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Explain One Play: Zaza Pachulia pick-and-roll with Curry and Durant

Pachulia dished out the hard fouls and the pick-and-roll playmaking in the Thunder-Warriors’ game on Jan. 18, 2017.

Zaza say NAH

The People’s Choice, Zaza Pachulia, is starting to look more comfortable out there. He still has passes bounce off of him, but he’s working hard for rebounds. He’s comfortable enough to take Draymond Green’s role dealing out the hard, flagrant fouls. And he’s also playing Green’s playmaking role in the pick-and-roll. This is a great sign. His hard-nosed play and solid passing make up for his slow ways — and Zay-ups those many muffed-up layups.

Pachulia pick-and-roll with Curry

The Warriors (and every other team) likes to attack Enes Kanter in the pick-and-roll. Here, Pachulia steps up and sets a quick screen for Stephen Curry. Immediately, Kanter and Russell Westbrook double-team Curry.

Here, Pachulia rolls to the basket quickly and Curry has two possible outlets. Andre Roberson has to guard both the rolling Pachulia and Green at the top of the key. Roberson chooses Green, Curry makes the right pass, Pachulia drives to the basket.

Now Pachulia looks at passing to Andre Iguodala, whose man Cameron Payne has rotated to Pachulia. Pachulia suddenly realizes he is much taller, and makes the simple finish.

Pachulia pick-and-roll with Durant

It’s always interesting to me to see how much Curry directs traffic. Here he signals twice to Pachulia to set a high pick for Kevin Durant. Immediately, the Thunder double-team Durant and, again, Pachulia swiftly rolls to the basket.

We’ve seen Green run this 4-on-3 so many times and now it’s Pachulia’s turn. Curry and Klay Thompson are spotted up for three on the sides, so Green’s defender has to be the one to rotate. He does, and Pachulia makes the clean, simple read and the simple pass, leading to Green throwing down the one-handed dunk.

Final thoughts

In case you missed it, this is quite a read: Average Georgian NBA fan's opinion about Zaza Pachulia and All-Star voting. It really puts sports into perspective. Sometimes I get a little tired of all the toxic, immature sludge that passes for sports talk in this country. So much energy searching around for the next person to bully as a loser or coward or otherwise target for outrage. Sports, at its best, should inspire, create community, and elevate everyone through honorable combat.

I know that we can’t get him to [All-Star Game] because of rule changes, but for me (and I think most of Georgians and for Zaza himself) it’s not the most important thing in this story, after all this is the only way we can say “thank you” to Zaza.

I find the All-Star Game unwatchable, anyway.

If you want to read more video breakdowns — one for well-nigh every Warriors’ win since 2015 — check out the Explain One Play Mega-Index, searchable and sortable by player, play, team and date.

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