The Miami Heat are famous for putting a sudden and depressing end to the Jeremy Lin show back when he was the talk of the world for the New York Knicks. Their plan? To blitz the pick-and-rolls and double relentlessly, forcing the Knicks only playmaker (Carmelo Anthony was out) to make plays against a speed and defense he simply hadn't seen or ever experienced. It was unfair.
Earlier this season, the Heat tried the emulate their success against one point guard onto another, against the Golden State Warriors in their first matchup; forcing the ball out of Curry's hands the moment he stepped across halfcourt. Then this happened.
Curry is used to this type of defensive scheme. In college against Loyola Maramount, he was held to zero points on three shots. Davidson ended up winning by 30. Curry was content just passing the ball out of doubles and inviting the defense to come to him before making the right pass. LeBron James has made a habit of this his entire career, often drawing criticism for not shooting the ball enough. Because of the win, Curry is going to be praised as a true playmaker and unselfish superstar that led his team to victory. Just remember, this isn't the first or last time.
Let's go through a couple plays where the Clipper defense paid way too much attention to Curry:
DeAndre Jordan over-commits so much it allows Jermaine O'Neal to have a free run to the rim. Luckily for the Clippers, O'Neal moves in slow motion, allowing the recovery to happen. However, Matt Barnes is rightfully worried about Curry cutting. The problem? Everyone else is also frantically panicked over Curry. It leaves Harrison Barnes wide open.
It's hard to help the helper when everyone is helping on someone else.
Curry sees the double quick and throws it into the post to Barnes. Luckily for us, he doesn't jab-step, jab-step, swing-dribble, fadeaway. Instead, he drops a quick dime to David Lee who has left Blake Griffin at the top of the key doubling Curry. Layup drill.
Read this first.
Hilarious. There's no point breaking down what happens after the initial pass. The Warriors aren't great, or even good, running normal fastbreaks but were extremely efficient capitalizing on the constant stream of 4-on-3s. Hilton Armstrong and Marreese Speights kept the Warriors afloat in the first half of a playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Now that's the trolliest sentence I've ever written. Except, well, yeah.
And just for comedy's sake, here's one more on how the Clippers dealt with recovering and helping after the double all game long.
What is Big Baby doing?
For everything written about Draymond Green's awesome defensive effort, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes' tough makes, and Jermaine O'Neal and David Lee's second half turnaround, it was the pungent awfulness of the Clippers defense that kept the Warriors in the game long enough for them to pull away at the end.
We'll do it again Monday.