As our Old Man used to say, no one can run faster than the ball.
He’s an old fart, but he’s not wrong. Except, one-on-one basketball — with the shroud of the pick-and-roll making it seem more team oriented than it really is — still dominates a lot of NBA offenses (cough, Oklahoma City, cough). Not everyone can be the Warriors or even the progenitor to this blossoming Golden State dynasty, those magical 2014 Spurs. That’s okay, though; there are plenty of ways to put the ball in the bucket, and we wouldn’t want to bet against the isolation abilities of Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, either.
But for the Old Man and the rest of the old and young people who worship at the alter of ball movement and finding the open man, you really can’t do much better than the above Hawks possession during their 95-87 win over the visiting Raptors on Thursday night.
The Hawks are second only to the Warriors in assists per game this season, so it makes sense they’d be the team to epitomize the Old Man’s favorite type of offensive possession.
Lets go through it because he’s hard of hearing, and a written recap might help him remember.
First, a couple of passes to set up a Paul Millsap ball screen for Jeff Teague. Teague draws both defenders and kicks it back out to a semi-open Millsap at the top of the arc.
Millsap draws DeMar DeRozan to him, which opens up Thabo Sefolosha on the near wing. Sefolosha elects not to take his semi-open three-pointer, either. He pump fakes an overeager Luis Scola and takes one dribble before lining up the shot again. Nope. When Jonas Valanciunas rotates over to Thabo, he finds Al Horford open on the baseline.
Except, to the credit of the Raptors, Kyle Lowry hustled back to help out on Horford along the baseline. That forces Horford into a one-dribble diagonal kick-out to Jeff Teague, who already knows where the ball is going.
A touch-pass to Kyle Korver in the far corner finally leads to the three-pointer everyone was hoping for.
We’re fanning ourselves we’re so excited about this play, and someone needs to get our Old Man some lemonade because he’s about to pass out he’s so excited. Settle down, Pops, the Warriors and Spurs game is next.