I decided to catch the Cavs game against the Blazers today and came away very impressed with their ability to make plays on both sides of the ball. They will be very dangerous in the playoffs and could easily go all the way to the NBA finals again.

I'm still on my defensive theme today and so I took some clips of the Cavs defense. They had a couple of big time stops late in the game to seal the win, but I really like this sequence from the first half. It starts out with great defense and leads to an and1 play on offense. It basically sums up what team defense is all about. Helping each other out,

In an ideal world, in your M2M defense, each of your defenders will be able to cover their man 1v1. But in the real world, we all know that players miss their assignments, allow penetration, etc.. And then there are those great offensive players that can always create their own shot 1v1 against any defense. That is why your players must communicate, see the ball, and help each other out.

Front then double:

The Blazers want to isolate with Brandon Roy every single time because he presents so many matchup problems. Stronger than most guards but quicker that most forwards, he's a matchup nightmare. The Cavs decide to front Brandon and when the lob pass comes, they bring help from the baseline to double and force him to pass,

Help and Rotate:

As mentioned, your M2M will eventually breakdown for a variety of reasons. The important thing though is to have good help defense and rotation. The rotation part is important because when you leave your defender to help, someone needs to drop and cover the man left undefended (1 pass away), like so,


I love watching good M2M defense. It shows me that this is a team that has their act together, that all the players are on the same page and they trust one another. A team that plays great man defense always has an edge over say a zone team, because man defensive teams have no real positional flaws.

For a great new video from a great coach, check out Hubie Brown's new DVD on his Defensive Playbook for Success. I'm a huge fan of Hubie Brown, John Calipari once said it was like working with a walking library as his assistant. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.