Much has been made about LeBron James being a one-man team, but is it possible that the Warriors are falling victim to the same scenario?
For the second straight game Kevin Durant was the Warriors leading scorer, dominating their offensive sets and taking nearly 30% of the team’s shots from the field.
While that worked in Game One, which Golden State won 119-106, it was a massive fail today as Houston rolled to a 127-105 victory.
Make no mistake, Houston was off-the-charts sensational.
Five Rockets scored in double figures, with James Harden and Eric Gordon going for 27 each and PJ Tucker (8/9 and 5/6 from three) with 22, Trevor Ariza 19 and Chris Paul 16.
Chris is not messing around tonight.pic.twitter.com/O7FmGPzxtO
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 17, 2018
But today was also a case of the Warriors failing to (cliche alert) ‘flip the switch.’ They meandered around the court, turning the ball over 15 times, getting outrebounded and shooting poorly from the outside.
Klay Thompson scored a mere eight points on 3/11 shooting, while Steph Curry was 1/8 from three-point territory and took 19 shots to get his 16 points.
Durant was the focus of the Golden State offense, both from the outside and in a post-up role.
He took 22 of the Warriors 85 shots (keeping in mind he sat out the final five minutes or so) and outscored the rest of the starting lineup 38-35.
KD with authority 💪
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 17, 2018
He’s one of the world’s best players and he’s arguably as unstoppable as anyone in the league not named LeBron James. But is this over-reliance on KD healthy for the Warriors in this series?
Does playing isolation basketball with Durant take Curry, Klay and others out of their rhythm?
And like LeBron against the Celtics – or ironically, Harden against Golden State in Game One – should Houston play the ‘let the superstar get his points and dare everyone else to beat you’ strategy?
Kevin Durant has played 75 minutes in this series. He has one (1) assist
— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) May 17, 2018
Now, a huge caveat here. Klay, Steph and Draymond are a significant upgrade on Kevin Love, JR Smith and Kyle Korver. And you’d be a brave man to suggest that Curry and Thompson won’t bounce back in Game Three at home.
But if you’re Houston, you’re going with the flow and seeing if Durant’s dominance continues to upset the Warriors normally prolific and smooth-running offensive balance.
And you’re also hoping you do things like this in Game Three.
That ball movement! 👏
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2018