The Boston Celtics survived to win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 93-91 in overtime after Dwyane Wade's game-winning three-point attempt fell just short at the buzzer. With LeBron James fouled out, the Heat turned to Wade to attempt the game-winner with 14 seconds left. He pump-faked to get space and just barely missed what would have been a thrilling game-winner.
However, that's just how the play ended. If you watch the full video, you'd see that the play was actually for Mario Chalmers to pop open for a three.
If you're only watching the ball, you'd see Wade dribbling around aimlessly, but what he was really doing was waiting for Chalmers to get open on the wing for a three-pointer
Here are the screenshots. Focus on the right side of the court.
So, what's happening here?
- In screenshot one, Wade is dribbling towards the left side of the court with James Jones as Chalmers stands in the left corner. Chalmers is about to run from the left side to the right wing. Wade and Jones are going left to act as a misdirection.
- In screenshot two, Udonis Haslem sets a screen on Chalmers, and Wade starts to move to his right to make the pass. However...
- In screenshot three, Keyon Dooling makes a great defensive play. Instead of going under the screen, he shoots the gap, which is jargon for cheating over the screen into the passing lane. If Wade attempts that pass, Dooling picks it off.
- With Dooling in the passing lane, Chalmers fades into the corner in screenshots four and five. He's technically open, but that's an impossible pass for Wade to make. Wade correctly doesn't make it and instead creates the shot he did.
Many people are suggesting the Heat didn't run a play, but as you can see here, that could not be further from the truth. They ran a play and it simply broke down. This is often why coaches don't like to run intricate plays in late-game situations, because everything falls apart when one thing goes wrong.
That said, with the Heat down two points with 14 seconds left, coach Erik Spoelstra should have drawn up something that didn't take so long to set up. That's his fault, and that's why the Heat ended up losing. They lost because the play drawn up was the wrong play at the wrong time, not because they didn't draw up a play.