Kevin Durant demanded the ball from Stephen Curry with less than a minute left, isolated on Zach Randolph, and settled for a horrible three.
The Golden State Warriors let a 24 point get away from them and they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Dubs had several opportunities to put the Grizz away and they squandered every single one of them. The execution, put nicely, was extremely poor.
While holding onto a lead with less than a minute left, Stephen Curry, who finished with 40 points, missed an off-the-dribble three-point attempt. Klay Thompson managed to wrestle the rebound away from Marc Gasol and the Warriors got another chance. He got the ball back out to Curry.
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Golden State’s point guard had the ball a few feet in front of the half court line. He was resetting, preparing to run something to get a good look. Instead, Kevin Durant stood at the logo, held his hands out, and demanded the ball.
Warriors' Kevin Durant calls for ball on crucial late possession, Stephen Curry relents, Draymond Green reacts w/ frustration pic.twitter.com/VROJSAZ0cZ
Durant had a mismatch with Zach Randolph on him. As he held the ball, Draymond Green expressed his displeasure in the corner. He tried to get something going, but Durant was focused on Randolph.
Curry tried to come over to set a screen for his MVP teammate, but Durant waved him off. Had he set the screen, perhaps they would have had two mismatches with Mike Conley on Durant and Randolph on Curry. Instead, Curry just ran to the wing and waiting for a potential kick out.
Durant started to make a move, but pulled up from beyond the arc with over 6 seconds left on the shot clock. It was a horrible shot attempt for the league’s most explosive offense. Randolph, who did a lot of good things down the stretch, cannot handle Durant’s quickness one-on-one.
He could have gotten himself to the rim with a chance at a layup. Durant had also been getting to the line well and, despite missing three straight attempts, could have put the game away there. At minimum, he could have attracted a second defender and kicked out to a hot Curry, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green.
After the missed three, the Grizzlies called timeout and Green was seen getting into Durant.
KD on Draymond's words for him after that 2nd to last play in regulation: "We should have stuck with the pick and roll"
Green’s outburst isn’t the most concerning part of this whole sequence. The Oklahoma City Thunder were horrible in close games last year, partly because Durant and Russell Westbrook were caught in this “your turn, my turn” deal. This wasn’t supposed to happen in Golden State and, yet, it could not have been any clearer.
The Warriors need to figure out how to execute down the stretch. Curry and Durant taking turns is the opposite of what they need. With the right matchups, isolation plays are fine down the stretch, but the Warriors have too many gifted players to be bailing poor defenders out with bad shots.