FanPost

It makes no sense to play the 4th quarter differently than every other quarter


I'm as big a Brandon Roy fan as there is this world, but I just don't understand how anyone can think it makes sense to play a totally different style of basketball in the 4th quarter than during the rest of the game.  Last night, as we saw often last season, the 4th quarter turned into the Brandon Roy isolation show, with four other guys standing around not knowing what to do with themselves.  Brandon is a fantastic player, which is why the Blazers can get away with doing this, but in the long term, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense as a strategy.  First of all, if this is really our best style of offense, then how come we only see it in the 4th quarter?  If Roy is really our best PG, then why isn't he our PG?  The superstar isolation stuff is what you do when your normal offensive strategy isn't working.  It's supposed to be option B, not option A.   The truly great teams play the same way throughout the game; they don't suddenly switch to a totally different style of play for the last 12 minutes of the game (unless circumstances force them to).

I don't think it's healthy for Nate McMillan to encourage this kind of offense as a first resort.  Brandon needs to learn to play better off the ball.  He is, after all, an off-guard.   Though he doesn't do it as often as I'd like, Brandon is very adept at moving without the ball, taking back door cuts, getting easy alley-oops, etc.  Now that the Blazers have a good distributing PG in Andre Miller, Brandon should be looking to do that more, not forcing Miller to play off the ball, where he's not much use.  Ideally, I'd like to see Brandon, Rudy, and Miller in together at the end of games, with Miller taking the ball up the court on most possessions and Brandon and Rudy moving without the ball, cutting and coming off screens.  Just because Brandon typically ran the point during the 4th quarter last year doesn't mean that's the best use of his abilities.  It's also incredibly predictable and therefore much easier to plan for defensively.

One more thing.  If Nate is going to insist on having Brandon play point in the 4th quarter, it doesn't make much sense to have Blake or Miller out there with him.  Rudy is much better than either Blake or Miller at playing off the ball and Martell and Travis are better defensively.  If Roy is going to bring the ball up every time, the other 4 guys on the court should be Rudy, LMA, Oden and either Martell or Travis (depending on whose hotter).  That lineup is incredibly tall and would create a major defensive mismatch for teams playing small guards. 

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