Throughout the season, there a plenty of opportunities to learn from each game. My goal this year is to share what I see with players to help develop your basketball IQ. The first topic will be time and score. The situation is this: there is 2 minutes left and your team is up by 4 points. What can you do to remain aggressive yet also remain under control? The common phrase is “playing not to lose.” This attitude can cause you to tighten up and make mistakes because you are only attempting to not make mistakes. Here are some tips from what I have witnessed this past week to help you maintain poise and finish the game with a win.
Amazing plays are unnecessary
Defensively especially. If you try and steal the ball by jumping the passing lane and do not make the play, your team is now at a disadvantage. This can lead to easy shots or most likely a foul and free throws for the other team. Even diving for a ball can be costly if you do not gain possession. Only make hustle plays that are 100% in your favor. If there is a chance you do not make the play, do the safe thing and contain your man to ensure a tough shot for your opponent.
Amazing shots are unnecessary
If you have to split defenders, double pump, or fadeaway, you probably shouldn’t take that shot. You most likely want to work the ball for a layup. Some coaches may be ok with a dependable shooter taking an open mid-range shot after a number of ball reversals. Jumps shots, in addition to not being as high-percentage as layups, also lead to long rebounds, which lead to easy transition baskets.
If you are up by 4 with 2 minutes left, the defense will be looking to jump passing lanes to get steals. Ball fake as you looking to pass to get the defense off balance. Turnovers and bad shots will lead to the other team coming back and making it anybody’s game.