The Golden State Warriors ended their three-game winning streak on Tuesday with a 116-113 loss to Dallas, where Luka Doncic had his fifth career 40-point triple-double (41 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists). ).
It was a pretty brutal match with two of the league’s top goalscorers, Doncic and Stephen Curry, incredible playing and shooting on both sides. For the last nine minutes, the score was all but a dominance except for 15 seconds, during which the Mavericks enjoyed a short four-point lead. The biggest difference either team had during the entire fourth quarter was five.
With 4.4 seconds left, Dorian Finney-Smith had a chance to seal the score for Dallas with a double free throw, but missed the second and left the door open for the Warriors to be three points behind. Golden State requested a time-out, and Steve Kerr crafted a misdirection game from an out-of-court sideline to give Klay Thompson a wide-open look at a leveling 3, but failed to connect.
Kerr is as good as any coach in the league at preparing these post-break games. He has the advantage of Curry’s gravity to work and is adept at using that gravity against the defense to create open looks for guys like Thompson and Jordan Poole.
In this design, Thompson started at the baseline, while Poole curved around the top while simultaneously curling around the top. As their paths crossed, Poole acted like a wide receiver running a pick game, running straight out of Thompson’s defender’s path. Poole’s defender probably should have switched to Thompson, but that’s where misdirection came into play.
The flow of the game swept into the field, and the defenders had a hard time reversing course to chase a man like Thompson who was twisting away from the ball. The final piece is the Curry screen on the back. There was no way Curry’s man left to pass on Thompson, who was suddenly vacated when he caught a perfect pass over all the action.
It was a terrific game design that resulted in the best shot the Warriors could hope for in that situation. All eyes would be on Curry. It would be difficult to release him, but Kerr managed to do so with a similar move from across the court in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. But like Thompson, Curry failed to knock that shot (which wasn’t as clean a look as Thompson got here).
The miss ended a tough game for Thompson, who was visibly frustrated after multiple misses. He finished with five points on a 9v2 shot, including 1 in 6, from beyond the arc. That performance aside, Thompson is starting to regain his form. In his previous four games, he had shot 60 percent of the way from the 3-point field in 10 tries per game (24 vs 40).