If the last two games gave us any indication, its clear that at the end of close games, the Nets are comfortable running their offense through Brook Lopez.
In Wednesday night’s 93-90 win over the Detroit Pistons, it was Lopez who got the ball on the last two crucial possessions. In Lopez’s final bucket, the Nets ran a basic post up play for the center, letting him isolate against Greg Monroe. Lopez backed his way in towards the hoop and scored with relative ease.
As easy is that hoop looked, the Nets showed on the possession before that while they may want to run their offense through Brook, there are other creative ways to get him the ball aside from just straight post ups.
Let’s take a look.
As you can see in the above image, the set begins with Deron entering the ball to Joe Johnson on the wing, then Deron rubs off of a Gerald Wallace back screen to get enough space to set up shop in the right mid-post area.
On Williams’ catch, both block areas are clear for Williams to go to work in the post. This is purposeful as the play is designed to look and feel like an isolation for him. See below.
But, Deron’s post-up is merely a clever bit of misdirection (Hat tip to Zach Lowe of Grantland for initially sniffing out this play design. Peep number eight towards the bottom).
Notice above, as Williams begins his dribble to back down Bynum, the Pistons are already sending help. The nearest Piston defender is Jonas Jerebko and even after one dribble he’s almost lost sight entirely of his man, Gerald Wallace. As a result, Greg Monroe, who is guarding Brook Lopez, is forced to rotate towards the paint to help cover Jerebko.
As you’ll see in the below image, the Nets use this rotation against the Pistons. As Monroe is rotating down, Gerald Wallace is beginning what is called a cut-screen (a screen disguised as a cut). Wallace cuts towards the hoop, but more importantly, he cuts directly in front of the path of Lopez’s defender Monroe. Lopez’s job then is to cut directly off of Wallace’s left hip. Here’s the start of that action:
And here’s the end result, which is Lopez getting a catch moving downhill towards the rim with essentially both of the Pistons interior defenders occupied:
As you can see, running the offense through Lopez can happen in a number of different shapes and forms. This creative entry takes advantage of Lopez’s ability as a diver and his ability to finish shots on the move.
Watch the play live: