Indiana Nightmare: LeBron’s Post-Up and an Absent Pick-and-Roll

David Stern needs to create a new rule: LeBron James is no longer allowed to post-up.  Anytime LeBron posts up within twelve feet of the hoop, a technical foul is called.  Frank Vogel is going to have to match David West up with LeBron if they keep posting him up.  Paul George doesn’t have the strength to absorb LeBron’s shoulder-rams.  West can’t stay with LeBron on the perimeter, but he can deal with the body blows.  Erik Spoelstra and his staff made a great adjustment in Game 3.  Now Vogel needs to find a new way to deal with LeBron’s post-up and a way to get Paul George some open space.


The great Pacers blog, explain exactly how Miami’s defense absolutely shut down Indiana’s pick-and-roll in Game 3, after getting destroyed by the same plays in Game 2.

It did not take long for Miami to adjust on the Pacers pick and roll. In Game 2, the Pacers gashed the Heat to the tune of 1.33 points per possession on 12 plays where the roll man finished the play. This included Roy Hibbert either scoring or getting fouled on all 7 of the plays where he took a shot as the roll man. In Game 3 the Heat completely shut down the Pacers roll man, allowing only 0.6 points per possession, according to My Synergy Sports.* Even more importantly, the Heat only allowed the roll man to finish 5 plays. Four of these occurred in what was, as Marv Albert would put it, gar-bage time.

* It should be noted that the Pacers did draw 3 shooting fouls on those 5 possessions, so the PPP numbers are skewed downward by the fact they did not hit their free throws. The important thing is the number of attempts rather than the points, however.

Oftentimes if a defense adjusts to take away the roll man, the ball handler is able to exploit the fact that the man defending the screener stays close to his man or lurks in the paint. Not so with the Heat’s system, in which they regularly trap the pick and roll.* It is on the other three players to rotate off their man to take away the roll man, and they did so expertly in Game 3.

*The Heat gave up only 0.63 points per possession to the ball handler on 8 finished plays, according to Synergy.

When looking at Indiana’s Game 2 success with the pick and roll, I predicted that Miami would be more fastidious about taking away the roll man, at the potential expense of giving up open looks to the Pacer 3-point shooters.

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