Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Biedrins the Difference in Loss to Thunder

The Warriors thought they had it sewn up against the Thunder after Jamal Crawford banked in a sweet floater to put the W's up one with 1.2 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, one second was all Jeff Green needed to bank an 18 footer to beat the buzzer, win the game, and send Warriors fans home open-mouthed.

Green's game winner was not lucky and the Warriors have no one to blame but themselves. They could have avoided this anticlimactic loss by being up more than one point. Lets face it, the Warriors didn't deserve to win, despite decent play by a few guys. Maggette had a nice game and fueled a flurry of Warriors fast-breaks in the third quarter to build momentum. He finished with 26 points in 31 minutes. Stephen Jackson got a bit stubborn with the ball trying to campaign for calls, but his presence on the court is the only reason the Warriors were in the game at all. Azuibuke has been deftly efficient with his shooting, going 9-10 for 21 points in this game and gaving his team solid defensive effort.

However, the Warriors' odds of winning dropped tremendously before the game even started when it was announced Andris Biedrins would not play. Andris Biedrins is the only player on this team that is consistently willing to rebound. As usual, the Warriors will be haunted by failing to collect defensive rebounds after strong defensive stands. Biedrins is the one player the Warriors cannot be without. Turiaf played 40 minutes and only pulled 6 rebounds. Biedrins will pull at least 12 to 17, so that's at least six rebounds left out on the floor. Those six or so less posessions are the difference between winning and losing.

The Warriors were hurt in the match up between Crawford and Westbrook. Crawford went 4-12 for 13 points and made 4 turnovers. Westbrook, a rookie out of UCLA, looked like Tony Parker against this pathetic defense. He's a good player, especially for a rookie, but he often plays out of control and turnover prone. He almost always goes right and shoots 40% from the field and 29% from three. Its expected for Kevin Durrant and Jeff Green to go for 20 if not 30 points, but Westbrook's 30 was what won the game for Oklahoma City.

Outside of Stephen Jackson, the Warriors have no defensive prowess and their small lineup fails in the half court when teams play zone and pack the lane. We saw for a brief moment how good the Warriors were when they pushed the ball ahead in the fastbreak. Granted, the Thunder are meshing into a respectable basketball team, but there is a reason they lost so many games. They play poor transition defense and its a shame the Warriors couldn't get more plays going in the open floor.

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