The pick and roll is probably the most basic maneuver in basketball and Bill Walton and Lionel Hollins worked it beautifully for the winning basket in the Portland Trail Bazers' 96-94 victory over the Buffalo Braves Tuesday night.
"It's a play we use often and score often with," said Walton. "It's best to use a familiar play in those situations."
Hollins ran his defensive man, Randy Smith, into the pick set by Walton. Buffalo center Swen Nater jumped out from behind the pick to guard Hollins, reasoning that "Hollins, an excellent shooter, is usually going to shoot the ball when he comes off the pick."
But the switch left the 6-foot-3 Smith to cover the 6-11 Walton, and the Portland center took advantage of the mismatch by rolling to the basket where he grabbed a pass from Hollins and laid the ball in over the much shorter Smith.
That basket gave Portland a two-point lead with six seconds left to play. Buffalo had a chance to tie the score when Smith was fouled four seconds later. He missed the first of two free throws, then intentionally missed the second, hoping the Braves would get the rebound, but time ran out as players from both teams scrambled on the floor for the ball.
Walton, returning to action after a one-game absence following the birth of his second son, led the Elazers with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Billy Knight scored 28 points and Smith 25 for Buffalo.