Warriors’ out-of-bounds Play in Dallas Prevents Klay Thompson from making Game-tying 3-Pointer

The three-game winning streak of the Golden State Warriors came to an end on Tuesday when they lost 116-113 in Dallas. Luka Doncic was the difference scoring 40 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his sixth career triple-double (41 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists).

It was a chaotic game that included spectacular play and shooting from both Doncic and Stephen Curry, the two best scorers in the league. The Mavericks held a four-point lead for only 15 seconds in the final nine minutes but the game remained within possession the entire time. Throughout the entirety of the last stanza neither team had a lead larger than five points.

Dorian Finney-Smith had an opportunity to put the game away for Dallas with a pair of free throws in the final 4.4 seconds, but he missed the second one, allowing the Warriors, who were trailing by three, to sneak in and steal the victory. After taking a timeout, the Warriors attempted a misdirection play designed by Steve Kerr that would have given Klay Thompson an open look at a 3-pointer from the sideline but ultimately resulted in an unsuccessful attempt.

When it comes to coming up with these kinds of plays after a timeout, Kerr can compete with any coach in the NBA. He benefits from Curry’s gravitational pull, which he uses to his advantage by deftly drawing out the defenders and setting up open shots for shooters like Tristan Thompson and Jordan Poole.

Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson

In this pattern, Thompson began at the base, curved upward toward the top, and met Poole’s arc at the apex. Poole, like a wide receiver performing a pick play, ran directly across the path of Thompson’s defender as they intersected. Misdirection allowed Poole to avoid switching their defender onto Thompson, who they should have been focusing on all along.

Play shifted toward the in-bounder, making it difficult for opponents to pursue down Thompson after he had curled away from the ball. The Curry screen on the reverse is the final component. While Thompson was unguarded and able to catch a fantastic pass over the top of the chaos, there was no way Curry’s man would switch onto him.

It was a brilliantly conceived play that gave the Warriors their greatest chance to score. Everyone was going to be looking at Curry. Even though Kerr had previously sprung him free on a similar action from the other side of the court, it was going to be difficult to do so in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. However, unlike Thompson, Curry was unable to make the shot (which wasn’t as clean as Thompson’s here).

The mistake capped up a rough night for Thompson, who looked clearly disheartened after a string of shots went wide. The final tally for his shooting was 2-for-9 from the field and 1-for-6 from long range, for a total of five points. In spite of this outing, Thompson has been making strides toward a comeback. At the time, he was averaging 10 3-point attempts and shooting 60% over his previous four games (24 for 40).

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