While You Weren't Watching: Top 10 most underrated plays of the week
The NBA regular season operates at a frenzied pace, with one game and storyline bleeding into the next. Every Friday here at SI.com, we'll slow things down in While You Weren't Watching – a spotlight on the little moments in the week's slate that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. Here's what you may have missed...
• Smooth moves in close quarters. While the corner is a valuable piece of real estate for spot shooters, it’s the most dangerous place on the court to stand with a defender in close proximity. That didn’t much bother Greivis Vasquez, who with a single pivot cleared the baseline:
• Confidence to spare. Nene has attempted just three three-pointers this season and made none. Over the course of his career, he’s attempted 34 and converted just three. That didn’t stop him from lining up a long-range try in crunch time against the Bulls this week – off of a fearless step-back, no less:
• Audacity. The springy Hassan Whiteside has played some nice, surprising basketball for the Heat over the past few weeks, but this lob ended up just slightly out of reach. Consider this a reminder that sometimes it’s no fun to be an alley-oop target.
• A measure of misfortune. On the first half of this sequence, Marc Gasol appears to take a shot to the head as his post-up attempt goes triple-teamed by Brooklyn defenders. It’s hard to see the contact itself from the broadcast angle, though Gasol isn’t generally one for undue theatrics and he spends the better part of the following defensive possession holding his neck.
Just to make matters worse: Defensive miscommunication among helping-and-recovering Grizzlies winds up leaving Mason Plumlee open on the block and only Gasol around to help. He bites hard on what he suspects will be a potential dunk, though Plumlee hesitates instead to draw the foul with continuation for an and-one. Nothing helps soothe a potential missed call (and tweak in the neck) like a bad one to follow.
• Night of the heat check. If only we could all have a moment like Mo Williams did on Tuesday, when he scored a career-high 52 points. Pretty much everything that could go right did:
• An occurrence rarer than it should be. File this one away under “If Kobe could ever commit to being a more consistent passer…” He’s one of the best playmakers at his position in the history of the game, and this kind of setup is available to him on a nightly basis. That he so often chooses to pursue other ends is just part of what makes Kobe Kobe – and also part of what can make him so exasperating.
• A moment of productive flow. Charlotte isn’t a particularly good offensive team, but is still capable of smart execution that lead to unexpectedly impressive results. This is about as good a finale as one could hope for from a cluttered pick-and-roll executed with three suspect shooters spacing the floor: