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Explain One Play: Double Split Cuts for a Curry to Draymond Dunk

The Warriors put a double twist on their signature play to help beat the Magic on March 16, 2017.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors
Whenever Curry reaches for his ankle, we have heart attacks in Dub Nation
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the game started with the season flashing before our eyes again, when Stephen Curry ran off court with ankle problems. Luckily he came back quickly and helped put down the Magic, in the first easy game the Dubs have had in weeks.

Here’s a play the W’s have been slowly working into their playbook. First, if you’ve read this series, you know about the dive-pop split cut action that was introduced this year. For a quick refresher, read here. The basic idea is that the ball goes to a passer in the post, and two players run at each other, then suddenly split in different directions, one diving to the basket, one popping out for a catch and shoot. This dive-pop action is hard to cover by switching, which has become the standard defense of the W’s motion offense (along with grappling and wrestling).

The league is now on the lookout for the basic dive-pop action, so the W’s have been throwing some twists into the action. One twist is to run a dive-pop straight into another dive-pop.

Here’s a mushy version from ancient times, the Cupcake Era. You’ll see the first action with a dive (Kevin Durant) and pop (Klay Thompson), straight into a second dive (Thompson) and pop (Curry). Durant is open on the first dive and gets pastry revenge.

Ahh those were the days, huh? Remember when we had Durant on the team? Whatever happened to that guy anyway?

Here’s one double dive-pop from tonight. You’ll see the ball fed to a post passer (David West), and a first dive (Matt Barnes) and pop (Curry) go straight into a second dive (Draymond Green) and pop (Curry).

A few other notes. At the very start of the play, notice how Curry looks like he’s setting a down screen to have Barnes pop out. He really overacts it by mashing himself into Barnes’s defender. Suddenly, Barnes is diving and Curry is popping and the defenders are flat footed. At this point Andre “Saved Up All His Dunks For The Stretch” Iguodala is completely open in the left corner since his man has to help on Barnes.

So when Curry pops off of Green’s dive, Curry’s man is scrambling behind and Green’s man jumps out to stop Curry. Even though Curry is shooting like cow patties, he’s still got the same gravity and causes anarchy and when he cuts, he makes the other side panicky, even when he’s throwing away his shot.

David West feeds Curry, who draws the double team. He makes a beautiful quick pass to Green who now has an open lane to the basket except for two Magic defenders. Why don’t the defenders stop Green? They were scrambling trying to switch to guard Matt Barnes on the first dive-pop! By the time they turn attention back to the ball, it’s too late and Green has a dunk. Notice Green complaining to the official that he was fouled on the arm on the way up (which he was).

Even if the Magic defenders had stopped Green’s drive, Iguodala had been left by himself restlessly stationed alone at the arc for a kickout three.

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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