No player in NBA history has ever been more criticized for his late game play than LeBron James. Anytime he passes the ball in a close game, people begin to question whether or not he has the mental fortitude to be a winner. Thankfully, LeBron won a title last season and now all of that talk is gone. Now we can start appreciating his unselfish play in crunchtime, which is a good thing for all basketball fans.
Here is a play that the Heat used down four to the Toronto Raptors in overtime last week that I call Horns Flare. Miami is going to utilize every player on the court in some way or another and the end result of the play is a wide open three for Ray Allen, which is probably the best outcome you can think of in a close game.
Miami goes with horns here with Ray Allen and Chris Bosh working at the elbows. The action starts with Mario Chalmers sprinting from the right corner to the left corner as Dwyane Wade brushes across a pair of screens by Allen and Bosh. Allen's man is in a deny position and ends up switching onto Wade once he passes by him. This action is something the Heat do a lot to get Wade catches in the pinch post and to get him some separation from his man. After Allen "sets" his screen, he comes up to the top of the key to run a 4-2 pick-and-pop.
The play is made here. As Wade cuts around Bosh's screen and curls into the paint, Bosh's man is forced to help down until Calderon can recover to Wade. If Bosh's man - Aaron Gray - didn't help down, LeBron would have hit Wade for a simple backdoor lay-up. But as it turns out, this would end up hurting the Raptors, as giving Ray Allen an open three-point shot is crunchtime is basically a lay-up for him. Allen comes up and sets the screen for LeBron, which Toronto switches, and then pops to the right wing. Even though Alan Anderson was very tight on Allen, Bosh coming up to set a flare screen for Allen took him out of the play, allowing LeBron to make an easy pass to Allen for a wide open three.
Bosh's man would normally get out to at least contest Allen, but Miami has done a brilliant job with their play design to occupy him inside the paint with Wade's cut. I can't imagine there is a worse feeling for a head coach than watching Ray Allen catch the ball for a wide open three for overtime, and Miami would end up winning the game after this.
Send to your FastDraw library or email to a friend.
Email to a friend.