Butler plays great D, Duke scores anyway
Duke currently has the second most efficient offense at 121.7, only behind Pitt at 121.8. By the end of the season, I believe Duke will be the most efficient offense, as they were last year. This play is a perfect example of why they are so hard to defend. Butler plays perfect defense, in my mind, yet Duke still comes away with a basket.
Mason Plumlee and Nolan Smith are running a pick and roll at the top of the key. Notice how the floor is spaced by the three point shooters of Kyle Singler, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins. They have to be respected, so Butler cannot help too much off of them. This leaves the middle of the floor open, forcing Butler to cut Smith off before he can get to the paint.
Nolan Smith does not really use the screen that well, as there is some space between his path and Mason’s shoulder. This allows Shawn Vanzant to get over the screen, while Matt Howard is hedging on Smith. This forces him to take a wide turn, delaying him from getting to the lane.
With Mason Plumlee not a threat to pick and pop, Butler chooses to hedge hard on Smith to keep him from driving to the lane. They then rely on proper rotation and help to cover Plumlee and the shooters.
Ronald Nored steps up on Plumlee, with Chase Stigall guarding the kick out pass on Curry. Butler leaves Dawkins open in the far corner, as that pass is the hardest one to make and the one that allows the most time for a closeout.
Smith kicks the ball out to Curry, who is guarded by Stigall. Curry immediately swings the ball to Dawkins. Nored now has to close out on Dawkins before he gets the shot off.
Nored closes out perfectly, as he hustles to the corner, staying on balance and getting a hand in Dawkins’ face. This prevents him from catching and shooting and it looks like Butler has defended this action and prevented a basket.
Although Nored is in perfect defensive position, Dawkins gives a quick pump fake and takes one dribble to the left. Nored is still pressuring Dawkins, yet he still manages to get the shot off and bury it, right in the face of Nored.
Butler had a perfect scheme on the pick and roll with great rotation. However, Duke showed that sometimes great offense can beat great defense, as Dawkins makes a terrific shot from the corner to negate that effort.