Week 3 in the Euroleague is where things really started to heat up, as six of the week’s 12 games were decided by single digits. Even better, two of these six games were decided by a late possession, requiring the team that had just pulled ahead to get a stop. In this week’s edition of Savvy/Shabby, we are going to look at one team who did a good job of getting a stop and another who couldn’t finish the possession and ended up losing because of it.
Caja Laboral’s Team Defense Gets a Stop
After a basket that gave Caja Laboral a 2-point lead with 1.7 seconds left, they found themselves trying to stop Olympiacos in a sideline out of bounds situation.
On a pretty well run set, Olympiacos is trying to get the ball to one of three players, all set up on the weak side of the court.
As the ball goes to the trigger man, Olympiacos sends a player from the far corner and has him using a cross screen on the opposite block. After the screener sets the original screen, he heads to the top of the key and sets a backscreen for the man at the top of the key, looking for the backdoor lob.
Two key things happen at this point. First, at the top of the key, two Caja Laboral defenders switch the backscreen, preventing any openings for a lob. In the paint, you have Pau Ribas fighting through a second screen, staying attached to his man and working hard to avoid the screen.
With the lob not an option, the trigger man passes the ball to the man in the corner, who is being well defended by Pau Ribas. With little time left, the player now with the ball tries to draw contact and get a three-shot foul. Ribas stands with his hands straight up, contesting the shot but avoiding the foul, doing a great job to prevent Olympiacos from getting a good look with their final possession. Here is the play in real time:
This was great team defense from Caja Laboral. Not only does the switch at the top of the key prevent the lob from taking place (Olympiacos’ first option), but Pau Ribas stays with his man, working hard to get through screens and smartly contesting the shot without fouling.
Brose Baskets Fails to Finish the Defensive Possession
On Unicaja’s final possession, they found themselves trailing by one point, forcing Brose Baskets to try and get one last stop to secure an important win. Initially, Brose does a very good job, forcing Unicaja to miss, but Brose was unable to secure the defensive rebound, and that was their downfall.
As we pick up Unicaja’s possession with nine seconds left, we find them running a pick-and-roll that is well defended by Brose Baskets, forcing Unicaja into a tough three-point shot. As the shot goes up, the two players to focus on are Anton Gavel from Brose Baskets and Pablo Prigioni from Unicaja.
Instead of finding his man, making contact, and boxing him out, Gavel turns and tries to locate the basketball. This allows Prigioni to scoot right around him and make his way to the rim unimpeded.
The ball quickly comes off of the rim, landing right in Prigioni’s hands. Sure, it was probably a lucky bounce, but if Gavel is boxing Prigioni out, Prigioni has no chance to grab the rebound.
Once he collects the rebound, Prigioni fires up a shot as he fades away from the basket. Again, maybe with a little bit of luck involved, Prigioni drills the shot. However, once again, if Prigioni is boxed out, there is no shot going up. Here is the play in real time:
Laziness really hurts Gavel here, as he cuts corners, trying to head straight to the basketball instead of boxing out his man. The result was an important Euroleague win slipping out of Brose’s hands.