Everyone has that person. That guy or gal who, not only do you mesh well with on the court, you have specific plays that you perform better together. Most individuals like to refer to it as chemistry. I much rather prefer the term 1-2 punch, mainly because it sounds cool. Yes, even these days, to me 1-2 punch sounds cool.
In each group I have at least one or two people like that. And the other night I had one particular situation with my friend Jake where that 1-2 punch was evident.
Jake is a pretty skilled all-around player. Despite being right around the same height he has a different skill set. He’s not as fast as me but he is craftier. In fact he’s the finesse to my athletic and because of this we can recognize each other’s strengths. What’s even better is that we know exactly which plays to run.
It Doesn’t Take Much When Chemistry Is High
And it took all of 3 plays to win 9 straight games the other night. Yes…3.
The first was a fake give and go where I would run towards Jake as if I were getting the ball. Right as I got to him he would slow down and do a fake handoff. Then, at the same time we would both take off as fast as possible. We were so good at running that play that Jake found himself with an open lane numerous times. If he did get crowded he’d dish off to me as I would be on the other side of whichever way he drove.
The second play was a real killer. I would bring the ball up and right at the top of the key, Jake would set a screen. Right as it was set I would drive hard to the basket, not giving my defender time to react to both the screen and whichever way I was going to go. This worked really well on slower defenders, especially if I added a hesitation. As I would drive the defense would do one of two things. The first was that they wouldn’t collapse (or crowd) the paint in time leading to an easy layup. The second was if they did collapse in time Jake would get himself open on the perimeter for a quick dish.
The third play involved me driving across the baseline while Jake cut in through the middle. Depending on the defender I could rise up and make the shot or attempt the reverse. If neither were available I could do a quick shovel pass to Jake as he came up the middle. If that option wasn’t available either than all I have to do was keeping going to the other side.
I’ve run all those plays so many times with Jake that they’re second nature.
It’s really interesting to how well chemistry can change the game and I’m looking forward to diving in deeper on the issue. I’ve had games, not only with Jake but other guys as well that have had similar results. There have even been times where we’ve been out matched but still managed to win. Relationships matter people, and for all the talk of how much people hate “super teams”, playing with friends is fun. It’s made even better when those friends know and can match your game. And that extends from early childhood all the way up to the pros. But for now, I’ll keep my 1-2 punches as they are, with the upper hand it provides me.