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The Jazz do it, the Knicks do it

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The Knicks may rely on the old Triangle offense, but that doesn't mean they are playing stodgy basketball.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the NBA is a copycat league. Of course not every similarity is shared once it's installed with each team and their differing dynamics. Some teams just copy/paste and lose the flavor while others are in their test kitchens putting together some hot capicola with the most slammin' strozzapreti. Today we're gonna take a look at two plays that have unified thoughts and aim to achieve very similar goals. From two teams who are often characterized in very opposite ways.

First things first, go have yourself a gander at these here plays from last night's Knick victory.


The Jazz, like molte squadre di NBA, get a lot of things done from Horns. It's very fashionable right now. If you don't know, Horns is an offensive set that allows teams to utilize their talent to avoid criticism in the media because it doesn't have the same hype train as the Triangle. It typically starts with a post player on either elbow and shooters in the corners with the ball up top.

Here, the Jazz- after some coaxing from Gordon Hayward- roll into it a bit late with the ball starting at the right wing. Hayward then gets staggered ball screens, and both screeners dive to the hoop.


The Knicks are able to hedge and recover as they pack the paint, so Hayward makes a skip pass back to the starting point.


The Jazz bigs aren't the kind of teammates to leave someone at their desk, so they circle back to see if they can't turn this play the other way around. 

Hayward fades to the left corner ,where he is a 47.6% shooter on the season. As this happens Chris Johnson loops over and fills the space at the top of the key. The Knicks are again able to stymie the Jazz and Raul Neto has to throw a rope up to Johnson, who catches it on the move and is bailed out with the foul call as the shot clock winds down.


In the end this is a fruitful double screening play for a team loaded with aggressive, athletic forward guys and swift creative guard guys.

The Knicks don't have the same explosion and athleticism as the Jazz. They also don't do anything from Horns, despite the fact that Melo is supposed to be a boogieman from the pinch post. The personnel needs to dictate the action though and there's plenty of ways to interpret how to get your main guy the ball where he can be effective.

So-- here we have New York getting set up in lockstep with Langston Galloway as he crosses the time line. Now they can get to work immediately, rather than rush to beat the clock.

The Knicks open the play with a double ball screen, but it isn't staggered. Lopez will dive to the hoop and complete a sideline Triangle if the ball swings around. On his way he gives Trevor Booker a nice little jolt and Anthony is able to pop up high (which Utah's personnel can't actually do) and now he has the whole floor to himself in case they leave him open (which U-anybody can't do). Rudy Gobert steps on Langston's drive and Carmelo goes straight into a second ball screen for Galloway.

Galloway is able to careen around the second ball screen and plunge all the way to the hoop for a basket. The reason being is that Lopez has pinned Gobert on his hip after he recovered from the hedge. It gives Galloway a clean run to the hoop. If the weak side defenders help, Derrick Williams and/or Arron Afflalo are wide open with plenty of clock left.


Had Galloway passed the ball out, Lopez is in amazing position to receive the entry pass and score. Carmelo is also headed back up to the top of the key with a whole pot of boiling open water to cook Booker.

So there ya have it. Even though the Knicks use the Triangle as the foundation for much of their play, it doesn't mean they are somehow playing an archaic brand of basketball. As with any team trying to win at this game, they simply have to find ways to play as a team. Putting their personnel in the best position to succeed is an excellent angle to try. It's like they say "teamwork is the stuff dreams are made of".