The Pelicans defense made a point of pressuring the Knicks in the backcourt Sunday afternoon. At times, it forced New York into near-turnovers and ugly shots, but the Knicks also had some fine moments tapping their release valves to beat the pressure and get easy buckets. Two of my favorite plays today finished with Langston Galloway scoring in the paint. Let's look at them!
This is from the second quarter, and it is a classic Triangle pressure release. Calderon finds Toney Douglas checking him waaaaay up high and Eric Gordon doing the same on Langston Galloway, so he enters the ball to Kyle O'Quinn in the high post:
... then sets a screen for Galloway ...
... who takes a handoff from O'Quinn. Douglas and Gordon get totally lost and and embedded in O'Quinn's tummy, so Galloway has smooth sailing to the basket (where Dante Cunningham helps pretty nicely, but Galloway eludes him with a floater).
Here, for funsies, is Derek Fisher himself running the exact play above (in the role of Jose Calderon, with Kobe Bryant doing a mediocre Langston Galloway imitation, which is basically how I'd describe his entire career):
Here's one more play from Sunday that demonstrates the Knicks getting a little weird while retaining Triangle structure:
The Knicks actually beat pressure twice here, with some silliness in between. First, Jerian Grant notices Gordon creepin' up really high, and so executes a "lag pass" to Lance Thomas trailing the play.
Lance's next option is to swing the ball to Carmelo Anthony, but doesn't find Melo as open as he pleases, so he goes FREELANCE ...
... and dribbles into the corner. Grant sees what Thomas is up to and heads to the wing to receive the ball, at which point you can see both Thomas and Grant pointing for Kevin Seraphin to get his ass to the post and form the sideline triangle:
... and boom, there's your first-option entry pass. Meanwhile, the pressure remains on the weak side of the floor -- Jrue Holiday is overplaying Galloway -- so Melo sets a back-screen to spring Lang free. 'Tis "blind pig"-like in nature.
Seraphin saw the play unfold, made the perfect pass, and Galloway got himself an easy bucket.
For all his rotational quirks, Derek Fisher has the Knicks executing some fun and inventive stuff, both inside and outside the Triangle and its variations. There's much more to look at, but for now, there are two plays that helped New York use the Pelicans' pressure against them.