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Explain One Play: Steph “figures out” the Rockets defense

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The Warriors claimed after their Game 5 loss vs HOU that they “figured out” something on offense, and they proved it with a thumping rout in Game 6. Watch three adjustments that Stephen Curry and GSW made to counter HOU’s defense. Co-starring Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney. Scenes from 2018 WCF Game 6 on May 26 2018.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
Are we not men? We are Dubbo!
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After the Game 5 loss, the Warriors were unusually upbeat. One might even say they were downright jaunty. Steve Kerr said “I feel great, I know that sounds crazy.” Draymond said GSW had “figured out” something in their offense and then guaranteed that they would win Game 6.

Then in Game 6, the Warriors, after an incompetent first quarter, proved they had indeed figured out something, exploding past HOU. So what did they figure out? Well, Coach Steve Kerr hasn’t said, so we have to guess.

Here is a short video identifying three adjustments GSW has made. The two big tactics the HOU defense has used have been:

  1. Switching all screens
  2. Leaving non-shooters to soft-double Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant

The three adjustments we peek at are:

  1. Run on everything. GSW is great in transition, HOU is so-so defending it, and the pressure doesn’t let HOU set up its defense. It also tires out Harden and the short-bench Rockets.
  2. Slip screens. In the high pick and roll, screeners are slipping the screens hard. This causes faster decisions around switching and often leaves the slipper open.
  3. Relocation flares. When Steph got soft doubled, he would feed the abandoned player (say Kevon Looney) and have them pitch it back and set a screen for Curry. Or he’d give up the ball and immediately run to accept a flare screen for a catch-and-shoot 3.

Enjoy the short video, co-starring Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney.

Stephen Curry Figures Out The Rockets Defense

The Warriors claimed after their Game 5 loss vs HOU that they "figured out" something on offense, and they proved it with a thumping rout in Game 6. Watch three adjustments that Stephen Curry and GSW made to counter HOU's defense. Co-starring Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevon Looney. By @EricApricot. More videos and full articles at http://tinyurl.com/ericapricot

Posted by Golden State of Mind on Sunday, May 27, 2018

(alternate YouTube link)

Final Thoughts

Anything can happen in a Game 7. One role player in HOU gets hot, the Rockets explode with the crowd behind it, GSW loses composure and makes bad turnovers, Kevin Durant reverts to isolation ball. This is a very plausible recipe for a HOU win in Game 7.

But if GSW plays with composure, defends the three-point line, runs its motion offense, hits open threes and makes the adjustments above, I think they have a great chance to win on the road.

And yes, it’s unusual to get two Explain One Plays in one day, but these are unusual times. Peace to all, and hope we remember tomorrow that in the end, we’re watching ten guys bouncing a ball, and whatever happens, I hope the Warriors play with energy, dignity and character.