It looks like Derrick Rose falls asleep. But basketball at this time of year is never that simple.
Pure negligence isn’t the reason Jerryd Bayless was able to give the Milwaukee Bucks a buzzer-beating 92-90 win over the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of the teams’ first round-series. Rose’s mistake, rather, is one of commission rather than omission – and Milwaukee directly goaded him into making it.
Bayless even said as much to TNT’s Jaime Maggio just moments after extending his team’s season.
“We were just trying to beat D. Rose because we knew he was going to try and help a lot. He’s a very good player, but we knew at that point he was going to try to over-help and we just tried to beat him back-door, and we were able to do it on that last play.”
Everything going on above the arc is noise. Misdirection is crucial in the NBA, and never more so than on desperation plays following timeouts.
So what appears to be a set drawn up for Khris Middleton – he of two game-winners during the regular season, remember – is actually anything but. He’s simply running around that double-screen from John Henson and O.J. Mayo to keep Rose’s eyes away from Bayless and the paint free of clutter.
Bayless cuts back aggressively after running to the corner, taking advantage of his defender’s peripheral vision being occupied elsewhere. In-bounder Jared Dudley didn’t even need to make the ball-fake that was meant to glean an aggressive denial from Rose in the corner – Jason Kidd and the Bucks’ staff won this play from the very beginning.
Call this a wrinkle only reserved for the playoffs, when scouting intensifies and the seemingly granular happenings of a given possession always have the chance to sway a game that hangs in the balance – and we get six more glorious weeks of that ever-important game within the game.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, managed to keep its season alive. Let’s see if it can make good off momentum gleaned from this dramatic win to steal Monday’s Game 5 in Chicago.