For this week’s Savvy/Shabby, we are going to look at some individual plays. For this week’s Savvy play, we are going to look at Andre Miller, and how he was able to trick the entire New Orleans Hornets defense. As for this week’s Shabby play, we are going to look at Brook Lopez and his inability to recognize the Celtics’ tendencies on the offensive end.

Andre Miller’s Fake Timeout

After the New Orleans Hornets hit a bucket to stretch their lead over the Blazers to six points, Nate McMillan wanted his team to call a timeout. However, as Miller brings up the basketball, he notices something and takes advantage:

A few bullet points on what makes this play so savvy:

  • I think Andre Miller doesn’t know he is going to be doing this until he reaches halfcourt. There, he picks his head up and notices the Hornets going to the bench before he calls timeout. Keeping his head up is key, because too often you see a guard run right to the ref and call timeout.
  • Miller also takes advantage of the defense not playing up on him. Often when you see a player go to call a timeout, he is being hassled even after the whistle. Here, nobody is doing that to Miller and he is able to fake the timeout and get to the rim because of it.
  • Finally, credit to the ref. Instead of calling the timeout prematurely, he waited for Miller to point to him (the signal for a timeout) and when that didn’t happen, he didn’t award the timeout. There are other officials who would blow that play dead anticipating the timeout call instead of actually waiting to be pointed at.

Brook Lopez’s Defensive Error

During the first twenty seconds of his game against the Boston Celtics, Brook Lopez made a defensive play so bad that it forced coach Avery Johnson to call a timeout 19 seconds in just to yell at him.

1

The Celtics have the ball on the baseline with Ray Allen inbounding it. Once Allen gets the basketball, Rajon Rondo sets a back screen for Paul Pierce. As this happens, Kendrick Perkins pops out to the corner for spacing purposes. Instead of protecting the rim, Lopez follows the offensively challenged Perkins to the corner.

2

Because Lopez follows Perkins to the corner, he opens up a ton of space in the lane. With Pierce getting Outlaw on his back, it makes the pass and catch really simple.

3

With Lopez out in the corner, Pierce is able to make the catch and go up for the layup easily. Here is the play in real time:

The mistake that Lopez makes is he doesn’t “open up,” staying focused on Perkins. What I mean by open up is he should be facing Ray Allen with his hands up wide protecting the paint. Kendrick Perkins can’t hit a jump shot, so there is absolutely no reason for Lopez to follow him out there and vacate the lane.

Until next time.