Went through some recorded NBA games from over the weekend. From the Lakers versus Mavs game, I liked this one play because I think every team should have a UCLA cut somewhere in their offense. It's one of the great half-court plays in basketball. It's so simple, and yet it is so effective.

Here, it's a give and go, handoff to UCLA cut with Fischer, Ariza, and Gasol setting the screen. I like the butt screen by Gasol as well, it's good because I think it's inconspicuous. Take a look,

Handoff to UCLA Cut:

The setup is the familiar 1-2-2 setup. Gasol on the ball side elbow. Fischer bringing up the ball. Ariza on the ball side corner comes up to receive the pass from Fischer who after passing keeps running at Ariza,

After the initial pass, Ariza hands off the ball back to Fischer who dribbles to the wing. At this point, Gasol is still facing the basket but is preparing for the butt screen as he feels Ariza's defender on his back,

Ariza, seeing the butt screen by Gasol, then cuts hard to the basket. Nowitzki (X4) and Correa (X3) don't communicate effectively on defense and so Ariza is free all the way for the easy layup,


Now, obviously, if you run this play over and over again, the defense will adjust either with the switch down low or with a sag on the screen, etc... But the UCLA screen/cut is still one of the best plays to use because it takes advantage of teams who don't communicate on defense. I also like the UCLA cut as a secondary break option before you settle into your motion offense.

In a great video combining different cuts like the UCLA cut, check out Dave Leitao's DVD on his '32' Motion Offense and Cuts. Coach Leitao is the former head coach of Virginia. Discuss your favorite defensive strategies at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other coaches from around the world.