Prior to this season, I highlighted a particular set that Dallas loves to run to free up Rodrigue Beaubois for an alley-oop. The play itself isn’t only noticeable in its potential for a fantastic conclusion, but also its timing; the Mavs have a tendency to run this set on their first offensive possession of the game, and occasionally to kick off the second half.
With Beaubois out, the play was useless…or at least dormant. Caron Butler isn’t quite fast enough at this stage in his career to make the play work, and Dallas lacks another wing of comparable athletic ability to Beaubois. Now that the part-time savior of the franchise has made his return however, Rick Carlisle is apparently ready to add the set back into the team’s repertoire. Here’s a look at how it unfolded against the Minnesota Timberwolves:
I haven’t had much success pulling the audio, but on this sequence, you can actually hear one of the Wolves players shouting to warn of the incoming lob. Darko Milicic sags to stop the play, but doing so feeds right into the Mavs’ hands. Part of the set’s genius is that the counter is a wide open Dirk Nowitzki jumper, and though Nowitzki only draws iron on his shot, it’s still a terrific attempt. On the catch, Nowitzki and Milicic are a full free throw circle apart, all because of a pre-designed set that draws attention to an athletic finisher.