It was one of those crazy finishes that reminds us all why we all love this game so much. First a great 3-pointer by Deron Williams to tie the game with 5 seconds to go. Then the Mavs come right back down the court and Dirk Nowitzki hits the game winning 3-pointer with 1 second left.

As I coach, you just love these situations, as players, you thrive on them. First, it was just a great flex-downscreen play by Utah and a late switch that allowed Williams just enough separation to get a good shot off. Then, the Mavs, without timeouts, push the ball up the court to beat the defense, and find their best player on the wing for the open jumper. Unbelievable, watch for yourself,

I want to break down the inbounds 3-pointer by the Jazz first, then show the Mavs on the break.

Inbounds Flex 3-pointer:

I've always believed that the best plays that to get great 3-point shots are off of flex-downscreens. The play is simple and works as designed. What happens is that Devan George is supposed to switch from Boozer to Williams on the downscreen. He does this but he's late. That's the beauty of the flex, it just takes a lapse of 1 or 2 seconds to gain separation. Now, credit George for closing out fast, which forces Williams to take a tougher shot (and banks it),

Fast Break 3-pointer:

The inability of the Mavs to get back into transition defense was inexcusable. You can see Jazz coach Jerry Sloan in the background screaming to cover the wings. What really makes this work is Eddie Jones who pushes the ball and forces Korver to cover both himself and Dirk. When Korver commits to Jones, the pass goes to Dirk for the wing 3-pointer,

In hindsight, with 2 timeouts remaining, the Jazz could've called timeout when they tied the game with 5 seconds left to setup their defense. That might've made the difference, but then again 5 seconds is still plenty of time to score from the end line, also consider that the Mavs only had to score a 2-pointer for the win.


I flipped back and forth between the Warriors and Nuggets and Mavs and Jazz, both were incredible to watch. With the playoffs at stake, you can really feel the games meaning something now, the intensity turned up a notch. I read Kelly Dwyer's article about why the NBA is better than college. I'm one of those he writes about that prefers college, or even high school for that matter over the NBA. The reason is because you could make the case that the first 60 games of the NBA regular season are irrelevant, merely exhibition. It's not an elitist thing, it's just a simple fact that you don't see the effort in Nov to Feb as you see in Apr. In college, every game means so much more.

For a great new video from a truly great basketball mind, take a look at Hubie Brown's DVD on Playbook for Success. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and other basketball topics.