Last night, the Golden State Warriors looked like a completely different team from what we saw in that second half of Game 1. They tied up the series 1-1, with a convincing 118-91 win that included a 31-19 third quarter which was led by the back-to-back MVP, Stephen Curry. With contributions from all over, the Warriors looked like the team we saw all season but you could tell they studied their faults from Game 1. The Warriors came out fired up like we all knew they would but they kept to their principles and that’s where they went wrong in the last game. We saw uncharacteristic shots, one-on-one basketball, unforced turnovers, and bad defense. However, I saw a lot of corrections and things that I believe if Golden State keeps doing, they can get past Oklahoma City in this series.
Keep it Simple
Playing the game the right way and keeping it simple, makes things easier on everyone but the defense. We saw too much ‘cuteness’ and flashy passes in Game 1 from the Warriors, mostly Stephen Curry that led to horrific turnovers; some of those coming down the stretch that could’ve completely changed the game. The Oklahoma City Thunder has two guys in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that you don’t want to give extra possessions. These guys are two of the best scorers and ball players in general that we have in the game today so Golden State needs to keep their turnovers down to give those guys less opportunity. Simplicity is the way to go. I know this team loves to go for the home-run play but when your playing a team this good that can capitalize on every mistake, you have to be cautious of taking that risk.
Fluidity on Offense
What makes Golden State, Golden State is their quick, fluent offense. Multiple touches, constant movement, screens, back-screens, pick and roll, drive and kick–Bang, three! That’s what they do and we saw that again last night. Game 1 included too much hero ball and one-on-one action that got the Warriors out of rhythm and allowed the Thunder to play at their own pace. When the Warriors run their offense, they wear teams down and that’s what leads to spurts from Curry like what we saw last night in the 3rd quarter. Physically and mentally, defenses get tired and have lapses and that’s where Golden State goes on their run. Those Stephen Curry pindowns and pick and rolls are a must because when Enis Kanter or Steven Adams switches out, they don’t have the slightest chance in guarding him. Their success is predicated on their fluent offense, so they must continue to get everyone involved and stay true to who they are.
The Little Things
The Warriors did a great job controlling boards, especially on the offensive end. They grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and 45 altogether, out rebounding the Thunder who only got 36. That’s completely opposite of what we saw in Game 1 where the Thunder out rebounded the Warriors, 52-44. Even though the Warriors are undersized, they showed that they are more than capable of controlling the boards and they must do that to win this series. Give yourself more possessions and limit the opposition.
Also, defensive activity is a must. They’re doing a great job forcing turnovers, especially on Kevin Durant who has seemed like he forgot how to throw a pass. Keep making it hard for Durant and Westbrook while contesting everything at the rim without fouling.
These are all things that the Golden State Warriors are capable of doing on a consistent basis. Game 3 in Oklahoma City is going to be an electric night with all of the energy in OKC’s favor. But they must come out cool, calm, and collected, keeping all these points in mind. That same effort we saw last night, must be on display in OKC if they want to come out victorious. They are good enough to beat this team by keeping it simple, staying true to who they are, and just simply doing the little things.