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Why Kevin Durant had 2 dunks so wide open it looked like a layup line

Golden State’s shooting is so scary, so Cleveland kept giving up open dunks instead. That only made things worse.

KD was dunking all over the Cavs in Game 1.

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You have to leave open three-point shooters. You have to. Defenders make calculated decisions to help into the paint defensively in exchange for their man possibly getting an open three-pointer.

But the Golden State Warriors are the first team that are really changing that dynamic.

Here’s the problem: the Warriors don’t just have a single sharpshooter you have to cover, like the Kyle Korver and Steve Novak types of the past decade. They have three of them, all in the starting rotation, and a fourth player who can handle the ball while they spot up. When Draymond Green’s initiating the offense at the top of the key, can you blame the Cavaliers for sticking to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant like glue?

It’s an understandable reaction. It has also led to ... uh, this.

And this.

“Their focus was definitely to take away the 3 point line,” Draymond Green said on NBA TV after the game concluded. “Obviously, if you're gonna give us a dunk in transition, we're gonna take the dunk.”


But the Warriors weren’t just dunking a lot in their 113-91 Game 1 blowout win over the Cavaliers — they were setting season records. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors did something that they hadn’t in NINETY-FOUR prior games this season.

Kevin Durant was the leading recipient, dunking six times in the first half (he didn’t have any in the second). Several of them were in transition, although the one in a GIF above was clearly the most egregious. The Cavaliers should be scared of a Curry or Thompson three-pointer, but not even leaving those two in order to stop a wide open dunk is a severe miscalculation. Even a 50 percent chance at a three-point shot won’t outscore a virtually 100 percent shot taken at the rim.

Case in point: Curry getting open in the second half once two players ran to Durant.

This phenomenon ain’t new. Here’s a regular season game where the exact same thing happened.


The Warriors are so terrifying, they’ve developed a reputation. They’re the Splash Bros, prone to volcanic activity. They have Kevin Durant, who has one of the purest-looking jump shots in the league. You can’t leave them.

Yet the Cavs have to leave them, and if they do, Golden State will likely start roasting them with three-pointers. There is no winning combination against the Warriors offense. That’s not to say you can’t beat Golden State, but you can’t consistently hold them back from scoring buckets of points.

The Cavaliers will try everything they can to mitigate this problem, but it’s not really one that can be solved.