Let's set the stage. Game tied at 69. Under 10 seconds to play, two seconds on the shot clock. Arizona is inbounding the ball on the baseline. Shakur inbounding the ball. Channing Frye, Hassan Adams, Salim Stoudamire and Iguodala on the floor.
According to Lute Olson the play was actually designed to be a lob to either Channing Frye or Hassan Adams. With just the few ticks left on the shot clock, the Cats needed a quick shot and the hope was to lob it in and let the tallest player or the highest leaper grab the ball and get the quick shot off.
Olson expected the Ragin' Cajuns to play tight man to man, but instead they packed the ball side, clogging the middle. Frye and Adams moved around to try to shake coverage, but could not create enough space for the lob. Shakur saw this and sought out Stoudamire who was also on the ball side, but behind the play. Like the two interior players, Stoudamire had no room to operate. He could have backed up, but with two seconds left he would have to put up a long desperation shot.
"They had their whole defense to the ball side," Olson explained. "Thank goodness Andre screamed for the ball because he was wide open."
Iguodala did as he was supposed to. He curled away from the ball and went to the corner. Normally he cuts to the hoop and tries to get a pass inside. It is actually the same play that he tried earlier in the game, but he stepped on the baseline. This time he recognized that Louisiana-Lafayette was jamming the middle, so instead of cutting he remained in the corner and called for the ball.
Shakur heard this and wrapped a bounce pass around the outstretched arm of a defender, which reached Iguodala. Stoudamire curled around and would have made a great target, but with two seconds to shoot, Iguodala did not hesitate. The defender who missed the pass, lunged at Iguodala, but wound up falling at his feet. Iguodala kicked his leg out to avoid contact and promptly drained the three, winning the game for Arizona. "He hit a tough shot, no doubt about it," Olson said.
Olson praised Shakur for spotting the play.
"You've got to be aware," Olson said. "You've got to read if everything is jammed in the middle. They can't do that, unless they've got six guy on the floor, someone is going to be open. That offside corner man was open all night long, we just didn't get the ball to him."
Some marvel at the fact that Iguodala calmly shot the ball with a defender sliding at his feet, but apparently he's used to the situation. Iguodala kicked his leg out a little bit to avoid the contact and apparently a little bit of goofing off paid dividends.
"In practice a couple of times, joking around, a guy runs in front of me and I kick it open like that," Iguodala confessed. "I kind of practice that a lot, so when I shot the ball it wasn't very different."
Iguodala said that the play never works in practice, at least not when he winds up with the ball. "It never works in practice," said Iguodala. "That was the first time it worked like that. He found me and it just worked out."
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