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NBA Strategy: Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson hits an improbable three pointer against the Toronto Raptors, let's break this play down

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now (like moving to a new state, and a ton of Utah Jazz articles to write) but I've gone ahead to do this first because it was quick, easy, and frightening. On one hand, we all remember the Jazz winning in Triple Overtime against the Toronto Raptors. On the other hand, there were some really crazy things that happened in that game -- on both sides of the ball for both teams. DeMar DeRozan finished with 37 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals but could have won the game except Randy Foye played amazing defense on him with the game on the line. That was out of character. Of course, Linas Kleiza killed us 20 points, 3 threes, 7 boards); and even new Jazz player John Lucas finished with 7 points (1 key three) in less than 14 minutes of action. For us who could forget Derrick Favors playing a stellar defense game against Abdrea Bargnani (who couldn't finish the game due to injury)? But honestly the only thing we bring up was Al Jefferson 's crazy three pointer to help send the game to overtime.

We don't win that game without Big Al's 24 and 17. Of course, we're not in that game without Paul Millsap's 34, 9, 2, 2, 2, including three threes. But hey, we reduce this to a Big Al miracle -- sorry 'Sap.

Before we look at the video, remember that the Jazz have the ball down 3 with 16.4 seconds left, Mo Williams takes the shot after three dribbles and with 13.8 seconds left on the game clock. I can't even . .

  • There's a bunch of "before the ball is in play" movement which is good, but it's relatively simple
  • None of the screens before the ball is put in play do anything, and each defender is still in close proximity to their man
  • Paul Millsap actually gets open here, and he is having a 30+ game (when all is said and done) so perhaps you go to him here, but I don't think Derrick Favors can make that pass
  • The play appears to just be a clear out for Mo Williams with the option for a high screen from Favors. Nice, simple design.
  • I expect that Tyrone Corbin said to go for the quick score here because Mo takes the shot after not even 3 seconds are gone, either that was the game plan or it was just #MOLO time
  • It's a bad miss, but thanks to the bad miss, the ball goes right to Millsap and Jefferson. Jefferson gets the ball.
  • Randy Foye made a good go of it from moving from one end of the court (right corner baseline) all the way to where he can get the ball. Good job!
  • He gets the ball and then dribbles into two players, but the good news is that he drew the defense to him.
  • Al gets the ball, he's open, but two Raptors are closing in quickly. He takes the shot, it eventually falls.
  • Up to the point where Al is taking the shot, Mo has been moving back towards the ball calling for it. #MOLO
  • If we're going for the quick score, taking the early shot is good -- but MO's first shot is essentially from halfcourt and he's not even in line with the basket. It's no wonder it bricks hard into neutral territory, and we're lucky it did.
  • It all worked out in the end, but aside from the pre-inbounds action and the three dribbles -- nothing from this play happened according to plan. So is the fault on the players for not being able to run the play, or was the play designed too simple in the first place that the defense would be all over us?
  • I don't really thing any part of this play is repeatable. We're lucky to send it to OT, and the better team won the game.

Thankfully the Raps aren't able to score again with 2.2 seconds on the clock, and we win this one. But yeah, *Danger zone*. (Watch the entire sequence in video form here)