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Breaking down Chandler Parsons' final 3-point attempt against the Spurs

Should he have passed to Monta Ellis? Should Dirk have taken on the double team? We analyze the final play.

Jason Miller

To be totally honest, being in San Antonio at the AT&T Center was rather disorientating. I knew the Mavericks were down by one with a huge possession coming up, but I was actually shocked when the buzzer went off right after Parsons missed this shot. It just seemed so quick -- I thought there was more time on the clock. The clock wasn't in the corner of my TV screen or on the big board where I'm used to it at the AAC.

But as it was, this was a game-winning shot situation. Here's the full play.


"We didn't want to go timeout because we thought we could get a better shot flow," Rick Carlisle said after the game. Although he wanted to review the film before saying anything else, it looked "like we got a pretty good look."

Ignoring the crazy-assed sequence that starts the gif, let's break down each shot opportunity.


The flow offense is designed to hit you with a ton of pick and rolls, especially when your defense isn't set. The Spurs recover on this one well.

If Devin is able to put the ball right in Dirk's shooting pocket for this one, it's possible he would have jacked it over the smaller Diaw, but there was still nearly 20 seconds left in the game at this point and absolutely no need to rush.


Parsons gets the ball and can't do anything with it, so the Mavericks set up another pick-and-roll, this time with Dirk on the left side and Monta with the ball.

Dirk has Danny Green on him at the high elbow, but he sees Tim Duncan coming baseline to double team. Wisely, Green is playing him to the lane so that Dirk's only option would be to go baseline into Duncan. Could he have gotten a shot off here? Absolutely. But immediately deciding to pass is the unselfish play that we're accustomed to Dirk making, and if he was going to do it, it had to be an immediate reaction.

"Since I had just scored twice in a row, they brought Duncan over to double team me from the low side," he said. "I saw Devin over there by himself so I swung it."


Devin Harris wisely chooses not to shoot the 3-pointer here, but with Manu running at him, he does pass up a one-dribble pull-up jumper on the baseline. This is the most questionable decision made by a Maverick on this sequence, and even then, it's not very. The shot clock is at four seconds, so there's not time to drive and kick and he doesn't want to dribble himself into a wild, forced shot. It's possible he gets a layup or a quick dish to Tyson Chandler if he attacks, but four seconds just isn't a lot of time.


Once the ball reaches Parsons, he makes the correct decision to shoot it.

"I got a good look," Parsons said. "Looking back on it, I may need to make an extra pass to Monta there but I didn't know how much time there was on the clock. I'll take that shot any day at the end of the game and I got to step up and knock it down next time."

Two and a half seconds, Chandler, to answer your question. Enough time to swing the ball to Monta, yes. Enough time for him to get off a shot, albeit with Danny Green running at him just like Boris Diaw is running at Parsons, also yes.

Monta is probably better on the catch-and-shoot 3-pointer than people realize, but Parsons is just the better shooter and the better option.

Do you want to talk about how he spots up several feet behind the three point line? While that might strike some as "desperation," that's actually just how Parsons plays. He loves spotting up way behind the 3-point line and he's comfortable taking that shot (although I'd be very interested in seeing research on whether he's actually good at it, percentage wise). His attempt is on target and a little short, which makes you wonder if the depth played into it, but that's going to be a season-long battle with him, not just an issue on this single play.

Parsons had the look he wanted, and thus the Mavericks had the look they wanted. Of course it could have been a better look, but no one was at fault this possession.

"I like an awful lot of the things that [Parsons] did do," Carlisle said. "It's one game and he'll bounce back on Thursday."