Welcome to The Golden Play of the Night, where we focus on a play or series of plays by the Warriors that stood out during a particular game. This will be the first preseason edition, and the plan is to do this more regularly during the season. For all of you who like to pay attention to the sets the Warriors run, this is for you.
In their loss against the Timberwolves on Saturday night, the Warriors were able to showcase their propensity for sharing and moving the ball, a classic staple of their offense that has resulted in three championships in four years. In the first half alone, the Warriors had 24 assists on 28 made field goals.
Warriors have 24 assists on 28 baskets. Just 6 turnovers. No preseason (or, in the warriors case, regular season!) sloppiness here.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) September 30, 2018
How Stephen Curry got his shots off
Stephen Curry, as everyone largely knows by now, has been the catalyst of the Warriors’ offensive onslaught upon the league for the past four years. In the system that Steve Kerr has installed and cultivated, Curry has risen to become a two-time MVP and arguably the greatest offensive force the league has ever seen.
He finished the first preseason game as the leading scorer with 21 points, with 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range.
His first two 3-pointers came from link-ups with third-year center Damian Jones.
Curry quickly passes the ball to Jones, and Jeff Teague makes the mistake that so many others have made when guarding Curry: he took his eyes off of his man for a split second. He assumes that Curry is going to cut inside, but Curry fakes him out. Teague runs into Jones, and he gets burned for it.
Teague commits another mistake: failing to stay close to Curry right away, giving plenty of space for Jones to get in the way. Curry uses that opportunity to bury another three-pointer.
Curry’s third 3-pointer came from the natural synergy that he has with his Splash Brother, Klay Thompson.
Kevin Durant draws attention on his drive; most eyes are on him, and his attempt to drive baseline gets shut down. He passes to Draymond Green on the weak side, who then passes to Curry. Thompson has preemptively set a screen on Teague, and Curry gets a wide-open three when Derrick Rose fails to switch onto him. Routine and easy, yet deadly.
Curry’s fourth 3-pointer comes from a classic staple: the Curry give-and-go-to-the- corner-three.
Curry’s ability to single-handedly throw the defense into disarray is astounding. He doesn’t stop moving after passing the ball to Kevon Looney, and continues to move toward the corner, where he gets the ball back and makes the shot over Taj Gibson.
Curry’s fifth three is a classic baseline floppy play, where he runs to the opposite corner with the help of pindown screens to get open for a shot. Jones seems to forget that he’s supposed to set a screen for Curry, but it ends up not mattering since Teague isn’t able to keep up with Curry.
At this point, the Timberwolves, having been burned five times by Curry, should be well aware by now that he’s the best shooter in the history of the game. To their credit, they do “adjust” during one sequence. But it ends up being a classic case of Curry’s gravitational pull giving the Warriors a wide-open bucket.
Curry runs to the right corner, while Klay attempts to screen for him. Teague manages to get past Klay’s rather weak screen attempt. However, Rose panics and leaves Thompson behind to run over to Curry, who now has two men covering him. Curry slips the ball to a wide-open Thompson, who makes the easiest shot of the game.
And that is The Golden Play of the Night.
A not-so-golden bonus sequence (for the Timberwolves)
Andrew Wiggins tried to post up on Klay Thompson. It did not end well for Wiggins pic.twitter.com/WpCfzppmXK— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) September 30, 2018
Andrew Wiggins tried to isolate on a post-up against Klay Thompson. Not a wise decision, both for him to try that against one of the best defenders in the league, and for the Wolves to give him a five-year, $148 million contract extension.
The Warriors play the Sacramento Kings on Friday, October 5, at the KeyArena in Seattle, WA. Until then, see you in the next edition of The Golden Play of the Night.