This play starts off when LeBron James receives the ball at the Quicken Loans Arena logo. He quickly passes the ball to Timofey Mozgov at the top of the key three. Meanwhile Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are standing weak-side a step inside the angle three point line and Kyrie Irving is moving towards the strong-side elbow.
Mozgov’s eyes immediately turn left creating a new strong-side. Love and Smith in sync make moves towards the basket and towards the ball-handler respectively. Irving walking into the middle of the dotted-line area and Love curling around him from underneath the basket. The dribble hand-off between Mozgov and Smith takes place and LeBron hasn’t moved yet.
Smith quickly passes the ball to LeBron while Love is setting up on the right block to screen for Irving, who has worked his way through the traffic built up in the middle of the key. Mozgov sets a screen for Smith who is working his way back left towards the short porch three. Irving has rotated to the original strong-side short porch three and Love is stepping off the block directly towards James to create an isolation driving lane for Irving.
Thinking ‘no middle’ the NY defender has overplayed Irving’s left hand while James has just delivered the ball to Irving. The problem is Love has lured his defender leaving 20′ and the basket between Irving and triumph.
Mozgov who is standing in Love’s original spot (a step inside the angle three) has his defenders head turned towards the imminently open Irving. As soon as Robin Lopez sees Irving take one dribble right, he abandons Mozgov in order to protect the rim. Problem here is Irving was probably counting on that considering Mozgov who is cutting to the rim and Irving are already looking eye to eye, with Kyrie already delivering the ball to Timofey Mozgov who is cutting to the rim… Resulting in a thrilling monster one-handed-hammer-dunk by Timofey Mozgov.
What we can learn from this patiently progressing play is the NBA is one heck of a chess match. The fact that NY was all clustered in the middle of the key early in this play and eventually was spread out too thin to cover is the most important thing to remember. Also, the key to success in guarding this one may very well be forcing the essentially four on five Cavs to go middle (remember, LeBron James is standing at the logo the whole time).