Steph Curry took over and everything was magic for Golden State.
The Golden State Warriors have set such an unbelievable standard for what a great offensive showing is, that we’ve felt underwhelmed through most of the playoffs. The Pelicans took them to a mostly close five games, the Rockets went neck-and-neck to seven, and Game 1 of the NBA Finals was all the Cavs until it wasn’t.
A lot of the blame has gone on Kevin Durant, who’s playing into the defense’s hand more than ever before into isolation possessions. It’s Kevin freakin’ Durant of course though, and he’s found success going one-on-one. But a contested Durant jumper isn’t nearly as satisfying as all five players touching the ball until a Steph Curry corner splash three. The former is almost un-Warriors-like.
Game 2 was a glimpse into the past and the Warriors coasted to a 122-103 win because of it.
Steph Curry took 12 more shots than Kevin Durant
A rising theme as the playoffs progress is whose team the Warriors are: KD’s or Steph’s. The two are among the best three or so offensive players in the league, and will go down as two of the best ever. But it’s clear Golden State isn’t truly Golden State unless it lets Curry shoot, shoot and shoot some more.
In Game 2, Curry sunk 9-of-17 from deep for 33 points (26 shots total), making everything look so simple. His Warriors teammates were looking for him off the peek-a-boo play in the corner, and running off screens. But more importantly, his confidence to hoist from just about anywhere was back.
Woo-boy was it back.
Get the hell outta here Steph are u kidding me pic.twitter.com/8WS3VlC5Gu
— Stephen Wobby (@World_Wide_Wob) June 4, 2018
And Durant fell back into the system’s offense, and it worked beautifully. Instead of driving from the wing and dancing on the perimeter, he caught the ball on the block. It worked! He scored 26 points on a brilliant 10-of-14 shooting night. His shots were rarely forced, and instead he finally played off the superstars who surrounded him.
Golden State’s offense was back under Steph’s wing.
The Warriors role players stepping in was proof of a more fluent offense
JaVale McGee got the start in Game 2, and his success on the offensive end shows how much better a team offense this was. He had 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting, all of which came off lobs and cuts to the rim — because of course.
But that’s when the Warriors offense is at its most enjoyable. Watching players who’ve struggled elsewhere strive in an All-Star infested lineup is a joyous and inspiring thing to behold.
David West hit a memorable three; Shaun Livingston scored 10 points. This is how Golden State’s offense is meant to move. It’s stars are supposed to be pieces of a puzzle, not standalones watching each other create.
Game 2 was the most fun fan experience watching the Warriors dominate
Golden State is probably on its way to a third title in four years. That’s been exhausting for fans who watched an already great team add another superstar in Kevin Durant.
But Game 2 was a flashback to the Warriors we grew to love in 2015 — a group of high-energy flamethrowers who were tailor-made to fit next to each other.
For once, they didn’t feel like the villains.
That’s part of the difference a Warriors offense commanded by Steph Curry makes.