There are plenty of teams that use variations of a single play to get wide open looks for their best shooters. The Warriors use what’s called an ‘elevator,’ or ‘gator’ action to free up Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for open looks from distance, and do so with both consistency and success.
The video clip above has a compilation of Golden State running the play to perfection, and seeing it multiple times in a row like this is a great way for those not well-versed in the Xs and Os of the game to recognize and understand exactly how teams can execute over and over again in similar situations.
Essentially, it’s a screen set by two players where the third player (the one who will end up being the shooter) will run between them, before the gap is closed like a set of elevator doors slamming shut that prevents the defender from following the shooter through.
The result is Curry and Thompson, the Warriors’ two most deadly shooters, getting loose for wide open looks, usually from three-point distance.
Still, it’ll be impossible to look beyond the Green-Durant dynamic until Golden State wins like it did before. In Green’s first game back from suspension, that didn’t come close to happening.
2) The Clippers are winning. That’s important beyond even underlying factors like how they’re playing.
L.A. has won three straight – beating the Bucks in overtime, Warriors in overtime and Spurs 116-111 last night. Against quality competition like that, racking up victories is crucial. Even if the Clippers stumble or have injury issues later, those three wins could be vital come playoff-seeding time.
At 9-5, the Clippers are tied for fourth in the Western Conference. But that’s just two games ahead of 12th. There’s no separation early in the West race, and there might not be margin for error all season.
Other teams will come around – like San Antonio. In a 1-5 stretch, the Spurs have been outscored by 61 without Rudy Gay and have outscored opponents by 24 with him. He was +14 in 25 minutes last night. As he gets healthier, San Antonio should improve.
But the Clippers don’t need to wait on anything. They’re deep and play hard. Lou Williams hits big shots. They’re ready to win right now.
3) The Nuggets avoided complete doom and gloom. After a 9-1 start, Denver had lost four straight. Jamal Murray violated team rules, and Nuggets coach Michael Malone pulled him from the starting lineup. But Denver still cruised to a feel-good 138-93 win over the Hawks.
Monte Morris started and played steadily. Murray was good off the bench. It probably didn’t matter much. The Nuggets likely would have beaten Atlanta with an injured Isaiah Thomas at point guard.
But Denver – especially star Nikola Jokic – still seems like a team that can get too down on itself when things aren’t going well. Momentum snowballs, even when it starts against the Hawks.
Draymond Green reportedly told Kevin Durant: ‘We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave’
Green called Durant a “bitch” multiple times, sources said. In a summarized version, sources said Green shouted, “You’re a bitch and you know you’re a bitch.” The rhetoric, sources said, continued even when Kerr attempted to direct the team’s attention to his whiteboard.
Green blurted to Durant something along the lines of, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave,” sources said.
Wow. That’s pretty darned harsh. And if Durant walked away say saying “That’s why I’m out“… wow.
This would explain why Green’s teammates supported his suspension. He clearly went too far, as even he expected a fine. But this was quite the way to carry on.
When Green and Durant bickered last year in a similar, though less heated, incident, it was claimed Green was using “reverse psychology” to motivate Durant. I was never convinced whether that was accurate or cooked up after the fact to cover for Green’s misbehavior. Will we hear a similar explanation this time?
Scottie Pippen is a six-time NBA champion, and has played with some of the biggest personalities to ever grace the league. Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Rasheed Wallace, and Michael Jordan just to name a few. As such, Pippen has some relevant insight into the superstar battle royale that’s happening right now between members of the Golden State Warriors.
On ESPN’s “The Jump” on Thursday, Pippen compared the situation between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant to his time with the Chicago Bulls. In particular, Pippen pointed out that both he and Jordan had issues with Dennis Rodman when he arrived in Chicago from the San Antonio Spurs to start the 1995-96 season.
Pippen also levied a pretty heavy take that not many have leapt to just yet, saying he felt the divide between Durant and Green could destabilize the Warriors enough to cost them this year’s NBA championship.
I didn’t like Dennis Rodman. I didn’t like Dennis when he came to the team, Michael [Jordan] didn’t like him, but we existed on the basketball court because we respected what Dennis did on the court and we knew the value that he brought to the game for us. But in this situation, where you’re talking about your teammates, that’s out of character for players. As a team, we bond. We lock hands, and no one is allowed in that circle.
As a player, we knew that this was coming I mean for pretty much the whole 90s our championship run was built on what players wanted. We went against management [a] numerous amount of times. But when it came to play, and we got in between the lines, we played for each other, we played for the city of Chicago. And I think this is one of them situations the players gotta look beyond any situation. This is not one of those situations where they can look ahead. They have to work out their own internal affairs, and right now this could cost them a championship. If KD don’t feel comfortable playing with Draymond, who do you walk away from?
I’m not sure if I am ready to go that far just yet, just because the Warriors have so much firepower when everyone is healthy it’s not clear who would step up and dethrone them even if Durant and Green remain icy toward each other.
The NBA as a league is astute at marketing players individually and putting forth the stories about how well guys get along. It’s also adept at hiding which players actively hate each other, especially when those guys are on the same roster.
Green and Durant have spoken, and although we don’t know if they will ever be friendly again, at this point we have to just watch what happens between the two stars.
More important is the health of the Warriors, and we are seeing just how much they need Stephen Curry now that he is out with a hamstring injury. Golden State has already lost to the Los Angeles Clippers and played a tight game against the Atlanta Hawks at home at Oracle in Curry’s absence.