David West has made a living off of 15-20 foot mid-range jumpers throughout his career. At age 35, he is what he is: a reliable veteran who provides rebounding, toughness, and a consistent threat from the elbow-extended area. Leave it to the Spurs to get a player wide open in his comfort zone.
Down 72-66 to the Thunder last night with just over 10 minutes to play, David West sparked a 16-4 Spurs run with three consecutive baskets. That run gave the Spurs an 82-76 lead and forced an Oklahoma City timeout with 6:30 remaining, effectively crushing their spirit. The Thunder would never lead again.
Let's take a look at the play that catalyzed the Spurs run and ultimately their victory:
The Mills-to-West assist that started the Spurs comeback last night against the Thunder. pic.twitter.com/b3MeR0bUa9— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) March 14, 2016
The way this play develops, the defense of Enes Kanter and Randy Foye is exposed. The Spurs isolate Manu Ginobili on the right wing with David West at the top of the arc, Patty Mills curling from the free throw line to the left wing, and Kyle Anderson and Boris Diaw bunched up near the left block. Having Ginobili isolated on the right wing forces all Oklahoma City defenders to have their heads on a swivel expecting a baseline drive. The Spurs quickly reverse the ball from Ginobili to West to Mills, and West dives to the high post. The Spurs then run a series of off-ball screens through West and Diaw at the high post to free up Anderson and Mills. Ginobili stays as a decoy fading from the right wing to the corner, keeping the Thunder's longest defender Durant honest.
After Anderson dumps it into West and cuts through, you have the two bigs at the high post, with all three guards spread low. The impending result is just filthy: Mills cuts up to take the dribble hand-off from West, and West uses his body to shield Mills and screen Foye (who is guarding Mills). This leaves both Kanter and Foye hopelessly chasing Mills. Durant is stuck honoring Ginobili, and Kyle Anderson has already cut through, taking his defender with him.
As West pops out for the jumper, the Thunder's only hope is a Nick Collison rotation. But seeing where the play is going, Diaw dives to the rim, forcing Collison to choose between conceding a potential alley-oop from Mills to Diaw, or running out to contest the West jumper. Collison chooses correctly to stick with Diaw, but with both Foye and Kanter chasing Mills, West is all alone as he rips through the 19-footer. As the ball falls through the net, all five Thunder defenders are buried in the paint.