Each day, we are going to preview the night's NBA Playoffs action by looking at the adjustments that can be made by the losing team and showing what they can do to win.
The Indiana Pacers have had two valiant efforts but still have been unable to get over the hump and get a win against the Chicago Bulls. With a few adjustments on both the offensive and defensive end, the Pacers may have a chance to get a win or two at home.
Offense: Involve Mike Dunleavy Jr. More
In Game 2, Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored 8 points on 5 shots, with 4 assists and a steal. However, Dunleavy Jr. played just twelve minutes in the game. In my playoff previews, I mentioned Dunleavy Jr. as the X-factor, becasue he can do a number of things well on the offensive end (especially spotting up and coming off of screens). We saw a glimpse of this in game 2.
Here, Dunleavy Jr. is sneaking around the perimeter as the Pacers are in their offense. The second his defender turns his head, Dunleavy Jr. gets to an open spot on the wing, gets the basketball and knocks down the three. Here, Dunleavy Jr. does a great job of maintaining spacing, finding the open spot, and getting there ready to catch the basketball.
In addition to spotting up, Dunleavy Jr. does a very good job when it comes to working off of screens away from the basketball:
This is just a simple set designed for Dunleavy Jr. to come off of a pindown screen to start the quarter. Dunleavy Jr. does a great job of using the screens, getting his body in position to make the catch and get the shot off quickly, and knocking the shot down.
As crazy as it sounds, Dunleavy Jr. might be one of the Pacers best options on the offensive end, but he only played twelve minutes in game 2. I understand that the Pacers are probably keeping him on the bench due to the fact he is ad defensive liability, but coach Frank Vogel needs to find minutes for Dunleavy Jr. If the Bulls can get Kyle Korver on the court for 22 minutes, the Pacers can find more minutes for Dunleavy Jr.
Defense: Don't Overthink Things
Despite the high scoring numbers, the Indiana Pacers did a decent job on Derrick Rose. When Paul George was in, they took advantage of his length, having him go under screens but still being able to contest on pull up jumpers:
On this play, George goes under the screen, but he still has the length to get out and contest Rose's shot attempt as he pulls up on the jumper. So with George going under screens, they were able to keep Rose from penetrating, while still being able to challenge the pull up jumper.
When George was out of the game late, the Pacers decided to trap Rose hard whenever he came off of screens, and the result was turnovers.
I don't know if it was because Rose wasn't expecting the hard trap or if he was struggling to handle the pressure, but these hard traps on Rose really gave him problems. Here, Jeff Foster is able to close out with his hands up, get the deflection, and force the turnover.
However, late in the game, the Pacers continued to try and switch things up, instead of going with what worked. They started switching screens, and that resulted in 4 points for Rose and the Bulls:
Danny Granger simply does not have the quickness to keep up with a player like Rose, yet the Pacers decided to switch screens and put him in that position.
Finally, with the Pacers down 2, they tried to double Rose way on the outside instead of letting George try to defend him one-on-one. The result was a Kyle Korver three:
I understand that the Pacers want to continue to give Derrick Rose different looks when he is on offense, but in my opinion the Pacers are overthinking things. They found a solution that at least slowed Rose down (Paul George going under screens, trapping Rose off of screens hard when George was out), but they didn't stick with what they were successful doing. Instead, they continued switching things up (switching screens, and the late double team), finding defensive strategies that didn't work when it came to defending Derrick Rose.