#PlaysOTW – NBA Finals

By Matt Wheeler

NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a collision course for the NBA Finals from day one of the 2016-2017 season. The Warriors look like the most unstoppable team in the NBA history, but it is history that has taught that the series doesn’t really start until the road team wins a game.

This week’s Plays of the Week features #XsOs from Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

Golden State Warriors – Loop Stagger Split

The Golden State Warriors ran this play to start the 4th quarter in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. It is a variation of the “Loop” play that they run, which Steve Kerr brought over from his time with the San Antonio Spurs. Normally 3 would curl around 5 to receive the pass up top from 1. In this play 3 curls around 5 to the FT line and 1 passes to 5 in the post. 3 & 1 then set a staggered screen for 2. 2 curls around 3’s screen and cuts to the basket to receive the pass from 5.

Loop Stagger Split

Golden State Warriors – PNR Lob

The Golden State Warriors ran this play in the 1st quarter, shortly after Javale McGee (5) checked into the game. This play utilizes the athleticism of 5, getting him open because the defense can’t provide help on the ball screen off of Steph Curry (1) or Klay Thompson (2). As Kevin Durant (4) turns the corner on the ball screen, McGee gets a running start to the rim. Kevin Love tries to provide help off of 3 but he couldn’t get high enough to contest the lob.


Golden State Warriors – Motion Weak PNR

The Golden State Warriors run this variation of the “Motion Weak” set to get Steph Curry into a pick & roll situation. 1 passes to the wing and cuts through the lane as the ball is reversed to 4 and back to 1. 3 sets a cross screen for 5 who sprints into the ball screen. 1 uses the ball screen to create or get an open shot for himself.

Motion Weak PNR

Cleveland Cavaliers – Handback Cross Punch

The Cleveland Cavaliers ran this play to get a quick post up for LeBron James (4). The Warriors had to provide help on 4. 3 then screened for 2, getting him open for a three point shot.

Handback Cross Punch

Cleveland Cavaliers – Post Hammer Split

The Cleveland Cavaliers ran this play in the 3rd quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Though they weren’t successful in the execution, this play provides a few opportunities for open shots. After 4 receives the ball in the post, 2 sets a hammer screen for 3 cutting to the corner for the first option. If 4 sees this option open he can drive baseline to make the pass to 3. The secondary option is 5 setting the split screen for 1. In this play, the warriors switched the screen and 5 cut to the basket for a layup.

Post Hammer Split

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Matt Wheeler

Matt Wheeler is currently an assistant coach for the women's basketball program at Daytona State College. Some of his primary responsibilities there include film breakdown and scouting. For the last 4 seasons he has helped to build a new program at Windermere High School, where they were able to reach the state final four in the school's second year of existence. Before that Coach Wheeler served 6 seasons at Olympia High School where he spent time as assistant boys varsity coach, head girls varsity coach, and head boys varsity coach. During his tenure there he saw 5 players reach the Division 1 level and 16 players receive basketball scholarships. Previously, Coach Wheeler was an assistant coach at Montverde Academy under then head coach Kevin Sutton. While at Montverde Academy he assisted with player development, conditioning programs and created team playbooks & scouting reports. Coach Wheeler's experience also includes winning the 2008 3A Girls Basketball Florida State Championship as an assistant at Bishop Moore Catholic High School. Coach Wheeler was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He got his coaching start at Cascade College where he was the student assistant for the women’s basketball program while also participating on the men’s JV basketball team. Coach Wheeler resides in Orlando, Florida with his wife Kiana and his baby girl Noa.
June 2, 2017 – Oakland, California, United States of America – Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks in front of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, California. Thursday, June 1, 2017. ERZA SHAW/POOL/PI (Credit Image: � Prensa Internacional via ZUMA Wire)

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