OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that the last time he saw a defense that the Toronto Raptors deployed in the final minutes of NBA Finals Game 2 he was a freshman in high school when an opponent tossed it up to stop him.
With Klay Thompson in the locker room with an injury and the Warriors steamrolling to a victory, Toronto coach Nick Nurse drew up a box-and-one defense to stop Steph Curry and for the final six minutes the game, Golden State’s offense sputtered. The defense was to guard Curry one-on-one and the rest of the four defenders to play a zone.READ MORE: Trevor Noah To Host 'The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards' On CBS
The ploy nearly worked. Left all alone, Golden State’s Andre Iguodala hit a three-pointer to ice the 109-105 win.
“In ninth grade a team played one against me,” Kerr said of the gambling defense. “I’m very proud to announce that I had a box-and-one just like Steph … It was very effective (Sunday). The key with a zone … it just changes the rhythm. So watching the tape, we had good looks that we didn’t knock down, but the rhythm changed.”
“It’s typically not something you can rely on for big, long stretches of the game,” he added. “It’s probably something you see more often in high school, even college. I don’t remember ever seeing it in the pros.”
Thompson said the final outcome was all that matter to him.
“I didn’t mind it because we ended up winning the game,” he said. “Andre got a great look at the end for the dagger. I don’t think it was the best strategy because of the open looks. We didn’t score too well in those last six minutes, but that didn’t matter because we made the bucket when it mattered the most.”READ MORE: 'Video Music Box' Founder, Hip Hop Influencer Ralph McDaniels Shares His Journey In New Showtime Documentary: 'This Music Is Really Powerful'
Curry used some North Carolina slang to describe the defense calling it “janky.”
“It’s a little North Carolina slang I pulled out of my back pocket,” he said of the term. “Obviously, it (using the box-and-one) was innovative and unexpected. In terms of things you haven’t seen in a while. There are things we could have done differently to try to create better shots.”
“That fourth quarter was weird overall with the pace and lacked of scoring. We played amazing defense and that gave us that cushion to close the game out. To sustain that lead … We’ll be prepared for whatever they throw at us going forward in the series.”
Toronto coach Nick Nurse said disruption was his goal with deploying the seldom seen defense.
“We were having trouble getting our defense set up, we were having trouble at the basket a little bit,” he said. “And we were having trouble with the rhythm of the game …. That’s what you are using zone for a lot,” said Nurse. “You usually do it when the game is funky and there is a bad rhythm. Maybe you can change it … I was just trying to come up to stop them.”
Still, Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry said the ploy even surprised his team.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: San Jose Homicide Suspects Released Without Posting Bail; Cops Tweet 'The System Has Failed'
“Sometimes when your coach draws something up, you kind of just go with it,” he said. “It was one of those things where the coach says this is what we are going to do and we did it,” said Lowry. “It was innovative. It was the first time a team probably ever played a box-and-one in the NBA ever. So you give Nick Nurse credit for that.”