Taking Devin Harris out of our lineup takes a lot away from the Nets offense throughout the game. Late in close games his absence is magnified as we lose our leader and clear go to creator. On possessions running late in the shot clock, its often Devin’s job to have the ball in his hands with the responsibility to create something from nothing, and Devin is talented enough to usually do just that.
With him out, Jordan Farmar needed to fill his role, including that end of the game role. While I think Jordan did a fine job, some of his decisions late in regulation and throughout the overtimes left a little to be desired. Let’s take a look at the Nets’ second to last possession of regulation.
With the game tied and James Harden of the Thunder at the line shooting his second free throw, you can see here that Avery Johnson was electing to not use a timeout and instead signal a play to whom we can presume was Jordan Farmar. There was 22 seconds left in the game at this point.
Assuming Harden makes the free throw, conventional wisdom tells you the Nets are not in horrible shape. Down a point, with 22 seconds and a timeout left, the Nets should be able to rush the ball up court and run a play fairly quickly so that they would leave enough time for them to get the ball back and win or tie the game again, assuming they missed and had to foul Oklahoma City.
This unfortunately is not what happened. You can maybe assume that the “5” Avery was holding up, was calling for a pick and roll involving Brook Lopez. Pretty vanilla in this situation, but leaves opportunity for success.
After Brook sets the screen, his defender (Serge Ibaka) abandons him and doubles Farmar in an attempt to trap him. Farmar’s lack of aggression here hurts the Nets and takes precious time off the clock. Farmar takes the route of the yellow arrow, towards the sideline, instead of attacking downhill (the blue arrow). This allows Ibaka to recover back to Lopez and lets Westbrook stay on Farmar. The worst part about all this is as you can see in the lower right hand of the picture, the Nets have used up seven seconds of clock yet had nothing going towards the rim yet.
After Farmar resets the pick and roll, this time with Humphries acting as the roll man, the Nets finally get a switch and get Jeff Green on Farmar, but this all doesn’t take place until 13 seconds rolled off the clock. With nine seconds remaining, it was up to Farmar to create.
Driving middle here, Farmar actually creates an ample amount of space on Jeff Green and gets a fairly decent look from the foul line at a game-winner, albeit fading away. Unfortunately for us, Farmar misses everything entirely and airballs the shot.
Now as we all know, the Nets were bailed out of this by Anthony Morrow’s desperation three to force overtime. So no harm right? Well, this was maybe a sign of what was to come. In a couple of the Nets’ possessions in each of the overtimes, the Nets had poor clock management and as a result either made a turnover and took a bad shot.
Clearly not having Devin in the mix to handle the ball and be on attack mode late in the game hurt us and took away the chance of getting a solid win over a playoff team.
Here’s the live video: