Last night, I didn’t quite understand what the Mavericks were doing so I switched from TNT to NBA TV. Around Dallas and Fort Worth, fans were guarded, but optimistic the series would return to the AAC tied. Sadly, Messrs. Paul and Stojakovic and the remaining New Orleans Hornets had other intentions. I decided to watch the Orlando-Toronto game and I’m glad that I did.
What a game!
I believe in the ‘two-foot jump’ stop—here’s my guidance to every player I’ve coached: “If you’re driving to the basket and there is any possibility for defensive contact—no matter how remote—execute a solid ‘two-foot jump stop,’ then violently ‘shot fake.’ The jump stop negates the ‘help’ defender while allowing one to retain balance and control. The violent 'shot fake' reduces the possibility of a blocked shot, while clarifying the 'landscape of the play' for the Zebras. (Zebras, often, are so focused on the hand/ball relationship that they miss the body contact—which, is more detrimental because to offensive player as it forces them into an off-balanced attempt.) Rarely, if ever, will a Zebra whistle a ‘player-control’ offensive foul after a ‘shot fake.’ The ‘shot fake’ freezes the moment in time for the Zebras. I've found that the best offensive players help the Zebras.
Here is the end of game situation: Chris Bosh dribbles hard to his right and leaves his feet. Dwight Howard, who is beaten on the drive, elevates and initiates contact with Bosh. At this point, either Howard blocks the shot or Bosh loses the ball at the apex of his jump. Howard, clearly, delivers enough body contact with Bosh (by rule, an ‘airborne shooter’) to require that a foul be called. But, there is no whistle and Orlando obtains the rebound.
Toronto, however, after a mystifying 'illegal screen' call gets the ball back for a final possession with a credible opportunity to win. Bosh, however, misfired on a mildly-contested 17 footer from just above the elbow. Orlando escapes with a one-point win. (Bosh, on the last possession, hesitated ever so slightly when he caught the pass. He dribbled the ball—almost as if he were considering an attack move—but settled for a jump shot.
Although the Bosh/Howard ‘no-call’ occurred on the Raptor’s next-to-last-possession, I believe it was the pivotal play in the last two minutes. And moreover, if Bosh executes a solid ‘two-foot’ jump shot, he either scores or forces the Zebra to make a call. A decision, late in the game, to NOT use the ‘two-foot’ jump shot is very questionable. This is particularly true against individual shot blockers or teams that aggressively 'help.'
From where Bosh took off, a dunk wasn’t possible. But Howard’s body contact, against Bosh’s thin frame, was just enough to create a miss.
I don’t know whether Toronto would won the game or not (the Bosh-Howard ‘no – call’ occurred with 18.7 seconds remaining) had Bosh scored or been awarded foul shots—but, it is clear they would have had either one, two or three more points than they finished with. I like Chris Bosh’s game a lot. He’s going to have more success on ‘late in game’ dribble penetration moves if he goes with the ‘jump stop.’