The Warriors evened the NBA Finals with a blowout win against the Celtics in Game 2, but for most of the game, especially the first half, it appeared Golden State was on the ropes.
In the third quarter, however, Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry got cooking. Golden State’s defense set the tone from the start of the game, but coach Steve Kerr needed buckets and turned his All-Star loose as he rarely does.
According to The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson III, Curry ran slightly more pick-and-roll action than usual. The minor adjustment made a major difference, helping the Warriors outscore Boston 35-14 in the third.
Curry had 12 pick-and-rolls in Game 1, according to Synergy Sports. He finished with 12 in Game 2 as well, except he did it in three quarters. He ran six in the third quarter alone. But even that undersells how much Curry had the ball in his hands. His combination of pick-and-rolls, transition and isolations added up to about 12 let-Curry-cook possessions in the third quarter.Marcus Thompson III/The Athletic
Altogether, the result was 14 points for Curry in that third frame, helping lead to the eventual 107-88 victory.
It was a slight break from Kerr’s motion offense, and the strategy provided a welcome respite from the Celtics’ daunting defense, which excels at switching assignments.
How much more Kerr turns to his strategy remains to be seen. But with just a slight adjustment providing such large results, don’t be surprised to see Curry in more pick-and-roll action as the series goes on, depending on how the Celtics adjust in Game 3 in Boston on Wednesday.