Spurs vs Warriors (11/2/17)

Thoughts on Spurs / Warriors.

*Note, I only watched first 3 quarters*

DeJounte Murray – 4 points (2-5), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, -7

Offense – Honestly, Murray’s performance was a little disappointing to me. He has been up and down this season, but hasn’t hit his performance from the Celtics game. Last night, the Warriors all but ignored him when he didn’t have the ball and backed off heavily when he did have the ball putting minimal pressure on him. Why? Murray’s shot needs a lot of work. For example, when he’s standing in the weakside corner, the shortest distance to 3, the Warriors had whoever was guarding him (usually Curry) either be splitting the court by standing in the middle of the paint and keeping his eye on the ballhandler or he would rotate fully over to the strong side.  He had one really nice baseline drive on Curry that ended with his shot getting blocked, but it was a strong, aggressive, and QUICK take off the dribble. Once he gets his shot down and teams need to respect it, his driving will become even more effective because defenses will need to get closer to him on defense. He also had a couple of nice push aheads (including one to Danny that led to a corner three from Manu).

Defense – Here, Murray was able to make a solid impact. Watching him play, it’s easy to see how well he uses his long arms and quick feet while guarding the ball handler. Even though he didn’t have any real “wow” plays on defense, he wasn’t being killed at any one time (besides getting pushed underneath by Dray for an offensive rebound). Murray is easily the quickest (and longest) player Pop has coached at point guard – he’s a full 6’5 with a 7’0 wingspan. He may not be a great defender now (although he does show flashes), but in a couple of years, he will be viewed as one of the lockdown defenders at PG. *Still needs some work off ball – got lost a few times after being run off screens*

  • loved him at Washington. LONG attacking point guard with solid vision (not great, but good and makes the smart read sometimes, but is still prone to silly turnovers / forced passes; not a particularly good shooter, and needs work – has form to become a good one with more practice). Once he gets his form down, he’ll be so much more potent because of his speed – he’ll have the option of blowing right by guys, or, if they play off, to pull up with a jumper. He’s absolutely more of a north-south, attack the rim PG.
  • comes down to paint when Steph is across court, grabs rebound pushes ball up to Danny green
  • Murray pushes ball up, hits green in extended elbow 3, who kicks it to Manu for the corner 3. pushing ball up created that break.
  • gets long arm in way of inbounds pass to Steph and is able to poke it away to get the steal
  • guarding Iggy on the side, gives Iggy the cut to the rim pass instead of playing him the other way to force the ball back up to the top
  • Steph kind of ignoring him while he’s in the corner
  • warriors on the break, Murray runs back – as KD is on a 1:1 break with only Rudy ahead. Rudy forced to foul, but I love Murray sprinting back instead of just waiting for the foul.
  • same thing as before – Steph all but ignoring him
  • Murray doesn’t box dray out on 3, dray gets him under rim, easy tip in for Dray
  • jumps in air passing – KD tips ball, passes ahead to Steph for layup – don’t leave feet!
  • gets pass from LMA, right to left cross into a 17-foot jumper – made it
  • switches with LMA on defense – Steph makes 3, but Murray doesn’t get a body on anyone.
  • beats Steph baseline, but gets blocked at rim – SAS ends up scoring of the missed shot, so it’s all good…but that baseline drive was fast. Steph gave it to him with no help there…and Murray’s strong hand is his right hand. Bizarre / bad defense from Steph
  • Then Sprinted back on defense to contest a secondary break from Steph (which he missed)
  • Starts off driving left with Steph guarding, sharp cross to his right. Gets into paint and finishes in the paint with a nice touch on the layup – great finish
  • Pushes Steph under rim while Rudy drives – able to get O-Reb. Pulls ball out, no movement / motion from anyone until end – he ends up taking 17 footer. Not a fan of that shot

Draymond Green – 16 points (7-8), 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, +15

Offense – Dray showed his full arsenal last night on offense. Hit a three from the top, was hitting guys with nice crisp passes, set great screens, and played within himself. Watching him make decisions after setting the screen for Steph is fun to see – he’s a capable shooter from the outside, but it’s the passing in 2 on 1 situations after the defender goes to double Steph that is special. He’ll take a few dribbles in and look for guys cutting or on the perimeter. He did this on the pass to Zaza (see below) and the same thing on a beautiful bounce pass to a cutting KD. Off ball he had one play in particular that caught my eye – Dray’s man left him to go double KD on the opposite mid post post, Dray recognized this and instead of standing in the corner for an open 3 (if KD recognized) he cute right to the rim for an easy dunk. Most players would have stood in the corner, but Dray made the right / smart cut. Loved that play.

Defense– This is where Dray makes his impact on every game. Although he had a few blunders last night including getting caught in no-man’s-land once on a PnR, fouling LMA on a jumper (contesting is fine, but never foul a jump shooter), and falling for a pump fake, he was all over the place. One of the most underrated things bigs can do to help defend off ball cutters is bump them in the paint – Marc Gasol does this so well for the Grizzlies. It’s important to do this because it gets the runner off balance and slows them down just enough to help the defense catch up. This is something that Dray does often if his man is close enough to the paint where he can recover quickly enough. There were a two plays in particular where he showed his full repertoire on defense. The first was reading LMA’s move and beating him to turning over his shoulder for a contested jumper (tough to word). Basically, LMA was spinning back middle, Dray was playing him for that perfectly, and by the time LMA was in his shooting motion Dray was already contesting it. There was another play in the second quarter where he and Steph switched so Dray was guarding Mills. Mills drove on Dray but Dray was with him step for step, passed the matchup back off to step, and when the Spurs were able to get the ball to Rudy, Dray was there waiting for him to contest. He had others (forcing Anderson to reverse spin while he was driving on KD), running from the weakside corner to defend Anderson as he was getting the ball with ~2 seconds left (great team defense that forced a 24 second violation, but if Dray got there a second later, it would have been a layup)

I’ve been a huge fan of Draymond since his days at MSU because of his defensive awareness / playmaking.  (and had him marked as a high level role player, at worst, on my old blog). He was making defensive reads early that most players in the NBA either don’t make, or make too late. He’s one special player on both ends, but he really makes his mark on defense. It’s scary to think that even with a few mindless blunders (he usually doesn’t make) that he was still as high an impact defender as he was last night. Minimizing mistakes on defense, aside from his defensive versatility, is part of what makes him so special. Few players in the NBA make as few defensive mishaps as he does.

  • sets screen for Steph, gets switch – kicks it back out, sets screen on KD’s guy, gets ball back and hits reverse layup
  • goes after rebound with KD, both guys tap ball away…goes to Kyle Anderson who makes it after missing initial attempt
  • takes Mills to post, hits Thompson on cut – gets shot blocked
  • Dray gets caught in no-man’s land on defense, misses rotation to pau (KD tries to recover) who hits the corner 3
  • on an out of bounds play – gets ready to set double screen for Klay to use going to the top of the key, but Klay fakes using the screen, cuts back to the basket for a layup
  • LMA drives middle, Dray comes down from guarding Pau at the top, puts hand in to help on the drive, LMA hits it anyway
  • kick to curry coming of screen – pass right in shot pocket
  • Mills uses screen, dray recovers onto pau but is pinned behind, fights over it to get better position
  • picks up mills on switch
  • forces pass down low to Zaza – ends up being turned over
  • picks up LMA who was left open at the top, stops secondary break

picks up Kyle Anderson on a switch – Anderson was initially left open

Dray tries to get pass into Zaza on secondary break…great look, but Zaza wasn’t paying attention

runs break – Murray doesn’t box out (see above) dray tips ball right in bc he’s bale to get great position

guarding Rudy in pinch post, pushes Rudy out to near 3-point range – Rudy doesn’t get ball bc he was way out of position

waits, waits, and waits for Steph to come off screens – perfect pass right in shot pocket (again); Steph makes it easily with nobody around

bumps mills as he runs through paint, recovers quickly to Rudy

Rudy has ball, dray o his back, Rudy rises and fades to the side to make the basket

sinks in to paint far, has to recover out quickly to mills. runs mills off line, but mills went to his right for a three (dray still contested well)

blocks baseline jumper

Danny green hits jumper, dray has body on Gasol for box out.

drive and kick to…nobody. had Klay and Livingston in corner, but pass was way too high and went into the stands.

fell for LMA pump fake when KD was coming. didn’t need to jump. dray is a much smarter defender than that

warriors turn ball over, dray sprints back to help stop the fast break and secondary break

Danny misses a floater, Rudy has inside position, but dray tips ball out of Rudy’s hand – warriors get rebound

KD gets ball in post, Rudy leaves dray to double, dray cuts right to basket for the easy layup. super smart play reading his man and deciding to cut to basket

dray switches with screen onto mills, chases Mills through paint with pressure, forces a pass off, then recovers back to Rudy in the paint. defensive player of the year Dray green showing right there

LMA tries backing dray into paint, LMA tried turning over his right shoulder in paint but dray read that perfectly and was waiting for him – forced ball out of his hands

dray had layup, Manu came to help, saw Klay in corner and hit him for the three

dray waits at top of key for Steph to kick ball to him – hits three

comes down, guarding pau at the top he’s still yelling defensive assignments

sets screen for Steph, both guys go to Steph and Dray has a three which he misses

goes coast to coast after steal

@11:00 of third, Dray is basically just all over the place on defense. Runs out on Pau after helping on Mills drive, ends up helping out on Mills at top of key…he’s so good on defense

Beats Pau up court, gets pass, Pau is forced to foul him

Dray helps on Anderson drive to left, Anderson spins on KD who is guarding him, and ends up scoring – Dray’s help defense helped turn Anderson around and forced a change of direction

PnR with Curry. Curry hits Dray, drives on LMA, sees KD cutting and hits him with a bounce pass for the dunk

Late to contest Pau’s jumper from elbow

Beats everyone up court, gets pass from Steph, dunks through LMA’s contest

Dray rotates from weak side corner to guard Anderson who is below the box. Ends up being 24 second violation – if Dray hadn’t rotated, Anderson would have had a layup

Pat McCaw – 9 (3/6), 1 rebound, 2 assists, +9

Offense – Unfortunately, it appears as if he did most of his scoring in the 4th quarter (which I will try to watch later), so there really isn’t all that much to talk about regarding his offense. His first step is very explosive, so the second he’s past the defense, they need to recover quickly – this is what happened with the baseline drive and kick to Klay (the second example). He got right around the defense, had his head up, and saw Klay’s defender sink to the paint – McCaw saw this and immediately hit Klay for an open 3 at the top of the key. This is actually something he does really well. Because he is a solid outside shooter, the defense needs to respect his shot and not sag off. Upon seeing this, he is able to make a quick first move, usually to his strong (right) hand, forcing the defense to rotate, and allowing himself to kick it to the open guy with his plus court vision.

Defense – This is where the real fun was. Due to McCaw’s explosiveness both vertically and laterally, he is able to be a real pest on defense. He is always active on ball AND off ball, which is particularly rare for someone so young – usually on ball is way ahead of the off ball defense because players need to get used to rotating defenses / helping the helper AND keeping an eye on his own man. McCaw’s defense is very advanced for his age. When he is playing off ball, his head is constantly switching between keeping an eye on his man and going to the ball / where the action is (usually spending a little more time looking to help, which is perfectly fine). He has the ability to guard the opposing point guard the full length of the court and not have to worry about getting beat because of his quickness. Once the guard crosses halfcourt, he gets back into his stance and starts using his hands poking at the ball trying to disrupt the ball handler. When you add in his active hands to his quickness (and how close he is able to get to the offensive player because he doesn’t need to worry about being slow footed), you have very good defensive player. He was pressuring Mills whenever he had the ball didn’t get beat once off the dribble or give up an uncontested three. As he gets older and continues to fill out his frame, I can easily see him becoming a nightmare defensively for the 1-3 in the same way Iguodala was earlier in his career (Iggy is still a very good defender, but he’s lost a step in terms of athleticism). He gives the Warriors’ a deep option if Klay or Iggy get in foul trouble, and the team does not need to worry about missing a beat defensively.

(I LOVED at UNLV) – all around game reminds me of Iggy. He’s not the athlete, doesn’t have the full frame (yet?), but he has the defensive ability and all around game

takes pass from dray, drive and slight kick behind him to Klay

sooooo quick guarding mills. hands moving but not reaching. all footwork on defense. just moving laterally. gets right over screen easily, too

pestering mills up the court, pestering mills half court, reaching a bit to keep off balance

switched with dray – McCaw ends up on Anderson; doesn’t get in front of him and ends up fouling him on the rebound

pressures Mills the second he gets ball – he really gets up close – mills forced to pass ball off the second he gets it.

McCaw drives baseline finds Klay up top for an open 3 – missed, but he was QUICK in his attack and made a quick decision to pass. was a great look

Spurs / Rockets Highlights


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