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Explain One Play: Zaza Pachulia powers W’s 50 point quarter

Oh, you thought it was Curry’s 17 and Durant’s 13 that blew open the Clippers-Warriors game on Feb 23, 2017?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, you thought it was Stephen Curry’s 17 and Kevin Durant’s 13 that blew open the Clippers-Warriors game on Feb 23, 2017? Yeah, I guess they contributed too. But tonight let’s celebrate the return of Zaza Pachulia by watching all Warriors shots in the 50 point third quarter, and I’ll add some Zaza-centric commentary.

  • 11:40 Kevin Durant defensive rebound 61 - 49
  • 11:27 Stephen Curry misses 25-foot three point jumper 61 - 49
  • 11:27 Zaza Pachulia offensive rebound 61 - 49
  • 11:26 Kevin Durant makes dunk (Zaza Pachulia assists) 61 - 51

Pachulia sets the hard screen to free up Curry’s open 3. (DeAndre Jordan spent all game sagging off the W’s shooters, which ended badly.) Then Pachulia wisely runs past the contesting Jordan on the shot to get the rebound. Then he hits the cutting Kevin Durant for the assist.

  • 10:37 Blake Griffin bad pass (Zaza Pachulia steals) 63 - 51
  • 10:29 Stephen Curry makes 26-foot three pointer (Kevin Durant assists) 63 - 54

Pachulia gets the steal(!). Then he sets the solid flare screen in early offense that lets Curry pop out for the open three.

  • 9:08 Zaza Pachulia makes 18-foot jumper (Stephen Curry assists) 66 - 56

Curry declines the screen, but gets contained by Jordan and Austin Rivers. Once Curry figures out the coverage, he leads them both under the basket and gets Pachulia the open elbow jumper, which he cans.

  • 8:53 Zaza Pachulia blocks Blake Griffin 's 5-foot jumper 66 - 56
  • 8:52 Kevin Durant defensive rebound 66 - 56
  • 8:48 Kevin Durant makes driving layup (Klay Thompson assists) 66 - 58

Pachulia had FOUR BLOCKS. That’s a season high for him, the man I once said had negative shot blocking influence. He’s had three games of 3 blocks, 9 games with 1 block, and 36 games with no block. So maybe I wasn’t wrong, but he was a swat machine tonight.

  • 8:32 Draymond Green defensive rebound 66 - 58
  • 8:15 Kevin Durant makes 23-foot three point jumper (Draymond Green assists) 66 - 61
    I can’t remember what happened at the start of this play... I think Durant bobbled the ball and Pachulia saved it? Let’s just go with that.
  • 8:00 Luc Mbah a Moute lost ball turnover (Andre Iguodala steals) 67 - 61
  • 7:50 Kevin Durant makes 26-foot three point jumper (Klay Thompson assists) 67 - 64

Andre iguodala got the credit for the reach-around steal, but we all know it was Pachulia’s FOUR BLOCK shadow cutting off Jamal Crawford’s drive on the baseline that spooked him into turning it over. On the other end, notice how Pachulia runs hard and forces Crawford to tag him during the fast break. That allows Durant to sneak out to the left wing for the open 3.

  • 7:33 Austin Rivers lost ball turnover (Stephen Curry steals) 67 - 64
  • 7:24 Kevin Durant makes 27-foot three point running jumper (Stephen Curry assists) 67 - 67

Curry gets credit for the steal as he and Pachulia spring a double team trap on Rivers. It looks to me that both men ripped the ball loose. DeAndre Jordan did not give Rivers any kind of outlet either.

  • 7:01 DeAndre Jordan misses 68 - 67
  • 7:01 Stephen Curry defensive rebound 68 - 67
  • 6:56 Zaza Pachulia makes two point shot (Klay Thompson assists) 68 - 69

Curry has both Pachulia and Klay Thompson on the break guarded by J.J. Redick. He passes to Thompson to force Redick to guard him. Then Thompson makes the simple effective pass to the running Pachulia.

  • 5:54 Klay Thompson makes 26-foot three pointer (Kevin Durant assists) 72 - 72

Pachulia sets the sturdy screen that frees Thompson up for the open 3. (Again Jordan is sagging too far off the shooters, thank you.)

Pachulia has been partly responsible for every play in the Warriors’ comeback in six minutes from 12 points down. He, being a team player, then decides to let Curry take over for the rest of the quarter and hit a bunch of nutso shots.

Welcome back, Zaza!

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