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Explain One Play: How Stephen Curry and the Warriors trapped Damian Lillard

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Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were shredding the Golden State Warriors defense in Game 2 of the 2019 Western Conference Finals. But at halftime, the Warriors made four specific changes to their traps which led to a huge comeback, fueled on both ends by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney. Co-starring the gentlemen Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jordan Bell.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors
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Video Analysis

Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were shredding the Golden State Warriors defense in Game 2 of the 2019 Western Conference Finals. But at halftime, the Warriors made four specific changes to their traps which led to a huge comeback, fueled on both ends by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney. Co-starring the gentlemen Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jordan Bell.

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How Stephen Curry and the Warriors Trapped Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were shredding the Golden State Warriors defense in Game 2 of the 2019 Western Conference Finals. But at halftime, the Warriors made four specific changes to their traps which led to a huge comeback, fueled on both ends by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney. Co-starring the gentlemen Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jordan Bell. By @EricApricot. More videos and full articles at http://tinyurl.com/ericapricot YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/Tyo4JhUkZsM

Posted by Golden State of Mind on Saturday, May 18, 2019

Brief Thoughts on Not Overusing the Curry Pick and Roll

So everyone (including me) always wants Kerr to run more Steph high PNR. But in fairness, in every serious elimination/closeout game, Kerr runs it.

Since HOU runs the same four formations, the league has had many many reps to try out different defenses from the Bud Shift to the GSW Trap High Tag. Without so much data, people wouldn’t have had proof that Harden is weak passing to the left corner.

And GSW got to try out various defenses across 13 playoff games. In 2018, switching, over & drop, high tag, then back to straight no-gimmick switch. Then 2019, switch, drop, high tag, TRAP high tag, abandoned, then back to trap high tag mix.

If HOU doesn’t spam those plays, GSW doesn’t have time to evolve a decent defense.

I think the last one worked well. Here’s our recent video breakdown of it:

Contrast. Steph runs a small amount of high PNR for most of the HOU series, HOU mixes some switch and trap and show. But when it’s winning time, Kerr spams 10 wing PNRs...

So HOU never gets a solid D against that play and GSW gets a great look every time. If GSW ran that all the time, HOU might have already developed a decent counter.

So next time you (or I) get frustrated about Kerr reserving the Steph PNR, maybe this will be some comfort.

Poll

Poll

As a coach, Steve Kerr is

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    a Hall of Famer
    (357 votes)
  • 26%
    one of the best today
    (141 votes)
  • 5%
    above average
    (30 votes)
  • 1%
    below average, my cat could coach this team
    (8 votes)
536 votes total Vote Now