Beneath the Screen: Blowing Up

A week ago in the game against the Utah Jazz, Monty Williams and Eric Gordon got into a head yelling match. The blowup occurred because of two plays. An inexplicable decision to dribble not only into two defenders but one of his teammates as well, and a complete mental lapse and lack of hustle on defense. Let’s take a look at what went wrong. To the Madistrator!


The first play actually starts out of a somewhat Triangle Offense looking set. Vasquez passes the ball to Gordon and then cuts to the corner. Gordon will pass the ball to Lopez in the high post and then go on a long looping cut.



As Gordon comes off the cut he receives a handoff from Lopez. He has a clear lane to drive on the left side. He’ll run into help defenders but that should at the least allow for a kickout pass. But that’s not what he does.


Instead Gordon cuts inside and runs into Lopez and two defenders. He dribbles the ball off his knee and Gordon Hayward scoops up the ball and scores on a transition layup.

As I said earlier, it’s a kind of inexplicable decision. Monty doesn’t believe in tanking so it’s not a surprise that he’s incredibly upset by Gordon’s decision. It’s just not a smart basketball play.

Now let’s focus on the other side of the ball and the defensive lapse which occured.


As the play starts Gordon is guarding Randy Foye who is standing in the corner. He sags off him since Foye is on the weakside.


Hayward comes over to set a pick. Lopez sees it’s coming and works his way around to stay on his mark. This is where the play starts to break down. Gordon and Aminu are lined up right next to each other. Hayward cuts up top after setting his pick.


Gordon switches to cover Hayward and so does Aminu. This leaves Foye wide open and he cuts to the basket as a result.


Realizing there is a mistake both Aminu and Gordon start pointing (at different people no less).


Davis is able to recover and make a tremendous play to contest the shot.


However, Paul Millsap comes in, grabs the offensive rebound and puts the shot in for two second chance points. After the Foye miss, Gordon just slide shuffles over and makes no effort to rebound or contest Millsap.

The main error, and the reason Monty flipped out, is that both Aminu and Gordon thought they were supposed to cover Hayward. After watching the play multiple times, I can’t really see why he thought he should switch onto Hayward. The fact that Monty blew up confirms this.

The second reason Monty was so heated was the absolute lack of hustle after the mistake had been made. Gordon needs to crash the boards on this play. There is nothing else he should do. Instead he just slowly shuffles to the basket. Monty is a coach who highly values effort and hustle. It’s no surprise to me that he was clearly upset by Gordon on the play.

What’s your take? If you were in Monty’s place how would you have reacted?

Beneath the Screen is a reoccurring series throughout the season run on Fridays. See past editions here.

One response to “Beneath the Screen: Blowing Up”

  1. If you’re not gonna give all you have for this team, you deserve to be on the bench.

    The only reason Gordon is getting minutes is to try and increase his trade value.

    We can/will do better.

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