If there’s one thing that’ll never change for the Orlando Magic under head coach Stan Van Gundy, regardless of the talent on the floor, it’s the coaching. Van Gundy is one of the best coaches in the NBA for many reasons, but one of them is his ability to draw up the perfect play coming out of a timeout. Perhaps Van Gundy’s most infamous play that he drew up came in the 2009 NBA Finals when he was able to create an alley-oop layup opportunity for Courtney Lee out of thin air. Lee missed the layup, yes, but it exemplified Van Gundy’s coaching genius. On Sunday, the Toronto Raptors saw that genius firsthand.
As the Magic propelled themselves to the lead in the fourth quarter thanks to a 20-2 scoring run after trailing by 11 points to begin the period, certain plays were ran to perfection that aided in the surge. One of them is a play called out of a timeout after Orlando began to chip away at their deficit. The score was 89-83 in favor of the Raptors with a little less than six minutes remaining in the game and with Hedo Turkoglu leading the comeback charge, Van Gundy wisely put the basketball in his hands and let him be a playmaker.
What’s fascinating about this particular play is that it’s an amalgamation of certain elements in the Magic’s offensive playbook. Orlando initially sets themselves up in a Horns set, with Turkoglu and Dwight Howard standing at the elbows of the free-throw line. Orlando runs a myriad of play variations in the Horns set. This variation is unique because instead of Ryan Anderson standing at the elbow adjacent to Howard, it’s Turkoglu. And instead of Anderson handing off the ball to a wing player on his half of the court, thus initiating the action on the play, it’s Turkoglu that’s going to run a 3/5 pick-and-roll with Howard.