These first round series have been one of the most exciting and competitive first rounds (only one sweep) in recent memory, and that has given us plenty to choose from, both in terms of savvy plays and shabby plays. This week, we are going to look at how the Mavericks made great passing decisions that resulted in a wide open three-point look. On the shabby side of things, we are going to look at the San Antonio Spurs and their very uncharacteristic struggles with clock management in game three.
Dallas’ Two-Man Game
After a terrible 4th quarter loss, the Dallas Mavericks needed to do just about everything perfect to not only guarantee a win, but to boost their confidence. In the middle of the second quarter, we saw Jason Kidd make a terrific play in transition that resulted in a wide open three-point shot for his teammate:
The play starts with Jason Terry getting possession of the basketball and sprinting it out to the corner. Jason Kidd fills the wing and gets the kick-out pass. The Mavericks now have a two-on-one advantage with Gerald Wallace trying to defend both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. Instead of taking the open shot, Kidd — who has been hitting shots this series — fakes the shot, selling the fake by bending his knees as if he is going to take the shot. This draws Wallace to Kidd, who then throws a pass to the wide-open Jason Terry. Terry is open in the corner, knocks down the three and gives the Mavericks the lead.
Welcome to the playoff version of Savvy/Shabby, where we are going to be looking at some of the smartest and dumbest plays of the NBA postseason. Here, we are going to be looking at some last second defensive decisions. First, we are going to look at Russell Westbrook and his fantastic read that lead to an easy dunk near the end of the first half of Game 1. Then, we’ll look at Carmelo Anthony and why it took him four seconds to foul Delonte West in last night’s Game 2.
With the shot clock and the game clock even, the Denver Nuggets are looking to take the last shot of the half here. On this particular play, you have Raymond Felton dribbling the basketball out and Kenyon Martin coming up and setting a screen for Felton with about 12 seconds remaining.
For this week’s Savvy/Shabby, we are going be looking at some plays made by teams that will be in the playoffs this year. We’ll start by looking at the San Antonio Spurs and a play that does a pretty good job of summing up their offensive game plan and what makes it so successful. After that, we are going to be looking at Jason Richardson and the mistake he made that led to a late game turnover.
Spurs’ Pick And Roll Leads To Jumper
The Spurs have used the pick-and-roll a lot this year, but not in the way that you would imagine. Their goal is to run the pick-and-roll, suck the defense in, then kick the ball to the corners while looking for the outside shot. That is what they do here, and I think the fact that the Spurs can get this system to work even with Tim Duncan on the bench shows you how effective the offense can be.
For this week’s Savvy/Shabby we are going to just look at decisions made by the players on the court. First, we are going to look at Wilson Chandler and his great read of the defense, allowing him to cut back door for the big dunk and a foul. Next, we are going to look at the Minnesota Timberwolves and their involvement in the shabbiest play of the year.
Wilson Chandler’s Backdoor Cut
Working off of a baseline out of bounds situation, Nene got the ball on the top of the key. On the penetration, Wilson Chandler was able to read the situation and get an easy dunk.
This week, we are going to look at some more fourth quarter plays. First, we are going to look at Andre Miller breaking off of his cut when his teammate gets doubled, making himself available and getting the pass. Then, we are going to look at a poor inbounds pass and then a poor defensive play made by Daequan Cook.
Andre Miller Finds The Open Area
In their game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Portland Trail Blazers found themselves up by three points with about 2:30 left in the game. After LaMarcus Aldridge gets double teamed, Andre Miller is able to find the open spot, get the pass, and set up the game clinching three-point shot.
Like last week, this week’s Savvy/Shabby is going to take a look at late game execution. However, this week is a little bit different, because instead of looking at late game execution on offense, we are going to be taking a look at late game execution on defense. First, we’ll going to look at a stop the Lakers got in triple overtime that helped them finally pull away from the Suns. Then we’ll look at a curious foul taken by the Utah Jazz in a one-possession game.
Lakers Get A Stop
After a big Kobe Bryant three-point shot, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves up by one with two minutes to go. On the next possession, the Suns went to their bread-and-butter: the pick-and-roll. The Lakers were able to get a stop and turn it into two transition points.
For this week’s Savvy/Shabby we are going to look at some late game execution, specifically, late game passing. First, we are going to look at a great post entry pass by Deron Williams that set up Brook Lopez for an easy hook. Second, we are going to look at how a poor pass from Dirk Nowitzki late in the 4th quarter led to a turnover, and eventually, a Mavericks’ loss.
Deron Williams’ Post Feed
With the New Jersey Nets leading the Boston Celtics by two points with 1:30 remaining, Deron Williams brought the ball down the court as Avery Johnson called a play to get the basketball to Brook Lopez in the post. As the play develops and the ball winds up in Williams’ hands, he makes a terrific bounce pass that allows Lopez to catch and make a move all in one motion: