Blazers’ defensive strategy against Steph Curry was terrible
The Portland Trail Blazers chose to try a bold defensive strategy on Steph Curry in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Golden State on Tuesday night and it did not pay off.
The Blazers’ big men dropped off on the pick and roll plays the Warriors ran for Curry rather than flash out to defend his deep shots. That gave Curry some ridiculously wide open looks, such as this one:
Not ideal defense pic.twitter.com/3FyqRCNjpd
— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) May 15, 2019
Here was another. Notice how there is no big man on the perimeter to defend Curry after he gets his screen.
Blazers flirted with all half, by using "drop coverage" on the high ballscreen, and finally got burned at the end of the half!
Back-to-back threes by Curry.#XsAndOs | #NBA#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/BEfQIYILA8
— Doug Brotherton (@CoachBrotherton) May 15, 2019
Curry led the Warriors with 36 points, going 12-for-25 from the field, including an absurd 9/15 on threes. He kept getting open looks and knocking down his shots.
After the 116-94 loss, Blazers star Damian Lillard said his team’s defensive execution was poor.
“Poor execution defensively on our part. Just having our bigs back that far, understanding the team that we’re playing against, they’re not going to shoot mid-range jumpers. If they see an opportunity to shoot the three, they’re going to take it,” Lillard said. “We gotta bring our guys off and run them off the line.”
Enes Kanter, Portland’s big man, is notoriously weak in pick and roll, which might explain their strategy, but the Game 1 results should be enough to convince them to change things up. If your strategy is to let Steph Curry have open three looks and have him beat you, he probably will every time.