How The Golden State Warriors Defense Stopped "LukaBall"
A breakdown of the strategy the Warriors used to stop the Mavericks 5-Out offensive system.
The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Jazz & the Suns by spreading the floor running 5-Out offense and hunting the weakest defenders on the court. This nullified the greatest strength of the Utah Jazz defense and Rudy Gobert’s rim protection and Mikal Bridges’ elite defensive ability. In order to understand what this offensive system designed around “LukaBall” is, why it took down two top-10 defenses and how the Warriors’ biggest adjustment was able to shut it down.
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The entire goal of “LukaBall” is centered around the brilliance of Luka Doncic and how he is essentially unguardable no matter how good of a job you do on him (we’ll get to Wiggins’ amazing defense on Luka in a bit). What the Mavericks look to do is find your weakest defender and put him in ballscreen defense to get him switched onto Luka, then space the floor in 5-Out spacing to maximize Luka’s talent.
Players like Chris Paul, Cam Johnson, Donovan Mitchell & Jordan Clarkson were all the targets of the Mavericks in the first two rounds that Luka was able to get them switched and ruin their defensive gameplans.
Not only did Luka get the weaker defenders switched, but teams willingly gave them the switch instead of fighting over or changing any of their coverages. The main look teams tried was to “Switch & Blitz” to get the ball out of his hands, but put them in direct rotation as well.
A great breakdown on the Mavs offense from Ben Taylor (Thinking Basketball).
The Warriors’ defensive game plan was based on stopping this 5-Out offense not by taking away 3’s or even trying to stop Luka from scoring but by stopping the Mavs with a combination of creative well-executed schemes and consistently showing Luka different looks.
Matching Wiggins Minutes
Kerr & the Warriors staff tried Klay on Luka for about 2 possessions in game 2, and that’s all it took for the decision to be made: Wiggins will match Luka’s minutes the rest of the series.
Luka comes out, Wiggins comes out, Luka goes back & Wiggins goes back. Wiggins has done about as good of a job as anybody in the NBA trying to slow Luka down 1 on 1, and contesting with physicality and not fouling is no easy task.
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