The Lakers came out runnin' and gunnin' tonight and the Spurs could never quite catch up. The game was a little too close for comfort if you're a Laker fan. Kobe was very frank about their near fatal mistakes in the post-game interview saying, "It was bad clock management. Pao missed a shot and then I tried to make a play when I should have dribbled the clock out and they got a quick score the other way. We have to learn from these mistakes."

As coaches, we always talk about good defense leading to good offense. The Lakers actually had more turnovers than the Spurs tonight, but the difference was the timing and the Lakers speed in taking advantage of those turnovers. Here are few sequences including a key one late in the 4th quarter that results in a botched handoff attempt between Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto,

The Basketball Handoff:

I know some coaches that teach the handoff in basketball like they teach the handoff in football. Though they are similar, in my opinion, there are some significant differences. Chief among them is that I prefer to teach players to flip the ball instead of actually executing a handoff. The thinking is that the ball is bigger than a football. Also, by flipping it you avoid any body/hand contact between the exchange and it happens a lot quicker than an actual handoff. Here is where it all went wrong between Ginobili and Oberto,

Here are some coaching tips that I've used to teach this idea of the dribble handoff between 2 players on the perimeter:

1. cutter should “drag the arc” ensuring the hand-off happens below the FT line extended.
2. dribbler should drive at the cutter's defender.
3. dribbler should make a short "toss" or pop the ball up to the cutter. It can slow the cutter down if the dribbler literally hands the ball off.
4. cutter must go tight by the dribbler’s shoulder to ensure there is no space for the cutter’s defender to get through.
5. dribbler and the cutter should both go with speed for the handoff.
6. dribbler should go as soon as he/she receives a pass.
7. dribbler should be inside the 3 point line to ensure the cutter is in shooting range.


With regards to the foul at the end of the game, I thought it was a foul. There was contact on the pump fake and to be consistent it should be called. It would've been 2 shots (foul on the ground not in act of shooting) and probably gone to OT.

With a 3-1 lead, the Lakers are clearly in control. The bottom line, the Lakers are younger, quicker and more athletic than the older, slower, weary Spurs. But Game 5 between the Pistons and Celtics is tomorrow, I can't wait...

Looking for some skill development video help for your perimeter players, check out Ganon Baker's DVD on Drills for Wing Players. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.