One of my favorite college basketball blogs is a site called The Mikan Drill, a site that looks at the Xs and Os of the college game. Something that they have been over there since the season has ended was Season Leftovers, looking at some great sets over the course of the college season. An idea so good, that I decided to bring it over here during the NBA offseason.
With the lockout looking like it will continue for a little while longer, it only makes sense to continue our Season Leftovers and have another go-round with it, once again starting with Baseline Out Of Bounds sets (click for part 1, part 2, and part 3). To make myself feel better about the whole lockout situation, today’s BLOB sets will feature two of my favorite playcallers, Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers.
DeJuan Blair Slips a Screen
When you are a team that runs a particular set in certain situations, and runs it well, teams are going to have to prepare for it. When that happens, it frees up counters in that set, and that is what happened when the Spurs played the Mavericks during the regular season.
The play starts with DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner setting a double screen for Gary Neal, who curls off of it in front of the basketball to the opposite block.
As that is happening, Bonner and Blair get in position to set a double screen for Manu Ginobili. Ginobili comes off of the two screens looking to get the ball in the corner.
Now, this is a play that the Spurs have run a lot during the Popovich era and the Mavericks have done a good job of scouting it. Prepared for it, Jason Terry (who switched onto Blair), jumps out and tries to deny the pass to Ginobili. This would work if it wasn’t for Blair, who remained aware of the situation and slipped the screen when he saw Terry jump out to the corner.
Blair is able to get the ball in space, just enough to hit the little teardrop floater. Here is the play in real time:
This is good awareness from the Mavericks, scouting the play, reading it, and trying to defend it. However, it was even better awareness from Blair, who reacted and slipped the screen for an easy hoop.
Doc Rivers Gets Ray Allen an Open Three-Point Shot … Again
Every single time I see Ray Allen getting a wide-open three-point shot, I have a tendency to credit Doc Rivers, and rightfully so. Allen is one of the best shooters in NBA history, yet Rivers is able to figure out ways to create space for Allen to get his shot off. Here is yet another example.
The play starts with Paul Pierce at the opposite elbow, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green on the ball side block, and Ray Allen in the opposite corner. As the ball goes to Rajon Rondo, Pierce dives to the rim as Jeff Green sets a screen for Kevin Garnett, who uses it to get open in the corner.
Rondo enters the basketball to Garnett, who gives the ball right back to Rondo as a dribble handoff, one that turns into a double screen. Rondo gets the basketball and comes off of the double screen, drawing attention to himself. Even Tony Allen, the man who is covering Ray Allen, gets drawn in, turning his attention from Allen to Rondo coming off of the double screen. With Allen’s attention turned to Rondo, it allows Ray Allen to set up Tony Allen when he comes off of Paul Pierce’s screen.
By the time Tony Allen recovers it is already too late, as Ray Allen created enough space to get around a staggered pindown screen set from both Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green.
Allen makes the catch, squares up, and knocks down the wide-open three-point shot. Here is the play in real time:
Tony Allen is a former Celtic, and a very good defender off the ball. The fact that Doc Rivers can even bait him to free up Ray Allen tells you something about his playcalling ability.