Wednesday, January 30, 2008

W's Sleep-Walk Through First Three Quarters in Loss to Houston

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.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Warriors Weather Storm to Hand Nets Seventh Straight Loss

The Warriors stole a game on Thursday night against a New Jersey team that was hungry for a win. They had lost six straight coming into Oracle Arena, but the Warriors were equally in need of a win after losing on their home court to the NBA's worst team in the Minnesota T'Wolves. The Warriors also came into the game with a sour taste in their mouth from the Dec. 22 loss in New Jersey, a game that was within reach, but lost by five points.

As the third quarter ended, it seemed the W's were doomed for two consecutive home losses. They turned the ball over on the final two possessions and allowed the Nets to capture momentum. There was a major lack of energy, indifferent attitude on defense, and hardly any rebounding effort. If it weren't for the efficient shooting and all around effort of Monta Ellis, the W's would have been left in the dust early in the second quarter. The Warriors could not seem to stop the dribble penetration of Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson. Jefferson had an impressive nine assists, many to Josh Boone. Boone was exposed for his 30% free throwing with more than nine minutes in the third quarter by a hack-a-Shaq strategy. It paid off for the most part in the sense that it rattled Boone, who was killing the W's with his rebounding and garbage points. Boone finished with 21 points and 17 boards.

By the forth quarter began, the fans in Club 200 grew restless. It was now or never, and I thought, where has Al Harrington been all night? Well, he showed up being the recipient of drive and dish three point conversions. The W's hit their first five three point attempts and successfully roused the excitement of the Oracle fans. The Nets countered with a run of their own, but the Warriors held on in the last minute with the assistance of the fans.

This victory was a rejuvenating boost for their morale, evening things up with the Nets and putting the Minnesota loss in the past. On Sunday, the W's take on the Knicks in a game where they are the favorite. It is a game that should be won as they play the Rockets and the Hornets on the road. This W's will need play with more urgency and activity on defense if they hope to have success against the tough Western Conference. Credit the W's for their resilience, Monte for his keeping them in the game, and the forth quarter efforts of Harrington and Davis. Baron had his 12th career triple double scoring 25, grabbing 12 boards, and dishing out 10 assists.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Warriors Stay Hot Through Freezing Temperatures

As the All-Star game approaches, Baron Davis has been making a strong campaign for a much deserved place on the Western Conference roster. Baron has found his three point stroke going 6 of 8 beyond the arc against the Bulls in a season high 40 point night. He has improved his free throw shooting not missing any in the last two games in Chicago and Milwaukee. Minus the disappointing loss in Indiana on Jan. 16, the W's would have swept this last four game road trip. That loss at Indiana was an important lesson, however; lighting a fire beneath the Warriors. It is obvious this 2007-2008 team has terrific chemistry and are meshing together as individuals on and off the court. This year's team is better than the "We Believers" of last year, but also improved is the Western Conference as a whole.

Don Nelson has continues to show why he is a Hall-of-Fame coach by making the absolute most of the players on his roster. Last night, against the Bucks, the bench had a different look than usual. Matt Barnes, Austin Croshere, and Mikael Pietrus did not play. Patrick O'Bryant gave the Warriors a solid seven and a half minutes and was very effective against Bucks big man Andrew Bogut. Kosta Perovic, the 7'2" rookie center from Serbia, gave the Warriors six and a half minutes and scored twice and offensive rebounds. This front line support left Andrins Biedrins enough energy to put up 20 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Biedrins was the second leading scorer to Al Harrington, who shot the leather off the ball in the third quarter. Harrington finished with 27 points, 15 from converted three pointers.

The road has been the stage for the bench to show what they can bring to this playoff contending Warrior team. C.J. Watson is starting to look like he can make good decisions with the ball on offense, but will he be ready to spell Baron in the second half of a Playoff game? Will Patrick O'Bryant and Perovic be effective against the dangerous Western Conference front lines? There are some tough customers: Duncan, Boozer, Stoudamire, Chandler, Bynum...Don Nelson will be providing opportunities, we'll see who can give the Warriors what they need.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mavs Get Revenge In Dallas

The Mavs have figured out how to be effective against the Warriors. Give credit to Avery Johnson. He's a smart coach and has a multitude of talent on that roster. The Warriors did not deserve to win on Wednesday night. I don't know if it was nerves or if they got amnesia when the plane landed in Dallas, but they forgot how to play basketball. There was no ball movement in the half court leading to open catch and shoot looks or dribble penetration. No, it was Stephen and Baron missing jumpers and forcing up shots that were well contested. If it wasn't for Al Harrington's sharp shooting, this could have been uglier. The Mavs had already established momentum before the Warriors recognized that Harrington was too much for Erick Dampier on the perimeter. They did not survey the defense for mismatches. I would bet that Avery showed the film of the Warriors versus Detroit on Dec. 16, a game in which Baron only scored 2 points. He scored only ten against the Mavs, playing under his all star standard.
This loss bothers me to know that Charles Barkley is smiling with bottle of Louis XIII. And the softest MVP in NBA history scored 29. The Mavs are a good team, better than the Warriors right now. Its now the Warriors' turn to make the necessary adjustments. We'll see Mar.30 at Oracle.