The search for consistent defense
Updated: 2013-01-29 03:32
By Stephon Marbury (China Daily)
My Beijing Ducks had a pretty good week on the basketball court. With better defense, it could have been great.
We played four games over seven days — two at home, two on the road.
We won our first three, then dropped the fourth.
I think we won those three thanks to our strong defense. We were able to limit our opponents to about 40 percent shooting from the field.
However, during the loss on Sunday to the Jiangsu Dragons, we lacked defensive intensity and gave up more points in the first half than we would have liked.
Unfortunately, we allowed Jiangsu to get the better of us on both the offensive and defensive ends.
One reason I think our defense was lackluster during that defeat is because we have a habit of playing down to our opponents.
Jiangsu has the fourth worst record of the 17 teams in the CBA, improving to 10-16 with the win.
We, on the other hand, are in third place, and went into the game at 18-7.
Playing without defensive intensity is unacceptable, which is why correcting that flaw is an immediate challenge.
We know that on any given night the team with the worst record in the CBA can beat the team with the best record!
There are no ifs, ands or buts about this. We have a bulls-eye on our back, and we must always remember our opponents get hyped and are ready for us because they want to beat the reigning champs so badly.
We can't blame them. We felt the same way last season when we played the 2011 CBA champs, the Guangdong Tigers.
My teammates and I also have to continue to work hard and never lose sight of the fact every one of our competitors is due respect.
That's because each team can flat-out play. If a team could not, rest assured that team would never step foot onto a CBA court.
Now, I know my teammates and I have game too. If we did not, we would not have won the CBA title last season.
Still, we are humans and make mistakes.
Our challenge is to learn how to defend ourselves against the tactics that teams are using to try to dethrone us.
The more we learn from our mishaps and grow, I think the more chance of success we will have this season as a team.
Being consistent is the key to our success. Hopefully, if we play hard-nosed "D' on the regular until this season ends on Feb 17, then we should get it done against our opponents.
Don't just take my word for it. Do some research. I bet you will find the best teams in any league live by this simple and golden rule — offense wins games, but defense wins championships!
Do you know why? Defense creates offense, which in turn leads to easy baskets.
Yes, a team does expend more energy going hard on the defensive end, but the results are so worth it. That's because a team gets out on transition and creates havoc for its rivals.
I love it when we are balling like that as a team because it makes us hard to beat.
I believe in my teammates and myself, and I believe we will recommit ourselves to playing intense defense our last six games this season.
We will get our shot soon to prove how serious we are about playing better defense.
On Wednesday, we play on the road against Zhejiang.
Then, we come home to battle two tough teams from the south — the Dongguan Leopards and Guangdong Southern Tigers. This road trip would end nicely with a win. I'm sure geared up and ready.
Love is love.
Stephon Marbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org