Back in February, Doc Rivers spoke a little bit about a Sixers set called “loop,” which they typically use with Seth Curry.
It’s a relatively common shooter action that his brother Steph sometimes ran in Golden State. Tony Parker was also a frequent looper in San Antonio.
You’ve seen the play throughout the season, and in the most simple terms, they begin Curry on one side of the floor in what sometimes looks like a horns set. He’ll go over both players and can attack on the catch or flow into a two-man game with the strong-side big, which is typically Joel Embiid.
It’ll look like this when you freeze the frame:
It’s similar to the popular “floppy” play that’s been run for shooters for ages, but essentially it’s just a wing or corner starting point instead of under the basket.
Said Doc Rivers on Sunday:
“We’ve run it all year and we’ve probably run it once or twice a game. We’ve run it for him and Shake (Milton) because those two guys are so good at catching it and attacking then coming back off the pick and roll. Because (Atlanta has) a big big is why we like it, because you’re guaranteed there’s not going to be a switch on that. And so if Seth or Shake can come off of it and go downhill, it creates action. We knew going into the series that we have to execute and make shots, but it felt like a set we could get openings from.”
Here are a couple of examples of how the Sixers ran this in Game 2, one Curry play and one Milton play:
The starting points are different, but the action is the same. You’re basically just running a double stagger where the ball handler can turn the corner, pull up for a three, or flow into a pick and roll with Embiid if those first two options aren’t there.
Like Doc says in the quote, Atlanta is not going to switch Capela onto Milton or Curry, so it puts a lot of stress on their defender, in this case Kevin Huerter, to get over those screens and keep pace. In both cases, Capela drops a bit because he doesn’t want to get beat downhill, so both Sixers players take the open shots instead:
It’s a good set. The Spurs ran this a lot back in the day, only they’d have Parker work along the baseline and come out the other side. The Sixers play it high instead of low, with cuts across the three point line and top of the key. But it does give them options, and it keeps Curry active, so that he’s moving and catching and making decisions. He’s not going to be falling sideways and hitting corner threes like JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli, flying off those DHOs like a madman, but when he has an option like this that can transition into a pick and roll, it’s a great fit for him and really plays to his strengths.