Hero-ball may be one of the more efficient things in the NBA, but no one can deny the fun that it is. Chris Paul gave us a perfect example of “fun hero ball” with tonight’s game winning floater over the Memphis Grizzlies to lead get the lead on the series to 2-0.
While it looked like a complete isolation set, the Clippers tried to run a set to get Paul the mismatch for the final play.
Both teams went four wings and one post for the final possession. For the Clippers it allowed them to be able to spread the floor in case Chris was forced to kick it out to a shooter. For the Grizzlies, it gave them versatility on the defensive end. There’s a difference if Darrell Arthur gets switched on a pick-and-roll with Chris Paul or if Zach Randolph does (it doesn’t matter who it is because POINT GOD!).
Mike Conley is arguably the best defensive point guard in the NBA. Tony Allen is arguably the best defender in the NBA in general. And the Clippers knew that. Chris Paul sets a pick-and-pop at the top of the key to get the ball, but instead of making the switch Tony Allen runs to CP3 to set-up for the shot.
Before we look at the actual shot, I noticed something that could’ve helped the Grizzlies defend this last play better.
/RANT/ In a 4-wing, one post player lineup why is the soon-to-be-announced Defensive Player of the Year guarding Matt Barnes instead of Blake Griffin. Darrell Arthur‘s a stretch four so defending Barnes in this situation wouldn’t be a hassle for him. Based off the numbers, there would’ve been no widespread surprise had Paul and Griffin ran the p’n'r to get CP a steady look. Defending a shooter, Marc can’t afford to leave Barnes. The minute Gasol steps in, Paul’s crafty enough to hit the open man. With Blake, the chance of fault in leaving him open for a game-winning jumper is a huge one. /END RANT/.
Now it’s man on man with Chris Paul and Tony Allen. As a NBA fan there isn’t more you can ask for in this situation. The world’s best point guard versus the world’s best defender for all the marbles. But before Chris Paul officially starts to make his move to the basket notice the movement by his teammates.
Both Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes move down/out to create space for Chris Paul. This forces Mike Conley to stay with Crawford, a 38 percent three-point shooter, and Marc Gasol to stay with Barnes, a 34 percent three-point shooter.
The spacing allows Paul to get to the line without help defenders collapsing on the defense and then well, this happens.
“The guy made an amazing shot, and all you can do is just deal with the results.” – Tony Allen via ESPNLA
Paul’s brilliance in this last second clock situation shows us how much better some teams have it off by having a superstar. Tony Allen lived to his defensive stalwart billing, but better offense always defeats better defense.
Coach Del Negro’s play-calling was impressive in this situation. It’s not often you see your 6 foot 1 point guard setting on-ball screens with the ball on the three-man and though the switch didn’t work the way they expected, Chris showed the world why he’s regarded as the “Point God”.