The Heat fell in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Indiana Pacers yesterday, but it wasn’t for lack of production from the Birdman. In 19 minutes off the bench, he went 6-7 from the field for 14 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots. Two of those points came off a beautiful alley-oop from Ray Allen, and I wanted to take a closer look at how it went down in today’s NBA Playoffs Playbook.
The play begins with the Heat inbounding the ball under the Pacers’ basket. They’re set up in somewhat of a box formation, with Ray Allen prepared to come off a double screen.
The dual screens work, getting Allen open along the baseline. With George Hill still trying to recover from getting picked off, Roy Hibbert (responsible for Birdman) steps out to the corner to help.
As he steps out, however, he leaves the middle of the paint wide open. Seeing this opportunity, Birdman rolls right to the basket.
With Hibbert unable to recover, Birdman is left unmarked underneath the basket. Spotting this, Allen throws a perfect lob up to Birdman who slams it home.
(Skip to the 26 second mark of this video to see the play.)
This is a perfect example of the impact that Ray Allen can have, even though he is far past his prime. Hibbert was willing to leave the basket completely unguarded to prevent an open baseline jumper for Allen, because he knows that more often than not Allen is knocking it down.