Quantcast
The Sports Daily > Red's Army
Breakdown: How the hell did Irving get that layup?

The Celtics had pissed away an 11 point lead but they still had a chance to win.  All they had to do was stop the Cleveland Cavaliers one time and they could go home with a winning record.  

But they didn't.  Kyrie Irving split the defense, laid it in, and now all that great stuff we watched over the past week has been erased.  Or at least pushed aside.  

So how did it happen?  Very simple.  Avery Bradley played a simple pick and roll poorly, giving Irving the opening he needed.

Irving 1

Here's the set up.  1-4 baseline spread.  Anthony Parker set a pick on Bass, and Anderson Varejao went up to set a screen on Bradley. 

Irving2


When Varejao sets the pick, Bradley leaves a ton of space between himself and Irving.  At this point, one of two things should have happened. 

1:  Assuming Bass called out the pick, Bradley should have stepped up and closed that gap if he was going to fight over the top of it.  Bass is there for the hedge to slow Irving down and get Bradley that second he needs to get back into the play. 

2:  Drop down and go under the pick.  It leaves you more vulnerable to an Irving jumper, but it's a better option than the lay up.  Plus, Bass is there to challenge a quick pull up.

Irving3

Bradley did neither.  He stuck to the pick, and Irving sees nothing but daylight.  Now Bradley, worried about the rolling Varejao, doesn't get back into position to close Irving off and let Bass get back to his man.  Irving, seeing the space, uses his incredible quickness to spin and get to the rim. 

 

KG is worried about the shooter at the three point line, so he doesn't step in.  Same with Pierce and Ray. But the play could have been avoided if, even after the pick, Avery Bradley had just gotten back into the play.  Bradley never slid back to cut Irving off.  He just sort of stopped.

For a player who prides himself on his defense, that was a very poorly defended play at a very bad time.