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Explain One Play: Curry-Green Pick and Roll to 1.5 Huge Dunks

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Quick look at the play that led to the game-sealing dunk from Draymond, from the Warriors-Sixers game on Feb 27, 2017.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers
Dray high-fives TJ whilst giving him buckets
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Despite how well the Stephen Curry - Kevin Durant pick and roll should work in theory or in NBA2K, it hasn’t quite clicked. Not the way the Warriors’ old favorite play clicks, the Curry - Draymond Green pick and roll. So tonight, the Warriors turned to their current favorite form of the Curry - Green pick and roll to stave off a Sixers comeback late in the fourth quarter.

First, here is the basic form of the play, from earlier in the game. You’ll see the W’s start with a Spurs Motion look (three men across the top, two down low) and the ball swings across. Kerr is a religious believer in the ball changing sides of the court. Then Draymond runs over to set a screen. Two men go to Curry, and this lets Draymond soar in for the tremendous...

...oops. Luckily the ball goes straight to Zaza Pachulia (who clearly used some occult process to absorb all of today’s luck out of Curry’s body). Pachulia finds Durant in the corner for an open 3.

Why doesn’t Green just waltz over and plop down for a solid screen? Because teams like to double-team Curry, and that’s harder when Draymond’s defender is trailing behind.

Here is the play again, late in the fourth, with a twist. The Sixers have sliced the lead to 9, and this is after a timeout, so you know this is a designed, carefully chosen play.

Again, the ball swings across from Curry to Klay Thompson to Green. Again, Green runs across court to set the screen, and this time he gets a screen from Andre Iguodala on the way. This is sometimes called a ram screen, though I’ve called this “pre-screening the screener” because that’s funnier. Watch.

The ram screen works like gangbusters. Iguodala’s man doesn’t see what’s coming at all and he is many steps behind in taking over for the man Iguodala screened. Green solidly screens Curry’s man and then beats him on the roll to the basket. Curry walks around around the recovering big man and throws a phenomenal pass to Green. Touch, timing, one-handed, left-handed, off-the-dribble, semi-blind. This time Green does not miss the dunk. Here are a couple more angles of the play.

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.