3. Brooklyn Nets fell for the old switch-and-bait
Early in the game, the Golden State Warriors were trying to fight over screens defensively and the Brooklyn Nets were burning them with outstanding ball movement that led to open looks for their shooters.
D’Angelo Russell was a primary beneficiary, with 10 first-quarter points, while Spencer Dinwiddie scored eight in the quarter and Joe Harris added seven.
But it was late in the first quarter when the Warriors changed tactics. Rather than trying to get over screens, Golden State simply began to switch everything.
But while that left Brooklyn’s guards — particularly Dinwiddie — matched up against Golden State’s bigs, the Warriors added a twist that the Nets fell for time and time again.
Brooklyn’s guards saw an advantage and went after the switching defender off the dribble.
But the Warriors were very good at bringing a help-side defender over to the ball side to meet the penetrating guard and the Nets wound up taking some ugly shots or forcing passes that just weren’t there.
When the help was slow to arrive, the Nets took advantage — they had a 52-32 advantage in points in the paint on the night. But Golden State also forced Brooklyn into mistakes, particularly in the third quarter when they forced five turnovers while building their lead from 12 to 20.
By the guards continually taking the bait of being matched up with a slower, bigger defender, the ball movement for the Nets effectively stopped.
Instead, the ball stuck to one side of the floor, the Golden State defense didn’t have to react to the ball switching sides and the Brooklyn offense went stagnant.
And as we’ve seen early in this season, when the Nets offense stops moving, it usually stops scoring.