Watching a recording from the other night in a great matchup between Lithuania and Argentina which Lithuania won with a game-winning 3-pointer. It was a great game and it was a shame it had to come down to 1 shot, but it did. It was a pretty simple play by Lithuania, but poorly defended by Argentina which allowed Lithuania to get an open shot.

One thing you'll also notice that's much different between FIBA and NBA are the timeouts. This is especially evident at end of games. In FIBA, a timeout can only be called from the bench in a dead ball situation. So, if the ball is live (shot miss then rebound), you can't call a timeout, you just keep playing. This is significant because in the NBA, you see all the time when the game is tied, one team shoots, misses, the defense rebounds then timeout. In FIBA, you have to just keep playing.

Why is this significant?? Offensively, in my opinion, it's not such a big issue. Most teams already know what their end of game plays will be, who will take the last shot, the play reads, etc... Defensively, is where it comes into play. First, you can't make substitutions for defensive shut-down specialists. Second, you won't be able to make the necessary adjustments from a timeout situation.

Lithuania 1-4 Low PNR:

So, to set the situation, Argentina had a chance with 30 seconds running a PNR with Manu Ginobili handling the ball. Lithuania hedged the screen, and forced Ginobili to shoot a tough fadaway from near the corner which he missed badly.

Lithuania's end of game play here is very basic. They setup 1-4 low, and O5 comes up to set the screen for the O1. O5 rolls to the basket while O4 comes up to the 3-point line. Argentina's strategy is to play the ball and switch on O5 rolling underneath. X1 gets caught on the low switch and doesn't rotate to O4. O1 finds and open O4 for the open shot,

Argentina's Defensive Lapse:

What really causes the open shot is the defensive lapse. X4 goes to cover O5 rolling to the basket. X1 and X5 are caught in no man's land. It should be X5 on O1 and X1 should rotate to cover O4 earlier but it's too late and it's an open 3-pointer,

It's hard to put the blame on Manu Ginobili (X1) here. Basically they got their lines crossed defensively and got confused with their assignments. They realized that but not before it was too late.


If Team Argentina had a timeout in between offense/defense like they do in NBA, they could've schemed that. But of course, this is FIBA and everyone plays by the same FIBA rules. In my opinion, that's the beauty of the FIBA game, it's much more spontaneous, not so scripted. It's more of a players game where the team that is more focused will have the advantage. In the NBA or NCAA game, coaches have much more control over the game which is good for coaches, but it makes the game much less entertaining to watch for the average viewer.

For a brand new video from a great coach, check out Bob McKillop's new DVD on Winning Special Situations including BLOB and SLOB. Coach McKillop is the head coach of Davidson College whom we all remember for their memorable run in this past year's NCAA Tournament. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.