Tue. Jan. 29, @ Houston (Recap)
The Warriors hit the snooze button for the first three quarters, a trend that has continued over recent games. There appeared to be a lack of effort in the first three quarters, as the team has been counting on the high shooting percentage of Monta Ellis or a flurry of quick three hits from Harrington early to keep them close. They have been successful when Ellis and Harrington score, setting up an overworked Baron Davis in the forth quarter along with timely three's from Stephen Jackson. Lately, Jack has fallen into a pattern of settling for outside jumpers and struggling early, only to hit cold blooded treys in the forth quarter. The team as a whole looked like an inept college team in their half court offense against the second ranked shooting percentage defense in the Rockets. Shane Battier gave Jackson and Ellis problems throughout the game. Yao Ming finally found his game against the Warriors. Try 36 points and 19 rebounds. Granted, he turned the ball over seven times, but the Harrington front defense failed as Yao found himself with the ball in deep position often. Also, 14 of Yao's 36 came from the free throw line.
It became obvious to me that the Warriors need to beat the Rockets by enough points so it won't come down to free throws. Its nearly impossible not to foul Yao when he catches in deep position and he shoots 86% from the foul line. The Warriors made it close, but simply waited too long to get hot and could not pull away after taking a one point lead with two minutes left. Yao Ming and his automatic free throwing was enough to hold off the W's comeback effort. This heart breaking defeat makes the Chris Webber pick up look like a good move as they struggled to create good looks in the half court set. Webber was signed yesterday to a 1 year deal. C-Webb should join the team Friday at Oracle, although it's still uncertain whether or not he'll suit up for the game.
Tomorrow only gets more difficult with the Warriors facing the Hornets, who will be looking for their tenth straight win. They are playing with the highest confidence in the league and Chris Paul has at least ten assists in his last ten games! The Jim Barnett keys to the game will be #1.) Stop dribble penetration, Chris Paul. Live with him taking outside shots. #2.) Keep Tyson chandler off the offensive boards. He had 22 points and 22 rebounds. on Jan. 4. at Oracle #3.) Locate Peja Stojakovic and other capable three point shooters on the court. Don't bet against the W's. Coach Nelson will try to help this team understand there is a small margin of error. Two consecutive losses could prove to be critical, especially against Western playoff contenders.