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Shook Ankles: Perfect Timing

Sometimes it doesn’t look it, but people who play in the NBA are really, really good defenders. When only one possession remains in a quarter, half, or game, the defense is more often than not at its highest level; no mental distraction exists and no excuse relating to fatigue or boredom sits in the back of anyone’s head. When they need to buckle down for one sub-24 second window, these athletic specimens can—and will—do so. That’s what makes this particular move so pretty. Jamal Crawford’s defender, C.J. Miles, knows he’s in an isolated situation. He also knows he has, in Deron Williams, help to his left should Crawford drive to the side his preferred side. But in this instance—as in almost every other—the offensive player holds a slight advantage on his defender, much like a wide receiver always knowing his route, forcing the corner to read and react. This isn’t to suggest creating one’s shot is a natural act, like walking or breathing, because it isn’t. Dribbling by a defender, especially one who’s dialed up, focusing 100 percent of his energy on keeping you away from the hoop, still stands as the most critical and arduous development in basketball. So good is this crossover, which results in a wide open Jamal Crawford 20-footer, it comes close to disproving that theory.

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