May 22, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen (11) drives to the basket as Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) looks on during the second half in game one of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami wins in overtime 103-102. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking Down LeBron James' Game Winning Layup

2.2 seconds left in overtime of Game 1 and the Miami Heat are trailing the Indiana Pacers 101-102 and are inbounding the ball from the sideline.  They currently have LeBron James, Ray Allen, Shane Battier (who is inbounding the ball), Norris Cole, and Chris Bosh in the game.  The Pacers have Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, David West, George Hill, and Sam Young playing defense.

Bosh is at the top of the key, LeBron is at the foul line, Ray Allen is on the right block, and Norris Cole is actually hiding on the left baseline (hard to see him here — stupid “White Out” jerseys).

Ray Allen has taken off, looking to curl around LeBron James.  Sam Young, who was guarding Ray Allen is now guarding Ray Allen’s shadow.

Just as Ray Allen curls around LeBron, Chris Bosh moves to the block. This is probably to 1. further confuse an already lost Sam Young and 2. get Bosh in a good position to potentially rebound/tip the ball.  The Pacers react by switching Hansbrough onto Ray Allen and Stephenson onto Chris Bosh, which isn’t actually that bad of an impromptu defensive switch.

Next, Norris Cole comes shooting off the baseline and around a Chris Bosh screen.  George Hill, who is guarding Norris Cole, ducks underneath the screen to prevent Battier from delivering the ball to Cole at the three point line.

As Norris Cole shoots to the three point line, LeBron James (guarded by Paul George) breaks towards the ball.  What has happened is that there are essentially no paint defenders other than Sam Young (who is currently guarding Chris Bosh — mismatch, anybody?).  Thus, LeBron should have an open lane to the basket — or at the very least, if LeBron drives, there should be little help defense.

LeBron receives the ball around the three point line and you can see the gaping hole in the middle of the court that I referred to previously.  Because Erik Spoelstra has essentially three jump shooters (Battier, Cole, and Allen) along with a center that is comfortable shooting the ball (Bosh) he has spread the Pacers out and created the driving lane for LeBron.

LeBron’s on his way to the hoop, having blown by Paul George.  Sam Young has started trotting over to not help on defense (speaking of which, how does LeBron go something like 22 feet in 2.2 seconds — and is barely touched by a single Indiana Pacer?)

Four words: LeBron. James. Game. Over.


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