During Game Three of the Mavs-Suns series, Leandro Barbosa was in the middle of one of his patented runs in which he suddenly gains confidence and begins to resemble Tiny Archibald in his prime.
When that happens, the whole game changes for Phoenix. Passing lanes open up, the Dallas big men flock to the lane to try to cut off the drive, and the home crowd surges toward the court. It always starts with a circus shot and then a length-of-the-court drive that is pure, breathtaking speed, followed by the real killer: the play that I call "The Iverson Factor."
What happens is that Barbosa turns the corner for the third or fourth time in the last 60 seconds and the crowd readies itself for an explosion of excitement, and the defense gets geared up, and then ... the shot bounces off the rim. Or Barbosa overshoots it off the glass. Either way, the shot misses. However, because of the penetration, there are no Dallas defenders. A Phoenix player (in the example case, Boris Diaw) swoops in for the easy rebounds and slams it home.
You probably have already connected the dots and deciphered the meaning of the name for this particular play. For years, Allen Iverson has done this for his team. He is one of the most fearless and relentless penetrators in the game and after he's converted three of four times, the defense inevitably collapses harder and swarms more emphatically — leaving the glass completely unprotected. Over the years, Iverson's teammates — luminaries such as Derrick Coleman, George Lynch, Kenny Thomas, and Samuel Dalembert — have made a killing picking up these easy caroms and tossing them in the basket.
I remember watching a Sixers-Hornets playoff game in 2003 in which this happened at least a half-dozen times. I recall that the analyst covering the game (I forget who it was) pointed out how many easy baskets the Sixers were getting via Iverson's missed layups, and for the first time, I wondered if there was a way to calculate this as some sort of statistic.
Now, there are other considerations to be pulled out of this little story, not the least of which is the curious fact that Philly has failed to surround Iverson with any decent offensive rebounders in recent years. However, the important thing here is that both the Iverson tale and the Barbosa example prove that a missed shot can be a lethal weapon in the game of basketball.