Out of the Timeout: This is the most wide open Tim Duncan has been in his entire career
If you watched the Spurs’ 91-84 win over the Milwuakee Bucks last night, you probably remember this play vividly. With a three-point lead late in the game, the Spurs are in-bounding the ball from the sideline. Gregg Popovich unloads a gem of a play and the Spurs get a crucial bucket.
It may not actually have been the most wide open Tim Duncan has ever been in his career, but it’s pretty damn close. When’s the last time you saw nobody around Duncan in a half court set? Even in warm-ups there’s more crowding around Duncan.
Tony Parker is the in-bounder on the sideline in this play. The rest of the Spurs, Tim Duncan (5), Matt Bonner (4), Manu Ginobili (3) and George Hill (2), occupy the four corners of the lane. Duncan flashes up to the top of the key and takes the in-bounds pass from Parker.
Duncan catches the pass and takes a couple of dribbles towards Parker, who, after passing the ball in, cuts towards Duncan to take a hand-off. Meanwhile, Matt Bonner takes a couple of steps towards the top of the key.
There are a couple of thing going on here. There’s a pinch post with Duncan and Parker, and there’s Bonner getting ready to run a pick-and-pop with Parker. Chances are, these two options are what occupied most of the Bucks defensive focus. Recognizing that Parker was dribbling off of the Duncan’s pinch post, Bucks center Andrew Bogut hedges on Parker. Meanwhile, George Hill and Manu Ginobili make their way to the free throw line to set a back screen on Bogut.
Tim Duncan normally doesn’t get back screens set for him, so you can understand the Bucks players not paying much attention to him. Until you see how wide open he is.
Tony Parker dribbles off of Bonner’s pick to the other wing and finds Tim Duncan, wide open under the basket for a dunk. The basket puts the Spurs up five points with 1:22 left in the game. Still plenty of time for Milwaukee to make a comeback, but you have to think it lowered the Bucks momentum some.
Here’s the play in live action. Marvel at its beauty, this is why Gregg Popovich makes the big bucks.
Our amigo Sebastian Pruiti also took a look at this play over at NBA Playbook. Unfortunately for us, he’s on the eastern time zone and beat us to the breakdown. At least, that’s my excuse.