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Mark Travis

But The Game Is On Sports Network Contributor since 11/14/12

Mark Travis is an NBA writer from Corpus Christi, Texas.

About Mark Travis

Mark Travis is a college student at the University of Oregon. He has an unhealthy obsession for the game of basketball and spends most of his free time writing about the sport or watching Bobcats-Wizards on NBA League Pass. He writes NBA columns for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Laker pieces for Silver Screen and Roll. Mark also owns and operates his own network of sports websites called the But The Game Is On Sports Network. 

Mark worked with his high school basketball team as a student manager, helping with drills and preparing advanced stat reports after games for the coaching staff.

Mark's Playbank (13 Total)

Basketball Play - Golden State's 4 Cross Pin

Golden State's 4 Cross Pin

Mark Travis 03/16/2013

Despite their recent woes, the Golden State Warriors still rank as a top 10 offensive team in basketball, which is impressive given the amount of time they have spent without center Andrew Bogut this season. Bogut is a versatile offensive option that can score on the block and facilitate from the post or the elbow, which makes for some great offensive chemistry with David Lee, Golden State's other multi-skilled big man. The Warriors can also use Bogut as a way to create offense for their potent guards - Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Here is an example of the Warriors putting Bogut on the block and using weakside action, as well as Bogut's nifty passing touch, to get a good open look for Thompson at the free throw line. See More

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Basketball Play - New York's staggered triple screen

New York's staggered triple screen

Mark Travis 03/11/2013

Aside from having an extremely talented offensive player like Carmelo Anthony, the biggest reason that the Knicks rank third in the NBA in scoring efficiency is the beautiftul playbook that Mike Woodson has assembled. Granted, a lot of the stuff the Knicks run today comes straight out of Mike D'Antoni's scheme - in fact, I think New York runs more of D'Antoni's stuff than the Lakers do - but Woodson deserves a ton of credit for how he has handled the offense this season. Here is a play that New York occasionally runs in semi-transition or in the half-court. It is a high staggered triple screen that takes advantage of New York's staple offensively: a stretch four. Usually, that player is Carmelo, but in this particular example, with Melo out with an injury, Steve Novak assumes the role of a stretch four. The staggered triple screen action has a pair of pick-and-pops and a pick-and-roll to cap it off that can send the defense scrambling to find their assignments and put them in a poor position to defend in the case of a mismatch or good ball rotation. When the Knicks ran it against the Cavs a couple of days ago, Cleveland got all out of place following Novak at the three-point line and left Amare wide open on the roll for an easy dunk. See More

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Basketball Play - Poke WS Lob

Poke WS Lob

Mark Travis 02/28/2013

When you have a versatile shooting guard like Markel Brown that can effectively score on the wing and in the paint, forcing an isolated defender to make a choice on how to guard him before he even catches the ball can be a good way to get an easy bucket. Look how Travis Ford got Brown isolated on one side of the floor with this double high screen and roll action and how it gets Brown an open lane to the rim. See More

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Basketball Play - Brooklyn ditches ISO-Joe on a game-deciding play

Brooklyn ditches ISO-Joe on a game-deciding play

Mark Travis 02/22/2013

The majority of Joe Johnson's clutch shots for the Nets this season have come on the infamous ISO-Joe plays that made Johnson's Atlanta Hawks' teams a bit of an eye sore on offense. To Johnson's credit, he's been remarkably efficient in one-on-one situations late in games this year, and he even hit the game-winner later in this game on an isolation possession. But down three with 6.7 seconds left in the game against the Milwaukee Bucks the other night, P.J. Carlesimo went away from ISO ball and drew up a beautiful elevator screen sequence to get Johnson a wide open look at a three from the top of the key. Unphased by the moment, Johnson executed his cut perfectly and he got good screens from his teammates, allowing him to tie things up and send the game to overtime. Video of this play. See More

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Basketball Play - Memphis' Marc Gasol Elbow Series (Part 1)

Memphis' Marc Gasol Elbow Series (Part 1)

Mark Travis 02/13/2013

Marc Gasol is one of the truly underappreciated players in the league. He's a solid post-up player, a decent shooter, the best big man passer in the league (with his brother being a close second) and he may very well be the defensive player of the year in the NBA right now. Memphis' offense is a cramped, inconsistent and often times ineffective collaboration of players who shrink the floor in an era that thrives on spacing it. When things go well for the Grizzlies, it almost always has something to do with Marc Gasol making a play for his teammates. Gasol is deadly from the elbows, as that position on the floor gives him a perfect vantage point of the floor and allows him to distribute from a high-low perspective. Here is one way the Grizz utilize Gasol's skillset from that particular spot on the floor. See More

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Basketball Play - San Antonio's 15 SNUG

San Antonio's 15 SNUG

Mark Travis 02/07/2013

This is a play that the Spurs love to run that features a "snug" pick-and-roll between Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter. The pick-and-roll action between these two is deadly - Splitter is one of the best roll men in the league - but just in case the defense can bottle it up (which is rare), the Spurs have some sweet weakside action that can punish the defense even if they do everything right. Video of this play. See More

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Basketball Play - Oklahoma State's 15 Flare Down

Oklahoma State's 15 Flare Down

Mark Travis 02/05/2013

Down four to the #2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks on the road in the Phog with just over four minutes left, Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford called a play for his 5'11" (and that is generous) freshman point guard that was previously 0-for-6 from deep to get a three-point look. Naturally. The Cowboys put the Freshman point guard in a number of screen situations, with the end result being a three-pointer that Forte nailed to bring the Cowboys within one. It was this shot by Forte that sprung OSU's run down the stretch, resulting in one of the rarest things in college sports: A Jayhawks loss in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. And it was all thanks to some great play design, patience and execution by the Cowboys in a very tough environment. See More

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Basketball Play - How Miami got Ray Allen wide open from deep in crunchtime

How Miami got Ray Allen wide open from deep in crunchtime

Mark Travis 01/31/2013

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. See More

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Basketball Play - Portland's 34 Horns Loop

Portland's 34 Horns Loop

Mark Travis 01/29/2013

The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the least productive benches in the history of basketball, but the Blazers are still in the playoff picture in the Western Conference because of how well head coach Terry Stotts manages his line-ups. Ronnie Price, Will Barton and Meyers Leonard is not a strong offensive trio, but Stotts stacks his rotation so that LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum can help this line-up produce offensively. Aldridge and Batum are two very versatile forwards, and you can see in this play how their skillsets bring an otherwise poor second unit to life. Video of the play here. See More

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Basketball Play - Terry Stotts' Need 3

Terry Stotts' Need 3

Mark Travis 01/12/2013

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. See More

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Basketball Play - A look at the Lakers' pick-and-roll sans Nash (Pt. 1)

A look at the Lakers' pick-and-roll sans Nash (Pt. 1)

Mark Travis 12/03/2012

The Los Angeles Lakers have had their ups-and-downs since Mike D'Antoni was named their new head coach, which was expected with Steve Nash being out, but the one consistent theme with the offense so far has been how well Kobe Bryant is working out of the pick-and-roll. Forget scoring, which Bryant is doing at an elite level even in his 17th season, Kobe, whose reputation as a gunner has sullied his beautiful passing ability, is facilitating the offense extremely well in the abscene of Nash. On this play we can see how Kobe makes a great read to find a wide open shooters as well as how much attention Dwight Howard draws onn the pick-and-roll. This is the kind of play that D'Antoni is thinking about when he considers starting Antawn Jamison over Pau Gasol for spacing purposes. See More

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Basketball Play - Utilizing the Lakers' talent

Utilizing the Lakers' talent

Mark Travis 11/22/2012

Mike D'Antoni said something very interesting about his up-tempo offensive philosophies. He said that if you have the best team, why not try to give your players the most possessions possible. The theory being that the more times that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have to execute their offensive brilliance, the better it will be for his team since the opposition's talent won't be able to match them. If the game slows down, all of the sudden your margin for error shrinks and a handful of mistakes can cost you a game. D'Antoni also said that he expects the Lakers to average around 110-115 points per game, which are numbers that haven't been reached since the Nash/Amare combo in Phoenix was broken up. Those two things tell us that the Lakers will be playing at a very fast pace from now on, and despite the popular belief that their roster is too old to run, a free flowing offense is exactly what a veteran team wants in favor of a methodical offense like Boston runs which requires a lot of physical screening and post-up attempts. And having playmakers like Nash and Kobe together only makes this team more dangerous offensively because of his versatile they are coming off of pick-and-rolls. Nash is perhaps the greatest to ever operate a screen-and-roll and Bryant, because of his propensity to shoot, is a very underrated passer. Throw-in the most skilled big man in the league at power forward in Pau Gasol and the best finisher the league has seen since Shawn Kemp in Dwight Howard and we could have the makings of Showtime 2.0. This play that I have designed would make good use of the cavalcade of skill players that the Lakers have. Because of the up-tempo offense the Lakers will be running, the play starts in semi-transition with Kobe handling the ball at the start. I have inserted Jodie Meeks into the line-up for Metta World Peace to add a true floor spacer. The shots that this set produces are all optimal ones based on these players career hotspots and you can run it several different ways with different players on the floor. It is best with this set up, though, with Kobe initiating the action, Nash bringing a ton of secondary concerns and Howard acting as the league's best roll man and lob catcher. See More

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Basketball Play - How Houston beat Miami's trap

How Houston beat Miami's trap

Mark Travis 11/14/2012

This set comes from last night's Rockets-Heat game. It is a pick-and-roll set out of a Horns look that takes advantage of Miami's trapping pick-and-roll defense. James Harden was swallowed up by this defensive scheme during the NBA Finals but he is very patient here, keeping his dribble alive at a slow pace to draw both Bosh and Wade for just long enough to open up space on the wing for Carlos Deflino, who is left up by Shane Battier because Battier is forced to help on the roll in Miami's scheme, to get a wide open shot. See More

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