During the closing minutes of their unsightly 101-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4, the Golden State Warriors fashioned the kind of small-ball outfit they perfected during the early days of their dynasty. Though some of the cast members have changed, the "death lineup" is still a bang-up production.
The current iteration of it -- Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green (with Otto Porter Jr. serving as a defensive and rebounding replacement for Poole for the final 45 seconds) -- finished the game with a 20-13 run. The unit turned a four-point deficit with 5:46 remaining into a three-point advantage at the buzzer, stretching the Warriors' series lead to 3-1.
The original death lineup, established in 2015, became an instant basketball phenomenon. Acting on a suggestion from Nick U'Ren, then a special assistant and advanced scout, the Warriors downsized. Green slid up to center, surrounded by four perimeter players -- Curry, Thompson, Harrison Barnes and reserve Andre Iguodala.
During their first title run of the current dynasty, in 2014-15, the death lineup carried the Warriors, racking up a plus-15.8 per 100 possessions in 111 total minutes. The next regular season, en route to 73 wins, the death lineup was ungodly -- plus-40.2. When Kevin Durant replaced Barnes, it was more of the same. Lineup data, once deep cuts produced by analytics departments, became commonplace. Pretty soon, every team sought to crack the code with their own killer lineup.