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Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Utah's offense and you: Pregame reading

By Brian Kamenetzky

One of the reasons I love matchups between the Lakers and Jazz is because it pits two "system" teams against one another. Fans are treated to old school stuff like cutting and passing. ESPN.com/ClipperBlog's Kevin Arnovitz has an excellent breakdown of what the Jazz, who have won nine straight and 14 of 15, do on that side of the floor:


Utah has been running much of the same stuff since the Harding Administration through its flex offense. Aside from its cool name, the flex has a lot of appealing qualities, not the least of which is its egalitarianism. Every player is screener and screenee, a passer and a recipient. Everyone moves and everyone has the ability to make a play no matter where on the court he’s standing. There’s something democratic about that, but the flex works because players who can do that many things in the half court are extremely difficult to defend. The hurler with only a single pitch is far more hittable than the maestro with a full repertoire. The same thing holds true in basketball. A guy who never moves off the block is an easier defensive assignment than the same big man who darts all over the place — setting screens, coming hard off screens, working high as a facilitator, working on the low end of that facilitation down in the post. It’s tough to defend someone who might do any thing at any time. Prior to (Utah's 109-99 win over the LAC Friday night), Clippers coach Kim Hughes described the difficulty of defending the flex. “If you cut hard, you cause players to move at a high rate of speed and make decisions on the move,” Hughes said. “Players notoriously have a tough time doing that.”

Apparently. Since January 9, the Jazz have averaged 110.6 points a night on 52.6% from the floor.

A few more bits of reading: