FanPost

That Final Play

 

A lot of people are blaming Matt Bonner for "deciding to go 1-on-1 from the top of the key" on that fateful final play, so I thought I'd take closer look (continued after the break).

 

Down one with 9.3 seconds, RJ was supposed to inbound to Ginobili in the left corner. The play blew up before it ever got started. Duncan set a solid screen under the basket but just as Manu broke free Ronnie Brewer, who was defending the inbounds pass, shifted two steps to his right to cut off the passing lane. Did he get lucky? Did RJ telegraph the play? Or had Jerry Sloan simply seen it enough times (Ginobili in the corner passing back to Horry for the game-winning three against the Pistons in Game 5 of the 2005 Championship Series, Roger Mason in the corner drawing the and-1 foul from Derek Fisher to beat the Lakers, etc., etc., etc.) to properly prepare Brewer? I don't know. RJ did not telegraph with his head or body, but perhaps Brewer read his eyes (which I can't see on the replay). Brewer certainly never gave any indication he was going to slide that direction, in fact he kept looking the opposite way toward the top of the key. His sudden move toward the corner was as mysterious as it was perfectly timed.

 

After setting the screen Timmy broke toward the elbow. Okur guarded him perfectly, a phrase which perhaps has never before been uttered by man nor appeared in print. This fact alone makes me think Coach Sloan told his guys what was coming. Timmy finally got open a foot from the 3 point line, which is outside his range unless the opponent is Phoenix. Duncan quickly passed to Bonner, who was even further out of scoring position. The outcome of the game thus came down to four Spurs who just made the NBA's top 50 list watching Matt Bonner go 1-on-1 against Carlos Boozer.

So who do we blame? Bonner? He was just a decoy whose only job was to draw a Utah big man away from the lane. RJ? Should he have have forced that pass to Manu in the corner? Maybe he should have showed some basketball IQ, realized the play was broken and called timeout? Oh, wait, Pop had already burned all the timeouts (mostly during the 3rd quarter massacre), so by not calling timeout RJ actually was showing basketball IQ. What about TImmy? When a big gets pushed too far out of position it's natural to pass out to a guard for a repost or quick pick-and-roll. Unfortunately this time it wasn't a guard standing out there.

The whole play was just out of sync from the start. I thus nominate it for Play of the Year, since it perfectly represents the season to date.

This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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