Shooting With The Stars is a series where we analyze the technical basketball skill and the ins-and-outs of the basketball competitions we see in movies and television shows without any consideration for the context and overall plot.
The stakes are high and the game is crammed with four hundred years of tension. At the famous Venice Beach basketball courts where the soft white sand meets the hard concrete, we see White team versus Black team. This time around the White team starts with the handicap, and 6-8 is the starting score as a condition of the bet Derek made his new basketball rival.
In the first possession for each team, the players swing the ball around a couple of times, which leads to athletic dunks. One is a pump fake, drive and pass to a cutter for a dunk and one an unguarded alley-oop dunk. With the previous scene’s heated confrontation, an objective spectator of the game would be surprised that the players have cool enough heads to pass and wait for a right read on the defense. For anyone who has played pickup, this is impressive, as usually there is a chucker, an over dribbler, or a turnover to disrupt the offensive motion.
The score is now 7-9, and it is noted in a moment of levity that Seth, a low-post player on Derek’s team is not getting back on defense. Seth seems to have close to no actual basketball skill and his role is more of a mascot hype-man who unfortunately takes up a spot in the starting five.
For the White team, an unnamed player goes on a one-man fast break off a turnover. He looks down as he’s dribbling the ball across court but gathers well and leans into the layup to avoid a block. After what must have been a quick defensive stop, we see Derek’s team swish a 20-foot jumper on the wing to suddenly tie the score 9-9.
Next point wins. Basketball is a game of momentum and it is certainly in White team’s favor. What’s new?
Derek is the best player on the court. His dribble is weak with his left but strong with his right, a common shortcoming among team White’s players. He makes up for it by keeping it advantageously below the waist and low to the ground. At one point he ices a defender with a Pistol Pete Maravich style move where he switches hands behind the back while two stepping into the key. He also shows his grit by taking a nasty elbow to the nose in what would be a flagrant foul in any league; then coming back to play after a sip of water seems to quickly regenerate his nose cartilage.
In the last play, Derek playing off his man and seems ready to play help defense. In a move reminiscent of another six-footer, Allen Iverson, he gets in the passing lane to swipe a pass and start a fast break. The drama ends with an out of nowhere athletic 180-spin dunk at the other end of the court. Wow.
Derek will make it to our end of the season tournament. A scout might suggest Derek try out for a community college squad to further develop his skills and continue to use his athleticism.