The 2013-14 Spurs gained the NBA championship by enjoying “The Beautiful Game.” San Antonio sliced and diced opponents all through that season with immaculate chopping, screening and passing that introduced tears to the eyes of basketball purists.
No crew could ever match the constant offensive brilliance of Gregg Popovich’s group, however for one possession throughout Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Suns appeared positively Spurs-ian.
MORE: Finest highlights from Game 2 of NBA Finals
Try the ball motion from the second quarter of Phoenix’s 118-108 win over Milwaukee, which gave the Suns a 2-0 collection lead.
What an unbelievable sequence. The Suns accomplished 10 complete passes on this possession, and every Phoenix participant on the ground (Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton) touched the ball at the very least as soon as. 4 gamers touched the ball at the very least twice.
“We have a saying with our team, it’s called good to great,” Paul mentioned when requested in regards to the play after Game 2. “We pass up good shots to get great shots, and it’s the unselfishness of our team. Any coach in America, I’m sure they would love to show their team that clip, and [Ayton] finishes at the end.”
Let’s break this down and clarify why the Bucks have their arms full protecting this five-man unit particularly.
First, Paul pushes the ball up the ground and sucks a number of Milwaukee defenders into the paint, forcing them to assist and recuperate the remainder of the possession. Paul finds Booker flying in towards the precise elbow, and Booker kicks out to Crowder. When the ball goes from Crowder to Bridges, it seems Bridges goes to launch a nook 3-pointer — however as Paul mentioned, “good to great.”
Bridges sends P.J. Tucker flying with a head faux, and Crowder relocates to the opposite facet of the ground. Paul areas out to the nook, and once more, it is a potential nook 3-pointer. However Paul realizes each Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Vacation are closing out on him, so he snaps the ball to Crowder. (Necessary word: Antetokounmpo is now on Paul.)
Then Crowder passes to Booker, who seems to isolate with three shooters on the perimeter and Ayton on the left block. Booker fires the ball again to Crowder after failing to attract a foul on Tucker. Crowder almost turns the ball over, however he recovers and hits Bridges, who was chopping behind Booker.
Bridges acknowledged that his defender, Pat Connaughton, peeled off him to cowl Booker, giving him the opening he wanted.
Vacation steps towards Bridges, leaving Ayton extensive open. Bear in mind when Antetokounmpo picked up Paul? Effectively, meaning the Bucks have zero rim safety.
Tucker merely is not sufficiently big to problem Ayton. That is a bucket, plus the foul.
The Suns’ beginning lineup is so tough to protect as a result of, very like that Spurs crew, there may be not a weak hyperlink at any place. Although the Bucks are primarily targeted on stopping Paul and Booker, they need to respect the capturing of Bridges and Crowder. They usually cannot ignore Ayton, who has been a terrific finisher all through the playoffs.
However it goes past simply talent. The Suns have a terrific really feel for when the ball must preserve transferring and how one can keep correct spacing.
“Just chemistry, trust, believing in your brother, believing in your teammate,” Booker mentioned. “We actually talked about that play right after the game, me and Mikal, and he was like, ‘I think that was the most pumped I’ve ever been after a play.’ And I was like, ‘Me, too. Same here.’ So, when you’re playing like that, it’s fun. It’s fun, everybody’s touching it, you feel the energy of the ball.
“Whenever you get it, you need to make a play for any person else and one thing opens up at all times when it is popping and transferring like that.”
If the Suns’ offense retains working like that, then Phoenix will quickly have extra in frequent with these Spurs.