After the Clippers tie the game with a 9-1 run, the final minute of the game goes something like this:

  • The two teams trade a pair of free throws from their respective point guards.  After TJ Ford sinks his, the Clippers get the rock back with 44.6.

  • Shaun brings the ball up and leaves it with Mobley up top way out high on the right wing.   The Clippers draw up a variation of an old favorite, the "9 Ice" set.  What happens is that after Shaun passes the ball over to Cat, he gets a screen from Maggette at the elbow [Maggette is actually filling a role normally performed by Kaman in the set.].  Shaun dives past the screen and gets position on itsy-bitsy TJ Ford in the mid-post. 

    Here, it all falls apart.  Cat seems set to make the post entry pass for Shaun - and Sam is yelling for him to do so - but for whatever reason, Cat just holds the ball overhead and decides to work it back up top.  The first problem here is that Cat is neither a proficient ball handler nor passer.  He does a lot of things for you on the offensive end - works off the ball, sets screens, posts his defender, and shoots --- but now he's dribbling way up high through defenders and has worked himself over to the high wing beyond the arc.  At :05 left in the shot clock, he gets a high screen from EB, who then rolls off.  It's not exactly where you'd like Elton to get the ball, but it's a better option than, say, trapping yourself in the left corner with :03 left and having to throw up an asinine jumper that catches nothing.

    Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe Cat sees something that we don't, but the feed into Shaun there is a cinch.  Shaun towers over TJ by no fewer than seven inches.  At the very least, Shaun can step off the block and reset or get Brand cutting, or eventually find Sam on the weak side if the Raps are slow on their rotation.  I mean, there are a lot of different ways you can go here and Mobley dribbling around with a blindfold on isn't one of them. 

  • The Raps get it back with :15 seconds left.  There's nothing novel or terribly creative about their scheme: Spread the floor with their best shooters and isolate TJ up top.  The Clips decide to stay home and let Q Ross man up against Ford.  I don't think it's a bad decision in that Q has made this his calling card and has the quicks to defend TJF.  Ford hasn't done much from the field and Q, logically, is clearly looking for the penetration. 

    Amazingly, Ford doesn't even cross the arc until 3.2 seconds or so.  He puts this little stutter-fake move on Ross, who has managed to stay in front of him.  Off the fake, TJ catches Ross back on his heels for a nanosecond.  The shot is a fadeaway. 

    And it lands.