Coaching Strategy – Late Game Situations (#6)

Here we go! Enjoy this latest installment of “Coaching Strategy – Late Game Situations”. Keep the comments coming.


Team A is down one point after converting two free throw attempts. There is 1:47 remaining in the game.

Team B has 2 timeouts remaining, while Team A has 1 timeouts remaining.

The possession arrow is in favor of Team B.

Team A is the double bonus, while Team B is in the bonus.


Team B takes the ball out-of-bounds on their defensive baseline after Team A converts their second free throw. Team A applies some full court man-to-man pressure defense as Team B inbounds the ball and gets the ball across the time line.

Team B runs their high/lo offense with some ball screen action. As they try to enter the ball to the low post, Team A knocks the ball out-of-bounds on Team B’s offensive baseline with 1:19 left in the game and 8 seconds left on the shot clock.

Team B runs an baseline out-of-bounds play (BLOB) that results in a missed catch and shoot 3pt shot.

A player for Team A rebounds the miss takes one dribble and throws it ahead to a teammate who finishes a layup in transition, giving Team A a one point lead with 1:11 remaining in the game.

Team B inbounds the ball, advances the ball to half court and calls a timeout. There is now 1:04 remaining on the game clock and 30 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Team B now has one timeout left.

Team A defends Team B with man-to-man defense. Team B runs their offense but commits a shot clock violation, failing to get a field goal attempt up in time.

With :34 seconds remaining, Team A inbounds the ball from their defensive baseline. Team B immediately commits a foul sending Team A to the foul line with :33 seconds left.

Team A, who is in the double bonus converts both free throws, to give them a three point lead.

Team B once again crosses half court and with :29 seconds left calls its last timeout.

Team A defends Team B with man-to-man defense. Team B runs pick and roll action and overloads the weakside of the court with three offensive players. Team B’s point guard drives the lane and finds an open shooter in the weak side corner. The shooter misses a clean 3pt field goal attempt with :17.8 seconds remaining in the game. Team A rebounds the miss and is fouled by Team B with 14.6 seconds left in the game.

Team A once again makes both free throw attempts giving them a five point lead.

Team B inbounds the ball, quickly pushes it up the court and misses a tough 3pt field goal attempt. The air ball shot, goes out-of-bounds to Team A.

Team A inbounds the ball on their defensive baseline with 5.1 seconds remaining in the game. A player on Team A catches the ball with  and is fouled with 4.3 seconds remaining.

Team A misses the first attempt but makes the second attempt to give them a six point lead.

Team B inbounds the ball after the free throw makes and push the ball past the half court line. A player from Team A tips the ball away from a player from Team B, the ball goes to a player on Team A for a steal which seals the win for Team A.


There were a few adjustments that could have been made, although I thought the game was played out relatively well.

Team A did get a good look on the catch and shoot BLOB with 1:19 left and on the subsequent possession despite the shot clock violation they did run good offense and make the defense shift sides of the court multiple times. Of course not getting a shot up in that situation is a mistake and players need to be aware of the time remaining on the shot clock.

Obviously Team B’s possession in between resulted in a relatively easy transition layup. I believe in that situation coaches have to foul the player hard but legally and make them earn their points from the free throw line. Giving up layups with relative ease is a big no-no for me personally.

Also, I did not like either timeout that Team A used, especially the one at the :29 second mark. With Team B attempting two free throws, the coach had plenty of time to relay a quick hitter or set that they wanted to use for that situation. Team A was only down three points, so they did not need to get a 3pt shot, although they did get a great look so I am fine with the shot they got.

In addition, on Team A’s 3 point field goal attempt with :17.8 seconds left Team A overloaded the weakside of the floor to allow them to play two man game on the strong side. The point guard did a nice job attacking the middle of the floor to draw two plus defenders which made for an easy drive and kick 3pt shot. Team B CANNOT give help in that situation. They must allow the layup if needed and also not foul to give Team A an “and 1” opportunity to tie the game up. Fortunately for Team B, it was a critical mistake that they did not get beat on.

Something that I really liked was when Team A inbounded the ball with 5.1 seconds left from their defensive baseline was that when the player caught the ball, they did not dribble the ball frantically. Instead they protected the ball and allowed themselves to get fouled. In that situation they is no need to try and make a play. Team A did the right thing by making Team B give the foul so they could try to make it a three possession game. Unfortunately Team A missed the first free throw so it remained a two possession game, but nevertheless it was played the right way.

I also agree with Team B fouling immediately on both of their last two defensive possessions..

Lastly, Team A did the right thing playing Team B in man-to-man throughout the final minute plus of action, especially when protecting a three point lead.


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 or clarify the situation for you.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo


One comment on “Coaching Strategy – Late Game Situations (#6)

  1. Eric Salsbury says:

    I don’t really get a sense of too many issues here. I like the idea of attacking the basket with a kick out for a three. Much better than dribbling mindlessly to get a contested trey. I’ve seen way too much of that one on one for nothing. Also, I agree with you that it was best to let the foul come to the player with the ball instead of dribbling around. Things have changed this year with the backcourt violation, but if there were say 20 seconds left and we were up, I encouraged our players to hold the ball in the backcourt (must have firm control and cause the foul to be called).

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