/Film Study: Thompson gets free, then sizzles in Game 5 win

Film Study: Thompson gets free, then sizzles in Game 5 win


The gravity of Steph

Though Curry has been off the floor for about 18 percent of Thompson’s minutes in The Finals, he’s been on the floor for 19 of Thompson’s 20 3-pointers (or 95 percent of them).

You would think that Thompson would shoot more with Curry off the floor. But that hasn’t been the case. Thompson has had a lower usage rate with Curry on the bench (19.7 percent) than he has with Curry on the floor (22.7 percent), and he’s managed to launch just four 3-point attempts in those 27 minutes that Curry has been resting.


The ‘Splash Bros.’ took over throughout Game 5 of The Finals.

In one of the biggest shots of Game 5 — Thompson’s 3-pointer that put the Warriors back within three with 2:32 to go in the game — was a clear illustration of how Thompson gets more and better looks when his “Splash Brother” is on the floor.

With 13 seconds left on the shot clock, Draymond Green slipped a screen for Curry and immediately went to set another screen for Thompson. But both Green’s and Curry’s defenders (Lowry and Fred VanVleet, respectively) stayed with Curry …

                            Curry draws two defenders

That left one defender (Leonard) to guard the ensuing Thompson/Green pick-and-roll. And when Green set a solid screen (no slip this time) on Leonard, Thompson stepped into an open, pull-up 3-pointer before Lowry could rotate over …

                            Thompson hits a big three

The Raptors might prefer that Norman Powell rotate off of Quinn Cook in the corner in that situation, but that’s a tough double-action to defend, and give a ton of credit to …

  1. Curry for getting off the ball so quickly.
  2. Green for knowing the Raptors would be outnumbered on the weak side.
  3. Warriors coach Steve Kerr for, as ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy noted on the broadcast, having Cook (more of a shooting threat) on the floor instead of Iguodala.

Two possessions later, Curry tied the game with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer where he got a step on VanVleet via an exchange with Thompson. The possession after that, Thompson was again the beneficiary of the attention paid to his point guard.

After a Leonard miss on the other end of the floor, Curry pushed the ball down the floor and shook VanVleet, drawing Lowry’s help …

                            Curry draws two defenders

When Curry passed the ball to Iguodala under the basket, Leonard left Thompson to protect the rim. Two rapid passes later, Leonard was scrambling back to Thompson, who side-stepped the close-out and drained the eventual game-winning bucket …

                            Thompson hits the go-ahead three

Thompson is generally a better shooter off the catch (42.8 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers over the last three years) than off the dribble (39.3 percent on pull-up 3-pointers over the last three years), but his percentage on the latter has improved (from 31 percent in 2016-17 to 43 percent this season). And in this series, he’s a remarkable 7-for-9 on pull-up 3-pointers, including 4-for-4 when he’s dribbled once.

A close-out that makes him put the ball on the floor (like Leonard’s on that last play) hasn’t done much to deter him.