Adversity tends to work wonders for the Golden State Warriors.
Nothing like being on the verge of an epic collapse to bring out the best of this squad. It gives them a rush. It gives them a sense of urgency and a purpose . After Wednesday’s game 5 debacle at Oracle, the Warriors channeled that sense of urgency, purpose and “appropriate fear” into a 50 point masterpiece from Kevin Durant, as they eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in a 129-110 in a game six blowout.
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What more can you say about Kevin Durant’s masterful performance but “Wow”? He made the Clippers’ defense his playground. Getting everything he wanted, and setting records in the process. Durant’s 38 point half tied Charles Barkley’s for most points in a half. Durant is also the first Warrior since Rick Barry to record back-to-back 40 point playoff games. In the last four games of this series, Durant averaged 41.5 points per game on 73 percent TS. After the game, the Clippers’ Patrick Beverly and Lou Williams said in their presser that they tried defending him. They promised, they tried, but to no avail...
I have yet to understand why Warriors coach Steve Kerr seems to only make adjustments “in case of emergency”. Tonight, he rolled out a three guard starting lineup by starting Shaun Livingston instead of Andrew Bogut and moving Durant to the four and Draymond Green at the five. At first, I was extremely skeptical about the lineup change. To be frank, I thought Kerr lost his damn mind. That was until I learned the purpose. Kerr swapped Livingston for Bogut to counter the Lou Williams-Montrez Harrell pick and roll with stronger defenders in Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney. The move worked, Williams and Harrell were held to only a combined 18 points between them.
A second adjustment Kerr made was running a series of high screens for Stephen Curry past the three point line. This move created some space to operate in, and also created more opportunities for others. In most of the possessions when the Warriors are running a high pick and roll with Curry, it lead to a lob from Draymond Green to Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Livingston, et al for slams. Since Doc Rivers sold out on trapping Curry with doubles, those opportunities were plentiful and obvious.
Tonight, Green messed around a got a triple double, totaling 16 points 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Green’s presence on defense, however, set the tone. Green ended the game with four blocks and was disruptive with his hustle, and deflections. When the Clippers sagged off of Green, he made them pay by driving in the lane and initiating contact. A solid all around effort while once again starting at the five.