The Denver Nuggets lost to the Golden State Warriors last night, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything worth noticing on Denver’s side of the court. First of all, Ty Lawson was marvelous in scoring 35 points on 50 percent shooting and dishing out 10 assists. Second of all, one of those assists came on a very well-designed out of bounds play at an extremely opportune time. That’s what we’ll look at here.
Down 109-105 with 21.5 seconds left, the Nuggets line up with Andre Miller taking the ball out of bounds, Wilson Chandler at the left elbow, Andre Iguodala at the right elbow, Corey Brewer in the right corner and Ty Lawson on the right wing. Lawson runs a decoy route to the corner off a Chandler screen as Iguodala floats to the corner and replaces Brewer, while Brewer moves up the court to the right wing. After screening for Lawson, Chandler flashes toward Miller to receive the inbounds pass.
Here’s where Denver gets a little bit tricky. They run Andre Miller right off Chandler’s shoulder as soon as he inbounds the ball and fake a handoff. You might remember the Nuggets running a similar out of bounds set in Game 1, where they actually did hand the ball off to Miller for a clear out isolation on Draymond Green.
Chandler does not hand the ball off here, but he still manages to fool both Richard Jefferson and Jarrett Jack into following Miller. If Miller had been dominating like he was in Game 1, that might have been a remotely understandable-but still terrible-decision, but Miller was basically taking a giant fork and shoving it into his own back throughout the game. Jefferson and Jack’s miscommunication/brain fart/shared hallucination results in Klay Thompson having to defend both Lawson and Chandler, something he simply cannot do when they are running a hand off pick-and-roll.
Jack, for his part, realizes the error he’s made and attempts to recover to Chandler (while Jefferson aimlessly wanders in the paint) in time to contest the shot, but he’s too late. Chandler slips his screen and gets the corner 3 to go, cutting the lead to 109-108.
The Warriors and Nuggets then derped consecutive possessions before Harrison Barnes made a free throw and Iguodala narrowly missed a Gordon Hayward-esque half-courter that would have won it. Still, this play was pretty cool.