Henry Abbott is maybe the smartest basketball writer out there and he’s always had a different take on what teams should do in late game scenarios. It’s simple he says. Run your offense.
The reasoning is there. If you do it for the other 47 minutes and 50 seconds, why not do it for the last 10? If your offense is good, your sets work, why go away from them to run a low percentage isolation play with your best player? The numbers have never disagreed. Except most coaches do. Watch most any NBA game that’s tied or within a possession late and you’ll see the same thing. Maybe there’s a little weakside screen to free up The Star, but in the end, it’s all about isolation and that player making a play.
Now, I might be wrong, but I’ve watched a lot of basketball this season. And the one team I’ve seen go consistently away from any iso play and instead run an actual set is Oklahoma City. Ironic, seeing as the Thunder has gained a lot of ire for their late game execution.
I asked Scott Brooks about doing exactly that and he said, “There are some times where I feel that the game can give us a better shot with a set. I like the way our bigs set screens. We just have to continue to work on it. It’s not an easy play and we all need to improve on it, including myself.”
I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact Durant struggles handling the ball, especially when the defense sends an extra defender. Based on KD’s skillset, it seems easier for him to get a look off a catch-and-shoot rather than dribble to the elbow like Paul Pierce would. Keep Reading…