Even more misleading is the idea Steve Kerr’s adroit, pre-game adjustment to have Andrew Bogut *guard* the poor-shooting Tony Allen somehow “won them Game 4.” A similar vein of thinking was not-so-coincidentally found on reddit’s r/NBA page. No, basketball games last four quarters, and that strategy lasted for some of the first quarter. True, Allen only played 16 minutes, but it wasn’t because Steve Kerr decided to plug Bogut on him to start the game. In fact, Harrison Barnes marked him in the second quarter.
Basketball is a team game, so the absence of Allen — whether because Dave Joerger didn’t have a counter to the Bogut strategy, or he was worried they’d employ it again — was only part of the story, and a tiny sliver at that. To use that as the sole reason for the Warriors win is another case of dumbing down a fun, but complicated, game.
Even Tony Allen agreed “Golden State’s crazy defensive adjustment” wasn’t why the Grizzlies lost:
“It didn’t affect nothing,” Allen said of the big adjustment. “It’s, I just wasn’t able to give my team the energy tonight. I like that matchup, so hopefully they’ll do it again and I’ll take advantage of it.”
We’re big fans of accelerated brain usage, so let’s figure out what other factors mitigated a Grizzlies team that seemed to have Golden State’s number after successive wins in Games 2 and 3.
First, the Warriors were hitting shots they made during the regular season, but their ball movement was superior to the stagnant (during the telecast, it was said the Dubs averaged about 300 total passes per game during the regular season and ended up with just 256 in Game 3) way they shared the ball during the first game in Memphis. Sticky Fingers is a Rolling Stones album, not something you wanna see your offense lapse into. Look at the below possession. Dray and Iggy both pass up 3-pointers to move the rock along, before Steph eventually whipped a pass to an open Harrison Barnes for a simple 3-pointer in the near corner.
Yes, we know Barnes missed it, but it shows how the Dubs were again making the extra pass Monday night.
Second, Steph — in particular — was looking to get his teammates involved, which is why he didn’t attempt a field goal in the first eight and a half minutes of the game. He stopped trying to be Steph Curry, MVP, and became Stephen Curry, incredibly talented and unique basketball player. Take the below decision to pass up a fast-break three — a potent Steph weapon — to draw in the defense and pass it up for a better three in the corner by Klay Thompson.
That time it succeeded, and it’s not like Curry was cold or anything, he just made a more concerted effort to get his teammates involved before doing his thing.