Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry say key to stopping Clippers in NBA Playoffs is Landry Shamet
OAKLAND, CA – Game 1 of the L.A. Clippers and Golden State Warriors first round series went to the heavily favored Warriors. In what was essentially a replay of last week’s game at Oracle Arena, the Clippers hung around in the first half until they were blown out of the water in the second half.
Despite being in the game for the first half of Game 1, L.A. struggled to score the ball consistently enough to build a lead. One of the constants in the Clippers’ struggles the last two games in Oakland has been the shutdown of sharpshooting rookie Landry Shamet.
In the first half of their April 7th game, Shamet scored 16 points on 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. He scored just one point the remainder of the game as Golden State elected to throw a longer, taller Kevin Durant on him defensively.
Game 1 on Saturday night saw much of the same thing. Durant defended Shamet without looking to help off of him much, and it worked again. Shamet finished with just three points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
“[It was] very important,” said Durant on stopping Shamet’s roaming on offense. “You’ve got Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Danilo Gallinari, who can put pressure on your defense. You’ve got to have a guy like that who can roam around, knock down three, space the floor, keep guys honest. And I thought we did a solid job on him tonight. 1-for-6, three points, it’s a great job. But he’s still simmering. He’s still ready to knock down shots. We’ve got to be aware of him from the start of the game next game.”
Shamet had been on a roll with the Clippers over the last month of the season, and he slowly climbed up the NBA’s all-time three-point leaderboard. He finished fourth in three-pointers made for a rookie, but hasn’t been able to get anything going against the Warriors.
Golden State’s players are fully aware of the impact he can have on their offense single-handedly.
“He’s a guy that can get hot at any moment, and they run a lot of good sets for him,” says Stephen Curry. “Got to know where he is at all times. KD’s length is great in terms of even if he has a little bit of separation, K can close out pretty quick, and we can switch all over the court and stuff like that. We did a good job of it tonight, got to refocus and understand they’re probably going to make some adjustments to try to get him some better looks, and we’ve got to be ready.”
Draymond Green, the anchor of the Golden State defense, was around for the last few years of J.J. Redick’s career years with the Clippers. There, head coach Doc Rivers drew up sets to get him involved and create movement for the rest of the offense.
Shamet is in a very similar role to Redick, says Green.
“Doc had J.J. Redick for a lot of years,” said Green. “Doc is probably one of the people that helped change J.J.’s career. A lot of that is due to the great sets that he draws up, and now he’s using Landry the same way.
“Ironically, Landry got to study J.J. for half a season, and so he’s playing just like that and he can shoot the lights out of the ball. It’s important to take a guy like that out. He gets hot and it changes the whole game. But we’ve had a little time to focus on him a little bit, and he’s a part of the scouting report. When you’re part of the scouting report, it gets a little tougher. Nonetheless, we want to try to keep him under control in this series because we really know he can get it going, and if he does, it changes the game, which could possibly change the series.”
Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell played well in Game 1, combining for 51 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists. The Warriors, however, seemed content to allow them to create on offense without Shamet running around from wing to wing trying to open things up for the rest of the guys.
“Whenever Sham doesn’t get shots, I always think that’s on me,” admitted Doc Rivers after the game. “I just thought we’re a movement team. I didn’t think we executed well offensively.
“We were not a very good offensive team today. I don’t know how many three on four, four on fives, how many breaks we had that we just came up empty on, and so I want to watch the film and see why.”
The Clippers have a lot of work and film to study over the next day before Game 2 on Monday night back at Oracle Arena.