Down three with a minute to go with the defending champion Miami Heat in his building, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts designed a brilliant play to get his team a wide open look at a game-tying three. Thanks to his beautifiul design and his players' flawless execution, the Blazers were able to tie the game on that possession and ended up securing a signature win over LeBron and company as a result.
Keep an eye on Stotts, by the way, because his team is 5-0 in overtime this season and he has run some very nice stuff.
The inbounds play starts with a stacked release just inside the three-point line. Nic Batum will break out of the stack first but he is running a decoy cut and will end up circling back to the left wing. Shortly after Batum releases, LaMarcus Aldridge steps up and sets a screen for Damian Lillard to get free and receive the inbounds pass.
As Lillard catches at the top of the key he begins to dribble to the right wing. Here Wesley Matthews has stepped in bounds and is getting ready to run a pick-and-roll with Lillard. Meanwhile, Batum loops back to the wing on the weakside.
Here is where the play is made and where Terry Stotts did an excellent job spacing the floor with his play design. Instead of setting a screen for Lillard, Matthews slips the pick and clears to the corner while Lillard reverses his dribble and waits for the next action to occur.
After looping to the wing, Batum makes a great cut accross the floor, receiving a pick from Aldridge to free him up from LeBron. Batum timed his cut very well and was able to get a great running start. Once Lillard got him the ball, Ray Allen was forced to collapse into the paint to stop the easy dunk, leaving Wes Matthews wide open in the corner for the game-tying three.
Here is how the Heat defended the final sequence of this set. Even though Batum made the drive and the dish, Aldridge was every bit as important in making this play work. He effectively took LeBron out of the play with his screen and kept Chris Bosh from dropping down to help on Batum (which would have allowed Allen to stay at home), because Aldridge is such a well-respected jumpshooter. Another small aspect that played a part in the end result of this play was the Heat having to put Dwyane Wade on Lillard because of how good he is at getting by his man. This put Ray Allen, one of the worst defensive players in the league, in limbo. Every player on the floor makes an impact on every play whether they touch the ball or not and the Blazers did a fantastic job of utilizing all of their talents to get a big shot. And by the way, after Matthews got this great in rhythm look to go. He calmly knocked down a stepback three on the next possession that won the game for the Blazers.
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