Basketball Moves Breakdown: The Answer to Miami Heat's clutch woes
The Miami Heat are having a tough time closing out games. They are 1-18 in situations where the game boils down to a last shot from the Heat. Not counting the situations where the Heat were down 3 and had to settle for a 3, their woes can be attributed to them either taking a 3 or driving in for a layup. No mid or close range jumpshots here.
Notably, vs the Hawks LeBron pulled up for a long range 3 with the game tied for a potential game winner. He missed and the game went to overtime. In overtime, with the Heat down 2, LeBron once again threw up a 3, which he missed. Against the Knicks, LeBron drove baseline and kicked it out for an open 3 to his teammate with his team down 3. Miss. Again vs the Knicks with his team down 1, LeBron drove in for a layup which was blocked by Amare Stoudemire. And most recently vs the Bulls with his team down 1, LeBron drove in and missed a layup over Joakim Noah.
A layup is seen as a high percentage shot and is considered safe. Even a 3 with your man backing off to protect the drive is seen as a better choice than a mid range jumper in clutch.
Allen Iverson would beg to differ. ‘Clutch! We’re talking bout clutch? Not taking the shot. Not taking the shot. We talkin’ bout passing it around like a hot potato. You’ve seen me play, right? You’ve seen me play. We talkin’ bout a safe lay up. We talkin’ bout chucking up 3s. Man, its funny to me too, its strange to me too.’
Ok, he didn’t say that. But he did say, “My game is all about getting my man to back off me so I can pull up for a jumper.” Here’s a breakdown of one of his go-to moves with the clock winding down where he does just that.
Allen Iverson Clutch Shot:
There are two variations of this move. Both subtle and slightly imperceptible. For the first one, he fakes a shot and a drive, then crosses back for a pull up jumper. Rule of three fakes again. In the second one, Iverson fakes a shot then fakes a drive and then pulls up for a jumper.
Drive in hard
While terminating the first hard dribble, Iverson quickly crosses the ball between his legs and pulls back. Now he has created some space between him and his man. Enough to pull off a contested jumper.
Hesitate and give a head fake
Watch Jason Terry lean forward already anticipating the shot. Iverson obliges by giving a head fake with the ball in his left hand.
Quick cross back
Immediately after the shot fake, Iverson crosses over in front of him to his right hand faking a drive and gets Terry to lean back. Barely letting the ball bounce to his right hand, AI quickly pulls back between his legs for the space needed for his jumper.
Pull up for a jumper
The ball is already out of AI’s hands by the time Terry puts a hand up to challenge.
1) Fake a hard dribble.
2) Cross and pull back.
3) Head fake.
4) Cross to the other hand and quickly cross back between your legs.
5) Pull up for a jumper.
In a game against the Suns, AI pulls off this move once again. Only the clock wasn’t winding down and he drove in the second time before pulling up.
Recently, while playing for Besiktas in Turkey, Iverson does the second variation of this move.
The pics above show the sequence after the first shot fake and pull back, where Iverson fakes a shot then fakes a drive and then pulls up for a jumper the following way:
1) Plant your right leg in.
2) Push off of it towards your left side thereby faking a drive.
3) Pull up for a jumper.
Notice #13′s head in the top right pic, it’s hovering over the 3 pt line. Just pushing off into a shot by taking a wide step forces him back for a split second (head under the 3 pt line in 3rd pic) allowing for a clear jumper.
Rather than hoping for a play to develop, map it out in your head anticipating the defender’s response and then execute it. If any of the Heatles are reading this, feel free to apply the same.