In the first half of Game Three last night, Golden State finally exercised the Supreme Law of Basketball Reciprocity:

It's impossible for Team A to have a matchup advantage without surrendering a similar advantage on the other end to Team B.

For the better part of a week, GSW had allowed itself to be brutalized by Utah.  And how did they repay the Jazz on the offensive end?  By exclusively hanging out on the perimeter.  In fact, there were times in the second half on Wednesday night when, if you froze the screen on the tape, there wasn’t a solitary Warrior anywhere within ten feet of the basket in the half court.  Look, I’m all for spacing the floor, but the paint?  That’s space, too.   And if a team doesn’t use it – even a team of unrepentant chuckers – then it is forfeiting high  percentage shots. 

Last night, though, GSW realized that there isn’t a player in their eight-man rotation who can’t take his defender off the dribble any time he wants.  That’s what speed and quickness can do to brawn:  Attack it all night en route to the hole.   The other facet of this dynamic is that the Warriors had forgotten that with the exception of Monte Ellis, their guards are difficult to defend with their backs to the baskets.  Baron Davis needed to post up more, and last night he established the post early.   Here he is, less than three minutes into the game  [1st, 9:40]:

After a Deron Williams FGM, the Warriors bring the ball up and immediately get it into Baron Davis just off the mid-right post, guarded by Williams.  The Warriors have cleared for isolation, with the other four guys piled up on the weak side.  As Davis spins his way toward the hole, Williams – a solid post defender, even better than I realized – sticks with him.  With Okur drifting back toward the lane and nothing materializing against Williams, Davis moves with the ball left to lure Boozer inside.  Sure enough, the moment Boozer leaves Harrington out on the wing, Davis kicks it out to Harrington for a wide open 3PA.  Good.  

Even when a set like that doesn’t yield a close-range shot for Davis, it’s essential in keeping Utah honest.  The Warriors haven’t been forcing Utah into any split-second decision-making because they’ve been sitting on the arc for a week.  By using their perimeter players in the post – even nominally – GSW forces Utah to leave shooters lest they give the Warriors good shots in the paint.   That’s exactly what Golden State got for themselves last night – with Davis, and particularly with Richardson once Giracek came into the game.

Something else:  Shouldn’t GS put more pressure on the ball when Utah is using Kirilenko at PG?  Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something we haven’t seen. 

Incidentally, how great is it to turn on the game and get Hubie Brown on color?  I can't remember the last time he'd done a game west of the Continental Divide.  In fact, having Hubie on color compensates for having to suffer through ESPN's dragged studio stuff.