San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan broke down why the Lakers are winning
Anyone who regularly watches the NBA can tell you that the regular season and the postseason are almost two entirely different sports. Success in the regular season looks like making it to the playoffs with your position intact and your roster healthy. But, as champions like the San Antonio Spurs can attest, much of what you did in the regular season goes out the window come playoff time.
To find success in the postseason you’ve got to be able to make crucial adjustments on a game-to-game basis. Gregg Popovich is one of the best in business at doing this, that’s partially why the Spurs were able to rack up as many titles as they did.
Of all the players in the NBA today there is probably none better at making these game to game changes than LeBron James. He’s otherworldly in his ability to recognize exactly what his team needs to do on a nightly basis to keep advancing and then pushing his teammates in the right direction.
After James and the Los Angeles Lakers were dominated by Jimmy Butler in Game 3 of the NBA Finals they came out in Game 4 with a totally different strategy. The result – a decisive Game 4 victory to put LA up 3-1. San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan recently appeared on JJ Redick’s podcast to break down what he saw from LeBron and company.
DeRozan breaks down Lakers adjustments and offers advice to Jimmy Butler
Appearing on JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three”, DeRozan went in-depth on the changes the Los Angeles Lakers made from Game 3 to Game 4 and what Jimmy Butler needs to do to lead his Miami Heat team back into the series.
One of the first things that DeRozan did was credit Anthony Davis for the work he did on defending Butler. He was quick to point out that Davis was a point guard when he was younger and how those skills have stayed with him and make him such a dangerous defender.
But where he really showed his smarts was when he broke down the pick and roll coverages that the Lakers were throwing at Butler.
“Lotta times when guys are showing, coming off you have to find an angle. ‘Cause if you let a guy go all the way under (the screen) and get right back in front of you it’s going to be hard to find any kind of angle to attack that defender….Sometimes you have to play tricks with it, find differnent ways to attack it….You have to find different angles and you’re going to have to try to stay away from anything that defeats the purpose of you running that (pick and roll).”
It’s a spot-on assessment. Butler isn’t a dangerous 3-point shooter and if the Lakers are going to continue sliding under screens he’s going to have to find ways to make them pay. That can be, as DeRozan said, finding new ways to attack them with screening angles, or it could be actually shooting the three and trying to make them pay that way.
DeRozan would go on to talk about how much the loss of Goran Dragic has hurt the Heat. He was quick to point out the 3-point shooting that Dragic brought but was particularly focused on how the loss of Dragic has forced Butler into an on-ball role for much of the series.
These kinds of games are where your stars need to step up. You need your alpha guys to step up and carry you to victory and if Jimmy Butler can’t step up to carry the Heat in Game 5 they’re going to be going home trophyless.