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Explain One Play: Curry makes 4 point play, enrages Kerr

Don’t love me at my 4 point play, if you don’t love me at my unnecessarily ambitious no-look over-the-head pass. From the Warriors-Grizzlies game on Feb 10, 2017.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies
I’m passing over my head (over my head) but it sure feels nice
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve often said that Curry worships the god of the highlight, and the god demands its sacrifices. So within a minute, Stephen Curry tosses in an and-1 three pointer and then also throws the coolest, most ambitious, most horrible and irresponsible pass. Let’s look at both.

Don’t love me at my four-point play...

Here’s the four-point play. It starts with a standard Warriors play, and flows into a high Curry and Draymond Green pick-and-roll. Advanced Quiz: identify the original play.

This sequence begins with the new form of the Warriors split cuts, what I’ve been calling dive-pop. The ball goes to a passer, either in the post or up high in this case. Then two Warriors run together and then suddenly one of them dives to the basket, one of them pops out to the three point line. This new split cut format is harder than the original version to defend by switching. (Our original discussion was here: Explain One Play: Durant Reverse Dunk and Curry 3 from Next Level Split Cuts.

Here’s another version of the play for comparison:

Anyway, back to the original play. The screen set by Andre Iguodala is sloppy and misses everything, and Kevon Looney’s isn’t much better. Most importantly, Zach Randolph shows out (briefly jumping off Kevon Looney into the passing lane) to prevent Green from passing to Curry. Well defended!

So the play flows into a Curry-Green pick-and-roll. Memphis tries to defend the pick and roll by arm hedging — the screen defender tries to slow Curry down with a clothesline — but Curry turbos past everything and forces the defense to collapse. We’re talking black hole collapse, as four Grizzlies step into the paint to contain Curry’s drive. This leaves Patrick McCaw wide-open for three.

The key to this play is that Curry doesn’t just stand around after his drive. He quickly pops out to the corner, McCaw finds him, and Carter fouls him.

Side note: did you notice Briante Weber coming over to help Curry up, then getting playfully wrestled away by Vince Carter?

... if you don’t love me at my terrible, cool, ambitious, no-look backwards pass.

Yeah, I really enjoyed this play. I mean, of course the pass is unnecessary, but so is basketball. If you aren’t going to try this early in a relatively meaningless February game, when would you? Never, and that would make basketball less fun.

Here’s the clip.

And the part that keeps on giving is rewatching the clip, but studying the different appalled reactions of the different coaches. Here’s the clip with zooming on the coaches.

Jarron Collins: I must ponder the sadness in the world.

Ron Adams: I now roll around boneless in disgust.

Mike Brown: whoa LEG CRAMPS


Final thoughts

And finally, down here where most people won’t get to...

To all you complaining about how Durant’s going to the Warriors messed up the parity of the league. Of course you’re right. But the truth is YOU CAN’T HANDLE PARITY.

Last year you had two of the greatest, closest basketball playoff series you’ll ever see, with two great comebacks. And did you celebrate what an awesome spectacle we saw? Did you celebrate the noble clash of all-out effort? OF COURSE NOT. You just tried to figure out whom you were allowed to call The Biggest Loser. You called Durant a choker. Then you called the W’s chokers. You beat that dead horse of a 3-1 joke.

So, if you looked at last year’s playoffs and honored everyone involved, okay, you get to mourn the loss of great rivalries. If you got on the 3-1 parade, then you’re part of the reason that KD went to the Warriors, so be sad and deserve it. You can’t have nice things.

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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