'Coach Em Up': Film Study - Mavs Moving Dirk
The Dallas Mavericks had their hands full with late-game issues against OKC in Game 1. Handled properly, though, OKC also has its hands full with Dirk Nowitzki, who the Mavs must put on the move when he receives the ball to avoid the Thunder's ability to ambush him.
In Saturday's 99-98 Game 1 loss there were a number of late-game errors worth evaluation. "We made mistakes you can't make down the stretch," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We made some uncharacteristic mistakes that we're not going to make anymore in this series. We can't."
Dirk is the centerpiece of the Dallas offense, so in terms of those mistakes on that end of the floor, The UberMan is the centerpiece of the mistakes.
In the final minutes, Dirk gave away a pair of turnovers (and finished with six turnovers, the second most he has ever had in a playoff game).
Also, even when he did come up big, "big'' may have come to early. Nowitzki gave the Mavericks the lead with :09 to go when he drew a foul and made his FTs. But the Mavs had the entire shot clock to work with and Dirk went to work with the drive and shot at :09.
When you get a chance for points, you take them. We won't dwell on that here. Instead, let's look at how Dirk and Dallas can score MORE points tonight.
Let's go to the film ... and you'll want to "rewind'' this a few times because there are lots of details packed into our two highlights.
What are we seeing here?
This year more than ever, the Mavs don't just have Dirk perched in his pet spots; they like to have Nowtizki catch the ball on the move towards those pet spots. Doing so against OKC allows Dirk room to make the catch without having to stand and battle with the Thunder's pair of physical players Collison and Perkins. There is less hold, less grab and less bump when Dirk is something other than a stationary target.
But in Game 1, Dirk struggled catching the ball on the move.
OKC was able to disrupt his dribble in traffic with the excellent length and quickness of their perimeter defenders, as we see in the first film highlight.
But on the Mavs final posession, Carlisle dialed up a left-of-center isolation play. Note that Dirk again catches the ball on the move; that is the core of this strategy that is unchanged.
The key adjustment here is that Nowitzki is moving away from all of Oklahoma City's help defenders. There is no "excellent length and quickness'' to plague the receiver here because the Mavs' motion is away from the shell of the defense.
With Dirk isoed against Perkins on the left side of the key, the Thunder are virtually helpless to stop his drive.
And this is the key to Dirk and the Mavs as it regards not only his scoring (which is generally not a problem) but more, his turnovers. Dirk on the move -- away from the defense -- is the way to allow Nowitzki to be at his game-winning best against the Thunder.
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