- Guarding the Golden State Warriors often requires teams to “live with” certain shots.
- Cleveland Cavaliers guard George Hill provided an example after Game 2, saying his team can live with Kevin Durant hitting fade-away jump shots.
- Hill’s comment shows how difficult it is to defend the Warriors, as those shots they’re conceding to Durant are some of his favourite shots – and it’s still a better alternative than other Warriors shots the Warriors can get.
A commonly discussed philosophy when dealing with the Golden State Warriors is the idea of “living with” certain parts of their offence. The Warriors are so potent that opponents can only hope to shut off certain aspects – they will have to live with the rest.
The idea didn’t begin with the Warriors, but this current iteration of the team takes the phrase to a new level.
After a 122-103 loss to the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers guard George Hill explained what the Cavs are willing to grant the Warriors on offence. Hill explained that when he gets switched onto Kevin Durant (the Cavs switch nearly every pick to avoid the Warriors getting open for even a second), the Cavs are ok with Durant taking contested, fade-away jumpers.
“It hasn’t killed us,” Hill said (via Jason Lloyd of The Athletic). “He has hit some tough shots. We’re fine with them taking contested pull-ups. If it comes to a point where he’s blowing past me, I’m sure we will switch. Fadeaway contested jump shots, you have to live with something.”
Hill and the Cavs’ logic is perfectly sound. Durant is often taking advantage of these mismatches from the midrange or high post. Add in Hill’s generally solid contests (despite the height mismatch), and mathematically, that’s a shot the Cavs should be ok with granting.
However, it also shows how difficult guarding the Warriors is because those shots are Durant’s bread and butter. Earlier in the playoffs, Steve Kerr spoke about what a luxury Durant is to the Warriors. When the Warriors offence gets clogged up, Durant has the unique ability to go one-on-one and turn otherwise tough shots into easy baskets.
There are other shots the Cavs don’t mind giving the Warriors – three-pointers from Draymond Green or David West, anything but dunks to JaVale McGee. Unfortunately, for the Cavs, those things have all happened at varying times in these Finals.
And there are shots the Cavs would prefer not to give up to the Warriors. For instance, they’d prefer to run Stephen Curry off the three-point line. Even when they’re successful, he stills finds ways to get open for three-pointers.
That’s the Warriors in a nutshell – teams can shut off their best options and they can still score.
As ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy has stated on the broadcasts, teams have to give up certain looks to the Warriors. If they make them, you lose.
More NBA Finals coverage:
- LeBron James threw an underappreciated all-world pass, and it sums up the Cavs’ bleak outlook in the Finals
- LeBron James nearly lost it on the bench during a depressing Cavs huddle following J.R. Smith’s Game 1 blunder
- LeBron James may have authored the greatest Finals game ever, and it slipped through the Cavs’ hands
- LeBron James told Stephen Curry to ‘get the f— out’ of his face after a lighthearted joke from Curry following a blocked shot
- Devastating photo shows J.R. Smith missed wide-open teammate LeBron James during his late-game blunder
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