Why Steve Kerr compares Mavericks to James Harden-era Rockets teams

·2 min read

Why Kerr compares Mavs' shooters to Harden-era Rockets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors will have their hands full with Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

Dončić alone can do enough to keep opposing teams up at night, but it's the playmakers around him that make the Mavericks so difficult to defend against.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr joined KNBR 680's "Tolbert & Copes" on Tuesday, where he discussed which former rival this Mavericks team reminds him of.

"It does remind me of Houston a few years ago when we would play them every year with [James] Harden at the point," Kerr said. "Ultimately they would get to five out spacing with 3-point shooters surrounding the 3-point line and all that space for Harden. It's a similar set of circumstances and you're just dealing with a lot of ground to cover and a guy who's got the ball in his hands who is playing at the peak of his powers."

Against the Warriors, the Rockets would oftentimes deploy playmakers consisting of Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela to complement James Harden, who was the primary focus for any defense at the time.

To complement Dončić, the Mavericks have point guard Spender Dinwiddie, who Dallas acquired from Washington at the trade deadline and point guard Jalen Brunson, who round out a trio that is sure to give the Warriors headaches in this series.

"The thing with Dallas too is that they've got a couple other playmakers with [Jalen] Brunson and [Spencer] Dinwiddie," Kerr added. "I thought that trade for them midseason when they traded [Kristaps] Porziņģis for Dinwiddie, is one of the reasons they're here. It changed their team adding another attacker and another shooter. It's very impressive with what they've done, they are very difficult to guard. We're going to have to be sharp for sure to win."

RELATED: Matt Barnes describes what Warriors must do to win title

Before Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant sustained a bone bruise against the Warriors in the semifinal round, Golden State was in a similar position as they are now. The one MVP-caliber player will draw a lot of attention on the court, which could free up the No. 2 and No. 3 options as it did for the Grizzlies in Games 1 and 2.

The Warriors' primary focus will be on Dončić and rightfully so. In order to beat Dallas and advance to the NBA Finals, though, Golden State will need to limit what Dinwiddie and Brunson are able to do.

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