Had the pleasure of talking Warriors with Greg Papa on 95.7-FM The Game earlier. We got into some some detail and some ins and outs on what’s going on late in games offensively and how it might be corrected.
In the wake of the Warriors’ collapse against Memphis on Friday there was a lot of talk about Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Curry gave up the ball to Durant in the game’s biggest possession, all the while Green threw a fit, walked to the corner and didn’t participate. The guy who didn’t get talked about was Klay Thompson.
Lost amid the discussion about whether Curry should make the play or Durant should make the play or whether Green has to be in on it or not, is the fact that Thompson has every right to want a piece of the ball late. In fact, Thompson had two big buckets down the stretch of Golden State’s win at Detroit earlier this season. Just a couple of catch-and-shoot’s on the perimeter, off moving without the ball, one 3-pointer, the other a 20-footer.
The first occurred with the Warriors up two with less than a minute left. Curry hit Thompson, who got a couple of screens along the baseline, then caught on the wing and hit an effortless jumper over Reggie Jackson. Then, with 22 seconds left and the Warriors up two, Thompson came off some baseline screens again, and this time caught the ball beyond the 3-point line. But he had space and size again — on Jackson — and rose up and buried a 3 for the dagger — a 117-112 lead. Nothing complicated. Just a couple of nice, little plays to get a jump shot for Thompson.
You know why I remember that? It was one of the few times this season the Warriors have executed offensively at the end of a close game. That was one of several topics during the give-and-take. The Warriors haven’t had a lot of close games this year but the ones they’ve had have been finished off by their defense — not their offense. With the exception of that win, the offense has largely failed Golden State down the stretch.