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sport / / BANG: ‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up transition defense

o BANG: ‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up tranAllen

BANG: ‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up transition defense


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG:_‘You_have_to_take_the_easy_stuff_away
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2024 16:56:51 -0700
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 by: Allen - Mon, 18 Mar 2024 23:56 UTC

‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up
transition defense
The Warriors allowed 22 fast break points to the Mavericks on Wednesday

>Golden State Warriors’ Trayce Jackson-Davis (32) takes a hand to the
face from Dallas Mavericks guard Dante Exum (0) as Exum shoots during
the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, March 13,
2024. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 16, 2024 at 5:20 a.m. | UPDATED: March 16, 2024 at 4:57

In a team film session before their game in Dallas, Steve Kerr had a
clear objective: hammer home transition defense.

Kerr showed nine straight minutes of film from the third quarter of
Golden State’s previous win over the Spurs, a team source said. In that
stretch, the Warriors hustled back on defense, starting from the nail
and fanning out from there. They communicated to avoid getting caught in
mismatches and forced San Antonio to beat their set defense.

The Warriors won the quarter, 32-18. The film showed what the Warriors
are capable of in transition.

But the squad’s effort getting back on defense hasn’t been consistent
enough, even as the season enters its most important chapter and the
Warriors are fighting for playoff positioning. Players and coaches have
harped on the topic, but issues continue to crop up.

“I was much more concerned with the lack of urgency in transition the
other night in Dallas,” Steve Kerr said after the Warriors’ practice
Friday at UCLA. “Just way too many possessions when they got behind our
defense. Dunked the ball, lobs, easy points. To be a good team, you have
to take the easy stuff away. I thought our halfcourt defense was really
good, but transition was very poor.”

Against Dallas, the Warriors lost the fast-break points battle 22-8.
Even without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, the game turned out to be
one the Warriors very well could have stolen. Mavericks star Luka Doncic
injured his hamstring and didn’t play the entire fourth quarter, and
Dallas shot 22.2% from behind the 3-point arc.

But Golden State didn’t provide enough resistance in transition,
allowing easy buckets at the rim.

“I think it’s just communication of who has the ball, and then building
from the rim out,” rookie guard Brandin Podziemski said after the 109-99
loss. “A lot of the times, Kyrie (Irving) would take it down and just
throw it in to (Dereck) Lively because there was a mismatch or whatnot.
But we’ve got to do a better job of communication and simply just
sprinting back. Think if you get five guys (back down) the floor before
they get their five, I think we’ve got a good chance every time to at
least make them run something in the half-court.”

On one play against Dallas, Irving corralled a defensive rebound under
his basket and strolled down the middle of the court, barely impeded,
for a layup. Jonathan Kuminga was charged with picking up the point
guard, but his defensive stance was too upright to stay in front of Irving.

As Warriors analyst Joe Viray pointed out on Twitter/X, the play was
eerily similar to a Kuminga miscue in San Antonio the previous game,
when the wing didn’t stop the ball.

Joe Viray
@JoeVirayNBA ·Follow
Second game in a row...

Joe Viray@JoeVirayNBA
Yeah, I'm sorry but JK needs to do a much better job stopping the ball

Just poor effort to get in front. Too easy for Sochan.
[Embedded video]

5:51 PM · Mar 13, 2024
121 Reply Share

On plays like that, the difference needs to be simply more intensity and
focus. At this point of the season, there’s no real excuse for a lack of

“It’s effort, but it’s also awareness,” Kerr said. “You can get back,
but if you’re not aware of the weak side guy running behind you, that’s
awareness. So it’s a combination.

“We tell our guys all the time: The first three steps are the most
important. As soon as you see a possession change, those first three
steps should be explosive, and then at halfcourt, you’ve got to turn and
locate the ball, look at the most dangerous people. The most dangerous
guy is always the guy going to the rim. We let that guy get behind us
too many times.”

Kuminga is not the only Warrior who has had lapses. With 53.5 seconds
left in the first half against Dallas, Kuminga converted a layup and
tripped on someone’s foot along the baseline, taking him out of the
play. On the other end, Josh Green snuck behind every Warrior and was
rewarded with an alley-oop dunk.

On that play, rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis was jogging back after the
make. Andrew Wiggins was stuck on the perimeter, charged with picking up
Doncic off the ball. But Klay Thompson and Chris Paul were also
stationed outside the 3-point arc, allowing Green to have 20 feet of


There are additional factors beyond effort that can impact transition
defense for any team. Live-ball turnovers create adverse situations. And
if too many players crash for an offensive rebound without hauling one
in, the floor balance gets out of sync.

How the end of Warriors-Lakers devolved into ‘bizarre’ mess
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Warriors face ‘daunting’ play-in battle after losing first of 5 key games
Without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, Warriors overpowered by Mavericks

In 12 games since the All-Star break — a stretch in which the Warriors
have largely played well — Golden State ranks 25th in the NBA in
opponents’ fast break points per game (16.9).

With the Warriors fighting to advance out of the 10 seed, that number
should be getting better, not worse. Every game matters in the cluttered
West. Every game should be intense, Kerr said this week, and one of the
areas to apply that intensity most should be in transition.

Up next: a nationally televised tilt against the Lakers, who are a game
ahead of Golden State in the play-in standings. The Lakers rank third in
fast-break scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game.

If the Warriors don’t commit to tracking back on defense, they’ll have a
hard time slowing them down.

sport / / BANG: ‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up transition defense


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