The three-pointer has been an obvious weapon for the Nets this year, either by design or by necessity. They have made 35 three’s in their past two games and now lead the NBA with 115 total.
So it should come as no surprise that with the game nearing an end and the Nets holding a lead, the three-pointer was what sealed the deal.
Let’s break it down.
Inbounding from the baseline, the Nets held a five point lead, with a fresh 24 second shot clock and only 1:11 remaining in the game. A perfect possession for the Nets in this situation would be to run the shot clock all the way down and get a score. Here’s what happened.
After some initial action off the inbounds, the Nets get the ball into the hands of Deron Williams and set themselves up. The Nets on this trip are not so much running a “set play”, but more putting players in a position where they can succeed and make a play.
The Nets isolate Deron on the right side of the floor with shooters (from right to left: MarShon Brooks, Mehmet Okur and Anthony Morrow) spacing the floor on the left and Kris Humphries flattened out on the left side baseline.
Avery Johnson is basically giving Williams the freedom to make a play here. He has the entire right side of the floor to work with, but a drive to the left and towards the middle of the deck will cause help from the Suns defenders. This is exactly what Deron does.
After driving right and crossing over to his left, Williams gets himself into the paint and the teeth of Phoenix’s defense. Deron at this point is just playing simple basketball. Three-pointers are good, but they get even better when your able to get the ball inside first. Deron’s penetration allows all three Nets shooters to have their feet and chests squared to the hoop.
Deron must just draw a second defender and read who is open as a result of the help defense. In the photo above, you can see Marcin Gortat stepping up, already helping on Williams’ drive. As a result, Jared Dudley (who was guarding Morrow) is forced to come inside and help on Humphries.
All that’s left for Deron to do is make the simple read of seeing where the help is coming from, seeing who is open and delivering the ball. He fires over a pass to Morrow, basically right to his hands which allows Morrow to catch and shoot quickly before the recovering Dudley can get there.
As I said earlier a perfect possession would be the Nets running the clock down and scoring points and as you can see, the shot clock at the time of Morrow’s release is at five.
Here’s the play live (video courtesy of mySynergySports):