LG has won all seven games with double-digit scoring from Yang Hong-seok.
Changwon LG is tied for second place with Seoul SK with an 8-4 record. After opening the season with three straight losses, LG has jumped up the standings with eight wins in its last nine games. This is the first time a team that started the season with three straight losses has won eight games in 12 matches. The previous best was Samsung’s 7-5 record in the 2001-2002 season. The team quickly stabilized after a shaky start to the season.
LG’s rebound can be attributed to a number of factors, but one of them is the scoring of Yang Hong-seok. LG is undefeated in the seven games in which Yang has scored in double figures, but is 1-4 in the five games in which he has scored in single figures.
After being held to single digits in the first three games and not having much of an offensive presence, Yang Hong-seok started to hit double digits.
Yang was called up to the national team after joining LG this season, so he didn’t have a full offseason of training. He didn’t have enough time to adjust to LG’s defense-heavy offense. Head coach Cho Sang-hyun has tried to ease the defensive burden for Yang.
When asked about Yang Hong-seok ahead of their match against the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis on March 23, Cho said, “He’s not a good defender in his role, so I’m trying to put less stress on him. You have to defend the basics unconditionally. If I don’t see the will to do it, I point it out,” he said, adding, “He’s naturally an offensive player. I made some patterns to give him something to derive from Yang Hong-seok. You have to create your own value, not just survive.”
Coach Cho continued.
“After the first round, there was an opinion from the coaching staff that we put too much stress on defense. He’s supposed to make 10-15 points, but we put him under a lot of defensive stress. At the end of the day, you have to do the defensive basics. When you play the 4 (power forward), you have to play help defense, and when you play the 3 (small forward), you have to follow your wingman and get off screens. Those are the basics, and if you’re just attacking, that doesn’t fit our team colors. You have to do those basics.
We get good rebounding numbers from Hong Seok-yi. If the offense doesn’t work, we ignore it and try to solve it somehow with offense. When he plays the 4, we have to help him in the pick game, and when he plays the 3, we have to go through all the screen defense and follow him, so that’s our strength on defense.
We had one meeting. I told him that if he played 35 minutes in KT, I want him to play less than 30 minutes (in LG) and have energy on defense. For Hong-seok to be a better player, he needs to play three or four positions on defense. If (Yang) doesn’t do that, all he can do is switch. If you overuse switches, Marei has to block the outside and there will be a rebounding gap, so I strongly tell the players up front.”
LG followed up with a big win against Hyundai Mobis, 97-76. The victory came despite holding Yang Hong-seok to a single-digit scoring output of six points.
While he didn’t score in double figures on the night, he did his part in terms of rebounding and assisting his teammates. 캡틴토토 도메인
Coach Cho Sang-hyun said, “Playing at the 4 gives us a chance on the other end. We need our big men to give us an advantage in the transition game, and that’s where Jung Hee-jae and Hong Seok-i do a great job. “If Hong doesn’t score, we make up for it on the other end,” he said. “Cunningham also plays, so we get more outside opportunities. Maray is also very involved in the offense, and we did a good job of battling in transition.”
“If the shots don’t go in early on, Hong-seok looks at the bench. “When the shots go in, I feel good when my first shot goes in as a player, and I play good defense, so I’ll pay more attention to that,” he added.
LG will play a home game against Goyang Sono on Nov. 25 before heading out on a three-game road trip next week. They face tough opponents in Suwon KT, Seoul SK, and Wonju DB.
If Yang Hong-seok can put up double-digit scoring numbers behind the base defense, LG will be able to maintain its lead.