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The Secret Play

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Larry Bird and Dennis Johnson developed a special chemistry on the floppy/pin down action during their time with the Boston Celtics. Using a pin down is as much about the fundamentals of cutting, passion and shooting as it is reading the defense and reacting to their moves. When opponents would overplay his use of the screen, Bird would cut backdoor for the layup. Note how Bird pushes off his own teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish and takes his man into a bunch of traffic to create space for himself.

Johnson throws a variety of passes off the bounce, one or two handed and with just enough time and space so that only Bird could get to the ball. This read almost always led to a layup and often a three-point play. Bird called Johnson the best teammate that he ever had because Johnson made him and other Celtics better players.

If you can read your pin down actions and start slipping (screener flashes when his defender gets above him) or cutting backdoor (as shown here), you have taken your team’s pin down game to the next level.