Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thanks to Harvey Araton of the New York Times for including me in this article on how to play the Warriors.
Steve Finamore, coach of East Lansing High School in Michigan, former assistant at St. Peter’s College (now St. Peter’s University) in Jersey City, and former member of the support staff for Tom Izzo at Michigan State.
“I have watched Golden State very closely. Here’s what I would do if I was preparing a scouting report for our team. Defense: Be ready to play at the start. Golden State strikes quickly. They are jumping out to big leads early. Have to match their energy at the start of the game. You have to know where Steph Curry is at all times. He’s the craftiest player we have seen in a long time. Trap him every chance you get. Other three defenders have to see the ball and rotate, anticipating where his next pass is going. Rotation on defense has to be quick; you can never relax. See the ball!
“High hands on all closeouts on their outside shooters. Box out, rebound and run. All five guys have to hit the boards. Can’t give them any second-chance opportunities. Most importantly, get back on defense. Can’t jog back. Have to find your man in transition and match up quickly. Switch all ball screens. Talk on defense. Defend with toughness. Play physical.
“Offense: Pound it inside. Use up the shot clock as much as possible. Be patient. Can’t get caught up in outscoring them. Slow the game down in the halfcourt set. Take Curry in the post. Make him work on defense. Move the ball. It can’t stick. Make their defense work. Don’t force the issue. Drive the ball to the basket; don’t settle for outside shots. Missed outside shots lead to run-outs for their fast break. Send four guys to the offensive glass. Their wings are leaking out to start their break.
“Overall: If you fall behind by a lot early in the game, you can’t think it’s over. Have to keep battling. Body language has to be strong. Play with confidence. Rebound, get the 50-50 balls, play with energy and effort. The little things have to be covered. Christmas night they play the Cavs. Jan. 25 they play the Spurs. Two teams I think can beat them.”