The great football coach Bill Parcells has a famous quote, “You are what your record says you are.”
Using that quote and applying it to the Nets, you’d have to surmise that the Nets, at 12-26, are not a good basketball team. And, regardless of what your opinion may be of Avery Johnson, if your the coach of a bad basketball team, you’re going to take some of the responsibility for that, fairly or not.
But, to give credit where credit is due, Avery Johnson made a fantastic play call decision late in the Bobcats game to help the Nets get victory number 12. Let’s take a closer look:
To set the stage: The Nets were leading late into the fourth quarter, but after some sloppy Nets play, the Bobcats had trimmed that lead to just two, trailing the Nets 96-94 with 1:21 left to go in the game.
The Nets called timeout to discuss strategy for the upcoming play. At this point in the game Deron Williams had 53 points and was as close as any human as ever come to turning into a living, breathing fireball. So, I’d imagine the objective in the huddle for Avery and the staff was simple – get DWill the ball.
The Bobcats up to this point had been using their shooting guard, Gerald Henderson who lists at 6-4, to guard Williams instead of their point guard, D.J. Augustin who lists at 6-0.
Williams had already torched Augustin earlier in the game and although Henderson didn’t slow Williams much, he at least has the size and strength to physically contend with Williams.
Out of the timeout, the Nets inbound to Williams who brings the ball all the way out to the top of the key. In this situation, it’s not uncommon for NBA teams to use a high ball screen to begin action. Normally, those ball screens are set by bigs, but the brilliance of this play is that Avery elects to use Jordan Farmar as the screener instead.
Here you’ll see Williams with ball being guarded by Henderson, moving off of a screen set by Farmar who was being guarded by Augustin. Because Farmar sets a great screen and because the screening action is being done by two “like” players the Bobcats simply switch, meaning Augustin is now to cover Williams. (As I do not know the defensive strategy being employed by the Bobcats on this possession, this last part is an assumption, but it is not a stretch to assume that on guard to guard or forward to forward screens, the defending players would simply switch.)
With Augustin now on Williams, this is the exact matchup the Nets were looking for and one that Williams can easily exploit. As you’ll see in the below video, Williams hardly even uses a move to get by Augustin but instead just gives a hard dribble and pulls up. His height and extension advantages makes this a relatively easy shot for Deron.
Take a look: