Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
With a road win against the Miami Heat thanks to smart offense and smarter defense, the Golden State Warriors cemented themselves as legitimate.
The Golden State Warriors knocked off the Miami Heat on Wednesday night because their offensive set gave Draymond Green a layup with 0.9 seconds remaining, but Mark Jackson's rising squad was in position to win 97-95 because of sound defensive play, writes SB Nation's Mike Prada.
Prada breaks down one fourth-quarter set play that Miami runs during the fourth quarter of the game on Wednesday, and in it the Warriors display attention to many details.
You have players giving multiple efforts to cut off all of the Heat's options. You have players helping each other and trusting that their help is only needed for a split second before the initial man gives the proper effort to recover. You have incredible attention to detail with Landry's spacing at the top of the key, Green's initial denial of the post-entry pass, Jack's raised arm to cut off a backdoor cut and Thompson's position right in James' passing lane on a potential kick-out to Allen.
Prada believes the Warriors are for real. Whether it's off-the-ball hedging as the Heat players set screens, recovery onto the shooters like Ray Allen afterward, pushing players like LeBron James further from the hoop than he'd like, Golden State does it all in this play.
And even without center Andrew Bogut, who has been sitting while his ankle recovers from surgery, the Warriors are No. 14 in the NBA's defensive ratings, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Because of it, they're 15-7 on the year and behind only the Los Angeles Clippers in the Pacific Division.