The Chicago Bulls 119-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets came down to the wire in overtime and ended with a controversial offensive interference call on Joakim Noah. But they wouldn’t have even been in overtime — and thus it would never have happened — without the heroics of one Nate Robinson, and his three to tie the game with 13.4 seconds left in regulation.
The play came following a timeout with the Bulls down, 105-102. Here’s what happened.
The play starts with a typical sideline-out-of-bounds (SLOB) look, with Carlos Boozer high, Luol Deng low and Nate Robinson and Joakim Noah at the elbows. Boozer’s going to run down and set a screen for Deng, who will pop out and take the inbound from Marco Belinelli.
As soon as Deng gets the inbounds, Boozer swings over to Nate at the near elbow. Nate semi-dekes the defense by keeping his back to Boozer until the point where the actual screen is set, then immediately turning and sprinting once it comes. Noah would theoretically set a screen of his own, but that’s not going to be necessary, as we’ll see in a moment.
Andre Miller is guarding Nate in this play, and I have circled him in the above picture. Why, you ask? Because as well-designed as this play is, its success comes in large part because Andre Miller decided to be stupid.
Nate is going to come off the Boozer screen and follow the arrow on the right. Miller will follow the path described by the arrow on the left. I think you can guess why this is a problem.
Notice that Nate has made it to the three point line, while Andre Miller is still standing in the paint — he’s the one behind Boozer that I have circled. As you might expect, it’s difficult to recover from such a position.
Keep an eye on Joakim Noah. He’s essentially screening his own man to keep JaVale McGee from helping on Nate, and he will set a pseudo-screen on Miller once he actually manages to get in the area.
Nate has now received the ball and is about to shoot. Andre Miller hasn’t yet made it to within 8 feet of him. So…yeah.
Here’s the play in real time.