Basketball is a game of time and space. The slightest mistimed or out of position step helps decide the fate of every possession, and every possession helps decide the fate of a game at large. And while most of these errors are subtle enough to be easily overlooked, a select few of them standout.
Like this one by Aron Baynes, for example.
This specific Chris Paul-Blake Griffin pick-and-roll – called “snug” because it originates from a post-up – is even more difficult to defend than its more frequent counterpart that starts higher up on the floor. The action’s close quarters mean that a pocket or lob pass from handler to screener comes faster than normal, demanding absolute precision from all defenders involved – especially those helping on the back-line.
But even that might not have been enough against a team like the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are such explosive leapers – and Paul such a nuanced playmaker – that a dish to either player could come before the defense has a chance to react with perfection.
Baynes needs to be splitting the difference between the high-fliers here, and Kawhi Leonard needs to help the helper by immediately crashing down to Jordan when he does. But the San Antonio Spurs big man stays attached to Jordan for a beat too long, rendering his late rotation completely ineffective. Griffin is just too quick off his feet to be bothered by Baynes’ passing presence, a reality cemented by this epic poster jam.
Spurred by an awesome third quarter from Griffin, the Clippers lead the Spurs 90-81 midway through the fourth quarter.
[Vine via NBA on TNT]