We don’t really think of Kevin Durant as a skilled ball-handler, specifically. He’s certainly one of the smoothest scorers in the game, and can explode to the rim for a dunk in traffic just as easily as he can pull up for a quick-release three-pointer from distance.
Maybe this play will help get Durant’s handles a little more publicity.
Just as Durant passes half court with the ball, you can seeing him begin to set up his defender, Sasha Pavlovic. One quick move and Pavlovic is dropped, but Durant isn’t finished yet.
He could have pulled up for a floater, a shot that he can hit at a fairly high percentage. But continuing on the point guard track, he sees a cutting Nick Collison along the baseline, so he dishes a perfect and quick bounce pass that results in the easy slam.
Durant has proven to be enough of a problem already as the league’s leading scorer over the past three seasons. If he decides to focus on distributing like this a little more in the future, there will truly be no way of stopping him.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.