Thibodeau’s 10 Steps On How to Attack a Zone Defense

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau on the Knicks Zone Offense — after a 119-112 loss to Philly where the Knicks shot poorly against the zone in the 4th quarter and lost:

  1. “You try to beat the zone down the floor first,
  2. get the ball into the paint,
  3. make it collapse,
  4. attack the zone from behind,
  5. utilize your shot fake,
  6. pass fake — do all those things.
  7. Then, Offensive rebounding — if you’re missing, offensive rebounding should be a huge plus for us.
  8. Get into the gaps.
  9. We can get the zone to do what we want it to do — but the shooting is a big part of it.” Thibs echoed this later in the interview: “You gotta make shots. If you get into the paint, and you spray, you’re getting open shots and you have to make them.”
  10. “We need ball pressure too. We need easy baskets. If we gets stops and get into the open floor, that’s usually when we’re at our best. If you’re getting stops and you’re getting easy baskets in transition, that helps a lot too.”

In the game against Philly, the Knicks had a hard time pressuring James Harden, and missed, missed, missed on open jumpers — with Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and Mitchell Robinson on the floor. At the end of the horrid quarter, Brunson went out with a hip pointer and was replaced by Immanuel Quickley, who finally started hitting shots for NY — too little, too late.

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