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The Golden State Warriors defeat the Milwaukee Bucks by taking position-less basketball to the max

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Position-less basketball is here to stay: a running diary of last night's fourth quarter.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I've seen the future of basketball.

It was the lineup the Warriors ran out to close the game last night.

Length. That's the catch word. The important thing that all NBA GM's seek.

(We join the fellas with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter.)

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It is Draymond Green's birthday. He has 19 points. There is a cake waiting backstage for the players, to be eaten once the game finishes, because who wants to play a basketball game with a belly full of frosting?

Draymond blocks Ersan Ilyasova's shot. Pushing it ahead, Stephen Curry gets a look from three-point range, but misses. The ball is off Milwaukee. On the inbounds, Curry slings a nice pass to Draymond, who gets hacked beneath the basket, sending him to the line. He's struggled lately. He misses both, but Barnes grabs the rebound, earning another possession.

10:26: Curry finally gets a three to go down.

Jim Barnett: "Sometimes, that's all it takes--to get one down. And then they come in bunches ... Wouldn't that be nice?"

Giannis Antetokounmpo drives against Andre Iguodala and scores. This is the future. Here is the length. Andre is a world class defender, and there's nothing he can do against Giannis, who is pushing seven feet and has the athleticism and handles of a shooting guard.

9:48: Bob Fitzgerald: "Steph ... Three!! Yessir! Didn't you just say sometimes it only takes one?! And then he gets in that human torch mode!"

Good defense by the Warriors forces a tough shot, Draymond grabs the rebound, pushes it upcourt to Shaun Livington who fires across to Steph.

Shoots the three. Immediately turns around, running away. Knows it is good.

9:14: The crowd is losing its damn mind.

Fitz: "He turned! He knew it was in! He turned and ran back before the ball ever got there!!"

This guy is dancing, and his dancing makes the world go round.

Suddenly, the Warriors are up ten.

Then, on three successive drives, the Warriors use their length and quickness to force steals.

8:58: Curry gets the steal and pushes it ahead, but the ball movement breaks down and Iguodala ends up getting his shot blocked by the rim.

8:21: Draymond picks the pocket of Giannis, and runs it all the way down for a vicious dunk.

Fitz: "Sometimes you gotta March 4th! Happy birthday!"

7:55: Iguodala crashes the passing lane (picking off a pass intended for Antetokounmpo) and is fouled. Warriors are up 12.

On the next Warriors possession, Livingston throws a sweet pass to Andre, who scores. Warriors up 14. It's their largest lead of the night. A tight game has become a sudden runaway freight train because of their active hands, their length, and their outside shooting.

7:24: Ilyasova answers with a three.

The Warriors lineup for this whole run has been:

Draymond Green - C

Harrison Barnes - PF

Andre Iguodala - SF

Shaun Livingston - PG

Stephen Curry - SG

But, really, they are playing true position-less basketball. They are switching on every single defensive assignment, and every player other than Curry is at least 6'6". Sure you can call Livingston the defacto point guard on the floor, but how is his role that different from Barnes? Or from Draymond? They all can handle, they all can contest, they all have crazy jazz hands activity, and they all can shoot.

Nightmares (for opposing coaches).


Fitz: "Livingston--soaring in the air!! Oh man!"

Barnett: "That! Is one heck of a finish. That! Will pump you up.

Fitz: "That's your 6'7" point guard!"

Barnett: "Well he climbed the imaginary rope."

Klay subs in for Harrison, making Iguadala the defacto power forward.

Fitz: "This is the piranha defense. All these 6'7" guys, 6'5"..."

5:11: Steph throws up an off balance flipshot. Draymond gets the rebound and puts it back up.

4:28: Iggy steal, his fourth of the night.

3:24: Iguadala blocks a MIL shot, but the blocks caroms to Giannis, who puts it up and in.

Barnett: "There's nothing you can do about that. When he fades away, with that length?!"

Warriors up by ten. Steve Kerr calls timeout.

2:20: Livington dunks again! This time, challenging Giannis, switching the ball in mid air to his left hand.

2:03: Klay jumps and intercepts a pass. Turning, he fires the ball downcourt football-style to Draymond, who immediately kicks it to Steph.

Game-icing three.


Warriors lead 100-87

The Greek Freak answers with a long jumper.

Fitz: "I'll tell ya, I like the Greek Freak, Jim."

Taken out of context, a few years ago, one shudders to imagine the possible scenarios in which Fitz utters this to Barnett.

100-89 Warriors, under two minutes.

Klay misses another shot. He only has four points in the second half. Shooting woes continue.

Maybe they should kill the lights in the arena??!

With only 15 seconds left in the game, the ball trickles out of bounds between Giannis' legs, leading to an official review.

Fitz: "The question is--did the Greek Freak touch it as it went through his legs?"


Again, context is everything.

The game finally ends. Draymond has 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Livingston has 16 points and six assists in 27 minutes of action.

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When the Warriors made their run, no one on the court was taller than 6'7". Their center was Draymond, who is reportedly only 6'6".

Jason Kidd has crafted a team in Milwaukee very similar to the Warriors. He relies on long, athletic players with high basketball IQ, and puts them in situations where traditional positions cease to matter.

Giannis is a game changing talent. His genes will be studied by future generations as a turning point in the evolution of the human body.

That long? That fluid? Humans aren't supposed to possess such grace when they are so lanky. Remember Yao Ming? Can you imagine him moving with one tenth the balletic ease of Giannis? And it's not just the Greek. Michael Carter-Williams, recently acquired from Philadelphia, is 6'7", a point guard in the Livingston/Penny Hardaway/Magic Johnson model. Everyone on that team can play defense. Most everyone can shoot. Down the road, especially with the return of Jabari Parker, I see them being a perennial contender in the East.

But last night, the Warriors showed the world what the future of basketball looks like. And showed the Bucks how position-less basketball is truly played.

Spread it out, run like mad. Switch and deny and sprint down the court. Give Steph the ball and turn around before the shot drops.

Because everyone in the building knows it's good.

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Side Note: This is the view outside my front door right now. Sheesh. This winter will never end, apparently. Enjoy the weather out west, you lucky so-and-so's.