Saturday night was a great night of NBA action. A full day of watching college football then a night of great NBA games. The best was the Hornets versus the Cavs. It had the feel of a playoff game even though we're only in October. With the parity so even in the NBA now, I think teams know how important every regular season game is, they're not so inclined to sleepwalk through the first half anymore (OK, maybe some teams still do).

Anyways, the Hornets were behind most of the game but came back in the fourth quarter with a vengeance. Led by none other than Chris Paul, CP3. Even without Tyson Chandler, CP3 was making all kinds of plays within in the PNR, showing the value of a good point guard above all else. Take a look,

If the Defense Switches and Sags:

The more I think about it, the more I think that overall the Cavs did a good job defending the PNR, it was just great offense by CP3. Here, Ilgauskas switches on the PNR to defend CP3 but sags to defend the drive,

The Cavs have consciously decided to protect the basket but give CP3 the shot. CP3 reads it and knocks down the open jumper.

If the Defense Hedges:

Now, if the defense decides to hedge or trap the ball screen, David West who sets the pick then rolls off and pops out. CP3 finds him open and delivers the ball to West for a catch and shoot. The help-side is late on the closeout,

If the Defense Straight Switch:

Now, this was late in the game so naturally the Cavs will switch all screens. This creates a big on little far out at the top of the key,

CP3 crosses over Varajao and attacks the basket. 4 defenders converge leaving the corner man wide open for the 3-pointer,


Like I said, I actually think the Cavs defended as well as they could, CP3 just made all the right plays. If you have the right offensive system, and the right players, your team will be almost undefendable, the only thing setting you back is the decisions of your own players. The Hornets can score anytime they want, the only weakness of course is if CP3 gets injured.

For a relatively new video on pick and roll concepts, take a look at Larry Brown's DVD on Secondary Break and Pick and Roll Offense. I'm happy to see Coach Brown back on the sidelines, this time with the Charlotte Bobcats, but MJ's going to need to find some better players for him. Discuss this and the rest of your favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.