On Sunday January 8th, the Detroit Pistons outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers in a double overtime thriller. The game featured three different end of game plays; two from the Trail Blazers and a game winner from the Piston’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The coaches for both teams did a great job putting their players in position to tie or win games with these great end of game plays.
With 10.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter the Blazers were down by three and were inbounding the ball on the baseline. When the inbounder gets the ball, CJ McCollum darts out to the wing while Damian Lillard sets a screen for Al-Farouq Aminu and then runs to the weakside corner coming off an Allen Crabbe screen. Aminu comes off the Lillard pick to set one for McCollum who gets the pass from Mason Plumlee. The Pistons do not switch probably and McCollum drills a wide open three which forces overtime.
McCollum was the first option on the play and the Lillard in the corner with the second option.
In Overtime the Blazers were faced with almost the exact same situation but this time they were inbounding the ball from the sideline. They lined up in a stack formation with McCollum on the bottom, he curls over the top of the stack and gets the pass from Plumlee. With the Pistons defender trailing him, it gives McCollum a enough time to catch and gather as he hits another game tying three.
If McCollum is not open, Lillard is coming off the three and four to get to the top and serve as a release valve for the Blazers.
In the second overtime the Pistons won the game on their third option of the play. It starts out with the Marcus Morris running from the strongside corner to the weakside wing. Then Caldwell-Pope comes off a back pick for a lob set by Tobias Harris who then comes off a screen from Andre Drummond to bring him to the strongside wing. He’s not open and Drummond set a pick to bring Caldwell-Pope to the three who catches it and wins the game for Detroit.
This play is great because it gives the team several options to get a good look. It is a good thing too because it was the third option that got them the win.
This was a great game with players making big shots and the coaches designing end of game plays that forced extra periods and won the game. A coach’s job is to put their team in a position to win games. These coaches did just that and their players delivered.