The Nets found themselves in a similiar position to one they’ve been in a lot this season: down a few points and needing a score late in the game. In this particular possession the Nets used a bit of knowledge from previous possessions to create a great opportunity. Let’s take a closer look.
With the Nets down five points, Avery Johnson called timeout. For the ensuing possession, the Nets were going to get Devin Harris and Brook Lopez involved in a pick and roll. First let’s take a look at how the Lakers guarded that exact play, one possession prior.
Here you can see Lopez’s man, Pau Gasol, hedging out hard on Devin Harris, forcing him away from the hoop and allowing time for Gasol to recover back to Lopez. Ultimately the Nets missed a shot on this possession.
Now, armed with this knowledge, Avery Johnson drew up a similiar play. The Nets are flattened out, exactly how they set up on many other Lopez/Harris pick and rolls, including the one last possession. The Nets run this play often late in games and they weren’t trying to disguise this at all.
Its impossible for us at home to know if this was by design from Avery Johnson or if it was simply a read from Lopez, but either way it worked beautifully. Lopez as he coming out to set the screen for Harris, slips it (stops midway to go to the basket). With Gasol preparing to hedge out, this is highly effective. Brook is now rolling to the hoop with a line to the basket and only Kobe Bryant in his path. All Brook would have to do is catch it and then dunk it, right?
Well, apparently Brook took his eye off the ball, because the catch proved to be too difficult. Here you see the ball slipping through his hands and into the hands of the Lakers for a Nets turnover, and effectively the game.
Here is video of both plays: