The nerve of the Nets got a nice test early in the season, game one to be exact. After a few big shots by Anthony Morrow, the Nets were in a position to get one stop in order to win a game. The Nets held a three point lead over the Detroit Pistons, with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. The Pistons had the ball and a sideline inbounds opportunity. Let’s take a look at how the Pistons came out.
The Pistons (labeled in white) had a lineup of: Tayshaun Prince – he was the inbounder, which was a smart choice. Not only is Prince a good decision-maker, he’s also tall enough to see over the top of most pressure. Charlie Villanueva – a big time threat here. A few possessions earlier he hit a three in a similar catch and shoot situation. Ben Gordon – a professional scorer, very dangerous in this situation and has proved in his career that he can hit big shots. Rodney Stuckey – dangerous, can make this shot if open. Ben Wallace – a virtual lock to not catch the inbounds, used on this play only as a screener. The Nets (labeled in red) go with, Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Stephen Graham, Anthony Morrow and Terrence Williams.
More after the jump.
As you can see above, the play begins with Rodney Stuckey coming to set a cross screen for Ben Gordon. With only 1.3 seconds remaining, there isn’t enough time for the Nets to get burnt on match-ups, so wisely, they defend by switching all screens. Harris, who was guarding Stuckey (the screener) simply switches onto Gordon coming up.
The Stuckey cross screen I suspect was more of a form of misdirection, for the real screen, which you can see above. After Gordon comes up, he then flares out, going off a flare screen set by Charlie Villanueva. Once again, the Nets dealing in a position of power are able to just switch all screens, which they execute again here. Stephen Graham who was guarding the screener Villanueva, simply switches onto Gordon. Harris, who is now picking up the screener, Villanueva, does a heads up job of denying him the ball and forcing him away from the hoop.
Seen above, it is Detroit’s final option which gets them their best look. Stuckey, who started the whole play with his cross screen on Gordon, now fades out to the corner, going off a Ben Wallace screen. Defensively, if the Nets were switching everything (which we can gather they were), Stuckey would be Terrence Williams’ responsibility as he was guarding Wallace the screener. Wallace does a nice job of screening and getting wide enough to cut off both Williams and Morrow (circled in yellow).
Despite getting stuck on the screen, Williams fights over it, and as you can see in the picture above, does his best to give a good, hard contest to Stuckey who’s launching the potential game tying shot.
Lucky for us, Williams’ contest is enough to bother the shot, as it falls well short of going in and the rest is history.
As you all know, you can’t take anything for granted with the Nets, especially not after last season. This final play, however, is hopefully a sign of things to come. Avery Johnson had his team organized and prepared out of the huddle and all five Nets on the floor executed their job to get us a win.
Take a look at the play in real time: