Down ten points with 54.8 seconds to go, Brad Stevens needed a quick hitter coming out of a timeout. Here’s what the ATO wizard drew up:
I’m not sure if Stevens was the first person to draw up SLOB plays with a man on the other side of half court, but he made it en vogue in Boston. You’d often see Isaiah Thomas out there and running full speed to the inbound pass like so:
Against the Hawks, it’s Jayson Tatum alone in the back court when the referee hands Payton Pritchard the ball. Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, and Jaylen Brown flare out at the free throw line. Brown cuts baseline with Trae Young trailing. Clint Capella drops into coverage, protecting the restricted area against a lob.
John Collins then has a decision to make against two three-point shooters. He can chase Ojeleye to the corner or stick with Williams coming to the ball. He opts to cover Ojeleye, leaving an easy entry for Pritchard to hit Williams above the break.
Here’s where it gets fun with some trickery. With Tatum crossing the midcourt line, it looks like he’s going to be the primary ball handler off of a DHO. All five Hawks are set to defend a quick drive.
But don’t forget about the in-bounder. Young’s attention is on Tatum and loses Pritcghard over his right shoulder. Tatum fakes that he’s going to his strong side right, but it’s misdirection. Williams turns toward his right, looking for Brown coming off a down screen from Pritchard.
The timing is impeccable. Brown curls, Williams hits him with a pass, and Brown hits the three-pointer. All that action for three points in 4.6 seconds.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter. The Hawks held on to win 122-114, but once in a while, in a game with over two hundred possessions, you have to admire the craft at the whiteboard.