The Golden State Warriors (34-27) finally put an end to their losing streak last night by defeating the Toronto Raptors (23-38). The victory was terrific and will probably be a positive takeaway for Mark Jackson.
Mind you, the Dubs’ play on the defensive end against the Raptors left much to be desired and only reinforced the concern that fans may have about the team.
Golden State gave up 19 offensive rebounds, allowed the Raps to manufacture 35 free throw attempts along with 48 points in the paint.
Such a defensive showing is hardly a recipe for success.
Jackson’s group was fortunate that David Lee played a brilliant game where he just seemed to be completely unstoppable on the interior.
But part of the reason that the Florida product got so many great looks inside stemmed from the productivity of the Warriors’ backcourt.
Their shooting helped space the floor and keep defenders occupied while Lee routinely dove down the lane for quick catches and finishes.
In addition, the left-handed big man was afforded a few post up opportunities where he faced single coverage because defenders were afraid of leaving either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson alone.
Curry was spectacular last night by virtue of his playmaking, scoring and shooting.
Toronto simply could not put the clamps on him, as he found multiple different manners to score against Kyle Lowry and John Lucas.
According to Synergy Sports, Steph converted two of his four field goal attempts out of isolation situations. The remainder of his 12 shots were scattered all over the place.
He scored off of transition opportunities, one spot up, one hand off, off screens and in the pick-and-roll as a ballhandler. Golden State’s leading scorer produced 26 points thanks to an 8-for-16 shooting night overall. Have a look at his shooting chart from last night:
His backcourt partner was a little more predictable but still just as lethal. Synergy Sports tells us he converted four-of-six shot attempts off screens and was also afforded a few spot up opportunities. He also got a couple looks in transition and off of ball movement (hand off and cut).
By night’s end, the sharpshooter had 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field. His shooting chart below:
The guard tandem played 25 minutes together last night and produced an impressive 110.4 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
If the Warriors’ defense is going to continue to put them in precarious situations this season, then Mark Jackson will undoubtedly need more great nights from his backcourt to mitigate the team’s defensive shortcomings.
In the last week or so, Curry has been out of this world with his play. He’s been a sniper as a shooter and has also done a masterful job of feeding his open teammates whenever situations have called for it.
This leaves Thompson as the wildcard. He is an incredibly confident shooter, but he also has a tendency to chase shots. He will often force up low percentage shots with defenders right in his grill if he feels the need to get an attempt up regardless of the situation.
Last night was a different scenario because he was patient and maximized his talents within the scope of the Warriors’ offense.
Synergy Sports tells us that he has converted 91-of-205 shots (44.4 percent) from 3-point range this season in spot up situations. That puts fear into defenses.
Klay won’t always have great shooting nights like he did against the Raptors, but if he maintains the same mindset and plays off Lee and Curry, the Golden State Warriors stand to benefit.
The Dubs might just be unbeatable when the Splash Brothers have it going. It’s up to both of them to figure out how to make a night like the one against the Raptors a trend and not an aberration.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].