Basketball Doesn't Get Much Prettier Than This Spurs Possession

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Smack dab in the middle of the Spurs' transcendent first half from Game 3 of the NBA Finals was this possession, which is about as good as a basketball possession can get.

Ten seconds, six quick-fire passes, all five players touching the ball, and a beautiful cut by Manu Ginobili to finish the play with a layup at the rim. This is about more than scheme and execution. A well-designed play can get some space or a good mismatch; a perfect, elegantly designed play can't do much more than put players in position to pull off a sequence like this. This is five guys sharing a hippocampus. If the ball sticks in someone's hands for a moment longer, or if a cutter hesitates and misses his window, this all derails and the play resets. To pull this off requires a kind of instinctual, bone-deep mastery. The Spurs do this all the time.


None of this is to present the Spurs as some kind of Hickory foil to a Heat team that is so often miscast as a a collection of superstars playing the game on a lesser plane, villains in the idiotic "Built not Bought" meme. (Go back and watch the third quarter of last night's game, during which the Heat spent 12 minutes executing the defensive version of the play above. Or check out this Miami coup de grace in the Brooklyn series.) This is just to say that the Spurs have really, really good basketball players on their team, and they are a lot of fun to watch.