As the second game of the NBA Finals approaches in Toronto, the Warriors are poised to bounce back after a disappointing game 1 defeat, where the defense allowed Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam to combine for 52 points.
Without Durant, the Warriors are at a considerable disadvantage in regards to length and it shows. In game 1, Golden State chose to focus their defensive attention on a hobbled Kawhi Leonard which left players like Gasol, Siakam and Danny Green open. In game 2, the Warriors need to take a different approach, where they neutralize the forces around Kawhi Leonard and let him try and play iso ball. If he loooked hobbled and fatigued after 5 days of rest, he is clearly not his best self and can’t be expected to routinely bypass the Warriors interior defense on most plays.
Additionally, with the Warriors looking out of sync on defense, they tried to outside shoot their way to victory. That might work against some opponents simply due to the backcourts efficiency, but Toronto’s perimeter defense is considerably strong and has the length to block Golden State from getting the open looks they are used to. They need to write up better plays and expand their offensive strategy beyond giving the ball to Curry or Thompson outside for a guarded 3.
Siakam and Gasol playing as well as they did was not a complete fluke as the Warriors simply didn’t have the length to match up well with them and focused too much on Kawhi Leonard. If the Warriors employ the same strategy, they may just find themselves in a 2-0 hole come tomorrow morning. If Steve Kerr can change up the defensive strategy enough to stop the Raptors from getting the open looks they did in Game 1, perhaps there is a chance that their offense can try and outscore the raptors. That being said, the Raptors simply have too much length to allow the Warriors to get the looks they are used to from 3 and need to get into a better rhythm on offense and look for the open man instead of looking for the 3.