Oh man. I'd almost forgotten what it feels like to have Steve Novak on my side when he's really cookin' soup. At training camp, I was lucky enough to watch Novak practice his craft in person, but the experience is even sweeter in the context of a game. In case you missed it, our friend Steve went seven for seven from downtown last night against the Wizards. I know it's preseason, and I know I'm not supposed to get too worked up about games that don't count, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't shirtless, cackling deliriously, and ladling molasses into my hair by the time Steve's seventh three took flight. Here are all seven of 'em, via the Bullets Forever tweeter:
That's pretty consistently bad defense by Washington, and a few of the baskets can be attributed to a Wizard making the grave error of sagging even a step off Novak at the perimeter. As I mentioned in the recap, Steve didn't (and didn't have to) do much in the way of trickery to get his looks, but the set-ups weren't totally without nuance.
On the first make, you can see how Novak benefits from poor pick-and-roll defense. Kurt Thomas barely sets a screen, but Jan Vesely feels compelled to hedge. Whoever's guarding Novak momentarily shuffles to help on Kurt's roll, giving Novak more than enough room to splash.
The second play actually sees Novak on the move as a participant in a screen party. He sets a cross-screen for Carmelo Anthony (who then gives Jason Kidd some quick pick-and-pop option) then curls around Henry Sims to separate himself from Vesely for the open look.
The fourth play also includes some Novak movement, as he cuts close behind J.R. Smith to brush off Chris Singleton momentarily. Even with a low pass and a decent close-out, Steve sexes up the net.
The couple are pretty straightforward, though it's nice to see Pablo Prigioni already knows where his bread is buttered in transition.
Also note that this video only includes six threes (right?), presumably because Steve's other make was too sexually explicit for YouTube. (Oh, and no Discount Triple Checks. The belt doesn't come out in exhibition play.)
Missed u, Steve. So very happy you're back.