When Mario Chalmers tried to tie Game 2 of the Pacers-Heat series with a contested three-point shot, I knew the next day was going to be insufferable. Talk show hosts and bloggers alike would condemn the Heat for not putting the ball in LeBron James’ hands once again, and this time they might’ve been right.
Rather than allow LeBron to create, they settled with a very low percentage three attempt from Chalmers. It might not have been the ideal play, but it was certainly a change from the normal last possessions in the NBA nowadays. Usually, you square your star up, let him work in isolation until he clinks a contested shot off the back of the rim. If you’re lucky, there’s a pick and roll involved.
So I assumed Chalmers’ three was an anomaly; a weird broken play that only looked half-designed. However, in the waning moments of last night’s game, Mike Brown trusted his point guard and allowed Steve Blake to take a wide-open three with the game on the line, and they should let him do that every time. The Thunder knew they were allowing a solid shooter to take a completely uncontested three rather than put the ball in Kobe Bryant‘s hands. And it’s absolutely better for the Lakers than letting Bryant swing the ball in his hands waiting for the slightest inch of separation.
For some reason, brilliant NBA coaches stop drawing up plays in the last 15 seconds of the game. Perhaps it’s the fear of a broken play or turnover, but there is no shame in allowing your supporting cast to take a shot with the game on the line. It’s certainly better odds than letting your small forward or shooting guard take a shot when the entire opposing team recognizes that he’s going to shoot. The Heat certainly didn’t execute well, and the Lakers simply missed an open jumper, but I’m happy there’s a trend in the NBA of drawing up last second plays rather than allowing another iso to no avail.