chasedown block

Chasedown Blocks: How Basketball Stars Intensify Defense And Deflate Opposing Offense With A Single Play

The chasedown block is by far one of the most impressive defense plays during any basketball game – especially during the NBA Playoffs.

Every play in every game within every round matters during the NBA Playoffs – pushing one team closer to victory and advancement while knocking another team closer to defeat and elimination. In most cases, some of the most intense plays occur during fast breaks initiated during high-pressure moments of the game.

Houston Rockets' Clint Capela (15) blocks the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder's Alex Abrines during the second half in Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series.
Houston Rockets’ Clint Capela (15) blocks the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder’s Alex Abrines. [Image by David J. Phillip/AP Images]

One team feels as if they are about to score when all of a sudden something changes and the opposing team ends up scoring moments later. Even if the team is not able to recover the ball and score on the same possession, a chasedown block can still defeat an opposing offense during a fast break play almost immediately. The inevitable high and illusion of invincibility that emerges within a player during a quick drive to the basket is almost immediately shut down when they are humbled by a chasedown block.

Perhaps one of the most dominating NBA stars in the postseason right now is Cleveland Cavaliers’ star LeBron James – a man known for delivering impressive plays in the knick of time. During the Cavaliers’ recent run which led to shutting out Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, James went viral with a shocking chasedown block. The actual block itself was a jaw-dropping move, but it became an uncanny spectacle when you put the play in context and pay close attention to the entire possession.

As shown in the clip, it was essentially LeBron’s fault for losing the possession in the first place. His pass was blocked and recovered by the Pacers, who quickly turned the interception into a fast break – gunning for their basket with a play that would have surely ended in a score if only it was not for James running like a freight train right behind them.

It may have been the fact that he was slightly humiliated by losing the ball for his team and was determined to get it back one way or the other. Even though he did not recover the ball for his team on that play, he was still successful at shutting down the Pacers’ fast break and deflating their momentum. It also looks pretty good when you analyze the play on the now-viral sports highlight reel.

Keep in mind that this is not the first time that the three-time NBA champ and four-time NBA MVP has delivered a headline-worthy chase down block during an intense play. The Internet is flooded with video compilations of similar plays that he has executed over the years, especially during the 2015-16 season.

How is it the chasedown block is such a beautiful play? Why is it so effective? Keep in mind that any shot block (or pass block for that matter) is a key play for any NBA defensive star to master. The best case scenario of a shot block is that you are able to recover the ball for your team, engage in a fast break of your own, and turn the possession into an added point on the scoreboard. Even in a worst-case scenario, a well-executed shot block simply knocks the ball out of bounds. It is true that the opposing team will still get the ball back and essentially have another chance to score on their side of the court. However, the temporary slowdown (or shutdown) of momentum that a solid block – such as a chasedown block – creates may reap lasting benefits for your team throughout the game in other ways.

Miami Heat's James Johnson (16) blocks a shot by Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game.
Miami Heat’s James Johnson (16) blocks a shot by Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (15). [Image by Chuck Burton/AP Images]

Through the rest of the NBA Playoffs 2017, chances are that sports fans and critics are bound to see a number of jaw-dropping plays and memorable moments that will be discussed for years to come – such as the chasedown block that added to the overwhelming performance of the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Indiana Pacers.

[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]