I was skeptical of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s decision to have Kevin Durant guard Mario Chalmers, but it’s paid dividends early in a way I didn’t anticipate.
One of the major things that killed the Thunder in Game 3 was that they surrendered too many easy buckets for Chris Bosh when he dove to the basket on pick and rolls. Bosh often pops out for jumpers, but in Game 3, he went to the rim and hurt the Thunder’s defense.
As it turns out, Durant on Chalmers was coach Scott Brooks’ adjustment. Because of Durant’s length, he can more easily help off Chalmers to plug the middle when Bosh is involved in a pick and roll with either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.
Here’s an example of Durant helping out on Bosh’s dive to the basket.
Because of Durant’s help, Bosh was forced to kick this ball back out to Chalmers. Chalmers appears to be wide open, but Durant’s length closed that space pretty quickly. The Heat eventually were forced to settle for a poor jump shot by Dwyane Wade.
Putting Durant on Chalmers could be seen as hiding Durant on a lesser player, but in reality, it is allowing Durant to roam and help his teammates defensively more.