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What exactly was Jameer Nelson thinking? The NBA's most underrated plays of the week.

By Rob Mahoney
January 30, 2015

The NBA regular season operates at a frenzied pace, with one game and storyline bleeding into the next. Every Friday here at, 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...

• A second chance. Consider, for a moment, that Anthony Davis jumped early on the wrong side of the basket and still found his way to the correct spot in time to collect an offensive rebound:

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• Backcourt struggle. Since the departure of Rajon Rondo, Evan Turner has been the Celtics’ primary ball handler by default. He’s been competent enough in that regard to get by; Turner can handle the basic responsibilities that come with play initiation, and he’s squirrelly enough off the dribble to get the jump on some defenders. The Jazz's Joe Ingles, though, just gave Turner fits by challenging his dribble:

• Footwork as a weapon. No basketball player on earth uses the pivot to their advantage quite like Dwyane Wade:

• Getting back. Transition defense is, on its most basic level, a function of effort. In most cases there is no reward in it. The offensive player is naturally favored on the break by building up a head of steam or running with a numbers advantage. All defenders can do is get back, defend as well as the situation allows, and see what happens. Wilson Chandler does just that on this possession and in the process takes away Blake Griffin as a passing target:

• Delusion. In what universe does Jameer Nelson think that this is a reasonable shot to attempt?

• Decision. Post play needn’t be so deliberate. With the right skill and physical advantages, a back-to-the-basket player – like Denver’s Jusuf Nurkic – can initiate a move before the defense has a chance to react:

• Delayed gratification. After bumping Joakim Noah off his spot and to the ground on this sequence, Draymond Green squares up for what could be a completely uncontested mid-range jumper. He politely declines. In fact, Green doesn’t give the rim much of a hard look at all – instead scanning for an opportunity elsewhere. He finds it in a backdoor cut from Stephen Curry:

• Playing big. Post-up guards can be tricky to utilize in the modern NBA, but their utility is clearest when backing in, drawing defensive attention, and setting up some suddenly open teammate:


• Playing against type. Characteristically, a guard who draws a mismatched big-man defender on the perimeter does a familiar dance of dribble moves before hoisting up a jumper. Isaiah Thomas riffs on that formula after being picked up by Kris Humphries, though by keeping his head up he finds something a bit better than a contested 18-footer:

• A higher gear. This is just a spectacular multi-possession sequence from Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight, who is so much quicker than most realize. Bonus points for essentially never stopping throughout this solo four-point run.

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