Do Not Double Down On Scola

A lot of horrible went down in the last game, and I'm not going to go into it too much here, other than to say kudos to the Rockets for a great-played game, and shame on us for not being prepared either for their expected energy/emotional high or for their new look and small-ball playing style, but regardless of the stinkfest, we are going to come back with a vengeance on Tuesday, and a big part of that is going to be adressing our over-doubling, especially with Yao out, and specifically in regards to Luis Scola.

It was Mother's Day, and I was a bit distracted in the first half doing some related activities, but I did closely watch the 2nd half, and was shocked to see on some possessions that we were doubling down a guard on Luis Scola when Pau Gasol was guarding him.  There is no excuse for that, Pau Gasol should be able to cover Scola one-on-one, or at least given the opportunity to succeed at that (or is in foul trouble) before we consider alternatives.

So there's no confusion, there's a lot of misunderstanding of Scola's game around the league - I've heard many describe him as rugged tough and a bruiser, too tough for LO or Pau - he is no Carlos Boozer and really it sounds like people are confusing him with Anderson Varajeo because they both played down in South America or something, because unlike Varajeo (and like Boozer), Luis Scola is a very good offensive post player, using finesse more than force, and not a bruising defender.

Indeed, Scola's calling card in world ball was being a near unstoppable post force with multiple moves and counter-moves, not to mention a decent jump shot, his claim to fame was offense, not defense or intangibles or anything else, which isn't to say he wasn't solid in these areas, but it wasn't what NBA scouts were glowing about.

So, why am I selling you on his offensive post game, when the subject of my spiel is we shouldn't be doubling him?  Well, because his post game translated to the NBA isn't THAT good, and when he does ISO in the post as we saw against LO earlier in the series, his moves are good but that not THAT good, and generally in that ISO he's pretty much going for the finish instead of the pass and his finish really hasn't been that good.

TRANSLATION:  Luis Scola will not beat us in the post, not against the bigger, taller, stronger, more athletic players in the NBA (or on our team), doesn't finish at a high efficiency even when he works himself a baby 6 footer, and doesn't appear to be the greatest at reversing the ball out either if he decides not to go for the shot (he does appear to be able to find the wide open man if he's doubled though, which gives them wide open shots).

Then, let's factor in Pau Gasol.  The man is 7 feet, much bigger than Luis, with comparable quickness, so why would we help him against Scola?  Let Scola work his butt off for those points, on an island, just like we made him do it against LO.  Pau should be much better able to withstand the backing down of Luis then LO, so that would seem to stand in our favor, and it's best just to leave Scola on the island and make him make something happen, either his own shot or finding one of teammates, all who are being guarded (since noone is doubling Scola).

That's a recipe I can live with for victory, especially since Scola has to play D on the other end too, so put him on an island against Pau, LO, Powell, Drew, DJ, whoever, even Walton sometimes, and make him work on the offensive end with his creative moves, counter-moves, spins to get a basket, and make or miss run it back quickly in transition and make him hustle back on D.

With the depth of the Rockets frontcourt, we should be able to wear them down in this fashion, and Hayes isn't even an offensive threat, so whoever is trying to post up for the Rockets should be left on the island where any pass back out to a shooter is going to be even more difficult with a cheating defender off Hayes. 

The wild card in all of this is going to be Ron-Ron, who could be moved up to PF for stretches of small-ball, and especially if LO were to miss a game, we might have to consider doubling or shading him if he was having his way offensively, but when it comes to Pau guarding Scola, we should not be double teaming until Scola forces our hand by hurting us (or Pau is in foul trouble).

Ultimately, I don't see us losing games because Luis Scola is dominating us in the post.


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