Gasol to Aldridge late alley-oop vs Grizzlies

Illustration by Krystal Esqueda.

AT&T CENTER – With 2.7 seconds left in regulation Tuesday and the San Antonio Spurs trailing the Memphis Grizzlies 84-82, the Spurs called a timeout. After the timeout, the Spurs diagrammed the following play with the first option being get Kawhi Leonard the ball off a pin-down screen from LaMarcus Aldridge, but, with the Grizzlies sending a double team Leonard’s way, Pau Gasol threw the perfect alley-oop pass to Aldridge, who cut toward the rim unguarded.

Play Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA

You can see the play in action below. Notice how it was Grizzlies big man Brandan Wright who made the mistake of leaving Aldridge unattended, and how Leonard used the hesitation cut without the ball to sell the need for a double team.

“Yeah pretty much,” said Gasol of how the play was drawn up. “That is what we were pretty much looking for. I had to look for Kawhi (Leonard) first coming off, and if he was open, obviously I was going to hit him. He attracts a lot of attention, as we all could see from that play. And then LaMarcus (Aldridge) was wide open so I had to put it over the top right where he could just lay it up. So it worked out well. I’m glad I could make the pass, execute it well, overtime, and win the game.”

As Gasol mentioned, Aldridge’s basket tied the game and the Spurs went on to outscore the Grizzlies 11-5 in overtime to win the game 95-89, a victory that gave San Antonio their 60th win of the season. Though the Spurs led by 11 in the fourth quarter and allowed the Grizzlies to retake the lead late, Patty Mills, Leonard and Gasol all had a similar message Tuesday after the game. The late game management under pressure allowed San Antonio to work on their execution of play calling in a close game, a scenario where they might find themselves in a playoff game soon.


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