As you may have heard, the Golden State Warriors are coming to Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight. They of the 22-game unbeaten streak, riding the supernova known by his human name of Stephen Curry. They are, undoubtedly, unquestionably, unequivocally, the best team in basketball. Some quick math shows that if the Warriors keep up their current pace, they will finish the season 82-0, which I believe would be a record.
All of that being said, the best team does not always win. And more importantly, if the Indiana Pacers follow my simple eight-point plan, they will join Brock Lesnar as streak conquerors. Hopefully we'll also get branded T-Shirts.
- The Warriors team has the most talent, top-to-bottom, in the NBA. And Steph Curry is the Michael's Secret Stuff of their Tune Squad. The Los Angeles Clippers pushed the Warriors to the brink in LA earlier this season, largely by getting Steph in early foul trouble. The first point of my plan is to attempt to do the same. Post George Hill up against Steph continuously. Our best Hill (2nd is Solomon, don't even get me started on Jordan) has the craftiness to draw fouls, and even if this strategy sacrifices running a better offense, it represents playing the long game (48 minutes, for the uninformed).
- As noted by our fearless editor, last season PG13 locked up Steph for the closing stretch. Obviously, having Paul George guard Curry all game is untenable, but for key stretches, it is absolutely necessary. I.e. have PG cover Steph for the end of quarters, or if Steph hits two straight shots, and as much of the 4th as possible. Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi, its our only hope.
- The Splash Brothers are good at shooting. I apologize for the piping hot take, but someone had to say it. Make the Warriors "bigs" beat you. Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Festus Ezeli are all good at basketball too, but math indicates that 2 is substantially less than 3, so as much as possible, run shooters off the three point line, and make the Warriors settle for two's rather than three's.
- Do NOT turn the ball over. Against what has so far been a perfect team, you must play perfectly. This, in turn, leads into #5. The Warriors thrive in chaos, and if you give them the ball, they will get out in transition, and make your team sad.
- Stifle all fast break opportunities. Do not go chasing offensive rebounds, just get back. NOTE: This does not apply to Lavoy Allen, whose best NBA skill is offensive rebounding. Everyone else, though, get back.
- Golden State's biggest weakness (which is not saying much) has been turning the ball over. They currently rank 23rd in turnovers per game. Turnovers lead to easy transition buckets. If the Pacers want to win, after Golden State throws the ball away just be like Ricky Davis: "Get Buckets."
- Run! The Pacers are at home, having not played since Saturday night (although they were in Utah, at altitude, and the game did go to overtime, this point stands). The Warriors, conversely, are on the 5th game of a 7-game road trip. They last played Sunday night in Brooklyn, and let's all hope that the squad celebrated that night downtown in the Big Apple.
- Finally, feed off the energy of the home crowd. The Warriors' status as undefeated NBA Champions means that they are taking opponents' best shots every single game. The 27-win-in-a-row Miami Heat players later would emphasize how draining the win streak was on each of them. The Pacers, and Indianapolis, must bring out their absolute best tonight.
Pretty simple, huh? I would even go so far as to say that if the Pacers can accomplish 5/8 of The Plan they'll win, but also, probably not. In the words of Paul Heyman, "Eat. Sleep. Break the Streak."