Seoul SK, the ‘defending champion’, has advanced to the championship match for the second consecutive season.
SK defeated Changwon LG 85-84 in the 3rd game of the 2022-2023 SKT A-Dot Pro Basketball semifinal playoff (3 best-of-5) held at Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Seoul on the 18th.
SK Kim Seon-hyung scored 25 points and Jameel Warney combined with 23 points and 12 rebounds. For LG, Lee Jae-do scored 24 points, Gutang 16 points, and Lee Kwan-hee 13 points, but Perry only scored 1 point.
On this day, SK Chairman Chey Tae-won attended. He has a lot of love for basketball and is known as the ‘victory fairy’ to SK fans. There was not a single defeat in the important matches he intuited.
It happened this season too. SK, which recorded 6 consecutive victories in the playoffs, will compete with the winner of the Anyang KGC-Goyang Carrot for the championship ring this season.
▶1st Quarter = Ferry Bomb Exploded
LG’s first attack, the attack took the time limit. And Kim Joon-il complained of injury. He headed for the bench, unable to walk properly. LG had bad news in the beginning.
SK scored the first cleanly with Warney’s post-up. LG immediately responded with Lee Jae-do as a mid jumper.
LG Perry’s 3 stores missed. And, there was a problem on defense. I focused on blocking Warney one-on-one, but there was little interfering action such as hedging in SK’s pick (screen) game. Besides, I didn’t hang the screen properly.
In the end, SK’s 2v2 game resulted in Warney’s perfect under-the-goal dunk. Besides, the backcourt was late after the attack. Kim Seon-hyeong’s 3 stores exploded. To make matters worse, he committed a U foul on defense. Perry, who scored 31 points in the second game, acted as a negative factor by estranged from the team at the beginning of the game. There was no way SK would miss this opportunity. 9-2, SK’s lead.
LG extinguished the fire by scoring 2 points with Gutang’s personal ability. LG’s perimeter defense was still solid. Heo Il-young was put in for SK. After receiving an off-the-ball screen, he made a neat mid jumper. If there was Jamal Marey, it would be LG who would not expose such an empty gap in the defense. One of the reasons Marey made the defensive top five this season was his ability to keep his teammates’ help defense and spacing very appropriate while blocking his own marksmen. Centered on this ability, LG created a sensation this season as the best defensive team in the league, but this system was broken a lot with the arrival of Perry.
In SK, Choi Seong-Won’s 3 points on the right wing exploded with Warney’s assist pass by 1-1 in the center. Perry’s mid-jumper misfired, and then SK’s early offense hit Heo Il-young’s 3-pointer. In an instant, 23-11, SK’s lead by 12 points. LG’s timeout.
LG gained momentum with Jeong Hee-jae’s 3 points, but SK’s Warney broke through Jung Hee-jae’s mark again and scored a trademark floater. When Perry’s mid jumper missed, this time Warney had a center 3-point chance. Perry belatedly tried the contest, but it was too late. 3 points hit. In the end, SK’s pace was perfect in the first quarter.
In the second game, LG, which seemed to be in sync, exploded with a ‘ferry bomb’. LG’s defensive system completely collapsed due to weak activity, and the mid jumper missed many times in the attack, becoming the trigger for SK’s counterattack. In the first quarter, the ‘Marey gap’ was perfectly felt. In the end, SK led by 30-14, 16 points. On the other hand, SK persistently aimed at this weakness. We focused our attacks on Warney. When LG attempted a help defense, it created a perfect 3-point open chance with an extra pass. Knowing LG’s defensive weaknesses, they attacked properly. Warney was also powerful, but SK’s organizational power centered on Warney was even more terrifying in the first quarter.
▶2nd Quarter = 1st Quarter Warney, 2nd Quarter Kim Sun-hyung
LG played Dante Cunningham. LG’s defensive organization was restored, but the weakness of this lineup was that it couldn’t stop Warney one-on-one.
SK’s terrifying attack broke out. Putting the ball into Warney, LG tried to double team, and immediately passed the outside pass. After another pass, Sunhyung Kim’s mid jumper. It was an attack formation that expected LG’s double team. SK recorded a 3-game win over KCC in the 6th round and 2 wins in the 4th round. The experience of surviving to the end of last season. The focus and selection that followed was excellent.
Kim Seon-hyeong’s steal came out. Kim Hyung-bin’s shot under the goal exploded. 36-17, double score. LG went with Lee Kwan-hee’s 3-pointer in the corner, but this time too, after Warney broke through with an exquisite dribble from the outside of the 3-point shot, he floated in the mid-range. When Jeong Hee-jae of LG was stealing, Heo Il-young’s 3 stores exploded. It was out of control. LG tried to maintain their pace, but SK’s power was so strong. After the ferry bomb exploded in the first quarter, it was not easy to rectify the flow.
41-20, 21 points behind. LG’s operation time again.
After a drive and kick, Lim Dong-seop scored 3 points. Lee Kwan-hee pursued again with two free throws. SK caught a team foul early on. Cunningham’s fast break, LG’s 7 points in a row. Then, SK timed out this time.
A chase by 15 points took place. In the first half, if SK runs away by more than 15 points, the chances of winning increase dramatically. On the other hand, if LG enters within 15 points, the second half is unknown.
In LG, Lee Kwan-hee fought hard. When SK Choi Seong-won’s 3-store corner burst, Lee Kwan-hee calmly pursued two foul free throws. With the addition of Lee Jae-do’s 3 points, the score was 48-36, 12 points.
In SK, Kim Seon-hyung, who saved his energy in the first quarter, started running. Then, LG broke through Lee Jae-do’s strong breakthrough. Clearly, the performance of LG in the first and second quarters was different.
However, it was not easy to overcome SK’s wall with this system alone. Kim Seon-Hyung skillfully used the screen again and broke through, and Cunningham tried a chasing block, scoring 2 points with a scoop shot. The half ended with SK leading 54-41, 13 points.
In the 2nd quarter, LG developed a strong chase centering on Cunningham, Lee Jae-do, and Lee Kwan-hee. However, SK was not taken lightly. In the end, he succeeded in reducing the gap in the first quarter to 4 points, but the stamina consumption was considerable.
On the other hand, SK countered LG’s small lineup with a transition centered on Kim Seon-hyung, controlling LG’s fierce pursuit.
▶ 3rd Quarter = LG’s Small Lineup’s Counterattack
As expected, LG added a lot of bullshit to its 2nd quarter lineup. Looking at the performance in the first quarter, Perry was unusable. Jung Hee-jae’s mid-jumper, and the 3-store exploded.
LG quickly closed the gap by 8 points. In the playoff series, when Choi Boo-gyeong, who was in good condition, succeeded in breaking through the goal, this time Cunningham broke through Warney’s defense and completed a basket count and 3-point play.
It was the first match. SK skip pass by Warney’s post-up. Corner Choi Seong-won’s 3 points missed. LG’s early offense. Gutang’s three stores exploded. 4 points.
The SK attack failed again. LG Cunningham’s drive and kick, extra pass. Conor Gutang scored another 3. Gutang plays a significant role in this series. A ferry bomb exploded in the first quarter, but Gutang’s performance was decent.
He scored goals with rebounds and early offenses based on good athleticism. 55-56, by one point. A tight battle in an instant. Operation time of SK.
SK cut off the flow of LG with a floater by the breakthrough of the Bodo Warney of Jeonga. When Kim Seon-hyung’s quick-run layup failed, Choi Bu-gyeong’s tip-in. 5 points again.
With 5 minutes and 43 seconds left, Cunningham’s breakthrough collided with Heo Il-young. The verdict was Heo Il-yeong’s foul on the defender. He protested vigorously, but the foul on the defender was correct. If a foul collision occurs while moving, it is a defender foul. There are some issues with the consistency of the playoff decisions, but players don’t have to protest unnecessarily about clear decisions.
Seongwon Choi’s 3 stores exploded. For LG, Lee Jae-do had a perfect open chance in the corner, and Warney grabbed a defensive rebound. Connected to Kim Seon-hyung as it was, and scored a clean fast break, SK’s walls were definitely solid. The score of 1 point gap widened again to 8 points. At this time, SK’s scary point came out. SK boasts the strongest organizational power in the league. The way it is manifested in practice is that it completely cuts off the breath of the opponent. When you are in the lead of the match, you score in the way your opponent has the most probability of having the most trouble. The main theme of this season was ‘How are you going to stop Warnie?’
As the 8-point gap widened, SK focused more on Warney, and Kim Seon-hyeong started setting up, and when Warney settled in the post, he put in a pass and eventually fired a hook shot against Cunningham. From LG’s point of view, it was an unavoidable loss in a situation where the ferry was ‘broken’. In Gobi, two LG Lee Kwan-hee 3 stores misfired. The small lineup of LG, which placed second in the regular league, was strong. However, it fell short by 2%. Eventually, LG became more and more cornered. Lee Jae-do got into foul trouble. Kim Seon-hyung’s two free throws were successful.
LG replaced ‘gear’ with Yang Jun-seok and Lim Dong-seop. Lim Dong-seop scored a valuable 3-pointer. Lee Jae-do made two free throws with 2.5 seconds left. Lee Jae-do was caught at Choi Seong-won’s feet. In the end, 73-66, SK’s lead by 7 points.
LG rode a strong flow at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. It was definitely a system that made it 2nd in the regular league. By the way, SK knew how to pinpoint the important pulse of the match. It slowed LG’s fierce flow with Warney at the center, and eventually occupied an advantageous high ground.
LG, which was definitely disappointed with the ‘Malay void’. SK did not have Choi Joon-yong, but Kim Seon-hyeong and Warney, followed by Choi Bu-kyung and Heo Il-young, maximized efficiency and withstood LG’s onslaught well.
▶ 4th Quarter = Let’s block Warney, Kim Seon-hyung coordinated. In
the 4th quarter, Cunningham came out again. It had to be.
Lee Kwan-hee boosted his momentum by hitting 3 points on the trademark backboard. SK failed to break through Warney’s goal. Lee Kwan-hee’s quick attack, followed by 3 points again.
Then, this time, Kim Seon-hyung broke through the goal with a hesitation dribble with an exquisite fake. The LG small lineup is starting to adapt to the Warney Post Up offensive option. Warney’s offense missed the rim several times in the early 4th quarter.
On the other hand, LG captures the mid jumper with a simple screen. Attack Warney’s narrow defensive range. This time, the mid jumper after Gutang received the screen. 1 point difference, SK’s operation time. The timing of the operation time of the command tower of both teams was accurate.
SK started to make a change in Warney’s one-sidedness again. Using Kim Seon-hyeong and Heo Il-young, they confused the LG defense. On the other hand, LG missed Gutang’s pass and Lee Kwan-hee’s 3-pointer missed.
An unfortunate decision was made. After Lee Kwan-hee grabbed the rebound, there was a quick break and a foul play by the SK defense team, but the whistle was not blown. In the end, a jump ball was declared due to a loose ball dispute.
81-76, SK’s 5-point lead. In the remaining time, Gutang scored two points with an exquisite backdoor. Then Seongwon Choi responded with a fade away mid jumper, and the remaining time was 2 minutes and 30 seconds. At this time, Choi Seong-won was sent off for five fouls.
Seongwon Choi is a key role player in SK. He provides the space for Warney’s penetration under the net because he is a 3-point shooter with both offense and defense. In other words, it is a painful loss for SK.
Jeong Hee-jae’s 2 points, 3 points again. SK’s attack failed, mid jumper after Lee Jae-do received a screen. 82-83, by one point.
Seonhyung Kim seized the golden opportunity. There was an open chance in the center. However, Rim was ignored. LG’s right to attack again.
The time of the electric signboard was getting shorter and shorter. Only 58 seconds left.
A critical miss occurred. Gutang’s back door again, but Jung Hee-jae’s bound pass caught the SK defense.
SK took the lead again with Kim Seon-hyeong scoring a decisive floater. Then, this time Lee Jae-do responded with a sharp breakthrough. And SK’s operation time. 안전놀이터
At this time, an unexpected variable occurred. Jeong Hee-jae quit due to a foul, but LG still has a lot of team fouls. In the end, SK exhausted the remaining time with agile passwork. As Seonhyung Kim threw the ball into the air, a celebration rang out.
SK was definitely strong. There is no need to explain the one-two punch of Seonhyung Kim and Warney, who are rising to the ranks of the best duo of all time. The most impressive part is that whenever the team is in crisis, it is playing the playoffs with various offensive routes that properly attack the opponent’s weaknesses.
LG, which was eliminated in the semifinals with a total loss in three games, showed that it is a team that deserves second place in the regular league. In a situation where Marey, the absolute ace of offense and defense, was missing, and the organization of offense and defense was greatly disturbed, there was no choice but to play the semi-final series.
In the second game, SK almost sank, and in the third quarter, Perry’s sluggishness led to a 21-point lead, but in the end, a fierce chase was held until the end. Although advancing to the championship was thwarted, LG was the best hit product this season.