Atlanta takes advantage of Roy Hibbert's struggles in pick and roll coverage

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta switched up its pick and roll coverages in Game 1 in an effort to keep the ball in a struggling Roy Hibbert's hands.

There are many different ways to defend the pick and roll and the Atlanta Hawks switched up their coverage of Roy Hibbert in the second half of Saturday's Game 1 victory. Hibbert's struggles of late have been well chronicled and no doubt played a part in Atlanta's selection of this particular coverage.

Normally against a talented big man like Hibbert, a team would be more concerned with him as a scoring threat. Here the Hawks are trusting their help defenders to be able to defend Hibbert well enough.

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As you can see above, Pero Antic shows hard on Hibbert's screen and traps the ball handler George Hill. Hibbert counters as he should by slipping the screen. Facing a trap, Hill has no choice but to dump the ball inside.

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Here Kyle Korver is a bit late rotating over and gets whistled for the foul. As you can see in the picture, Paul Millsap is also in the area in help position. When Hibbert is going well the Hawks probably wouldn't have been willing to give him this much room in the paint but with him struggling they were looking to keep the ball in his hands. Hibbert missed both free throws following this possession.

Here is a nearly identical situation that occurred a few minutes later. The Hawks again trap Hill and force him to give up the ball.

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Hibbert slips the screen but this time Atlanta's help defense is a step quicker into position. Hibbert passes up the opportunity for a short hook or jump shot over Millsap and instead dips his shoulder and is called for the offensive foul.

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Again the Hawks are helping to funnel the ball to Hibbert even if it means covering him with a much smaller defender. Hibbert's struggles and indecisiveness prevented the Pacers from capitalizing.

The playoffs are a chess match between coaching staffs and it will be interesting to see what sort of adjustments both teams make heading into Game 2. Hibbert scored a couple of baskets late and finished with eight points and eight rebounds but was hardly a factor. Frank Vogel has to figure out a way to get Hibbert back on track or must explore going smaller in an effort to more effectively matchup with the Hawks.

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