Watched the first half of the second game in the TNT double-header last night between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz. Both teams are playoff teams and could very well face each other in the first round. It's remarkable how much one player (Chauncey Billups) can make, but even more incredible has been how the Nuggets have transformed from 7 seconds or less the past 2 years to defensive stalwarts. Coaches that have longevity are those that are able to constantly adapt to the talent they have.

I just like this defensive/offensive sequence from the end of the first quarter. The Jazz are in their ISO and high PNR set for Deron Williams, the Nuggets do a great thing by trapping the ball screen, then zoning up, forcing the 24 second shot clock violation. They go back the other way and hit a big 3-pointer to end the first quarter and close within 2,

Trapping the Ball Screen:

I really like this defensive tactic because it takes the ball out of the offense's best playmaker. You might give up an open look, but I think when you play against a team with a great playmaker, the key is to force the other players to make a play, create their own shot. In fact, even if the Jazz didn't run a high ball screen, I would've doubled Williams anyways to get the ball out of his hands,


I read in an article that the Nuggets claim to not run zone defense. But they run a lot of zone principles. They run a lot of overloads, and hard switches. Whatever they run, it's working because the Nuggets are 4th in opposing percentage defense at 43.9%. If these two teams play each other, it could go 7.

If you're interested in more hybrid type defenses, you might want to look at Bob Kloppenburg's DVD on the SOS Defense. Coach Kloppenburg is a former longtime assistant coach in the NBA. As always, don't forget to check out the the X's and O's of Basketball forum to get all your hoops fill.