True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: golden state warriors

The Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook pick-and-roll

hoopspeak.com

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a great fourth quarter in their win last Friday night over the Golden State Warriors. Despite turning the ball over 22 times in the game, they rode a 35-point final period to win 120-109.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the lead catalysts in the game and especially down the stretch. Golden State couldn’t match up with either and Thunder head coach Scott Brooks took advantage of this.

The Thunder led Golden State by just three, 88-85, with 8:33 left in the game. From this point on Oklahoma City went with their Westbrook and Durant pick-and-roll play.

The play is simple and starts off with Westbrook bringing the ball down on the left wing. Nick Collison then screens for Durant to come across the top of the key and set a screen for Westbrook at the wing.
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Why Stephen Curry’s ordinary plays are still special

warriorsworld.net

Stephen Curry is one of the smartest players in basketball. He’s looked like a veteran ever since he entered the league in the 2009-10 season.

This year Curry has been sidelined for most of the year with injury but has since returned and had his best game yet of the season in a 101-93 win over the Portland Trailblazers last Wednesday night.

Curry had 32 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in the game while going 6-of-8 from three-point land. Curry now has his averages back on pace from last year and should see an improvement as he plays more games.

Curry’s game is a lot like Steve Nash’s. He’s not the best athlete ever on the court but is quick and one of the more savvy decision-makers in the game.

Here we’ll look at two plays showing how Curry makes a couple of beautiful reads to get open for shots.
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Dwight Howard’s historical night in Golden State

The Orlando Magic beat the Golden State Warriors 117-109 last night. Dwight Howard had 45 points, 23 rebounds and attempted an NBA-record 39 free throws, five more than the previous record of 34 set by Wilt Chamberlain during the 1961-62 season, in which he averaged 50.4 points per game.

Howard came into the game shooting just 42.6 percent from the line, a career worst. He’s been right at 59 percent the past five seasons. The trade rumors have clearly affected Howard on the court this season and as someone who doesn’t have trouble finding a reason to not give 100 percent effort level, a struggle like this isn’t surprising. Howard made just 21 of his 39 free throw attempts versus the Warriors, 54 percent.

It’s not shocking that a historical statistical night occurred against the Warriors. It happens all the time from Brandon Jenning’s 55-point night as a rookie to David Lee’s 37 point, 20 rebound, 10 assist game two years ago, the Warriors have a knack for getting the best out of their opponent.
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The new Monta

Monta Ellis was part of one of the more amazing statistics two years ago. On a 26-56 Golden State Warriors team and in a season where Ellis averaged 25.5 points per game, Ellis’ teammates outscored their opponents when their star was on the bench. This basically confirmed that Ellis was a ball hog and took bad shots that hurt his team no matter how much he scored.

Ellis is now entering his seventh season in the NBA this year and is 26 years old. He also now has a new coach in former point guard great, Mark Jackson, who planned to change the Warriors into a more defensive oriented team more suited for making the playoffs than the run-and-gun teams of the past.

Ellis seems to be changing somewhat too. He’s always had an elite talent with his quickness and ability to get into the paint and score. While he still has that, he’s beginning to use it to make himself more of a playmaker than ever before.
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I know it’s blasphemy but it might be true

Last night Dirk Nowitzki put together one of the signature performances of his career. He shot 12-of-15 from the floor, made all of his 24 free throw attempts and finished with 48 points as Dallas beat Oklahoma City 121-112 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Another way you know this performance was awesome, as if the numbers aren’t enough, is that it totally overshadowed another great performance. Kevin Durant also went for 40 in the game and made 18-of-19 of his free throw attempts. While looking at the box score you might think this game will be remembered as a great duel between the two stars, it won’t be because Dirk was ht breathtaking.

Dirk’s career has seemed to of flown under the radar somewhat in terms of how high it should rank among other legends. It looked like he was peaking in 2006 taking a Dallas team to the Finals after finally beating their nemesis San Antonio in the playoffs. Only the ring that seemed meant for Dirk would not be as Wade and the refs swooped in and took it from him.
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How important is it to be in your prime?

As the Miami Heat were busy eliminating the Boston Celtics, I got thinking about how it was clear that the Celtics did not have anything left in the tank and were too old and too injured to keep up with Miami.

As someone who was watching the series hoping that Boston would advance because I like watching them play more, before the series even started my biggest fear was essentially what ended up happening.

Things like Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be able to be effective enough on both sides of the court, Ray Allen would be relegated to a jump shooter and not hitting in every game and Paul Pierce would have to carry too large of an offensive load. Even while watching the regular season meetings between the two teams you could kind of see this fate looming. While Boston seemed to always get a ton of good looks, it also seemed like they had to play pretty perfectly to get those looks and it’d be harder in the playoffs.

A big reason why Miami won the series was youth and talent overpowering Boston. They have their best three guys in their prime. It sounds simple but it really allows for them to play more minutes and play them more effectively. When Doc Rivers was forced to bring back Garnett early in the fourth quarter for Game 4, Boston was doomed and Garnett ran out of gas as the game eventually went into overtime.
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Quick Reactions to Brandon Jennings’ Double-Nickel

I stopped watching the Warriors-Bucks game Saturday night midway through the third quarter because I was getting ready to go out (yes, this means I did begin watching this game at some point, something not many people can say they did).

At that point Brandon Jennings had 17 points and it didn’t appear that anything as spectacular as what eventually became was going to happen.

Last night I went into the NBA League Pass archives (greatest thing ever) and watched the second half of the game.

Jennings would end up with a Bucks rookie record (previously 51 by Kareem) of 55 points as the Bucks beat Golden State 129-125. He had 29 points in the third quarter alone, made 7-of-8 3-point attempts including a big one in the final minute and became the youngest player to ever score 50 points in a game (LeBron was the previous).

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