Somewhere along the line, a real dud of a game turned into a thriller.
Flashback: Nov 30, 2015
Didn't this just happen? Remember the last time the Warriors were in Utah, it was all tied up late in the game, and the Warriors pulled out, for the first time, a Klay Thompson - Stephen Curry pick and roll. Go to Explain One Play: Stephen Curry cold-blooded go-ahead three for a full analysis, but you can imagine this is a tough play to defend since you don't want to leave either one to shoot. In November, the Jazz switched assignments, and Curry pulled this bit of magic:
Klay Thompson's Game Tying Three
And now for something similar. The Warriors get to crunch time and need a three to tie. They go to -- wait for it -- a Klay - Steph pick and roll again. This time, the Jazz (weirdly) blitz Curry with a double team, and this happens:
Curry passes out of the double team to Klay, who misses a wide open three.
The double team looks like a mistake to me. Rodney Hood (Klay's original defender) plays like he's switching to Curry all the way and he expects Gordon Hayward (Curry's defender) to switch to Klay. Klay doesn't ever set the screen as he slips it right away, and Hayward does not seem to even know Klay is there to switch to. Hood desperately calls out for a switch by Joe Ingles, who gamely contests Klay's first three. Then oddly, Ingles keeps going, as if looking for a home run pass off the rebound. He would have been useful to have around to contest Klay's second shot. Shaun Livingston alertly takes advantage when the rebound luckily goes right to him, and finds Klay for the second chance 3.
Sort of reminds you of the Pelicans Game 3 game tying three, doesn't it?
Update from Ethan Sherwood Strauss:
Golden State's savvy was on display in that play and in the one that followed. Down three, 24 seconds left, with the Jazz switching every screen, the Warriors opted to take advantage of Utah's intense focus on Curry. Thompson jogged up to Curry as though to set a pick, then suddenly veered away from the action, out into the clear. In slipping the screen, Thompson had gained an open opportunity to tie it up. "We knew they were going to switch so, it's tough to guard that slip when they're expecting a screen," Thompson said. "That's what we thought. Coach [Steve] Kerr drew up a great play."
Curry's Very Difficult Layup #1
It's tied in overtime. Everyone is tired. It's time to go to a classic play. This is the first play they put in the Kerr era last season: the Post-Cross split. The play is to for a wing to throw the ball to a big in the post and then screen for another shooter. There are a few variations as we'll see. This version has Livingston feeding Draymond in the post and then immediately nailing Curry's defender Shelvin Mack. Rudy Gobert switches on to Curry and then...
Curry runs Gobert into Draymond. Hayward alertly switches on to Curry and forces him into a tough layup which he finishes beautifully. Fading away, left handed hook shot gently banked in. Amazing.
(For more detail on the Post-Cross, a good starter is Explain One Play: Stephen Curry to Open Andrew Bogut Dunk with links to previous work.)
Curry's Very Difficult Layup #2
A minute and a half later, and now for something completely the same. Livingston feeds Draymond in the post and -- wait for it -- screens for Curry. He tries to nail Curry's defender, Mack, a second time. Do you remember? Mack does. He fights past the screen and overplays Curry to prevent the pass from Draymond like last time. Then suddenly this happens:
Curry suddenly doubles back and gets a re-screen from Livingston. Draymond hits Curry with a nice pass leading him into the lane. There Curry meets Joe Ingles, bounces off of him, tosses up a soft touch floater which bounces in. I believe the double back re-screen was planned, as Livingston doesn't try very hard to screen Mack on the first pass.
I'm guessing Curry thought he was fouled, as you can see Ingles gives him a healthy side bump from the alternate angle:
I haven't noticed the double-back option on the post-cross, and it worked nicely here. It's great to see the playbook expanding and to see the Warriors going Next Level even in high stress situations.