FanPost

Breaking down the final play of Bobcats-Heat I

(go to 2:54)

I know this is practically long-gone history at this point, but I feel that it would be good to take a look at the last play of the first Bobcats-Heat matchup. Upon first blush, it was a baffling decision with Augustin shooting the final shot with ample time left on the clock.

Boris Diaw is the inbounds man, guarded by Dwyane Wade. LeBron James is matched up on D.J. Augustin, Shane Battier on Henderson, Chris Bosh on Corey Maggette, and Udonis Haslem on D.J. White.

The four Bobcats are lined up along the free-throw line, with all of the Heat defending their Charlotte counterparts from the paint, save for James, who is on the outside of Augustin.

Augustin is the furthest away and runs clockwise around the pile as the refs signal for the play's commencement. LeBron follows him, close behind. But this play isn't run for him.

No, it's run for Gerald Henderson. Shortly after Augustin departs, Henderson runs a similar pattern. Unlike Augustin, Henderson has a step on his defender, Battier. The problem now becomes finding the space to get him the ball. Dwyane Wade is being extremely active defending the inbounds, and helps force Henderson relegate to the corner. This effectively removes Henderson from the play altogether, as the sideline traps him with Battier easily defending the only angle to get him the ball.

The next option (as Augustin continues his circle) is Maggette. He has a clear step on Bosh, but Wade's defense again foils the inbounds play and Bosh catches up to Maggette, who is forced to dart towards the basket. Wade backs up a little to help defend.

This leaves Augustin and White as the two lone remaining Bobcats still in the play. Augustin finishes his circle and White misses the chance to set a solid screen on James. Augustin has the quickness to get the inbounds pass from Diaw ahead of James, but cannot feasibly drive on both James on Wade. So he launches the available long three-pointer as James contests the shot from the side.

Brick. Putback attempt failed. Game over.

Understandably, Augustin was not the primary option here. He's not the worst player to have the ball in his hands, but in the past, he's shown to be a poor crunch-time offensive option. In 82games.com's statistics of 'Clutch Time" (4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes remaining, neither team up more than 5 points), Augustin recorded a 33.3% FG and 21.1% 3P last season.

I'm just surprised there weren't any solid screens to free up shooters or anything, really. Last year, the Bobcats made their money in crunch time off of Gerald Henderson catch-and-shoot plays freed up by a screen or pin-down. But to rely on just that simple play and expecting opponents to not adjust is foolish, so I can understand why Paul Silas may have wanted to go away from that.

But there wasn't a whole lot to help free up any Bobcat for an open jumpshot, if they were set on shooting immediately. And there was no space to create or use the remaining time effectively, other than praying for an offensive rebound and putback, which is almost what happened.

Regardless, this is the point of situations like these for this team: you live another day and learn from the failures.

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