Final Possession Against The Celtics Broken Down
Probably like all Nets fans, I had my heart in my throat during the final seconds of the game yesterday against the Celtics. After taking some time to breath, I decided to look at the possession and break it down.
We start the possession off with 15 seconds left, and we are in an ISO set with Vince Carter with the ball. On the left side facing the basket, we got an overload with Dooling behind the arc on the wing. Bobby Simmons is in the deep corner, and Brook is in the post (For a potential tap in). Devin Harris is the lone player on the right side and he is in the deep corner. Now the decision to give Vince the ball in an iso set is an easy one, especially tonight. He put up 31 points, and hit a big three a few moments before hand. I also like seeing three shooters setting up for a drive and kick. It is also smart to put Brook on the post, because if you go for the win (Which you have to assume the Nets are thinking about – you don’t want to go to OT with the Celtics), Brook is there for a tap in.
While making his move, Vince gets a step on Paul Pierce, and everything is looking great for Nets fans. Rondo is attached to Devon Harris, and this leaves a huge lane for VC to drive into. The floor spacing is great too. The only player that seems to be in position to stop Vince if he drives is Ray Allen. That would leave Bobby Simmons wide open for a game winning three…VINCE CARTER NEEDS TO KEEP HIS DRIBBLE AND DRIVE THE BALL INTO THE LANE…only good things can happen from this…instead…
Vince settles with a jumper. Now a jumper is fine in this case. You got Peirce on your hip, pull up and shoot it. Paul won’t be able to contest the shot too much. But Vince made a step back move, and as you can see by the still, Paul Pierce now gets a hand in VC’s face, and this is a tough shot. Watching this live, it kinda looked like Vince was stepping back in an attempt to get behind the three point line. If that’s the case, I understand trying to win the game with a 3, but he needs to know where he is on the court. This is just a long 2.
Vince misses the jumper, and Brook does a fantastic job of fighting off two Celtics to get a hand on the ball and tap it out. Vince gains possesion of the basketball, and the Celtics defense is all out of whack. As I beautiully show, Ray Allen pretty much has to cover three solid three point shooters as Rondo and Pierce hawk Vince Carter. We still have 7 seconds left, so if Carter swings the ball as soon as he gets possession of it, we are going to get a wide open three point shot from either Devin Harris, Bobby Simmons, or Keyon Dooling…instead…
Vince dribbles into the corner and jumps up in the air with the ball. The gives the Celtics enough time to regroup and match-up with the Nets’ previously open shooters.
To his credit, Vince gets off a pretty spectacular pass considering the circumstances, and he finds Devin Harris. Harris catches the ball ready to shoot. It is a little deeper than you would like shoot from, but it is a somewhat open shot (Rajon is closing out, but he won’t get back in time to challenge the shot too much), and it needs to be shot…instead…
Devin Harris pump fakes, takes a side dribble, and puts up a contested shot. Now I know what Devin was trying to do with that move, he sees Rajon closing out, and pump fakes with the hopes of seeing Rajon running by out of control so he can get a wide open shot. You have to credit Rajon here, he closed out under control, and he was able to contest the shot. It’s a good thought process, but you need to take the original shot there Devin. What he did was take a open shot (by NBA standards) and turned it into a contested one. I don’t have to tell you guys what happens next…Devin missed the three, and the ball rolled away harmlessly. Here is the video of the possession:
Now there are a couple things we could have done differently from the start. First we could have went with a pick and roll with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, it seemed like that was working for most of the night. As I said earlier though, I am not going to completly second guess that move, and Iso for the man who already dropped 31 is a good move too. I guess you can’t take the ball out of Vince’s hand there. What you can do if you are Lawrence Frank though is emphasize that we want a lay-up or a 3. Not some long contested 2. I love Vince, he’s my favorite Net, but he seems to settle for way too many jumpers, and this is just another example. You have a player who is slower than you (Paul Pierce) on your hip, you take it to the rim. The court was spaced in such a beautiful manner that nobody would have been able to challenge his lay-up.