With under ten seconds left, the game within one possession, and the Nets out of timeouts, rookie coach Jason Kidd pulled a veteran move, instructing second-year guard Tyshawn Taylor to run into him and spill his drink to cause a stoppage in play. The stoppage allowed the Nets (and Lakers) to huddle up and draw up one final play despite not having an official time-out.
So what did Kidd take the risk for?
In Truth, the play wasn't that complicated. It was something that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have done together for years with the Boston Celtics, a simple high screen-and-roll at the top of the key to get an open three-pointer. But simple works: Pierce earned an open look, though, as Garnett set a strong screen on Jodie Meeks and Lakers forward Pau Gasol overplayed the wrong side of the screen:
The shot was a good one, but Pierce had only shot 4-16 on the game and 2-6 from three-point range before that shot, so he may not have been in a proper rhythm to be the primary option on that shot.
Here's the video:
Two more thoughts on the play that would never have been drawn up had Jason Kidd not spilled his drink:
- Why did that simple of a play need a timeout? Can't you just yell "KG PIERCE HIGH SCREEN" or some coded equivalent? It's not like you need to draw that up -- they've done it for years. And it's not like the Lakers weren't in the huddle sneaking looks at it anyway.
- Speaking of which, if the Lakers saw what they were running, why did Gasol play the screen wrong?
- The closest Nets option to Pierce was Mirza Teletovic on the left wing, which buried Joe Johnson in the left corner. With the Nets down three, there was no possibility of dribble penetration on the shot, so Johnson's defender (Xavier Henry) was free to stick on Johnson the whole way. Wesley Johnson similarly stuck to Teletovic on the wing, making Pierce's look the best one available in that play.
- Meeks hitting the free throw changes the game's dynamics. Had he missed and the Nets secured the rebound, they likely would've run a similar play, except Pierce could've drove into the lane and perhaps drawn some extra defenders. We'll never know.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.