A screen. Such an easy to do, isn’t it? Step in front of a guy, take the contact, and profit. It should be a basic thing for every single big man in the league, and yet, it isn’t.
One little screen, lazily set might have just cost the Suns the win in this last game with the Hornets. One little lazy screen.
While everybody’s ooing and ahing about how Robin Lopez played last night, I refuse to affirm that the decision to go to him in crunch time was ever a good one. Yes, he had a good night. Those happen. But riding a hot hand isn’t the best idea when the hot hand isn’t exactly the best for anything else than just, y’know, hot hand stuff.
Unfortunately now, my recording software is refusing to cooperate so I’ll have to walk you through the second-to-last Suns play step by step. The idea here is, I believe pinning Eric Gordon with two consecutive picks, giving Nash just enough space to maneuver in and make some magic happen inside, by forcing a rotation to make up for Eric Gordon. That rotation would probably allow Nash to do two things, a) Blow by by a panicking Carl Landry for a wrap around pass for Robin Lopez or lay up or b) If Bellinelli rotates off to Lopez, pass it off to Dudley for a 3 pointer or a swing to Hill who’s in the corner. The concept sounds good, right? Well, unfortunately it didn’t quite end like this.
While Markieff set a commendable, veteran-like hard physical screen, Lopez marked his screen and let Gordon slip by. Even in an endgame play. And remember, being called for a moving screen is as likely as Kobe Bryant passing off on a game winning shot attempt, it just ain’t going to happen too often. See Garnett against Boston, see Chandler against Miami. Hell, see Dudley and Gortat on Frye game-winners against Indiana and New Jersey. And there stood Robin Lopez, marking a screen that should have been a full out pin with his entire big frame.
Say what you want. Tell me he was playing great all day, I still won’t believe he should’ve closed over Marcin, if only for that one play.
Basketball is a game of subtleties, subtleties often ignored by Alvin Gentry’s mancrush on Robin Lopez. I remember it costing the Suns a lot of games last season, and I fear that it might have just cost the Suns their first this season.
There is a reason why 2 minute drills are ran with your starters.
There is a reason why endgames are practiced with them.
And yet, Alvin Gentry forgot all that for one moment, getting carried away with the hot hand.