<
>

Crunch time X's and O's by a master

When the game is on the line, so many coaches call simple, boring isolation plays for their stars. We've all seen it a million times. There are arguments for keeping it simple, but as I've written many times, it always strikes me as a cop-out. Screens, cuts and passes are all things that help the offense. Why would you not use them at the most important moments? And why run a play where you're essentially guaranteed not to get a wide open shot?

Gregg Popovich, on the other hand, he draws up interesting plays with the game on the line. San Antonio moves the ball, and makes things happen.

What does the ideal crunch time play look like? The play that got the Spurs' preferred shooter (Manu Ginobili) the best possible shot for his team (a wide-open 3 from the corner, where 3s are shorter distance and easier) in the highlights above is about as pretty as crunch time execution gets.

That it didn't go in ... these things happen. But you sure can't blame the play.

UPDATE: Video of Blazer coach Nate McMillan saying his team was lucky that shot didn't go in.