Warriors’ whirring offence testing limits of Raptors’ mental endurance

Title: Warriors’ whirring offence testing limits of Raptors’ mental endurance
Date: June 5, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Warriors’ offense, which is designed to exhaust even the smartest teams, testing the Raptors’ mental endurance.

OAKLAND, Calif. – It starts with a screen for Steph Curry, as so many of the defining plays of the NBA’s biggest moments have in the last five years.

It’s simple, in isolation. Draymond Green, maybe the league’s savviest passing big born outside of Serbia, operates from the top of the arc while Andre Iguodala sets a screen that lets Curry get a head of steam toward the paint. Run this action alone, and the Warriors are liable to produce something worthwhile. Such is the gravity of Curry, a system unto himself who poses difficult balancing acts upon even the best defences.

The screen doesn’t exist in isolation, though. The Warriors don’t do simple, at least when Kevin Durant is out of the lineup. As Iguodala is slipping the screen he set for Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut are engaged in a dance off the ball to occupy the Raptors’ help defenders. If Curry gets free going to the paint, Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell have to navigate Thompson’s own gravity around a 7-foot bruiser who, himself, presents as a strong passing option. If one opening is created for Curry, closing it requires opening up more.

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