Tuesday, February 26

Heels Attack NC State's Slow Defense

Here's a breakdown of a play the Heels ran to start their run against NC State on Saturday.  This series shows how the Heels attacked the Wolfpack and used a simple curl play that could have ended up as an easy layup, but ended up as an even better three pointer for Reggie Bullock.

Marcus Paige, the blur in white running towards the baseline, goes to set a pick for Bullock.  Lorenzo Brown(?), previously guarding Paige, calls down to Reggie Bullock’s (35 in white) man (Warren or Purvis?) to tell him a pick is coming.  

Reggie Bullock, starts running towards the top of the 3 point line, away from his man.  Paige is ready to set a pick, but is more than an arm’s length away from Bullock’s defender.  Lorenzo Brown remains at the right hand side of the free throw line, watching the ball but orienting his body towards Paige and Bullock.  At this point, there are 4 black jerseys around the FT line guarding 3 white jerseys. 

Bullock’s man is still in contact with Bullock.  If Paige were to sprint towards the opposite block and demand the ball (see green arrow below), no one would be guarding him.  It’s the kind of quick realization that it’s not fair to expect of a freshman, especially a point guard.  It’s likely that Paige is just focusing on running the play for Bullock, which is appropriate.   Breaking plays for easy layups is something that guys in the NBA don’t always do, so it’s not fair to expect the same of an 18 year old freshman.  Still, it speaks to State’s luck that the Heels didn’t recognize this opportunity for an easy layup, regardless of the outcome of this play.

Lorenzo Brown sees Bullock running towards the top of the 3 point line, but remains with a foot in the paint.  James Michael McAdoo waits at the top of the key to screen whoever comes out to guard Bullock.  Marcus Paige is hugged by Bullock’s former defender.

Brown tries to step out to challenge Bullock on the curl.    He meets McAdoo squarely in the chest.  McAdoo’s defender, Richard Howell, standing at the foot of the “A” in the paint, is not hedging.  Since Howell is the best rebounder on either team, he was likely told to stay around the paint.  This leaves Lorenzo Brown the task of getting around McAdoo quickly to challenge the pass and shot.

As Bullock squares up and begins his shooting motion, Brown is still 6 feet away, with McAdoo still in contact.  McAdoo’s man, Richard Howell, stays at the top of the paint to be in prime rebounding position.

The result is an open three for a 44% shooter.  The shot goes in, and this is the start of the 13-4 the Heels put together from 8:22 to the NC State timeout at 4:58. That run broke the game open for the Heels and was pivotal for the Carolina victory.

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