NBA playoffs 2013: The pet plays that will decide the postseason

USA TODAY Sports

Every NBA team has a play or two that they use in a tight spot to get a much-needed bucket. What are those plays for the 16 NBA Playoff teams? We break them all down in this two-day series.

It may seem like a paradox, but the best basketball plays are ones run infrequently. Try a crazy set with many different movements too many times, and the defense figures it out. You can't have the element of surprise without the defense actually being surprised.

That means you might only see a pet play after it's finished, when your favorite player or biggest enemy is wide open. If you're not ready to see it, you might miss it altogether, just like the other team. These moments become even more important in the NBA Playoffs, when single possessions decide games more often. The pet play your team tries to run in the third quarter may prove decisive.

That's why we're going to take a look at every NBA Playoff team's "pet play." Over the next two days, we'll show you video of each playoff team running that set, break it down for you with pictures, brainstorm ways for the defense to stop it and give more context so you know when it's coming.

Some pet plays have been run only once or twice a game. Some have been run only once or twice a week. Heck, some have been run only once or twice a month. But all of them are trademarks of their respective teams and liable to be used at any time in any playoff game.

Thanks to all the SB Nation team bloggers for helping with this project.

Eastern Conference:

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks:
The evolved Ray Allen set | Ersan Ilyasova's off-ball creativity

No. 4 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 5 Chicago Bulls
Brook Lopez's cross-screens | Chicago's 4-out, 1-in curl

No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics
NY's triple ball screen | Jeff Green in the dribble handoff

No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks
Paul George screen maze | Atlanta's 4-5 pick and roll

Western Conference (coming Friday):

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets
The Kevin Durant pindown pick and roll | James Harden's flare screens

No. 4 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies
Blake Griffin in the high post | The Beale Street hi-lo

No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 L.A. Lakers
Motion Weak side pick and roll | The Dwight Howard backdoor lob

No. 3 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors
Wilson Chandler pick and fade | The "Elevator Doors" screen

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