The sole bright spot in the Pacers’ gut-wrenching 98-95 loss to the Cavaliers is they stumbled upon the much-needed antidote for double-teaming traps on Victor Oladipo That antidote? Domantas Sabonis, thanks to his great screening and decisive ball-handling.
Sabonis struggled to start the series but he's emerged as the Pacers’ best player over the past two games, leading them in scoring in both games four and five. Combined across both games Sabonis is 17-24 from the field for 41 points and 11 rebounds.
But what’s made Sabonis so effective is his ability to counter the double-team traps on Oladipo. Indiana scored 100 points just once this series because Cleveland’s defense has taken away Oladipo’s ability to drive to the rim.
Yes, this was a bad pass by Oladipo. But the other side of the problem here is Turner, who has done well in every aspect of the series save for this type of play. Turner’s center of gravity and shot are different than Sabonis’, making it harder for him to grab a bad passes and more susceptible to stripping.
Watch this clip where Sabonis is able to grab the ball off a pass that’s a little over his head and manages to put it on the floor with control and head straight to the rim.
Despite the fact, he didn’t score that’s the type of play that should be available every time and is one that can beat the Cavaliers defense. Even if Sabonis doesn’t take the shot Cory Joseph is wide open for a three as soon as he takes his first step to the rim.
Joseph is the other solution to the double-team trap thanks to his secondary passing ability. In this play, Oladipo has been trapped again but Joseph is able to get the ball and make a quick decision to Sabonis, giving him a three-on-two.
It might seem a little over the top but Nate McMillan has to do something drastic in order to win this series -- Lebron James is that good. Shifting Turner and Collision to the bench would give the bench unit more offense and allow them to take advantage of the situation when James is off the court.
Oladipo might finally get off to a good start with Sabonis and Joseph in, which has the capability to change the series completely. Oladipo has had only one above-average game in the series and Indiana thoroughly dominated.