This was a fairly close game, but the Heat just couldn't get traction against the Warriors' bench and down the stretch, couldn't quite get the game to within a single possession. Let's look at two big dunks.
Dunk 1. Shaun Livingston to Andre Iguodala Alley-oop Dunk
Here is the highlight package of this magnificent play.
But this package makes it a little hard to tell how Andre got open. It does tell you that S Dot can pass and Andre can jump very high when he's out of his rocking chair. But if you look carefully, you can see that Marreese Speights gets in the way of Andre's defender, giving him just enough room to get clear for the alley-oop.
This play should look familiar to you, because we just looked at it a few days ago. Remember this delightful play?
Here Klay sets a back screen for Bogut, giving him space for the alley-oop. (Explained previously here.)
Tonight's is a similar play, except it's called for Andre to dive off a back screen from Speights. You can see Speights set the screen better in this view of the play:
Dunk #2. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry Bail Out Broken Play
This came at a nervous part of the game. The Heat had just made a run to pull within 6 points with two and a half minutes left. Let's just look at this whole play. What you'll see is:
- the Warriors run a play which (apparently) fails,
- Curry curls off of a Harrison Barnes screen,
- Curry passes to Draymond who drives and dunks.
Pop Quiz for advanced readers: identify the failed play that the Warriors run before Curry curls around Barnes.
Okay, the failed play has Curry setting a (wait for it) back screen on Draymond Green's defender, letting him rip to the hoop for an open dunk. We've discussed it before at Explain One Play: Stephen Curry Screen = Harrison Barnes Dunk DEJA VU! under the name Warriors Rip and it looks like this:
But in tonight's play, Curry seems to completely fan on the screen on Green's man. So the Warriors go on to create another option. I say "seems to" because Curry doesn't try very hard to screen... in fact it looks a lot like he's trying to fake the back screen and slip it to get open at the arc.
In any case, the Heat guard this part well, and Barnes resets by throwing the ball to Klay Thompson. Barnes then turns to Curry and gives just a little thumb sign (the Warriors standard gesture for "use my screen"). Curry curls around Barnes, gets a nice feed from Klay, and is guarded very well by #8 Tyler Johnson who is just glued to his hip. In the meantime, Barnes's defender, Luol Deng has sagged to contain Curry's drive. At this point, Barnes is open for an elbow jumper, but Curry would have to pass through two men.
The fatal mistake is Chris Bosh's. He is guarding Draymond in the left corner. But he sees Curry coming and he says, "You are BAD for the game! I'm going to block your Chewbacca-wearing scrawny butt and send you back to sign Frozen songs with the family."And thus it came to pass that Bosh sags all the way to the lane to further contain Curry. Right now three men ar guarding Curry. That's gravity for you.
Anyway, Curry sees that Bosh has completely left Draymond in the corner, so he feeds Draymond. Draymond drives past Bosh (he just came out a little too high to recover) and does some weird hypnosis thing on Deng who seemed to be in position to stop Green, but instead gets dunked on. If Deng had perfectly challenged Draymond, Andre was wide open in the corner for a three.
It's possible that the Curry curl around Barnes is a set part of the Warriors Rip play that happens if the back screen fails. Or it might have been an improvised play (it's an extremely common action for Klay, and sometimes for Steph).
In each of the highlight packages, you don't see the key role of the screener (Mo Speights in #1, Barnes in #2).
Illegal Screen Watch
There are very few completely legal screens set in the NBA, so I'll grade the screens on a scale of 0 (illegal, insane moving octopus criminal battery) to 10 (perfectly legal).
For #2. Barnes's screen is legal. He has his arms down and is not moving. You are supposed to give a moving defender a step of room, and given that the defender got around Barnes, it was enough room. Rating: 9/10 legal.
For #1. Speights's screen is legal. He comes to a full stop, and the defender is not moving and can see him. He does give the defender a light push with the arms on his way by, but nothing by NBA standards. Rating: 8/10 legal.