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Explain One Play: Cupcake Durant’s delicious slam

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A beautiful three-man split cut gets Cupcake Durant a delicious slam dunk putting the icing on the Warriors-Thunder win on Feb. 11, 2017.

Game... cupcakes.

Of course the Thunder fans are going to boo Kevin Durant. Of course they’re sad, and they’re mad and they are bonding over it. And I don’t blame that restaurateur who declined renting his place out to Durant and the Warriors, since the Thunder are regulars.

The Thunder came out absolutely amped and showed what you can do if you play twice as hard as the other team. They were diving for balls, scrambling, gutting out rebounds. But after the first six minutes, the intense adrenaline wore off and the Warriors hung in there through the steady offense of JaVale McGee. (Hold on, what in the world did I just write?!).

The Warriors eased out to a 20+ point lead. But, with six minutes to go, the Thunder had sliced it to 13 points and had some momentum.

So Kerr ordered up this nice play. I only recall seeing the Warriors run this once before, with the bench squad.

Recall that a basic action in the Warriors’ offense is the dive-pop split cut, which involves two players converging (sometimes around a third player), and then one player pops out and the other cuts (usually toward the rim). So here, Draymond Green is the passer who gets fed the ball in the post. Andre Iguodala, Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw all converge at the top of the key. Clark pops out, McCaw dives (sort of).

Yes, the play ends in a very improbable Iguodala step-back three. The key is the three players converging. That makes it much more complex for defenders to switch to contain the different possible cuts. However, you aren’t going to panic if Iguodala, McCaw and Clark converge, as they don’t have much scoring firepower.

We saw the same play tonight with the A-Team, and you get a much jumpier defense. It starts off as a fake Stephen Curry-Draymond Green pick-and-roll. But, quickly, Curry feeds Green as the passer in the post and it becomes the triple dive-pop. Watch.

Importantly, the original fake pick-and-roll gets the Thunder to switch Steven Adams onto Curry. Adams isn’t as experienced as the smalls at chasing Curry through screens. So when Curry screens Andre Roberson (who had been hounding and hugging and nuzzling Durant all night), and then Curry ALSO screens Klay Thompson’s man, Adams isn’t sure who to switch to, and he follows Thompson.

This lets Durant cut unguarded to the basket, and Green threads a pass — fantastic in its timing, touch and location. Dunk.

Game, Cupcakes.

Every road back-to-back is hard, but going through the meat-grinders of the Grizzlies (physical) and then the Thunder (emotional and gastronomical) is a pretty tough task. Great playoff atmosphere tonight, and it was great to see Looney and McAdoo playing passable minutes in the cauldron.

Final thoughts

Here’s my favorite picture from the night:

And more about pastries:

For more about dive-pop, read Explain One Play: Curry makes 4-point play, enrages Kerr, or search the Mega-Index for “dive-pop.”

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.