The deeper in to the postseason we have been getting, the tighter the games have been. In tight games late, the importance of every decision is amplified, so it makes sense that this week’s Savvy/Shabby takes a look at a few decisions made late in games. First, we are going to take a look at a perfectly timed double team by Shawn Marion, leading to a key turnover. Then , we are going to look at Chicago Bulls’ late game playcalling in the final seconds of the fourth quarter with the game tied.

Shawn Marion’s Double Team

The key to a good double team is timing. Go too soon and the man you are doubling will pass out of it easily, go too late and you allow the man you are doubling to get a shot off. With about a minute left in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Shawn Marion threw the perfect double team at Kevin Durant.

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The play starts with Russell Westbrook up top as Jason Kidd covers him. The Thunder, looking to force a switch and create a mismatch, have Kevin Durant (who is covered by Shawn Marion) set a screen for Westbrook.

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The Dallas Mavericks give the Thunder exactly what they want as Marion picks up Westbrook and Jason Kidd stays with Durant.

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Eventually, Westbrook gets the ball to Durant, who faces up on Kidd. Now, Shawn Marion doesn’t leave and double team immediately, because if he did, Durant would kick the ball out to Westbrook, who would have a driving lane. Instead, he waits as Kidd plays him straight up.

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The second that Durant turns his back to him (showing that it will be a spin move), Shawn Marion takes off and doubles Durant. The reason why he leaves then is because there is no possible way for Durant to get the ball to Westbrook, so leaving him doesn’t hurt the defense.

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With Marion coming over, Durant tries to get a shot up, but Marion knocks it loose and draws the turnover. Here is the play in real time:

Just a tremendously timed double team by Marion. He waits until Durant commits, and then bounces, forcing the turnover.

Derrick Rose’s Isolations

Last night against the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls had two chances in the final seconds of regulation to break a tie and take a lead in Game 4. Both times, the Bulls ran an 1-4 isolation for Derrick Rose.

I have a problem with both isolations, for different reasons. In the first isolation, there is so much time left on the clock, that it doesn’t really make sense just to run an isolation. I would have liked to see Chicago run an action before the isolation (like maybe a pick and pop — even though Korver wasn’t in, would have liked to seen it run with Deng instead), and if nothing comes of it, then back it out and go iso.

In the second isolation, my biggest problem is with Rose’s decision to drive to his right hand side, not with the actual decision to isolate (with 8 seconds left, there isn’t much you can do). With LeBron James covering him, Rose isn’t going to get to the rim, so most likely he is going to be taking a jumper. As with most righties, Rose is far more comfortable shooting off of the dribble when heading to the left side of the court. Plus, with Deng and Korver set up behind the three point line on the left side, if Rose draws help, he can kick it out to an open shooter.

With the game on the line, teams are forced to make really tough decisions on the fly. These decisions, like when to send a double and which way to try and penetrate, can not only change games, but change a series. Until next time.

Comments (1)

  1. great column again.

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