Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Winner: Frank Vogel
Mike Woodson has been under fire since the New York Knicks' first-round series against the Boston Celtics for failing to field an offense that does much more than work in isolation sets. Aside from a few spurts of half-decent pick-and-roll action, little has changed against the Indiana Pacers.
New York still subsists on a pretty heavy diet of Carmelo Anthony trying to beat his man individually. The problem now is that the Knicks have run up against Frank Vogel's defensive scheme.
Vogel has his perimeter defenders forcing the action toward the hulking Roy Hibbert in the lane. That strategy has made Hibbert one of the most lauded stars of the postseason, but plenty of the credit for the big man's emergence as a dominant force belongs to Vogel, who saw the weapon he had down low.
Not only has Vogel enjoyed success by funneling isolation players like Anthony toward Hibbert, but he's also got his guards running the Knicks off of their beloved three-point line at every opportunity. The result has been a marked decrease in New York's triples, which has cut the legs out from one of the NBA's best regular-season offenses.
During the year, the Knicks made about 38 percent of their 29 three-point field-goal attempts per game. In their semifinal series against the Pacers, they've made only 33 percent and have attempted about six fewer long-range shots per game.
So Vogel's defense hasn't just limited the number of three-point shots the Knicks are getting, it has also decreased the accuracy of those attempts by a significant margin.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Vogel relishes the chance to focus on one opponent and make adjustments as the series progresses. The Pacers coach said:
You've got to understand that each game there's going to be adjustments that you have to make and anticipate the adjustments that your opponents are going to make. That's what I like about playoff basketball is that it's a bigger chess match than the regular season.
Woodson has yet to adjust in a meaningful way, as he continues to rely on isolation sets and a scattered transition attack to generate offense.
Vogel's Pacers have been the more disciplined, confident and effective team so far. For that reason, he's handily winning his coaching battle against Woodson.