With the Cleveland Cavaliers trailing by two points and needing a three-point shot to win the game, the Orlando Magic made four killer mistakes:
1) Putting 6'2" Rafer Alston on the inbounder,
2) Having Hedo Turkoglu attempt to guard LeBron James,
3) Not fouling
4) Guarding people closely inside of the 3-point line instead of conceding a 2-point shot (which would still have been difficult and would have only tied the game)
The result, brought to you by Marv Albert:
The Christian Laettner game happened only seventeen years ago, so perhaps its lessons haven't fully sunk in yet, but when there's little time left on the clock and the other team needs a catch-and-shoot to beat the buzzer, the single most important thing you can do is to make the inbounds pass as difficult as possible. If LeBron had to make a difficult catch and turn to face the basket, he would not have had time to get a shot off. Putting your shortest player ten feet off of the ball is just bad coaching.
Furthermore, how do you not overload the 3-point line and challenge the Cavaliers to throw the ball at the rim for a 2-pointer? Wouldn't you rather take your chances with the Cavs attempting a high-risk alley-oop - over Dwight Howard no less, who's on the NBA defensive player of the year and the highest-rising big man in the league - instead of trying to take away the two and giving Lebron a good look at a three-pointer? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.