Marc Gasol is a 3-point shooting wizard. Apparently. At least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe by the Memphis Grizzlies and their end-of-game magic against the Los Angeles Clippers last week.
Gasol — never really a long-range shooter — hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to go from the left corner to give the Grizzlies the lead over LA.
The play was a result of some iffy choices and communication on defense for the Clippers. On this week’s playbook breakdown, we’re going to check out all four of Gasol’s 3-point shots, how he got them against Los Angeles, and how he eked out a win in the clutch.
Read the breakdown below or watch the full video above.
Play No. 1 – Horns
The first set is just a basic Horns set with Gasol creeping out toward the 3-point line.
Zach Randolph comes to set the screen on the pick and roll for Mike Conley, and then most importantly, he rolls inward toward the basket. This gives DeAndre Jordan pause as he sags ever so slightly to help.
A timed pass from Conley gives Gasol the quick bucket.
Play No. 2 – Clippers Confusion
We’re probably going to see Memphis opponents hang out, take their time, and generally disrespect Gasol at the arc until they feel he’s a consistent threat. That’s what the Clippers’ mistake was during this play, and it cost them.
You can see that as Gasol moves up the floor, there’s a discussion going on between DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and Luc Mbah Moute about who to guard.
Griffin wants to switch, and they do eventually get it all sorted out, but look at where Gasol is when the ball is passed and the switch finally happens.
The ball is already coming to him on a pass to the arc for a 3-pointer, and LA doesn’t have time to recover.
Play No. 3 – Sagging Off
The play after is more of the same from the Clippers in that nobody really took responsibility for pressuring Gasol at the arc, and as a result, the whole defense was out of line on a string.
As Conley rounds Gasol’s pick at the top of the play, you can see how low Jordan is playing in the ICE pick-and-roll coverage. He is exceptionally low for a player who is helping off a potential 3-point shooter, and shows just how little the Clippers thought of Gasol’s ability.
A better solution for next time would be to have Jordan undercut the screen to say tight enough on Gasol, and have Chis Paul to dig more aggressively off his man on the wing to slow penetration. That, or just suck up some space on the ICE and catch the dribbler at the wing instead of in the paint.
Both Paul and Jordan ended up sagging low here, and Gasol is basically wide open for his three.
Play No. 4 – Game Winner
When it came time for the game-winner, it was more about the Clippers shooting themselves in the foot defensively. It was a flat set, with Gasol in the corner and James Ennis coming up to set the screen for Conley.
When Ennis sets the slip screen is where Los Angeles gets it wrong. It’s not clear what the Clippers were doing. Are they switching on guard screens? Is that part of the gameplan? Is it an adaptation?
Paul eventually does switch on to Ennis, but before he does he shuffles over with Conley too far. He also doesn’t point out to Redick to switch (maybe switching was the plan all along). In any case, Redick seems caught off guard that Paul helps so much on Conley, and his hips aren’t pointed in the right direction.
That sets in motion Redick being behind for the rest of the play. He gets beat around the corner the first time, and again when Conley puts a step back move on him. LA had learned their lesson and put Jordan on Gasol in the corner, but the weird exchange on the switch led to Redick getting beat twice, necessitating Jordan’s help in the lane.
All that was left was the shot.
Oh, and that dance:
The Clippers fell asleep one too many times on the Grizzlies, and if Gasol keeps shooting like this I’ll bet we see teams start planning upfront for him at the 3-point line more often.