three points: BAD BEAL, TURNOVERS, SITTING SATO
BY TODD DYBAS | MARCH 1, 2018
WARRIORS 109, WIZARDS 101
THREE POINTS FROM CAPITAL ONE ARENA:
1. Shackling Beal. The entire game can begin and end here. The Warriors started with Klay Thompson on Beal. That was step one. Next, they blitzed him off high screens. Next, they switched from Thompson to someone like Andre Iguodala. The idea of targeting and removing Beal since John Wall has been off the floor is not new. But, the Warriors were able to do it with greater effect than any opponent in this 14-game stretch without Wall.
“We wanted to put as many bodies on him as possible,” Kevin Durant said. “It’s hard for a player to make shots in that type of defense where we trap him, chasing him off the line, we’re meeting him as soon as he dribbles the ball. All eyes are on him right now. I’m sure everybody in the league has a game plan for him that way. So it’s not that Brad’s not a good player, he wasn’t a good player tonight. I think we locked in a little bit more on him just by himself as one of their only scoring threats at the wing, a guy that can go off and score a lot of points. We just wanted to make sure we had all eyes on him.”
It was apparent. Beal’s final brutish line: 3-for-15, five turnovers, eight points. He didn’t score until midway through the third quarter. His shot chart showed the issues:
Two people give Beal — and just about everyone else — trouble at this level: Thompson and Avery Bradley. Here’s how Beal compared the two, immediately noting they are, “totally different.”
“Klay uses his length and strength to his advantage,” Beal said. “He’s a great defender. Avery is like a pest. He gets on your nerves when he defends you. They’re definitely different in a lot of ways. But, you definitely respect them because they’re probably 1A, 1B in their abilities. I definitely respect what they both do, but I’ve got to figure out ways to get around it.”
He wasn’t able to Wednesday when swarmed.
2. Turnovers mitigate offensive rebounds. How did the Wizards survive against the Warriors while shooting just 40 percent? They mangled them on the offensive glass. Washington finished with 18 offensive rebounds. The extra possessions countered their garish shooting percentage. However, their 18 turnovers unwound the benefit. The Wizards were sixth in the league in turnovers per game when the season hit Jan. 1. They are now 16th.
“Especially in that first half it seems like every turnover led to a two-on-one or a one-on-zero,” Scott Brooks said. “It was a live-ball turnover and they scored on just about every single one of our turnovers and tonight 18 turnovers. Unfortunately for us that’s been sneaking up on us. For how well we have been playing and moving the basketball, we have been sharing it with other teams also and not just with ourselves. We have got to clean that up when you play against one of the best teams in basketball. Can’t have 18 turnovers and expect to win. But we did fight, we did fight and had a chance to win.”
3. No point guard in the fourth. Brooks worked this situation again in the fourth quarter Wednesday. Beal entered the game for Tim Frazier with 8:19 to play. Tomas Satoransky got on the floor in the fourth quarter for the first time with 3:31 to play. This had been a trend of late. When asked about it, Brooks has said that he is trying to give Beal some experience as the point guard in that situation. Plus, he wants to give Satoransky a break (Satoransky sat from the start of the fourth until the 3:31 mark Wednesday on his way to 33:13 on the floor). Answering specifically about why he chose to leave Jodie Meeks on the floor for an extended period Wednesday, Brooks said he wanted another shooter. He then acknowledged that Meeks has not shot 3-pointers well this season, but suggested he at least presents a threat. Coming into the game, Meeks was shooting 31.9 percent from behind the 3-point line this season. Satoransky was shooting 46.4 percent. The gap in shooting percentage, plus forcing the team to play without a point guard for that stretch, made the idea doubly curious.
Photo by Joe Glorioso for The Sports Capitol