First off, Happy Martin Luther King day. And an even better Barack Obama Inauguration day, what a great time to be alive. Since it is a holiday, I'll try to keep it short.

I went through some recorded games today and caught the Boston Celtics against the New Jersey Nets from over the weekend. Ray Allen of the Celtics put on an absolute shooting clinic in the first half. But what was more apparent me was the lack of defensive preparation and attentiveness by the Nets defending Allen.

When you play against a great pure shooter like Allen, you must be adept at the art of chasing. Go over the top on all screens, never leave a shooter to double-team or help, and the cardinal sin, never turn your back on a good shooter. Watch first,

Go Over the Top of Screens:

There are many ways of defending screens, screen and rolls, etc... In my opinion, against a good shooter like Allen, you need to go over the top. Chase the shooter, make them put it on the floor and dribble into help. When you go under, you just encourage them to take that open shot. After the handoff here, Vince Carter should've gone over the top instead of asked Devin Harris to switch from underneath,

Never Leave a Shooter to Help or Double:

Actually there's two things here to note. First, when playing straight M2M never turn your back on your check, ball-you-man at all times. In the video cuts, there is one sequence where Vince Carter turns and his back is to Allen, who cuts to the basket and scores the And1. In this sequence, Allen's defender leaves him to help on the Rondo handoff drive, turning his back on Allen, very bad idea,


The Celtics look like they're back to playing good ball. Which means primarily they are playing good defense for 4 quarters (which was lacking in their slump recently). Though the Magic are playing great, the Celtics can still hang with any of the Cavs or Magic. As for the Nets, they're slowing slipping into oblivion. I know they'd had injury problems, but they are definitely playing as good as their talent.

For more great info from a defensive wizard, take a look at an oldie but still invaluable Rick Pitino's 4-DVD Pack. Pitino goes over both offense but more importantly his aggressive M2M and Press defenses. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.