The Golden State Warriors continued their three-game winning streak Tuesday with a 116-113 loss in Dallas, where Luka Doncic overwhelmed him with the fifth 40-point triple-double of his career (41 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists). ).
It was quite a wild game that featured incredible play and shot quality from both sides, namely from Doncic and Stephen Curry, the league’s top two scorers. In the final nine minutes, the result was within 15 seconds of possession for all but 15 seconds, over which the Mavericks held a short four-point lead. The largest lead both teams managed in the entire fourth quarter was five.
With 4.4 seconds left, Dorian Finney-Smith had a chance to beat Dallas with two free throws, but he missed the second, leaving the door open for the Warriors to be three down. Golden State called a timeout, and Steve Kerr designed a misdirected play from an out-of-bounds sideline to give Klay Thompson a wide-open view of a game-winning 3, but he couldn’t connect.
Kerr is as good as any coach in the league at designing those plays after the timeout. He has the benefit of Curry’s gravity to work with, and he’s a master at using that gravity against defense to create open looks for guys like Thompson and Jordan Poole.
In this design, Thompson started at the baseline and curled around the top while Poole curled around the top at the same time. When they crossed paths, Poole acted like a wide receiver executing a pick and ran right through the path of Thompson’s defenseman. Poole’s defender probably should have switched to Thompson, but that’s where the misdirection came in.
The flow of the game was moving towards the inside area and defenders were having a hard time reversing course to chase a man who, like Thompson, had rolled off the ball. The final piece is the curry screen on the back. There was no way Curry’s man would come loose to switch to Thompson, who was suddenly unmarked when he caught a perfect pass over the front of the action.
It was great play design that resulted in the best shot the Warriors could hope for in this situation. All eyes would be on Curry. It would be difficult to free him, although Kerr did in a similar action from the opposite side of the court in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. But like Thompson, Curry wasn’t able to deflect that shot (which didn’t look quite as clean as Thompson got here).
The miss underscored a tough game for Thompson, who was visibly frustrated after many of his misses. He finished with five points in 2-on-9 shooting, including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. Aside from that performance, Thompson has started to regain his form. In his four previous games, he had shot 60 percent from 3-point range on 10 attempts per game (24-40).