For two playoff runs, the Warriors built every part of their offense around Stephen Curry, and that was good enough–and he was plenty good enough–for one championship and one victory short of a repeat.
That last necessary victory vs. Cleveland last June, however… was a little difficult–or impossible, actually–with Curry struggling through some injuries, shooting a combined 22-for-60 (36.7%) and committing 4 turnovers in each of the Games 5-6-7 losses after the Warriors went up 3-1 in the series.
Not coincidentally, the Warriors averaged only 95.7 points in those three ultimate losses, after averaging 114.9 points in the regular season and 109.4 in their 21 previous playoff games to that point.
So, what did the Warriors do? They went out and signed Kevin Durant, a virtual offensive co-equal to Curry.
It’s one more part of what I’d call the Warriors’ Doubling Effect–intentionally adding layers of somewhat overlapping talent, from the top of the roster to the bottom, to enhance the best things they do and also protect against injuries or the strongest surges from their opponent.
It’s hard to produce a Curry Double, but Durant is one of the few players who can score in comparably prodigious and efficient ways to Curry and, if Curry is not in rhythm, can take over the offense for minutes at a time the way Curry so often does.
And though they would’ve tried to sign Durant no matter what happened in Games 5-7, there is no doubt that once they lost Game 7, the Warriors targeted Durant as their solution to…
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