“Two doesn’t beat us guys…three does beat us,” was what “The Czar” Mike Fratello was saying Avery Johnson should be pointing out to his team, moments before Channing Frye’s dagger three put the Suns ahead by a point (the eventual game winner) late in overtime. The Suns were aided by a well drawn up play that was executed perfectly of course. Let’s take a look.
(On an aside, Channing Frye has now hit game winning shots on back to back nights, check out his buzzer beater vs. the Pacers from Sunday night)
The Suns have the benefit of a great clutch shooter on their team, Steve Nash. Nash draws so much attention, that he can be used as a decoy so set someone else up, which is exactly what the Suns do.
Below you’ll see the Suns set up with Grant Hill inbounding and Steve Nash is located in the far corner, opposite the ball.
If you notice, Suns center Marcin Gortat (No. 4) is waiting at the opposite elbow. After Nash clears the screen, he and Gortat stop and immediately screen down on Frye’s man, Kris Humphries.
I put the two different colored arrows (blue and red) to show the different paths Humphries could have chosen to navigate this screen. As stated earlier, only a three pointer in this situation kills the Nets. In my opinion, Humphries should have locked onto Frye’s hip and chosen the blue route. By going over the screen, Humphries would have encouraged Frye to curl and maybe chase him off the three point line, or into a more contested shot. Humphries instead attempts the red route, and gets hung up on the Gortat screen, thus giving Frye the wide open look. Frye did his job by drilling the shot and in the process spoiled Deron Williams’ home debut.
Here’s the play live: