Game 7: The Last Three Possessions of the Season

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Towards the end of their 104-103 loss to the Nets in Game 7, the Raptors ran three different A.T.O. sets to attempt to narrow the score. The first two were productive, creating layups for Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross whereas the final play resulted in a blocked shot in the paint. The spacing of the alignment as the ball was inbounded was diverse and it influenced the quality of the shots that the team attempted.

3rd Last Play: Down 102-99, 22.5 seconds left.

Extending a well-known San Antonio Spurs SOB for the length of the entire court offers a mixed bag of benefits. It is a little easier to inbound the ball since the defense must cover a lot of area but the net effect of how the Raptors executed this play throughout the season meant that two cutters and high post entry were ignored in order to get the ball to Lowry in the backcourt. Once he caught the ball, he advanced at full speed, which generated a quasi-transition situation where he could read the defense and adjust. The screen wasn’t perfectly set but Lowry rejected it any way, cut back to his right hand and finished at the rim.

2nd Last Play: Down 104-101, 13.2 seconds left.

Still down 3, Toronto lined up in the frontcourt for a set that provided chances for both two and three point shots. Patrick Patterson screened for DeMar DeRozan at the top of the key and Lowry cut through the paint. The ball was given to Ross near the sideline who pivoted on the foot farthest away from the defender and cross-stepped towards the baseline, which precluded some Nets from helping. This was one of Ross’s best possessions of the post season as he did not hesistate and attacked. Ross uses his body to protect the ball from Joe Johnson and the rim so that help defenders could not block his shot.

Last Play: Down 104-103, 6.2 seconds left.

Toronto’s final play of the season began with a four-player stack away from the ball. Everyone seemed to rush towards the ball and Lowry brushed off Patterson and Ross to get the ball on the right wing. The Raptors lined up on the opposite side of the court at first and there seemed to be a little confusion.

Patterson set the high screen for Lowry but didn’t get all of it and there was a huge mass of defenders in the paint. Lowry lost his handle and recovered, only for the shot attempt to be blocked by Paul Pierce. DeRozan, Ross and Vasquez were open along the arc and Patterson had some room inside but the passing angles weren’t entirely available.’ép.