That was quite a series, huh?
The Golden State Warriors did their best to give that series away, with some shockingly unfocused efforts to start Game 6 and 7. And at halftime of Game 7, they found themselves in an 11-point hole with the Houston Rockets fans going nuts.
There has been an ongoing personality conflict within the team, between
- Kevin Durant post/isolation game
- Kerr motion offense
- Stephen Curry pick and roll game
And it has never really been settled. In 2017, Durant was out so the team had to take on Curry’s style and energy. They ripped off a huge winning streak, two games away from sweeping the last four months of the season. Then this year, Curry went out for most of the last two months, so the team by default took on Durant’s approach and energy through the first two rounds.
The Rockets countered the Durant post game by bringing late help, and Durant never quite adjusted to that, as he said post-game. They also brought help against Curry by helping off of non-shooters. Finally, they defused the motion offense by switching all screens.
After Game 5, the Warriors said they’d figured something out on offense, which I had made the educated guess was to counter with:
- Running on everything.
- Slip screens.
- Relocation flares (e.g. when Steph gets doubled, pass to the abandoned and get a flare screen from them).
Those techniques worked great in the Game 6 comeback.
Amazingly, the Warriors did not use these techniques in Game 7 in the first half, with Kevin Durant seemingly in a distracted funk, possibly overthinking his game after getting stymied by the Houston defense.
The third quarter began and the Warriors clearly gave Stephen Curry the keys to the offense, and he really delivered. The Warriors ran (#1 above) and Curry pulled off two stunning relocation flares with Jordan Bell that put the Warriors ahead for good.
Here’s a short video (actually three and a half minutes, which is double the usual length) about how Curry saved the Warriors season. Co-starring Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Jordan Bell, Ryan Anderson and James Harden.
How Stephen Curry Won Game 7
Watch Stephen Curry's brilliant performance against the Rockets in Game 7 to lead the Warriors comeback from 11 points down to 9 points up, to save the game and win the Western Conference Finals. Co-starring Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Ryan Anderson and James Harden. By @EricApricot. More videos and full articles at http://tinyurl.com/ericapricotPosted by Golden State of Mind on Tuesday, May 29, 2018