That Pacers game. Wow. Some iron mettle was shown by the Raps against a Pacer team that doesn’t give anything up easy. The Raptors held their nerves, ground out their offense against a locked-in Pacer defense and came away with one of the more impressive wins across the NBA, let alone just for the Raptors. They’ve beaten the best Eastern and Western teams in their current stretch of awesomeness, which is admirable by any standard.
This post is simply one play that caught my eye, a play that was executed in those key moments in the fourth quarter where the game was up for grabs. Late. Tight. Pressure on.
Frame 1: We start things off with what appears to be a double-screen for Vasquez set by Ross and Hansbrough.
Frame 2: This turns out to be a decoy as Vasquez doesn’t use them at all and drifts to the right. After all, the man does not have the quickness to beat a Pacer defense to the rim, especially one anchored by West.
Frame 3: The real play turns out to be for Ross. Hansbrough sets out a second pick, this time a down-screen, and Vasquez is ready to pass in time for Ross hitting his receiving spot. The timing for the Vasquez pass/Ross catch is perfect.
Frame 4: Ross’s quick curl across the screen and brings West into the play proper, as Paul George doesn’t even have time to think about going “under” the screen and is essentially out of the play. Credit the earlier decoy for delaying George and having the effect of matching Ross up with West.
Frame 5: Ross’s bounce-pass to Scola is pristine, it actually feeds Hansbrough in his shooting stride. Scola has come over but he’s too late. There’s also a passing option for Hansbrough as Patterson is open on the left, but he decides to take it in himself. This passing option is a huge advantage of having a big who can shoot, because when their defender goes to help, they can pop out in space.
Frame 6: Hansbrough lays it in. George is completely out of position even right now and has not made the rotation out to Patterson (not that it matters since Hansbrough took it in himself). If Hibbert was in the game, then Patterson most likely would’ve gotten the ball as Hansbrough v Hibbert is something that Hansbrough would not try to negotiate (I think).
Here’s the full GFY of the play.
Credit to Dwane Casey for drumming this one up. A simple misdirection/decoy, a quick flash to catch the ball, alert thinking in the presence of defense, and a good finish. Kudos.