Boston, Dallas one-two punch in defense hell, but will it survive?

This season’s NBA playoffs have been characterized by more compatibility than ever before. The Denver Nuggets are a powerhouse team led by point center Nikola Jokic (29‧211cm). Despite being criticized for his weaknesses in athleticism and mobility, Jokic has dominated the league by maximizing other aspects of his game, such as his size, power, fundamentals, versatility, and shooting touch.

His vision, BQ, and passing ability have been compared to some of the best pure point guards of all time. With Jokic as the control tower, Jamal Murray (6-foot-9), Aaron Gordon (6-foot-9), and Michael Porter Jr. (6-foot-8) are able to synergize with each other through their high volume of activity. This type of basketball helped Denver win the championship last season.

This season, teams have been chanting “Takedown Denver”. In a way, Denver’s weaknesses are obvious. They just need to stop Jokic. Of course, he has such deceptive stats that it’s almost impossible to stop him properly at the moment, 토토사이트 순위 but even a little bit of harassment can have an impact on Denver’s performance.

One team that has accomplished such a difficult mission is the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have the best defensive big man in the league, Rudy Gobert (32-216 cm), plus the “Twin Towers” of Karl-Anthony Towns (28‧211 cm) with Taliban-level outside shooting ability, plus reigning Sixth Man of the Year Nazr Reed (25-206 cm).

Jokic was still a force to be reckoned with, but the Nuggets were ultimately forced to settle for a close Game 7. With a backup big man to take some of the physical strain, it might have worked, but unfortunately, Denver was too cavalier about reinforcements for the new season. Jokic wasn’t a robot.

The idea of having Anthony Edwards (23‧193cm) lead the scoring up front with quality and quantity of perimeter players didn’t work for the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Having knocked off perennial favorites Denver, Minnesota was in a position to make a run at the Finals, but unfortunately, the odds were stacked against them.

Like Denver, Dallas is a team that relies heavily on its ace in Luka Doncic (25‧201cm). But Doncic is a guard. With Jokic, they could have gotten back to the perimeter and harassed him, but they don’t have the resources up front. Add to that the one-two punch of Kyrie Irving (32‧187.2cm), their best two-option, and the pressure is on JUCO Edwards.

If they lost the backcourt battle, they could have tried to attack the post with their deep perimeter resources, but that didn’t work. Minnesota’s bigs were solid defensively, but they didn’t have the firepower to overwhelm their opponents. Derrick Lively II (20‧216cm), Daniel Gafford (26‧208cm), and others were more than enough to handle it. In the end, the game came down to the backcourt, where Doncic and Irving were so dominant that the Wolves bowed out.

The Wolves have a lot of momentum after sweeping Minnesota, but the Boston Celtics will have their work cut out for them in the Finals. First, they drank the bitter pill of defeat in Game 1, 107-89. It wasn’t just a one-game loss. Boston’s stifling defense has rendered many of Dallas’ weapons useless.

Dallas’ most potent offensive pattern is to create mismatches with their one-two punch. As one of the league’s most productive offensive players, Doncic is extremely difficult to stop one-on-one, so most teams that face him double- and triple-team him. Combine that with Irving, who is an enviable one-option playmaker, and opposing defenses have cracks all over the place.

Doncic and Irving’s ability to draw defenses inside and out, and then get the ball into the openings for easy baskets by their teammates, has been Dallas’ winning formula. But it’s not working against Boston. The Celtics are also known for their wings in Jayson Tatum (26‧203cm) and Jaylen Brown (28‧196.2cm), but their entire top five is actually a threat.

Jerry Holloway (34-119) and Derrick White (29-193) are also capable of taking over games on any given night, as is Kristaps Porzingis (29-221), who returns from the Finals. That’s why the term “big five” doesn’t sound like an exaggeration. Add to that the strength of their backups, such as Sam Hauser (27‧201cm) and Al Horford (38‧206cm). The scariest part is that they are all offense and defense.

In Game 1, Boston tried to defend Doncic primarily one-on-one, and it worked. Their combined size and defense prevented them from opening up holes when switches were made, which prevented any passes from Doncic. This is evidenced by the fact that Doncic only had one assist.

The one assist is Doncic’s fewest in the playoffs. He’s averaged 8.8 assists in his last three playoff series, so you can see how badly this game went. To make matters worse, Irving, perhaps distracted by the boos from the Boston fans, also struggled, sealing the fate of Dallas’ one-two punch.

Of course, the Finals have just begun. Boston has looked flawless on offense, but there are no guarantees that their stingy defense and high field goal percentage will continue throughout the series. Dallas will do everything in their power to find a way to break the current trend and crack it somehow. To do so, they’ll need more explosions from Doncic and Irving, among others.

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