I caught most of the Greece versus Brazil game yesterday. It was the best game of the FIBA Olympic qualifier so far with both teams playing some terrific basketball. In the end, Greece was just better at executing their offensive. Specifically, Greece ran PNRs all night and Brazil mostly switched all screens allowing Greece to take advantage of the mismatches.

My general philosophy on defending screens is to switch all screens, especially late in games. But it's all about the adjustments. In the first half, Brazil's switching defense caused Greece some problems, but then they used the switches in to their advantage in the second half by finding the mismatch and exploiting it. Take a look at these 2 sequences in the 3rd quarter,

Big on Small:

Greece runs the PNR, and allow the first switch to occur. The result is a bigger slower defender guarding the quicker guard. He uses a pump fake to freeze the defender, then blows right by him. Once you allow penetration, it's game over from there,

Small on Big:

The second sequence is out of a spread PNR set. The ball-screen is set and the Greek center then seals the smaller defender out. You can see that he has a big height advantage over his defender which he uses to easily go over the top. Help comes, but it's late and also fouls the Greek center for the AND1,


Being the host team, Greece has all the built in advantages. Looks like they will cruise to the final four, where they will probably play Slovenia or Croatia. I like the way they've played all week, they've executed well and used the partisan crowd to their advantage.

As for Team Canada, all kinds of internal chemistry problems going on. Samuel Dalembert left the team (or kicked off it depending on who you talk to). I'm really disappointed with the way the whole team has been run the past 6 or so years. They play Croatia tomorrow, and I think it will take a miracle for them to go through, but we can always hope...

To learn more about the PNR and how to defend, take a look at Jeff Van Gundy's DVD on the pick and roll and how to defend it. Van Gundy is a master of the PNR having coached some of the best guard-forward tandems in the NBA. Be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk about your favorite basketball topics.