The Knicks have won a few games in a row! Whether or not that makes you happy, I think you'll be pleased to look back and see Derek Fisher putting guys in motion on crucial possessions instead of asking Carmelo Anthony to finish a win by himself. Let's watch the Knicks use Melo to their advantage without running the predictable straight-up iso:
The plays above are in chronological order: Jose Calderon's dagger three to ice the Pelicans on Monday, then Langston Galloway's identical shot to do the same to Orlando on Friday. Let's look at Galloway's first, though, because it was fully set up while the Calderon play was sort of abbreviated for an inbound situation.
1. The Knicks establish the sideline triangle with a spread-out weak side:
Melo sunk to the corner to form the triangle as Galloway brought the ball up. Lance Thomas would typically be lingering in the high post nearest us, but he's waiting all the way in the far corner. He's not out of the play, though.
2. Jason Smith calls for a post entry, then steps into a screening position while Thomas flashes to the strong side to receive what is essentially a second-option Triangle pass from Galloway:
3. With Thomas holding the ball, Smith and Galloway provide (kinda shitty) screens for Melo as he curls up top for a handoff:
4. HOWEVER, Thomas reads that Evan Fournier-- Galloway's defender-- has abandoned his mark to double Melo in anticipation of the handoff, so instead of feeding Melo, he hits an open Galloway in the corner. Melo helps out a bit by running directly into Fournier. His own man, Tobias Harris, can't switch in time to contest Galloway's shot:
I love it! If the defense makes the mistake of leaving Melo single-covered, he can shoot to kill. If Melo's curl hoovers up all the opponents in his path, one of the screeners is wide open.
Now back to Monday against the Pelicans. Similar deal, except they skipped the Triangle setup and went straight into the motion in an inbound set with a short clock. And Melo actually got the ball.
Jason Smith waits up top in the role Thomas played before. Calderon and Amundson set screens for a Melo curl (note that our eventual shooter starts low, whereas Galloway was the higher screen on Friday):
Melo receives the ball off a short pass from Smith and finds that he's accumulated two defenders off his curl, which means someone's open:
Melo finds the open Calderon quickly and it's ovaaaaaaa. Look at how clean this look was:
It's an effective manipulation of the Triangle offense, a perfect weaponization of Melo's attention-drawing presence, and two great, open shots at crucial moments. You can see how a different initial pass or a different reaction by the defense could have triggered another option. That's good late-game basketball!
This post goes out to Tomahawk Stomp. <3