After Jarell Martin threw down a dunk with 0.6 seconds remaining to tie the game at 97-97, it appeared that the game was heading to overtime. Jay Triano and the Suns had other ideas, however.
Taking the ball out of bounds on the sideline, the Suns ran a special play called “Rim,” that Triano had saved in his back pocket.
It starts with Tyson Chandler stationed underneath the rim, and the rest of the Suns spread out in a diamond formation. This not only puts Chandler right next to the rim for a lob attempt, but spreads the defense out, ensuring that it will be a 1-on-1 battle at the rim.
As the action begins, Marquese Chriss goes to set a screen for Troy Daniels, but this is just a decoy. Sure, if the Grizzlies just left the sharpshooting Daniels completely alone, and Dragan Bender couldn’t get the pass in anywhere else, they’d throw it to him. But that’s not their first option. The Suns just want to get the defenders assigned to Daniels and Chriss engaged and make sure they dont sink back to help at the rim.
That’s because Bender’s real objective is to throw the ball up to the rim for Chandler. And in fact, on this play, he was actually trying to throw the ball into the basket, where Chandler just needed a touch to guide it home. As Triano knew when he designed the play, there’s no goaltending on out-of-bounds passes. Via USA Today:
“It’s a rule that a lot of people don’t know,” Triano said.
Including Chandler, who’s a 17-year veteran. When Triano introduced the play to the Suns, Chandler asked him, “It’s not goaltending?”
“No,” Triano replied, “It’s not goaltending.”
“I told the one official, ‘You know that you can’t goaltend that,’ ” said Triano, who won his 100th game as an NBA coach. “He was like, ‘I know, I know.’ I think they were probably looking to see if Tyson touched the ball because it’s a violation if it goes straight in and he doesn’t get a piece of it.”
Bender threw the pass right where Triano told him to, and Chandler — after shoving Brandan Wright in the back — went up and slammed it home to give the Suns the win.
Even if Chandler did get away with a push, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this was an ingenious play design by Triano, and his players were quick to give him credit for the victory.
Now that the secret’s out of the bag, and perhaps other teams will try to steal “Rim” for themselves in late-game situations like this.
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