There were some occasions when the Warriors were able to take advantage of the Raptors’ help on Curry. But there were other occasions when that help was critical to the Raptors getting a stop.
Gasol forced two turnovers in the second quarter – with a deflection and by forcing a jump ball when he picked up Curry after VanVleet ran into a screen.
Lowry, meanwhile, was usually ready with help from wherever he was on the floor.
Midway through the second quarter, Draymond Green knocked VanVleet off the play in the backcourt. And when Kawhi Leonard stepped up to stop the ball, Curry got around him. But at the last second, Lowry helped off Andre Iguodala and contested Curry’s drive (getting away with a foul, perhaps)…
Later in the second quarter, Siakam picked up Curry after another Green screen in the backcourt. When Curry fed Green going downhill, Lowry helped off Iguodala again and drew a charge.
There’s a general principle in this league that you don’t help off the strong-side corner. But Lowry does it quite often.
It’s one reason why he’s drawn 15 charges in these playoffs (more than twice as many as any other player). It’s also a reason why the Raptors will sometimes get burned on wide-open, strong-side corner threes (like this one from George Hill when Lowry tried to draw a charge on Khris Middleton).
The Raptors want to protect the basket, first and foremost. And Nurse trusts his point guard to make the right decision in that regard.
“He’s a very instinctual player,” Nurse said of Lowry on Friday. “A lot of plays in the game out there, there are so many things going on that are more instinctual probably than they are some unbelievable design. So, yeah, we always say ‘know your personnel and if there’s a problem, try to go fix it.’ He’s really good at that. A really good problem solver on the help defenses.”
In regard to Lowry’s help off the corner, the “know your personnel” part could apply to the player with the ball, like when he drew a charge on Jayson Tatum (an inexperienced playmaker) in a big spot back in October.
Not supposed to help off strong-side corner, but Lowry gamble works w/ Tatum. Seeing/making that pass is next step in his development? pic.twitter.com/UHVipPsPVQ
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) October 20, 2018
It could also apply to the player that Lowry’s leaving alone in the corner. Iguodala is a 41 percent 3-point shooter from the corners, though not the most willing player to consistently let it fly off a kick-out.