Warriors’ new death lineup doesn’t have a nickname yet, but looks just as deadly against Denver

Warriors’ new death lineup doesn’t have a nickname yet, but looks just as deadly against Denver

SAN FRANCISCO — In Game 1, we got a glimpse. Monday we had the full experience.

Until Saturday, we had only hypothetically talked about the latest iteration of the Golden State Warriors’ “death lineup” – the one that consists of Draymond Green at center surrounded by quick, skilled shooters and point guards. and athletic. Due to various injuries, the unit did not register a single minute during the regular season.

The first edition featured Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala. Then Kevin Durant joined the fray, making things totally unfair. Now the roster consists of Green, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.

They finally took the field together on Saturday, but for only five minutes. That sheer taste was enough to see the potential, registering a ridiculous net rating of over 127.3 despite Curry not being at the top of his game. In Monday’s 126-106 Game 2 victory over the Denver Nuggets, however, the reality of what the Warriors have at their disposal really set in.

The full unit took the field with 6:02 remaining in the second quarter with Golden State trailing 43-35. When the halftime whistle sounded, the Warriors were leading, 57-51. The new death squad, which has yet to be given an appropriate nickname, started a 22-8 run in a half quarter, and the way they did it should terrify not just the Nuggets, but all of them. the teams that will stand in their way in the upcoming playoffs.

“It’s passer heaven for me,” Green said after the Game 2 win. “You’ve got these three guys [Curry, Thompson and Poole] over there at the same time, for me as a smuggler, it’s paradise. … You can’t ask for anything more from the attacking side, any more options than that.”

On Monday, Curry, Poole and Thompson took turns gutting Denver’s defense with pull-up 3s, drives to the basket and back-cuts, while Green showcased his IQ and basketball skills in all-time elite at both ends. Wiggins stuck the unit moving the ball, attacking the rim and locking in defensively.

Curry had mentioned how scary and talented the closing lineup was “on paper,” but now we have two playoff games that prove it’s the real deal.

“Technically, I guess we’re undersized, but you have to bring in defensive strength and effort and energy and then you can turn that into an advantage again at the other end of the field,” Curry said at About the five-man unit. “Seeing [Poole] being able to make plays in the pick-and-roll with me and Klay spaced out and the Draymond setting [screens] and Wiggs cutting. He ticks a lot of boxes on the list of what you would want for a powerful attacking formation.”

The word “powerful” doesn’t do Monday’s performance justice. Curry was phenomenal, especially since it was only his second game after a month out. He scored 34 points in 23 minutes off the bench and was a record plus-32, shimmy, shouting “I’m back” to the increasingly boisterous Chase Center crowd. He is now the only NBA player in the stopwatch era to score at least 30 points in 23 minutes or less in a playoff game.

Poole scored 29 points, one shy of the 30 he had in his playoff debut on Saturday. Knowing what to expect from Thompson, Curry and Green, the real wild card has been Poole, who has essentially created a second Steph Curry for teams to face on the court with his incredible playoff performance so far.

“I never imagined Jordan would be playing so well at the start of this season, even though he had a great season a year ago. I couldn’t imagine that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, after the game. “But he earned it. This guy works every day in the gym and believes in himself, and he’s got a lot of talent.”

Thompson scored 21 points, Wiggins added 13 and eight rebounds, while Green generally filled the stat sheet with six points, six assists, three rebounds, three steals and one block. Curry, Poole and Thompson combined to shoot 13 for 28 from 3-point range – good luck beating the Warriors when that happens.

When the roster was on the job, it felt like the good old days – when the Warriors were seen as unfair. A cheat code. Too bad for the game. If you can explain how to defend nonsense like this, start sending your resume to NBA teams.

Golden State played with Denver, a team ill-equipped to handle the onslaught due to injuries to Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Defending MVP Nikola Jokic was also frustrated with referees and Green, who made his life hell for 28 minutes before Jokic was sent off with seven minutes remaining after receiving his second technical foul.

OK, it’s time for some caveats. We’ve only seen this Warriors unit for a few minutes yet. Plus, with Jokic and DeMarcus Cousins ​​as centers, the Nuggets are the perfect prey for the speed and pulling shot that Curry and Poole bring to the arena. When Curry wasn’t sweeping the 3-pointer, he was carving up the Nuggets defense by getting into the lane and kicking teammates or finishing.

“I thought his patience was excellent,” Green said of Curry after the game. “Once Steph got in the game, he just drove until they stopped him, and the big guy was kinda shady towards me to take the pocket off, so he kept driving him. I think that broke their defence.”

There are certainly more equipped defenses out there to defend Golden State’s new closing lineup — the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Phoenix Suns comes to mind — but what we’ve seen in the Denver’s first two games of this series should serve as the league’s wake-up call. Those who thought the days of being terrorized by death’s queue were a thing of the past are preparing for a rude awakening.

“There were back-to-back games where it was kind of about picking your poison and everyone was getting involved,” Curry said after the game. “It’s that emotion, that feeling, that momentum that we were able to create. We got the crowd involved. You could tell it affected them on the other side. Every time you look down, they’re trying to understand something. So that’s playoff basketball in the sense that you can make a team care about so many different things. It makes the game a little bit easier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.