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The Golden State Warriors have struggled famously against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals through the first three games. They went from scoring 110 points a game, leading a renaissance of scoring small ball and dismantling any remaining followers of ground-and-pound ’90s-style possessions… to scoring 37 points in the first half of a Game 3 loss.
That mostly has to do with how effectively the Cavs have been able to bottle up Steph Curry, who, before a futile fourth quarter eruption in Game 3, had been shooting an uncharacteristic 20 percent from the field and five percent from three, while getting little support from his surrounding cast. Until David Lee happened.
Curry and Lee worked some of the magic that they conjured in the MVP’s early days with the Warriors, slicing up teams with a pick-and-roll that featured Lee as the roll-man who could both dive to the basket and finish with either hand or pop out and shoot a reliable 18-footer.
“I think I found something when it comes to how I’m going to be able to attack their pick-and-rolls and even certain iso situations,” Curry said post game. “I’ll keep that in the memory bank going into Game 4, and hopefully it has a trickle over effect into the first quarter of the next game.”
Per John Schuhmann at NBA, that combo is still working, albeit based on a small sample size:
Much to the dismay of fretting Clevelanders, Curry quickly exploited this lesson to the tune of six improbable threes in the fourth quarter. Kerr and Curry had previously whiffed on a solution to the Cavs’ hard, high traps, mostly opting to rotate the ball in search of less-prolific shooters on their squad (like Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green). Those two supporting teammates were asked to stretch their roles and came up short, and worse still, had retreated to the most iffy parts of their respective repertoires.
While Curry’s threes didn’t scrape a win from those disastrous quarters, it gave him this sliver of confidence that, somehow, he had found the chink in the LeBrarmor. With James flagging late in the game, and Matthew Dellevedova struggling through cramps, Curry could attack their screens with aplomb, looking for his own shot as he observed their defenders failing to recover over those once-stalwart screens.
Curry’s solution doesn’t account for the fact that his shots were still quite difficult, didn’t get him to the line to stop the clock, and similarly excluded his teammates from that freed motion. But if he’s able to make those same looks in the next game, it’s suddenly a series again.
(Via Pro Basketball Talk)