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Explain One Play: Bad W’s transition defense = Grizzlies mauling

Video analysis of the poor defense that led to Memphis running away in the third quarter in the Warriors-Grizzlies game on October 21, 2017.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Klay’s conditioning still on its way from China
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a previous article, I wrote:

Three major issues with the Warriors’ defense became apparent:

1. Bad transition coverage. When other teams attacked quickly, defenders would lose track of attackers and give up open shots.

2. Bad switches. Defenders would try to switch assignments but fail, leaving attackers too much room to shoot or drive.

3. Open threes from the weak-side corner.

.... As for #3, a more thorough assessment may be saved for another day, but it is a structural feature of the Warriors’ defensive scheme. Every defense gives up something, and that’s the current concession. Basically, because rim intimidation is lacking (Zaza Pachulia rarely blocks, JaVale McGee is erratic, David West and Kevon Looney are not real shot blockers either), the Warriors often play a goalie to shadow drivers. This goalie helps off the weak-side corner. (Most recent discussion: Explain One Play: Stephen Curry and Draymond Green contain Russell Westbrook.)

Of course, this article was from last December, so these issues are not new. It’s a little surprising to see these same issues plaguing the Warriors again this year.

Last year, the Warriors were new and trying to adopt a new defense. Stephen Curry was rehabbing, and Kevin Durant was still learning team defense. This year, those shouldn’t be issues. So I’m not sure what the reasons are beyond rust and fatigue from getting out of shape during a celebration summer.

Here is a movie of lowlights from the Grizzlies transition attack during the third quarter run that put the game out of reach.


If you’re reading the weak-tea AMP version, you won’t see the poll and comments. Reload directly and click on the article again for the full package.

Last year I worked hard to put out Explain One Play fresh the next morning after the game. For various editorial reasons, I put these out a full day after the game.


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  • 19%
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