Good Morning Dub Nation,
One of the key factors to the Golden State Warriors’ 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday was their inability to score against a zone defense.
The Heat went to a zone during the last 5 minutes of the game in which they outscored the Warriors 12-2. Head coach Steve Kerr talked about the team’s struggles against the zone after the game and said it’ll be something they look into as he expects more teams to use it against them.
“Give Miami credit,” Kerr said.
“They stifled us in that last five minutes with their zone. They were super active in it, so we’ve got to look at that. I expect we’ll see some more of that.”
The NBA is a copycat league. As soon as a specific weakness is identified for a team, other teams will try to use it against them too. Fortunately, most teams cannot execute a zone defense as well as Miami can, and in general, zone defenses in the NBA are usually simple to beat. Our very own Joe Viray detailed why the Warriors struggled against a zone and how they should attack zone defenses moving forward.
The real solution to busting a zone is to distort its shape. Every kind of zone — 1-2-2, 3-2, and the typical 2-3 — has its unique quirks, but each of them share one fundamental commonality: they have gaps that can be attacked.
Attacking these gaps creates several other gaps that can be exploited. Forcing defenders to have to continuously plug those gaps stretches them thin — it is humanly impossible to have to be in several places simultaneously.
Whether it’s by stretching the floor with shooters and forcing defenders to have to close out and guard tightly, flashing middle to gain control of valuable real estate, or dribble penetration to collapse defenses inward, busting a zone is a complex art that requires tons of patience.
As previously stated, zone defenses are usually simple to beat, especially in the NBA, which is why many teams only use it as a change of pace to give opposing offenses a different look. Although the rules for beating a zone are simple, it still requires proper execution and experience — two things that the Warriors have been lacking thus far.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Preview: Warriors look for first road win, face Orlando Magic
- Heat shut down Warriors late, prevail 116-109
- Zoned Out: Warriors’ questionable shot selection and decision-making burns them against the Heat
Other Warriors News:
- Steve Kerr interview with 95.7 The Game (95.7 The Game)
- NBA email with focus on carrying violations ‘rumor,’ Steve Kerr claims (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors’ James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga ‘not that good,’ NBA scouts evaluate (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors’ Jordan Poole singled out in NBA’s new enforcement of carrying violations (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Kyrie Irving: ‘I take responsibility’ for post’s impact on Jewish community (ESPN)
- NBA G League increases yearly salaries (Twitter)
- Overtime Elite, Amazon Prime announce exclusive media rights deal (The Athletic)
- Cavs’ Darius Garland opens up about eye injury in season opener: ‘I was super scared’ (The Athletic)
- Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon joins ESPN as analyst (Yahoo Sports)