As a guest on CJ McCollum’s podcast earlier this summer, Kevin Durant made headline writers happy when he told the Blazer guard, “I suggest you just keep playing, man, and don’t worry about what’s going on at the top of things.”
The NBA is a top-heavy league defined by super stars. Sure, an All-Star nod is nice, but the games at the top of the league aren’t decided by guys like Lamarcus Aldridge...or CJ McCollum.
So sure, the Golden State Warriors dropped last night’s game to Lebron James and the new look Lakers - but the underlying truth is that this matchup is probably only going to be this close when the games don’t matter. Because when they do matter, the Lakers just don’t have what it takes to hang with Golden State’s biggest weapons.
A trio of legitimate offensive all-time greats
Despite foul trouble and limited minutes, the trio of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson combined for 61 points - more than half of the entire team’s scoring output; and they did so in under 30 minutes (Durant played 24, Curry 26, and Thompson 27 minutes).
In a game that felt a bit more momentous than an average preseason engagement, it’s important to remember that we didn’t even really fully unleash our most devastating weapons at full power.
Over the course of the preseason, Curry and Thompson have led the charge, with both scoring around 22 points per game. But the story isn’t just that they score, the story is that they are doing so with astonishing efficiency. So far this preseason, Curry has a true shooting percentage of .686, Thompson is not far behind at .677.
This should surprise no one, as the Warriors are perennially one of the league’s most efficient scoring machines. So far this preseason, the trend has continued, as the Warriors are essentially tied for the best team field goal percentage.
Try and remember just how dominant these guys are before you get too vociferous in complaining about the end of our bench.
A pivot point and fulcrum for the offense
Ok, I’ll admit it: this entire article was built from the premise of this single video highlight. You see, the strength of the Warriors is highly dependent on defenders being absolutely terrified of what could happen if Thompson, Curry, or Durant get a good look at the basket.
Ball movement pic.twitter.com/FHtcx0WKlM— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) October 11, 2018
Look at the absolute pull that Curry has. First he causes Lebron James to jump hard off a screen, then Curry gets another help defender caroming into the lane after splitting the double.
The play ended up as an offensive charging call against Durant, but it’s pretty clear to me from watching that, neither the Lakers nor Lebron (nor really, the entire NBA) have an answer to this trifecta.