Welcome back to The 3-Point Play, a semi-regular recurring feature here at HoopChalk. Every so often, I’ll take a quick look at sets from three different teams that have something in common. Rather than devoting a separate post to each of them, they’ll all be grouped together here. Today, we’ve got the Wolves, Hawks and Blazers going for the tie or the lead late in the game within the last week.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Dallas Mavericks
There’s a lot to like here. First, Andre Kirilenko coming from up the corner to feign a screen for Ricky Rubio before clearing out, drawing Shawn Marion – Dallas’ best help defender – far enough away from the action that he’s just late to contest the eventual shot attempt. Next, Nikola Pekovic’s screen absolutely smothers Dominique Jones. Jones gets knocked off his track by about two feet, such that Elton Brand feels he has to chase Rubio all the way out near the 3-point line. And Luke Ridnour sliding up from the corner to the elbow extended draws Darren Collison out just high enough that he’s not a threat to disrupt Pekovic’s dive to the hoop. Rubio hits Pek with a perfectly timed pass, the Wolves tie the game, and go on to win it in overtime.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards
The Hawks run a whole lot of initial motion here to set up a high pick-and-roll for Lou Williams and Al Horford. Atlanta sticks Kyle Korver in the left corner to neutralize one possible help defender, then runs a screen-for-screener play to free Williams near the top of the key.
As Jeff Teague is crossing the court from left to right after making the initial pass to Josh Smith, Williams is setting a screen under the basket for Horford. With the ball being swung back around to Teague on the right side of the court, it looks like the Hawks are setting up a post-up for Horford on the right block. But then Smith comes and sets a pindown for Williams, who then loses his man in the confusion on a pick-and-roll. When Williams crosses back over and away from the hedging Kevin Seraphin, he gives himself just enough space to unleash a 3-pointer.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Hornets
This is another play with a whole lot of initial action to set up a high pick-and-roll. The Blazers actually have two players run clearout routes here, with Will Barton starting on the right block and getting a down screen from Luke Babbitt before shooting across to the other side of the court, and Nicolas Batum setting a back screen for JJ Hickson before coming off a cross screen from Babbitt to replace Barton in the right corner. Babbitt then flashes to the top of the key to receive the inbounds pass from Damian Lillard, with whom he kicks off a dribble hand off pick-and-roll. The best part is Batum standing in the corner and raising his hands in the air in celebration as soon as Lillard releases the shot.