Brown went with gut on Young's game-winner

Brown went with gut on Young's game-winner

Sixers earn win after Young's huge 3-pointer

January 16, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Thaddeus Young's game-winning shot against the Bobcats Wednesday night was his first made three-pointer of the game. (USA Today Images)

Do you ever contemplate why a play works or doesn’t, especially in a game-winning situation?

For years I have always wondered why so many teams run isolation, giving their best player the ball and watching as he tries to beat a guy off the dribble or eventually pull up for an 18-foot jumper.

Last night against the Bobcats, the Sixers took a timeout with 15.4 seconds remaining and the score tied at 92.

Evan Turner had scored 11 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. Thaddeus Young was 3 for 10 from the floor. Michael Carter-Williams had 20 points and six assists. Spencer Hawes was 3 for 6 from beyond the arc, with one of those makes coming only a couple minutes earlier, compliments of the rookie point guard, giving the Sixers a two-point lead.

Where would Brett Brown go? What would be his X-and-O decision and how would it work out? It worked out perfectly when Carter-Williams and Young ran a pick-and-roll, leaving Young with an open three-point shot off to the left of the foul line.

“It was one of those things where the shot was wide open and you take it with confidence,” Young said. “I actually thought I was going to make it before I ever got the ball. It was more a confidence thing.”

Young had been 0 for 2 from three prior to his game-winning shot but on the season is shooting a career best 39.1 percent from deep. He's also averaging one made three per game, also a career high.

That explains his confidence, but the play itself felt familiar too, only Young carried it out differently than how we often see.

"It is a play we have been running all season," Young said. "It is usually a play where I catch the ball at the elbow or slip out of the pick-and-roll and dive to the basket, but this time I saw the guy going with me and I just tried to space the court as much as possible and I got the wide-open three."

"I think you have to put them in the right environment with the right combinations with the right matchups and then they have to play," Brown added, saying he trusts his gut in those situations.

Brown admitted that he toyed with the idea of putting the ball in Turner’s hands versus having MCW and Young in pick-and-roll, but his decision came down to the clock.

“You can eat clock,” Brown explained of choosing the latter. “You can ensure yourself that you are going to get the last shot and in that environment easier than the other.”

The Sixers snapped their four-game losing streak with Miami on the horizon for Friday. The Heat have lost three in a row.