Looking for a game-winning late-game sideline out of bounds play? Here are a couple of sets run for game-winners during the first couple of weeks of the NBA season.
The first is courtesy of the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers were down 1 to the Boston Celtics with 11.8 seconds to go in the game. This play was drawn up in the timeout by 1st-year head coach, Nate Bjorkgren. Bjorkgren came from the Toronto Raptors where he was an assistant coach for Nick Nurse. This is a play that the Raptors have drawn up for Jonas Valančiūnas in the past late in games. The play looks to spread the players out and have the center or skilled big flashback to the basketball for the catch. It is then designed for a fake handoff where the big keeps the ball and drives to the rim. The Pacers executed the play to perfection leading to an And-1 layup by Domas Sabonis to give the Pacers the lead. It ultimately led to a big win for the Pacers who are off to a 4-1 hot start and are one of the early surprise teams in the young NBA season.
On the road looking for their first win of the season against the Chicago Bulls. The situation: Bulls 128, Warriors 126, 5.0 seconds, Warriors ball side out. With no Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, it is pretty obvious that the Warriors would try to get the ball in the hands of Steph Curry. They drew up a play with a screen the screener action that used Curry initially as a screener, and then have him come off a screen towards the ball. The Bulls did a nice job of denying him the catch. The Warriors had to move on to the next option. Looney flashes back to the ball for a catch. Damion Lee, the inbounder then follows his pass for a quick handoff. Lee hits a 3 with 2 seconds left to give the Warriors a 1 point lead and eventually a much-needed win after back to back blowout losses.
My favorite part of this play is that the Warriors didn’t panic after their primary option was taken away. Whether it was a designed part of the play or unscripted, it was key that they moved to the next option and made a play. Too often teams draw up plays that have only 1 option or plays that are overly-reliant on getting 1 person the ball, then
when that is taken away by the defense, the offense does not know what to do. So they panic- leading to turnovers or bad shots.