Month: February 2019

Breakdown: Denver Nuggets “21 Nash” After Time Out Set

Denver Nuggets “21 Nash”

After time out against the Oklahoma City Thunder the Denver Nuggets ran a ballscreen set to get Plumlee a dunk off single tag action. The set is simple in execution but tough to guard defensively. Jamal Murray passed to Will Barton on the wing and then set a double ballscreen with Plumlee for Barton on the wing. At the same time on the weakside Malik Beasley set a pindown screen for Jokic to pull Steven Adams away from the rim. The read after this is simple, whatever Jamal Murray’s defender does you pass to the opposite – if he helps on Plumlee then you pass to Murray for a 3 or if he stays on Murray then you hit Plumlee on the lob.

Houston Rockets “21 Nash”

Seattle Storm “21 Nash”

-Coach Pyper

Sets Breakdown: Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets beat the Charlotte Hornets behind DeAngelo Russel’s 40 point game, including scoring the last 12 points. We will look at my favorite sets and lessons from this game, with the video and the diagram breakdown.

Charlotte Hornets “Chin Screen the Screener”

The Hornets run this Chin action often as a basic ballscreen set for Kemba Walker and Tony Parker. Setting up with a pindown for the guard who will come off the ballscreen, the point guard passes to him on the wing. After the pass the big at the elbow will set a backscreen for the point guard, then chase into a ballscreen for the guard on the wing. As the ballscreen happens the point guard will then set a cross screen for the opposite block and then come off a downscreen toward the top of the key.

Charlotte Hornets “Horns Twist”

Perhaps the most common set in the NBA, this is a set out of the Horns formation that is a designed ballscreen set. The point guard comes off the first big at the elbow who sets a ballscreen then clears opposite, sometimes with a flare screen. Opposite of this ballscreen the big chases into a ballscreen for the point guard and rolls to the rim, creating “Shale” or “Single Tag” action.

Charlotte Hornets Rim Run – Draws 2

One of the simplest things in basketball to do is to sprint. Most players and teams don’t do it enough especially at the NBA level, but here we can see how this can impact the game. Cody Zeller sprints down the middle of the floor to the opposite basket and doing this draws in DeAngelo Rusell, leaving Batum open on the wing for a shot.

Brooklyn Nets Opening Set “Leak”

Opening up the game with this “Leak” set, designed to get Joe Harris an open shot. The set starts off with a pindown for Lavert to catch the ball at the top of the key then Joe Harris and Graham set a double flare screen for DeAngelo Russell. As the double flare screen occurs, Joe Harris sprints and leaks out to run off an opposite screen from Jarrett Allen for a shot. Great design after time out from Kenny Atkinson.

Brooklyn Nets “Fist Up Split Knicks”

Another great after time out from Atkinson, this is a common action they run after a time out with a little wrinkle. The set starts off normally with a ballscreen slip and a pass from the point guard to the big who pops. After the pass to the big, the big goes into a dribble hand off on the wing and then normally a pass back to the point guard for a ballscreen. In this set Russell will set and slip a pindown screen for Napier who then catches it for a step up screen.

Brooklyn Nets “Virginia Clear”

This action is straight out of the Mover Blocker playbook – hence the name Virginia in the title. After a down screen the guard will continue opposite off a flare screen toward the basket looking for a lob or layup, with an opposite pindown. If no option is open, it flows into a high ballscreen.

I hope you guys enjoyed this breakdown, I will have more to come!

-Coach Pyper

Breakdown: Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics



The Bucks and Celtics faced off after the All Star break, and the game was a great example of how defense can remain even though both teams were pretty rusty. I really likes what the Bucks tried to do against Kyrie and Horford, but the Celtics defense vs Giannis really stood out to me. In this breakdown we will look at the last 3 minutes, thoughts on both teams execution as well as playcalls, sets and skills from this game.

Bucks Offense

The Milwaukee Bucks run a 5-Out offense with Giannis attacking at the center of it. One of the biggest keys that allowed them to win this game was their defense fueling their offense and allowing Giannis to get out in transition. The Celtics tried to defend the 3 point line, but the Bucks spacing allowed for them to counter with multiple drives to score layups.

Bucks Defense

One of the most interesting things I took away from this game was the Bucks Drop coverage in the pick and roll and dribble hand offs. When the Celtics go to any ballscreen the bigs of the Bucks will drop into the lane and only allow mid range jumpers – at the same time the guards defending the ballscreen will trail and force the ball into that mid range area. The Celtics hurt them by popping Horford, Morris and allowing them to either shoot open jump shots or attack off the dribble. Going forward it will interesting to see if they do the same thing if the time comes into the playoffs.

Celtics Defense 

When playing the Bucks the number one objective should be to slow down Giannis in transition, and I LOVED how the Celtics really loaded to the ball and shrunk the floor by showing their hands and making the floor seem smaller.

Horford and Smart are the two key players in the Celtics defense, and they really make it work because of their effort and intelligence. I love Marcus Smart and how he give  100% effort every play and the ability to know when to attack and when not to, and Horford really unlocks their ability to switch and be able to prevent some of the 3’s the Bucks normally get.

Celtics Offense

The Celtics offense looked much better in terms of movement, sharing the ball, and the ability to get others involved. Attacking the Bucks drop coverage with Horford pick and pops was key, but also Kyrie really struggled to make them pay for it when they allowed him to take a mid range jumper. Although Kyrie struggled he really came up down the stretch run with big, timely shots. I expect Boston to rattle off a couple of big games with the way their offense flowed and was able to look really good at times.


Below are some of my favorite sets from the game, as well as playcalls and skills I took away when watching this game.

Sets & Specials



Hope you guys enjoyed this breakdown, I look forward to doing more.

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Twitter: Half Court Hoops

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Coach Pyper

Breakdown: Duke vs Virginia Preview

Duke and Virginia square off again this Saturday, and the matchup is bigger than ever. Arguably the ACC regular season championship game, with Virginia’s lone loss coming at the hands of the Blue Devils. I broke down 3 main things for both Duke and Virginia with sets and schemes they had in the last matchup. The biggest questions are what Duke will do defensively and how Virginia will counter it, with the focus on Tre Jones impact when he returns on the defensive side of the ball. I did a breakdown podcast with Jordan Sperber that went deep into the X’s & O’s and decisions that can be made and tweaked for the rematch which you can find here: Duke vs Virginia Preview Podcast.

Duke Switching Defense

Duke switched a lot in the matchup vs Virginia, primarily looking to take them out of their Mover Blocker actions that is the primary offense Virginia runs. I have not found any examples from earlier this season where a team switched as much as Duke did, even going 1-5 switching every single action that Virginia ran. When Duke switched it really forced Virginia to play in Isolation and create 1 on 1, which is not a strength and what makes Virginia an elite offense.

Duke 2-3 Zone

Going to a 2-3 zone is something that Duke has done periodically this year, but they ran it as a primary defense last year. Coach K learned the ins and outs from Boeheim during their time coaching the USA national team, so it is always something Duke can fall back on when things are static or struggling to guard a team. Duke has SO much length and athleticism I think its something that they will run randomly throughout the game to use a change of pace and keep Virginia guessing.

Duke “Horns 4” Elbow ISO for Zion Williamson

Coach K does not run a complex offense at Duke, unlike past years when he ran a deep motion offense, this year they run basic 4-Out and let their players make plays. Duke primarily runs Horns sets when they do run plays, and one of them is getting Zion at the elbow and letting him work in Isolation. This play is difficult to handle because it is almost in the middle of the floor so even if you influence one way or the other it opens up driving lanes.

Virginia Switching Attack

Virginia went away from their normal Mover Blocker offense to run their “European Ballscreen Motion” more since Duke was switching everything. When they ran this ballscreen motion, they were able to cause some problems and attacked Duke’s switching easier. The reason this works so well to attack the switch is because the floor is spaced and basically 5 out at times, so the paint is open for slips.

Virginia End of Game Elevator

Tony Bennett has really good X’s & O’s, although many people do not like them because they are deliberate and play at a slow pace. One of the things you will notice is after a timeout or end of games he has good quick hitting actions ranging from Hammer/Throwback plays as well as Elevator plays. Here is a good elevator play run for Kyle Guy at the end of the game when Virginia needed a score.

This game is exciting, especially with the rematch at Virginia and there are layers that involve coaching on both sides of the ball. Stopping a forceful team like Duke is a tall task and Virginia is an elite defense, as well as how they will attack Duke’s switching defense. Ultimately I feel like Virignia will play well and come out strong, but Zion and RJ are too much for them in the end.

-Coach Pyper

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