Kobe Bryant Stops the Raptors from Running Their Favorite Play

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

The last time we saw the Toronto Raptors running a last second out of bounds play, they screened for inbounder Jose Calderon to get him an open three.  With some help from Nick Young, their plan nearly succeeded.  So with 3.7 seconds remaining, let’s see what head coach Dwayne Casey diagrams and how the Lakers handle it.

The video below should serve as a reminder as to what the Raptors did against the Wizards.  Leandro Barbosa screened for the inbounder, Jose Calderon, and Trevor Booker and Nick Young had a miscommunication, leaving Calderon open from three.  John Wall bailed out his teammates by contesting the shot, forcing a miss.

This time, the Raptors begin the play with Calderon taking the ball out of bounds and Leandro Barbosa running towards the ball.  Sounds very familiar, so far.

As Barbosa makes his move towards the ball, James Johnson goes to set a screen for DeMar DeRozan. Johnson actually slips the screen and rolls to the hoop.  If the Lakers switched on the screen, the slip would have worked quite well.  Metta World Peace would have been a step behind Johnson, and Pau Gasol would have been occupied by DeRozan.  The lob to Johnson would have tied the game.  Instead, Gasol and World Peace diagnose the slip and maintain their assignments, denying the lob.

Calderon inbounds the ball to DeRozan, setting up a very similar situation to what we saw in the Wizards game.  Barbosa goes to set a screen on Kobe Bryant, but unlike the Wizards, the Lakers do not switch on the screen.

Instead, Kobe fights over the Barbosa screen, denying Calderon the entire way.  Kobe’s great defense can be contrasted with Trevor Booker and Nick Young, who turned their backs on Calderon in the same situation in the Wizards game.

With nowhere else to go, DeRozan is forced to settle for a stepback jumper over World Peace, which he airballs.  Here’s video of the entire play.

Both the Wizards and the Lakers escaped with wins over the Raptors, but only the Lakers defended well in the late game situation.  It should be interesting to see if Dwayne Casey goes back to screening for the inbounder again this season.

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5 responses to “Kobe Bryant Stops the Raptors from Running Their Favorite Play

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