BOSTON – The Celtics are young, tall, and athletic, and on their way to a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals, they made the Warriors look old.
The Warriors won Game 2 with the power of the old man – that skillfully placed weight that takes a young, inexperienced team by surprise.
But the Celtics held off by defeating Dubs in every possible way in Game 3.
There were moments — flashes of Warriors that matched Boston’s awesome ability to run and jump, but those moments were a long way off.
There’s a clear move for the Warriors to head into Game 4 on Friday:
Young people confronting young people.
Specifically, play Jonathan Kuminga.
In fact, I’ll start it.
The 19-year-old winger would be the best athlete on the field for either team if he played meaningful minutes in the series. He only played seven games – all with the game in hand – in this final, but there are plenty of chances to get him into the fourth game.
But the best option would be the first: Kuminga starts instead of Kevon Looney.
Now, the Warriors starting position has been pretty impressive in this series and post-season, and the Warriors should be playing it more — he sat the entire fourth quarter of Game 3 at Golden State’s expense — but while he made great picks, he was limited. on roll. Warriors must perform a pick and roll on each offensive possession in Game 4.
Kuminga is hardly the pick of Looney’s pick, but it is effective. He is the only effective antagonist of warriors.
Golden State dominated the drawing in games 1 and 3 — two games in which central Boston, Robert Williams, looked healthy.
The Time Lord protects the hoop from hitting the ball down, as does his height and jumping ability when his checkered knee cooperates.
As such, Warriors are afraid to go paint when on the ground.
You can’t win the title if you can’t go to the basket. All those criticisms of “shooting squads” have this right.
Want to set the tone that this series has changed early? Run Kuminga – Curry pick-and-roll in the first three plays of the game and see if the young lad can put Williams on a label.
After the third game, Klay Thompson said that there were positive 2015 feelings in this final. The Warriors dropped 2-1 in that series to Cleveland, too.
What changed the series?
Yes, the Warriors stopped Andrew Bogot and started Andre Iguodala instead, but really, Carrey was running a pick-and-roll with David Lee that started in Game Four (remember him?)
Like Lee, Kuminga would be a defensive responsibility – he got it wrong a lot. What do you expect from a 19 year old?
But that’s why Kuminga should start instead of off the bench, like Lee. If that experiment doesn’t work—and there’s no way of knowing if it will—Warriors coach Steve Kerr can limit the damage, calling it a loss, and still has 45 minutes to play basketball.
If successful, it sets the tone for the rest of the game and possibly the series.
Kerr, of course, does not tilt his hand.
“It’s always a possibility. You never rule anything out. It’s something we discuss as employees every day,” Kerr said on Thursday. “Do we need to get another player into the spin? Do we need to change the composition, the composition of the assortment?
“All of these things are discussed, and we only make the best decision we think can be made and dealt with.”
There are other ways warriors can enlist the Kuminga out of the start.
Kerr could choose to play Kuminga instead of Nemanja Bjelica, who was solid in Game 2, weak in Game 3, and is generally a wild card due to his poor defense.
But that would put Kuminga with the second unit, which was a problem for Dubs against Boston. They have no respite, and Kuminga – like Bjelica – offers no guarantee of playing well.
Warriors can also try to match a Kuminga with a Celtics player.
Kuminga is best used as a small ball center. When the Celtics go with Al Horford at five, Kominga could provide an interesting card for Boston’s top player. Give the Celtics a taste of their own medicine – if only in one spot for a few moments.
But given the struggles of the warriors on the half-court in the series, a more drastic move is needed. Warriors need to change this chain and have to do it early.
They need to start Kuminga.