When a team scores a field goal and goes ahead of us with less than 10 but more than 3 seconds to go, my preference is not to call a time-out, but to quickly pass the ball inbounds and attempt to score with our quick break. If properly prepared, your team should be capable of getting a shot off from 12 feet and out within 3 seconds or a layup in 4 seconds. That being the case, I would rather surprise our opponents before they can set up the defense.
Many games are lost because the team that scores relaxes for just a second to celebrate their “win,” only to have a well-drilled team strike back quickly for the real win. Surprise is an essential element here, but control is just as important. Our quick break must be well organized if it is to be effectively executed.
If the other team scores, and the clock runs down to 3 seconds or less, I always want a time-out while the ball is in the net. If you are unable to create a quick dead-ball situation here, the running clock might kill any opportunity at a shot before your team even inbounds the ball. In this situation, you need a full-court play that gives you the opportunity to score with very little time left.
This full-court play can be used from either the baseline or the sideline. The inbounder should be your best long-distance passer (usually the 1 player). Make sure that the inbounder knows whether he can run the baseline or whether he must remain at a designated spot.
When the inbounder slaps the ball, 4 back-screens for 5, who reads the defense and makes his cut. Player 4 then flashes to an open area. After a one count (following the ball slap), 3 sets a back screen for 2, who reads the defense and makes his cut. Player 3, after screening, looks for the open area in which to flash (see figure 12.7).
Tell your inbounder to look for the deep pass first because the deep screen will take place first. In addition, your receivers should break open at different times so your inbounder will have other options to go to if the first receiver is covered.
If this play is run from the sideline with the same screens (as it can be), your players will open up in different areas of the court, depending on where the ball is taken out of bounds.
In this full-court play, 2 takes the ball out, and 1 and 3 position themselves at each elbow of the foul line. Players 4 and 5 are outside the three-point arc and very close to the hash marks. On the ball slap, 4 and 5 begin downcourt and then come back (V-cut) to set screens. Player 4 screens for 1, and 5 screens for 3. Players 1 and 3 use the screens and sprint wide, looking for the deep pass over the top of the defense. Both 4 and 5 come back to the ball to be receivers after having set the screens, as shown in figure 12.8.
Again, tell your inbounder to look deep first; the short pass is the second option. Depending on the situation, you may need a deep pass for the score, or you may just need the short pass for the possession of the ball. If there is trouble, 1 and 3 can sprint back to the ball to be receivers. The sprint players must look over their inside shoulders so they can see the entire floor, stay balanced, and keep themselves from running out of bounds. You can also invert player positions so that your best ball handlers are in the 4 and 5 slots, coming back to the ball for the short pass.
If you have very little time left on the clock, a play called Screen is one more option you can employ to get a shot off. This play is possible only after an opponent has scored and your inbounder is allowed to run the baseline.
Player 1 sets a screen on the player defending the inbounds pass and looks to take the charge. When the screen is set, 3 runs the baseline. Player 4 looks to be a receiver in an open area, while 5 sets a screen for 2 under the basket at the opposite end of the floor. Player 2 moves to get open in the corner, and 5 cuts back to the ball after the screen. The inbounder (3) should throw long to an open area for the last shot, as shown in figure 12.9.