get to the post-season, good teams find and exploit your weaknesses. Sometimes, there isn't anything X's and O's related you can do, simply a fact of a skill weakness on your team that cannot be overcome in the short-term.

Much like the Hawks, the Sixers are a team that lack consistent perimeter shooting. That's not to say that they don't have any guys that can shoot, but they don't have a bonafide shooter(s) on the team. In fact, the Sixers are the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the regular season and in the playoffs, 31.7% and 23.5% respectively.

Credit Flip Saunders for switching to a packline type defense and making the Sixers shoot over the top to beat them. The other key defensively was to take good shots on offense to setup the half-court defense and not allow the Sixers to get easy baskets. They did all of that and more tonight, here are a few clips from the first half,

Pistons Go Packline:

The Pistons were content to packing the lane and giving the Sixers the outside shot,

But it was not a traditional packline defense in that instead of aggressively closing-out on the ball with high hands the Pistons actually played soft ball-pressure. They practically baited the Sixers guards to shoot with the ball from the outside. They were aggressively covering the passing lanes, 1 pass away they were in deny and the forwards were full fronting,

I've talked over the past few days how important good shooting is to be a great team and the Sixers are an example of a good team that couldn't take that next step because they couldn't make outside shots. Chuck said as much in the halftime show, that Sixers star Andre Iguodala needed to hit the gym this summer and work on his jumpshot. We all have weaknesses, but there's things you can do about it. Instead of dwelling on it, fix it.


As everyone has said all along, the only thing stopping the Pistons from winning the NBA Championship this season are the Pistons. When they come out ready and prepared to play and don't assume that effort is optional, they play some of the best team basketball I've ever seen. The Magic will be a significantly greater challenge, they can go inside and outside. It will be a very tough series.

For some defensive info from one of the greatest basketball minds there is, take a look at Hubie Brown's DVD on his Defensive Playbook for success. Discuss your favorite defensive strategies at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other coaches from around the world.