Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Danny Green sank the game-winning three-pointer to lift the San Antonio Spurs over the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday. How did he get so open, though?
But how did he get open enough on such a critical possession with All-Defense stalwart Kobe Bryant covering him? What wizardry is this?
Let's break it down frame by glorious frame. First, we set the stage: the Lakers lead by one with 16 seconds to go. The Spurs have Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Jackson and Danny Green on the floor. Metta World Peace is locked on Parker. Dwight Howard is guarding Duncan. Kobe is on Green.
Here is how the Spurs set up coming down the floor. Note that World Peace is in his crouch as Parker crosses midcourt. That's how you know World Peace is serious about defense.
Deciding that World Peace in a defensive crouch is too imposing, Leonard rotates to the top to take the ball. Meanwhile, Green appears to set a screen so that Jackson (guarded by Pau Gasol) can pop over to the left wing.
Green sets a soft pick and slips on up. Duncan rolls down to set a pindown screen for Green.
I'm not terribly sure what exactly Kobe is looking at, but ...
... he ends up staring at Howard's jersey number. Meanwhile, Dwight doesn't attempt to chase the freed Green, who finds breathing room as Leonard telegraphs the delivery.
Green gets into his shooting motion just as Kobe is getting around Duncan. It's over.
I'm not terribly sure how Kobe missed the hulking man in a yellow jersey enough to get caught up that badly on the screen. It was a beautifully designed and executed play by the Spurs, but Kobe will usually be able to see the screen coming and slither around it. Not this time. He ran into a wall, and Green was basically unchallenged (though Kobe made a nice show of it once Green's shooting motion was on the rails).
What I'm curious to know is what Leonard or Green would have done with the ball if Kobe had seen the screen and been able to contest. Green wouldn't take a heavily contested three there, would he? Would he enter the ball to Duncan and let Big Fun show Dwight some horseradish? Note that Captain Jack barely sold his sprint over to the far corner -- he basically wasn't an option, even though he had a big on him. Parker seemed well outside the play from the second the Spurs crossed halfcourt. I think this was Green all the way, and he delivered.
Oh, did he deliver.
Be sure to check out our coverage of Tuesday's other games at SBNation.com/NBA-Scores.