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One Day, One Play: Roll steals the ball, Rodriguez lets it fly and Kaleb dunks for the win

24/03/2020
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This is one of the most exciting play of the season, because it is not only spectacular and effective, but was also performed down the stretch of the come-from-behind home win over Bayern Munich. With 37 seconds left in the game, with Bayern ahead by one, Danilo Barthel steals the rebound, but he finds himself along the baseline where he is quickly pressured by the defense. Barthel needs to get rid of the ball, before stepping out of bounds, and finds a target in Maodo Lo, very far away. The first key of the play is here: Michael Roll is well positioned, overplay the passing lane and when the ball is raised, he intercepts it like a great football cornerback. At that point, it’s a three against two on the break, with Roll handling the ball, Sergio Rodriguez following while Kaleb Tarczewski is the most advanced player. Nihad Dedovic is Bayern’s last defensive guy.

The first crucial move is the crosscourt pass made by Roll for Rodriguez, who runs faster than the desperate attempt made by Paul Zipser, the third Bayern’s defensive player. Rodriguez executes only one dribble then picks up the ball and understands that Kaleb Tarczewski has indicated an alley-oop. The cut is perfect for timing and lethal for the defense, because with Lo on the other side and Zipser a little bit late in his chase, Dedovic has no other chance than to go between Rodriguez and the basket to avoid an easy layup.

Rodriguez executes the Olimpia’s most effective play of the season, the alley-oop pass for Tarczewski in a dynamic situation. The dunk is perfect. Olimpia takes the lead for good and wins the game. In such a situation, one point down, getting the lead through an alley-oop dunk requires courage, but it is also a consequence of the chemistry developed by the playmaker and the center.