The Golden State Warriors small-ball, bombs away offense that perpetuated the league, ultimately was the catalyst in their downfall last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors ended up succumbing to the Cavaliers overall as they blew a 3-1 series lead. While many will debate that the Warriors were just doing what got them there, what got them there really was the reason why they lost. But, that’s with any team that loses, right? Not if your unorthodox philosophy has never been seen by the NBA before. Because the Hawks are somewhat similar to the Warriors in terms of their stretch-the floor approach, I am going to write three things that the team and head coach Mike Budenholzer can learn from the Warriors loss.
Keep your starting big men healthy…and out of trouble
Luckily, with Al Horford (presuming he stays) and Paul Millsap, Hawk fans nor the organization has to worry about the latter. But, health will always be a concern for any big man in the league. For the Warriors, Andrew Bogut going down wasn’t a death kneel, but it sure did play a factor on the interior in the last three games of the series. Besides, Festus Ezeli literally couldn’t buy a basket if the world depended on it last night.
Spreading the floor works, but when it doesn’t it’s okay to have a plan B
The Warriors went 15-43 last night from deep. That’s good for 35%. But, they missed their last 9 shots last night and a good bit of them were from deep. Curry missed his last four three pointers and I’m sure Warriors head coach Steve Kerr would advise his team in hindsight to attack the basket in closing minutes. Sadly, that’s not the Warriors style. In fact, their only style is to shoot from the perimeter. If the Hawks ever got in a situation like what the Warriors were in last night, I hope they realize that two points are always safer than three; especially when creating contact is easier than trying to get a four point play.
Smart basketball will always prevail
While LeBron James didn’t impose his will the way he did the previous two games, he did however, play his smartest basketball in the last three quarters. He finished with a triple double, while the Cavaliers as a whole took smart, high percentage shots. The Warriors seemed intent on going for kill shots rather than for smart shots, which is what they do, but it wasn’t necessary in the moment. Had the Warriors drove the lane on five of their open shots, especially in the fourth quarter, could the game have been differently? Possibly. But, this is a lesson for anybody who wants to play like the Warriors; shoot threes, but twos are worth more than 3’s in the clutch. The Hawks already play smart basketball, but it’s something they should jot down that staying in their element and adjusting when needed to, could separate them from winning and losing big games.