For Heat Check Gaming (HCG), the 2-0 sweep over Grizz Gaming finally secured a desperately-needed first win of the season. They improved to 1-4, while Grizz Gaming dropped to 0-2 (subsequently 0-3) on the season. While both teams definitely have room to improve, let’s break down some clips from their matchup and do some analysis of certain aspects of both teams’ play.
Here you can see excellent spacing and movement off-ball to create room for Vandi to drive and score at the rim. The zig-zag between AuthenticAfrican and Vandi also worked really well to confuse the defense. Towards the beginning of this clip, it’s also clear that HCG were not comfortable switching on the wrap, which is something that will reappear later on in this breakdown.
Another example of excellent off-ball movement from GrizzGaming. The wrap from Jrod catches the defense’s attention while AuthenticAfrican does well to catch the oop off a cut from the corner given the presence of Hotshot in the paint.
Reminiscent of ReeceMode from RaptorsGC, here you can see the excellent movement of Jrod to get himself open and create enough space to shoot. As a 3-Level-Scorer, he is the team’s primary outside shooter, and the ability to create his own shots through motion off-ball is therefore something that’s really important.
This set play is very simple but extremely effective. It relies on the simple assumption that the defense will cheat on screens, and simply run around instead of going through them and staying close to their assignment. Here, Vandi sets a screen near the free-throw line, and Jrod fakes as if to go around the screen before simply cutting back to receive the ball. GlennRatty and TBGShiftay both cheat on the screen as GrizzGaming wanted, leaving Jrod with a wide open 3.
Something we saw more of from HCG was turning defense into offense. Whether that was through forcing steals on the perimeter, or through Hotshot’s interior defense and rim protection, we saw Glenn and others run out in transition to capitalize on fastbreak opportunities, as you can see here.
In HCG’s point guard-led offense, it’s good to see Glenn sharing the ball, and while he’s shown he can carry the scoring load by himself, it’s a positive to see him getting his teammates involved. This play is also another example of HCG running out in transition and trying to take advantage before the defense can get settled.
I previously mentioned how good it was to see Glenn moving the ball more often, but here’s an example of where he failed to do so. He beats his man off the dribble, and draws the help defense from the corner leaving TBGShiftay wide open. However, Glenn pulls up for a jumper at the elbow rather than hitting the corner for a three-point. For context, this play came close the end of the quarter and HCG was up by 10 points, so it’s not the end of the world, but I would like to see Glenn get more comfortable making reads and passing going forward, as well as trusting his teammates to make wide open shots.
In this play, HCG is on the fastbreak with Hotshot dribbling up the court. As a big, Hotshot is probably one of the best playmakers in the league in terms of passing IQ and vision, although much like the previous play involving Glenn, he fails to make the simple pass to the open man here. Ultimately, it leads to a charging foul and a loss of possession, which is something that could have been easily avoided. As if to reinforce my point, Hotshot found KingPeroxide in the corner for a wide open 3 on the very next play, showing his capability as a playmaking big off the dribble.
I’m presuming there was some sort of miscommunication on this play for HCG. Hotshot sits very low defending the pick-and-roll, and seems to realize that he can’t step up in time, and so he rotates to the corner instead of guarding the three. As previously mentioned, Glenn wasn’t comfortable switching to guard the ball handler off the wrap, so he stays on JRod in this play. Finally, Delusion (who was guarding the corner) obviously didn’t catch on that Hotshot was going to rotate to the corner early enough, and thus doesn’t step up to contest Vandi until it was too late. Chemistry on the defensive end is something that’s been talked about a lot so far this season, but Heat Check Gaming definitely has some work to do in that department.
This is a similar play, and unfortunately for HCG, it has the same result. Grizz Gaming runs another wrap, although it is defended slightly differently this time. Hotshot doesn’t sit as low, although he also doesn’t step up fully and guard the ball handler himself. Glenn also half-switches, whereby he doesn’t follow Jrod but also doesn’t pick up Vandi, instead giving him an open lane to the rim. Hotshot is correct to drop to the paint, but the miscommunication occurs between Glenn and Shiftay. Glenn follows Vandi to the paint, although Shiftay also drops off Jrod towards the paint, allowing Vandi to pass him the ball for a relatively open 3.
This clip once again shows HCG’s inability to guard the wrap. The fact this is the third time they’ve had a defensive breakdown trying to stop this simple play means it might be more of a fundamental defensive flaw than a one-time mistake, but the problem is theirs to figure out. In this play, both Glenn and Shiftay both step up to guard Vandi while Hotshot sits extremely low in the paint, giving Jrod all the space in the world to shoot an open 3.