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Explain One Play: Steph Counters the Rockets

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Watch Stephen Curry and Draymond Green use a Spurs play to come back in Game 1 against the Rockets. Then when the Rockets try to bust the play, Steph and Dray change it up to counter the Rockets defense. Co-starring Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Trevor Ariza and James Harden. From Game 1, May 14 2018.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
Millenials are obsessed with screens
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Random notes from the Warriors-Rockets game before jumping to the video.

If the Houston Rockets crack psychologically, of course this is over. But that game was very close halfway through the 4th. It looks to me they can tighten up their D -- those back cuts and open Klay Thompson 3s -- and tweak the O, and they’re right there.

HOU adjustments ideas:

  • Isolate less to conserve James Harden energy, and only attack Stephen Curry. Kevon Looney is doing ok.
  • Run more of their Pistol type actions on the wing, didn’t see much of that.
  • De-bug their PNR. GSW killed that. Weird spacing.
  • Bait KD into driving to attack his handle?
  • Thompson was toast attacking off-the-dribble tonight.
  • When Nick Young is out there, you have to force him into switching decisions to test his D.
  • Put David West in the PNR. Still some matchups HOU can still pick on.

I thought Curry played within himself. HOU was running him off the arc, switched very well on the flares and splits, and he took the layups when they were there. He got a fistful of assists. And KD was cooking. Steph only looked bad at Q3 end, when he was gassed. Curry had 8 assists, 18 points, and ONE turnover!! Very rare for Steph. I believe I looked into this once and Curry has had 1 TO games about as often as 10 three-pointer games.

GSW didn’t run much PNR for Steph and the rare ones often devolved into ISOs. HOU’s (mostly) sharp switches are choking off Curry’s off-ball game. If GSW really needed Steph O, they prob run more and more varied PNR for him. Without even opening the emergency box of Stephen Curry - Kevin Durant PNR.

Curry still doesn’t look 100% burst-wise. His 3 pointer looks wonky, but at least he finished well at the rim and could run by Harden at will.

On the Harden isolation attack, Steph competed and made Harden hit some difficult midrange shots. Curry tried the high tag vs Harden with mixed results. But he got a hustle steal while trying to evacuate and a huge Andre dunk, and another high tag caused another steal. Also GSW put Curry on a corner man, then pre-switching as Curry’s man comes up to screen.

In honor of Curry’s controlled game, tonight’s video play focuses on his early play, when the Warriors turned a 12-4 opening roundhouse punch into a tight 13-10 game. We’ve written about Motion Weak Pick and Roll plenty of times before. (For instance, here comparing Jordan Bell and JaVale McGee running it.)

Tonight, GSW ran it once, and then Trevor Ariza denies the initial swing pass and Curry and Draymond Green execute a sweet counter that I’ve never seen them do before. Co-starring Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Trevor Ariza and James Harden.

Stephen Curry Counters The Rockets

Watch Stephen Curry and Draymond Green use a Spurs play to come back in Game 1 against the Rockets. Then when the Rockets try to bust the play, Steph and Dray change it up to counter the Rockets defense. Co-starring Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Trevor Ariza and James Harden. By @EricApricot. More videos and full articles at http://tinyurl.com/ericapricot

Posted by Golden State of Mind on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

(alternate YouTube link)