Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks receives a lot of criticism for his Xs and Os, so it's only fair that we point out when he diagrams a beautiful play that kept his team in the game against the Clippers.
This is a unique spin on a play known as "Elevator Doors," which has become popular around the NBA. It involves a great shooter darting between two screeners for an open three. As he sneaks through, the two teammates come together to pick off his defender as if they are closing elevator doors.
Usually, you see this set run for a sweet-shooting guard. For example: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State.
But Brooks threw in a new wrinkle. With his team needing a bucket, he ran the same action for Serge Ibaka, a power forward with developing three-point range. And it worked because Brooks and the Thunder disguised their intentions.
The set begins with three players stationed at the free-throw line extended as Perry Jones III comes from the left wing to the right corner. In an alignment like this, you often see the three players cut in different directions to space the floor.
Eventually, Jones reaches the corner and Ibaka appears to be drifting to the left side.
This set could be anything at this point. Given Telfair's eyes, it almost looks like he's planning to throw the ball to Jones in the corner and clear through, which sets up a side pick and roll between Jones and Steven Adams. This is actually an action featured in the Triangle offense, as discussed in this feature. Instead ...
... Ibaka turns and sprints through the screeners, catching Blake Griffin napping. And you can't really blame Griffin, because how many power forwards go through the "Elevator Doors" like a guard?
Yes, Ibaka had to knock down a shot he doesn't often make, but that element of surprise is why the play works. The Clippers aren't expecting Oklahoma City to run a play to get Ibaka a three, yet he's just capable enough where he could finish the play if given the open look. Thus, this is the perfect balance between competency and unpredictability.
The Thunder didn't win the game, but Brooks gave them a chance by designing this beauty.