Has it seemed like this Sixers/Hawks series is a little dry?
The tactical shifts are pretty obvious. Doc Rivers moved Ben Simmons to Trae Young and scrapped the all-bench lineup. They’ve made some rotational tweaks and then adjusted accordingly when Danny Green was ruled out for the rest of the series.
What ended up happening was this:
- Furkan Korkmaz entered the starting lineup
- the Hawks swapped Solomon Hill for Kevin Huerter
- Korkmaz and Huerter guarded each other
- Seth Curry slid over to guard Bogdan Bogdanovic
In Game two, they had Curry guard Hill with Green on Bogdanovic, but that’s no longer the case, and so there’s a little bit more defensive stress on Curry, to follow a good shooter around the floor.
“In both games overall, Seth’s done pretty good on him,” said Doc Rivers of the defensive shift. “I think (Bogdanovic) did have a big drive late, that hurt us, if memory serves me correctly. But other than that I thought he did pretty well. I still thought he got too many open looks, but that was more in transition.”
Bogdanovic scored 24 points on 22 shots in Game 4, which included a 4-13 mark from three point range. According to the matchup data at NBA.com, Curry was on Bogdanovic for about 70% of the game, and the latter hit four of 10 shots in those scenarios.
Here’s the video clip of the play that Doc is talking about in the above quote:
Doc Rivers was asked about sliding Seth Curry over to Bogdan Bogdanovic after Danny Green left the series via calf strain.
He thinks Curry has done well with that assignment, but noted that this Game 4 play "hurt" – pic.twitter.com/iFKaWxAPJ2
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) June 16, 2021
That can be a tough assignment. One of the wrinkles is that the Sixers are occasionally throwing that extra body at Trae Young, and it puts some stress on the off-ball defender to either crowd him or get back and recover. In this case, Young gets the ball out quickly, Curry has to go over Ben Simmons to stick with his guy, and then is slightly off balance when Bogdanovic goes to attack the basket.
A freeze frame of the soft hedge:
Keep an eye on this in Game 5. Watch how the Sixers guard Trae Young, and look for the off-ball defender to trap and hedge. Young is slippery, and if he escapes or gets the ball out, then you’re rotating and recovering and trying to prevent those three point shooters from getting off clean looks.