Knowledge favors the defense

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
4:59
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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Here's a little theory of mine which I like, even though I'm not sure it's true: When players know each other really well, that helps the defense more than it helps the offense.

The reason is because offense's biggest advantage is getting to decide what's going to happen. ("I'll take you to the left block, then use my spin move to get into the lane.") Through whatever the offense does, the defense mainly just has to react. The offense has a lot going for it, including an element of surprise.

But in the playoffs, for instance, when teams play each so much, they learn every little bit of each other's games. And the more they learn, the less an offense can do much of anything to surprise. Your pet spin move may still beat me, but by Game 7, I'm sure not going to be surprised if that's what you do.

Which brings us to Chuck Hayes and Carl Landry. Teammates in Houston for years, they played against each other last night. Landry's Kings won the game, and Landry had the most impressive stat line in the game.

But this little video examination reveals that when Hayes got to guard Landry, the wily defender smothered moves Landry uses to great effect against most of the League.

Hayes was not surprised even one little tiny bit by anything Landry did.

Some of that, no doubt, is because Hayes is an elite post defender. But some of it, I like to think, is because in addition to contempt, as the saying goes, familiarity might also breed defense.

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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