Steph Curry showed his brilliance by finding a counter to the defense designed to stop him in a comeback win
Stephen Curryscored 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead a Warriors comeback win.
- The Cavs used a defense to stop Curry from hitting threes, so he beat them for layups.
In year 13 of his
Curry exploded for 40 points on Thursday, scoring 20 in the fourth quarter, to help the
After Curry hit two three-pointers to begin the quarter, the Cavs went into prevention mode. They used a defense called "top-locking" designed to stop three-point shooters like Curry.
When a defender "top locks," instead of standing between their opponent and the basket, as is traditional, they stand between the ball and their opponent in an effort to cut off paths to the three-point line.
Look at Cavs guard Ricky Rubio below, essentially granting Curry a path to the basket so he can better deny Curry flaring out to the three-point line.
But by playing big men who can spread the floor, the paint was open for Curry to take advantage of this defense and take the easy layups.
Below, Okoro top-locks Curry. With Warriors big man Nemanja Bjelica going to the perimeter to retrieve the ball, it pulled Cavs big man Kevin Love out of the paint (not that he is a fearsome rim defender anyway), allowing Curry an easy finish.
On an inbounds play minutes later, the Cavs guarded Curry more traditionally, since the Warriors were inbounding from under the basket.
But once the ball was in play, they went back to top-locking.
Curry faked as if he was going to go around a screen, a play normally used to free up Curry for a three-pointer.
But with the Cavs in the top-lock defense, it left an open lane for Curry to make a cut back to the basket for another layup.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Curry got free from the top-locking defense, but Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. missed him on the cut.
So, Curry went back into his normal offense: faking a screen toward the right baseline, cutting back, and using Porter as a screener to get open for three.
This comeback wasn't a one-man show.
Curry credited Porter for setting two "amazing" screens that led to three-pointers that got him going. Damion Lee scored nine points in the fourth quarter. Draymond Green recorded four assists in the quarter.
And perhaps most of all, the Warriors defense — currently No. 1 in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions — suffocated the Cavs.
Their rotations and help defenses were in-sync, cutting off any avenues for the Cavs to get open shots. As evidence, the Cavs had two 24-second violations in the first five minutes of the quarter as the Warriors mounted their comeback. Cleveland scored just eight points in the quarter.
Still, Curry is the spark for the team.
"With Steph on the floor, you always have a chance," head coach Steve Kerr said after the game.
"As amazing as it was, it didn't shock me. Because this is what he does."
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