Once again I would like to thank all that have responded to the previous “Late Game Situation” Blogs. Special thanks go out to Cy Fulton, Nick Bartlett, Dan Murphy and Chris Straker for their blog comments and twitter feedback.
Here is an interesting EOG that I thought you would like.
For all those readers who are new, this series of blogs entitled “Coaching Strategy – Late Game Situations” features REAL late game situations from NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III games played that I have watched. I have kept the games anonymous to spark honest and passionate responses.
Team A is up by two points with the ball. There is 1:27 left in the game with 27 seconds on the shot clock as Team A inbounds the ball on their offensive sideline after they call a timeout.
Team B has 3 timeouts remaining, while Team A now has 2 timeouts remaining.
The possession arrow is in favor of Team A.
Team A is the double bonus, while Team B is in the bonus.
Team A inbounds the ball and milks the clock down. After giving a post player a touch on the block, the post passes the ball out and a guard hits a contested jump shot as the shot clock expires, giving Team A a four point advantage with 58.0 seconds left.
Team B quickly responds by pushing the ball and connecting on an elbow jumper with 50 seconds remaining. Team B calls a timeout and now has 2 timeouts remaining.
Team A inbounds the ball against Team B’s full-court man-to-man pressure defense. With relative ease, Team A breaks the man-to-man full court press and runs offense. Despite setting multiple ball screens throughout the shot clock and trying to get a lob to the rim as well, Team A settles for a difficult 15 foot bank shot that caroms off the rim.
Team B rebounds the ball with 21.7 seconds left and pushes it up the court. Team B’s player goes coast-to-coast and is fouled in the act of shooting with 15.0 seconds left in the game.
Down by two, the player from Team B proceeds to miss both free throw attempts.
Team A’s post defender rebounds the second miss and hands the ball off to a guard. Team B now fouls Team A’s guard with 11.7 seconds left.
Team A, who is in the double bonus, misses the first free throw attempt. Team B then calls a timeout. Out of the timeout, Team A misses the second free throw.
Team B rebounds the miss and goes coast-to-coast, hitting a tough 8 foot runner to tie the game up with 5.8 seconds remaining.
Team A quickly inbounds the ball, gets the ball over half court and then Team A’s coach calls a timeout with 3.8 seconds left . Team A now has one timeout.
Team A inbounds the ball on a sideline-out-of-bounds play. The player for Team A catches the ball about 27 feet from the rim, hesitates and calls a timeout with 1.9 seconds left. Team A now has zero timeouts.
Team A inbounds the ball and hits a game winning 3pt shot as time expires.
Team A wins by three points.
There were some good decisions and some head scratchers in this situation.
First, I really like Team B not calling timeouts and pushing the ball against an unset defense at both the 58 second and 21.7 second marks. Both of these plays resulted in positive plays, although two missed free throws cost Team B.
I also thought that Team A managed the clock well at 1:25 taking the clock all the way down. Team A could have used a little more of the shot clock when they got the ball back at :50. However, that was not my real concern. Instead, the shot that ended their offensive possession was a difficult bank shot that was challenged. If you are going to shoot early in that situation, it needs to be a clean look.
More concerning that Team A’s shot selection in that instance, was some other instances of clock management.
For example, when Team B missed both free throws at the :15 mark, they not only allowed a precious 3.3 seconds to run off the clock, but they also allowed Team A’s post player to hand the ball to Team A’s best free throw shooter on the court (83%). Even though Team A’s 83% shooter subsequently missed both free throws, in my opinion that was mismanaged.
Team A also mismanaged some time of their own. When they called the timeout with 3.8 seconds. The resulting inbound was confusing as the player caught the ball, seemed unsure or confused and wasted 1.9 seconds of clock before calling a timeout. Luckily for Team A the player did have enough sense to call their last timeout.
Another point of contention is that how did Team B go coast-to-coast when they hit the 8 foot runner? Shouldn’t Team A in that situation have everyone back with their defense set? I would have put all defenders (besides the shooter) around the 3pt line to protect from a potential game tying or game losing shot (depending upon the second free throw attempt result). Instead Team A had two offensive rebounders on the lane, which made it harder to get organized when Team A missed the second free throw attempt.
The last error that was made was on the game winning shot. Team A ran a big to little backscreen on the strong side baseline. After the backscreen, the forward popped for the clutch 3pt shot winner. Team B mistakenly did not switch the screen so Team A’s forward got a relatively clean catch-and-shoot look. It is unknown if Team B thought there was going to be backscreen and rescreen action, however, Team B still needed to be ready to switch all screens given the time on the clock.
Please comment below and give your take on this late game scenario and how you would have coached it. I appreciate all of your responses and feedback. I have done my best to explain the situation, but if there are any other factors that would impact your decision, I will be happy to retrieve them for you.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo