I did not have a chance to see the game, but was able to catch the final play this morning. A couple things caught my attention, though some of them are obscured by the broadcast production, which cut away from the halfcourt for a tight shot on Baron as the Clippers were getting set.
When Novak first checks in, he sets up on the weak side along the perimeter, guarded by Trenton Hassell, who’s a very tight defender. Between that moment and the instant they return to the wide shot of the floor, Novak moves to the near side corner, and is now covered by Robin Lopez.
My best guess — and that’s all it is — would be that Lawrence Frank makes the switch in anticipation that Chris Kaman would be the screen man for the shooter. By having Hassell on Kaman at the time of the inbounds, this enables the Nets’ best defender to switch that screen and pick up the guy who will most likely end up with the ball. As it turns out, Kaman is somewhat incidental to the play.
Eric Gordon comes to receive the inbound pass from Baron. Once Eric penetrates, the entire Nets defense collapses — including Vince Carter [Baron Davis’ defender] and Robin Lopez [Steve Novak’s defender in the left corner]. Eric’s backward pass won’t win any skills awards, but it’s effective, landing in Baron’s hands.
At this point, it’s child’s play. Baron has a clean look, but Lopez is closing on him and Novak is equally open. Credit Baron for giving up the shot to the more proficient long-distance shooter.
So far as Novak goes, America’s children need to be watching this man shoot the basketball.
UPDATE: Déjà vu?