Spotlight: Marbury on Defense
Posted by Zach Lowe on Mar 1, 2009
Steph’s second game was a lot tougher than his first one, and I’m willing to chalk up his performance (and the team’s) to sluggishness, weird coaching (Where was Rondo in the fourth quarter? Why bench Moore the entire second half? Why did Pierce play all but eight seconds of this game?) and Doc doing some tinkering with the lineup. He also left the Marbury small lineup out there even when Detroit went big and created mismatches against Steph. I tracked Marbury’s defense for the game to see how he’d manage against a much tougher opponent.
• Marbury was + 6 for the game. But did he earn it? Only sort of. He happened to be on the court for the stretch of the fourth quarter when Pierce went on a scoring spree and Detroit missed some shots. On the other hand, his defense was much better late in the game than in the first half–he chased Rip around and over screens very well.
• Four fouls in 12 minutes.
• Detroit scored on 10 of 11 possessions Marbury played in the second quarter, and Steph was the victim on many scores.
• The C’s had to re-jigger their entire defense to make up for Marbury’s disadvantages. Much of this was due to mismatches (see below) Doc wouldn’t have waited so long to address had this been a playoff game, but some of it was due to the fact that Marbury is just going to have trouble playing bigger shooting guards like Rip.
Here’s a possession-by-possession breakdown of Steph on D:
11:47: Marbury guards Hamilton on the left block. Rip runs around two baseline screens, the last one set by McDyess as Hamilton curls to the right wing. Steph runs below the screen and Hamilton gets enough time and space to make a jumper.
11:30: Will Bynum steals the ball from Marbury in the back court and streaks in for a lay-up. Steph waves at the ball but otherwise doesn’t really challenge.
10:56: Marbury’s on Hamilton, who starts at the top of the key. Rip darts down toward the baseline and curls around another screen to his sweet spot on the right side of the floor. Perkins doubles off his man (the screener) and Hamilton skips a cross-court pass to Walter Herrmann in the corner, who is wide open because his man left to help on Perk’s guy. Herrmann’s foot is on the sideline. Turnover.
10:18: Marbury on Hamilton at the top of the key, and Detroit runs the same play. The C’s double again, and Herrmann is open again on the weak side. He nails a jumper.
9:41: Marbury on Hamilton, who’s now under the hoop and stunting in both directions, deciding which way to run off a screen. Marbury grabs him and is whistled for a ticky-tack foul. The Pistons run a play for Stuckey off the inbounds pass; he misses a lay-in, but Maxiell grabs a rebound and draws a shooting foul.
(Prince replaces Hamilton)
9:29: Bynum steals the ball from Marbury in the backcourt again and races ahead of Steph for an apparent easy lay-in. Marbury fouls him hard from behind.
8:55: The Pistons now have a lineup of Prince, Bynum, Herrmann, McDyess and Kwame, forcing Marbury to guard the 6’9” Herrmann. On this possession, Herrmann stands in the left corner as Bynum drives and gets fouled.
8:15: The Pistons now go right at Marbury, as Herrmann posts him up on the left block. Steph fronts him; Herrmann gets the entry pass and Mikki Moore comes over for a hard double team. Hermann passes out of the double, but the ball gets deflected to Prince, who gets fouled in the act of shooting.
7:41: Herrmann goes right back to the same spot, and Steph fronts him again. They jostle until Herrmann receives the pass from Prince. Moore comes over a for a soft double, and Herrmann spins toward the baseline and hits a turnaround.
7:00: Guess what? Herrmann posts up Steph on the left block, and Steph gives up on the fronting experiment. Moore starts the double before Herrmann even receives the pass, and this time it’s a real double team/trap. Herrmann passes back to to Prince up top, who sends it right back in. Moore doubles again, but Herrmann turns and fades toward the baseline and hits another jumper.
6:20: I think you get it. Same play, this time Herrmann turns toward the foul line and draws a shooting foul.
Result: Detroit scores 17 points on 11 possessions (ten of which yield at least a point) and outscores the C’s by four. While a lot of the scoring came at Marbury’s expense, these are two really difficult assignments for him. One against 6’6” scoring guard who’s in incredible shape, the other against a guy who’s just too big for Marbury.
After the jump, we look at the fourth quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER: For the sake of length, we’ll focus just on the possessions where Marbury is really involved.
11:17: Prince hits a quick jumper.
10:33: Steph starts on Herrmann (ugh) but switches to Prince after a baseline screen. Prince posts Marbury up on the right wing and gets the ball; Powe comes over for a hard double team, and Prince passes out of it. The C’s recover perfectly, forcing a shot clock violation.
9:55: He’s on Herrmann again on the left block. House doubles off Bynum, and Herrmann cuts along the baseline around a McDyess screen that catches Marbury. Steph’s called for bumping Dice. (The C’s get a stop on the reset; the Pistons don’t look to Herrmann).
8:56: On Herrmann, who stands in the corner and does nothing. Maxiell misses a contested jumper.
8:14: He’s now on Bynum at the top of the key. Bynum dribbles around a screen from the right, which Marbury goes over nicely. Bynum then hesitates before blowing by Steph for a lay-up.
7:35: Marbury is on Rip on the baseline just to the left of the rim. Rip fakes a run to the other side of the court but then darts back to the left wing through a screen. Marbury goes over the pick and challenges Rip, who misses. Nice D.
7:03: On Rip, who calls for (and receives) the ball at the top of the key. Sheed comes over for a screen, which Marbury fights through nicely. Powe (unnecessarily) runs out, leaving Sheed open for three on the pick-and-pop. He sinks it. Not Steph’s fault; he stuck with Rip on the screen, and Powe didn’t need to help.
6:11: Steph’s last possession, and Detroit goes after him again. Rip shakes and bakes along the baseline around a McDyess screen, and Marbury gets whistled for holding Rip. On the inbounds, Rip posts Marbury up on the left block, forcing House to double off of Bynum. Rip dribbles and the C’s knock the ball out of bounds.
On the inbounds, Steph again follows Rip along the baseline but switches onto Prince after a screen. Rip misses a desperation 23-footer as the shot clock winds down.
Result: The Pistons score just seven points on eight trips down the floor, including two trips where they had multiple possessions due to fouls and offensive boards. The C’s are + 10 in this span, making Marbury + 6 for the game.