Not a lot went right for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night when they played the NBA champion Miami Heat. The death vice that is Miami’s half-court defense exercised its strength vs. the Nets, reducing their offense to feeble dribble attempts and desperation isolations.
That being said, the Nets did show moments (though few and fleeting) of offensive competency including this play that resulted in a Keith Bogans three-pointer early in the third quarter. The play looks complex on the surface, but if you look deeper, its actually just some basic tenets of offensive basketball at work. Let’s dig deeper.
The Nets set up this possession in a look often seen when the entering their offense, Deron Williams with the ball and both of their bigs (Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries) raised above the foul-line.
Now, what follows after Williams make his first pass is lots of action. Joe Johnson clears the lane to the corner, Humphries waits patiently before diving to the ball-side block and Williams, who initiated the play, runs off a Lopez screen, darts into the lane before reversing course and then heads back out to the perimeter, coming off yet another Lopez screen before going back to the ball and getting a catch.
But, upon further review, what looks like heavily designed play actually comes down to just basic offensive basketball principles: draw second defenders, move the ball to the open man, attack closeouts and play unselfishly.
On Williams’ catch his defender, Mario Chalmers, is recovering still after having to navigate Lopez’s second screen. Immediately Williams notices the space and expertly attacks the closeout, drawing a second defender who in this case is Chris Bosh (Lopez’s man). Williams quickly moves the ball to a wide open Lopez near the foul, who from that distance is a threat to score. Lopez now repeats the process and draws a second closing out defender (Dwayne Wade) to him. Lopez uses a simple shot fake to get Wade to fly by him and with one attacking dribble towards the rim, Lopez is able to suck in the rest of the Heat defenders before finally kicking out to a wide open shooter, Keith Bogans.
Perfectly executed offense, masked by the guise of a set play.