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3-on-3 Basketball Plays to Score Easy Points (5 Plays)

Playing 3-on-3 is a great way to learn HOW to play basketball.

And in today’s world, there are more opportunities to play it than ever before!

You can play 3-on-3 at school with a few friends…

You can sign up to one of the many 3-on-3 tournaments that are popping up everywhere…

And, if you’ve got a smart basketball coach, you’re probably playing many small-sided games (like 3-on-3) already during team practices.

But regardless of where you’re playing, I bet you want to give your team the best chance to win.

To help you with that, I’m going to show you five 3-on-3 basketball plays that you can take to the court and use to help your team get wide open shots and layups.

Let’s get started.

Five 3-on-3 Basketball Plays

1. Pick and Roll

Overview of the Play:

Two players use a pick-and-roll from the top of the key or on the wing.

Instructions:

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key, and one player on each of the wings.

  1. Player at the top of the key starts with the basketball.
  2. A player on the wing moves to set the pick-and-roll for the ball handler.
  3. The ball handler looks for scoring opportunities out of the pick-and-roll play, with the screener rolling towards the basket.
Coaching Points:
  • If the defenders switch on the pick-and-roll, try to use any advantage you have on the mismatches that open up.
  • If the defender guarding weak-side wing player moves to help on the roll, there could be a possibility for a pass to the wing or corner for the 3-point shot.
  • The screener can choose to “slip” which could result in a pass and layup or pass and outside shot.

2. Double Back

Overview of the Play:

This 3-on-3 basketball play involves multiple back screens in an attempt to get an open layup for a player under the basket. If they’re not open, post up opportunities will be.

Instructions:

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the basketball, and one player on each wing.

  1. 1 chooses the side to start the play by dribbling towards one of the wings.
  2. The player on the ball-side wing (2) cuts towards the opposite side to set the back screen for 3.
  3. 3 cuts to the basket off the back screen looking to receive a pass and finish if possible, while 2 pops out to the top of the key to receive the pass for a potential shot.
  4. If the pass inside for a layup or post up isn’t a good option, 1 passes to 2 at the top of the key.
  5. After making the pass, 1 receives a back screen from 3 and cuts under the rim to catch the basketball for an open layup.
Coaching Points:
  • Two players involved in the screen must watch the basketball at all times and look to exploit any advantages that might occur, either off the screen or after a mismatch.
  • Shot selection is crucial. The players must be patient, read what the best shot is, and be willing to pass up an ‘okay’ shot for a ‘great’ shot.
  • If the second layup or post up isn’t open, 1 can pop out to the wing and isolate the bigger opponent or the team can run a pick and roll.

3. Pin and Pick

Overview of the Play:

Wing players cut towards the paint and exchange sides on a cross screen. The screener will look to seal and receive a pass inside while the player receiving the screen will pop out to the perimeter. If the pass inside isn’t open, the ball is passed to the wing for a pick-and-roll.

Instructions:

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the ball, and one player on each wing.

  1. With 1 in possession of the basketball at the top of the key, wing players (2 and 3) cut towards the low blocks.
  2. 3 screens for 2 under the hoop and then attempts to seal 2’s defender.
  3. At the same time, 2 reads the defense and cuts out to the wing.
  4. If the pass to 3 isn’t open, 1 passes to 2 and then sprints down to set a pick-and-roll on the wing while 3 clears out to the weak-side of the floor.
Coaching Points:
  • The first passing option 1 should be looking at is the pass inside to 3.
  • 2 can cut outside to either wing depending on how the defense plays the cross screen.
  • Make sure 1 is setting a strong screen in the pick-and-roll. Ball handlers aren’t often asked to screen, so some of their screens can be weak or easy to dodge.

4. Give and Go, Cross Screen

Overview of the Play:

Two players use a give and go action to start the play. If there isn’t an opportunity for the pass on the cut, the cutter continues and sets a cross screen on the opposite side of the floor.

Instructions:

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key, and one player on each of the wings.

  1. A player at the top of the key (1) starts the play with a pass to the wing player (2).
  2. After passing the basketball, 1 cuts towards the basket attempting to execute a give-and-go play.
  3. If there aren’t any opportunities for a pass and finish, 1 turns to set the cross screen for the player on the weak side wing (3).
  4. 3 cuts off the back screen towards the basket to receive the pass and finish with a layup.
  5. At the same time, 1 attempts to seal 3’s defender on the screen, and could be open for a pass and finish if 2’s defender denies the pass to 3.
Coaching Points:
  • 2 must wait for a good opportunity to make the pass.
  • 1 must set a strong screen and seal the defender before opening up for the pass.
  • 3 must cut hard towards the basket, and if there’s no opportunity for the pass and finish, must clear the paint to create space for the pass to 2.

5. Ram Screen

Overview of the Play:

This is one of the most effective 3-on-3 basketball plays and involves a ram screen to create opportunities out of a pick-and-roll.

Instructions:

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the basketball, and one player on each wing.

  1. 1 starts with the basketball at the top of the key.
  2. 2 and 3 cut towards the middle of the floor, with 3 cutting towards the low block while 2 cuts to the free-throw line.
  3. 2 turns and sets a screen for 3 on the low block and then clears outside towards the corner or wing after the screen.
  4. 3 cuts off the screen and sprints towards the top of the key to set the pick-and-roll for 1.
  5. 1 looks to create scoring opportunities out of the pick-and-roll, while 3 can roll towards the basket or pop out for a three-point shot.

To help give your team the best chance to succeed, I’m going to show you five 3-on-3 basketball plays that you can take to the court and use to help your team get wide open shots and layups.

Panthers 20 Lions 0: 3 plays to love, 3 plays to hate from Week 11

These key plays swung momentum and decided the Carolina Panthers 20-0 home win against the Detroit Lions, putting Carolina’s record at 4-7.

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Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Plays to Love, Plays to Hate highlights the plays that have a significant impact in swinging momentum and impacting the eventual outcome of the game. There’s always plenty to hate about NFL officiating, so we will only focus on the plays on the field, not the refs. Let’s review the momentum-shifting plays that led to P.J. Walker winning his first NFL start.

Three plays to love

PJ to DJ for 52 yards in the first quarter: The Panthers and Lions both punted on their first possessions to start the game. Carolina started their second possession pinned at the five yard line and quickly moved to the 31. PJ Walker then connected with DJ Moore on a beautiful 52-yard bomb that advanced the ball to the Detroit 17. This huge play set up a touchdown for an early 7-0 Panthers lead. More importantly, it prevented PJ Walker from playing from behind in his first NFL start while keeping the defense honest about his deep ball.

Penalty nullifies Detroit’s third quarter score: Carolina led 14-0 early in the third quarter and was dominating defensively. Detroit’s stagnant offense broke from its script and executed a perfect double pass. Matthew Stafford launched a 51-yard bomb for a touchdown to Marvin Jones Jr. who wrestled away a contested pass from Shaq Thompson in the end zone. Fortunately for the Panthers, this momentum-shifting play was called back due to an illegal formation and Detroit ultimately punted. It would’ve been a gut punch to play so well defensively up to that point only to give up a sudden score on a trick play.

Back-to-back fourth quarter sacks: The Panthers were up 17-0 with just under eight minutes left to play. The Lions offense was making its last attempt at a comeback. On first-and-10 from the Detroit 32 Brian Burns dropped Matthew Stafford for a seven yard loss. On the very next play Yetur Gross-Matos and Zach Kerr combined for a sack and a three yard loss. The Lions ultimately failed on a desperate fourth-and-20 from their own 22 and gave possession back to the Panthers on downs. Game. Over.

Three plays to hate

PJ’s second quarter goal line pick: The Panthers led 7-0 and were gift-wrapped additional points by recovering a Lions fumble on a bad snap at the Detroit 25. Facing third-and-goal from the four yard line, PJ Walker tried to squeeze a pass to DJ Moore in a congested part of the end zone. Amani Oruwariye read the play like a children’s book and undercut the route for an easy interception. Few things will kill momentum for a team on a five-game losing streak that’s starting a backup quarterback making his first career start like failing to get points under those circumstances.

PJ’s fourth quarter goal line pick: Carolina led 17-0 with just over nine minutes left in the game and faced third-and-goal from the seven yard line. A score here, especially a touchdown, would virtually ice the game. But as he did earlier in the game, PJ Walker threw a very bad pass which was picked off in the end zone.

Manhertz’s fourth quarter drop: The Panthers had the ball with two minutes left in the game and a 20-0 lead. Carolina’s offense faced third-and-5 and a conversion would ensure a shutout, a very rare feat in today’s NFL. Chris Manhertz snuck into the left flat and was wide open. PJ gave him a catchable ball but as Manhertz twisted to make the catch he stumbled, fell, and dropped it. Fortunately for Chris, the Lions bailed out the Panthers with back-to-back penalties to seal the shutout. If Detroit would’ve put some cheap points on the board on a final, meaningless possession, Manhertz would’ve owed the entire defense a steak dinner.

Closing it out and summing it up

Man, what a fun game that was! Kudos to Phil Snow’s defense for pitching a totally unexpected shutout, just the seventh in the Panthers franchise history and the first time Detroit has been blanked since 2009. Context is everything. Matthew Stafford teams just don’t get shut out, and especially not by a defense largely composed of rookies, journeymen, and role players.

PJ Walker played well in his first NFL start, minus the two interceptions. It’s not uncommon for inexperienced quarterbacks to panic a bit in “and goal” situations where the field gets compressed and they sometimes feel the need to force the action. Every team needs a backup quarterback who’s at least capable, and through one game PJ Walker has shown he has the skills to be just that.

Props go to Joey Slye for his career-long 56-yard field goal, DJ Moore for his 148 yards from scrimmage, Juston Burris for making several big plays around the line of scrimmage, and Brian Burns for continuing to terrorize quarterbacks with two more sacks.

This was the perfect way to end a five-game losing streak and instill some hope and confidence in this rebuilding team. The 4-7 Panthers now head on the road to face the 4-6 Minnesota Vikings. Let’s hope the good times continue to roll.

These key plays swung momentum and decided the Carolina Panthers 20-0 home win against the Detroit Lions, putting Carolina’s record at 4-7.