Saturday, November 6, 2010

Warriors out-grind Jazz 85-78, now 4-0 at home

The Warriors have sharp new uniforms, new colors on the hardwood, a new logo, and new players. The gritty victory over the Jazz last night legitimized the Warriors as a new look team and erased the perception of the Warriors as a "soft", no defense team. The win sweetened a bitter taste in the mouths of Warriors fans left over from the heartbreaking loss in the second round of the 2007 "We Believe" playoff run.
The Warriors didn't win by shooting lights out (38 percent from the field). The Warriors slayed the Jazz with their own sword, as they dominated the glass 52-46 and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds to Utah's 10. The Warriors took 93 field goal attempts, while the Jazz only took 76.

In the spirit of Giants baseball, this Warriors game was torture and similar to some of the pitching duels that occurred during the 2010 season. The Warriors made it difficult for the Jazz to score and did well to clean up the defensive boards, but there were stretches when they just couldn't buy a shot. In the end, Steph Curry (who played on an injured ankle in a cumbersome brace) and Monta Ellis entered the game after resting the early part of the fourth quarter and closed the game like a two headed Brian Wilson. (Apologies for the shaky baseball analogies). Curry made some keys shots with less than five minutes left and Monta Ellis hit the shot to separate the Warriors for good.

The Warriors are undefeated at Oracle and continue to improve game by game. Players are finding roles and playing within themselves. Expect Curry and Ellis to take on the burden of scoring, while Biedrins and Lee will fight for every rebound and protect the rim. Dorell Wright is a trusted three point shooter and Reggie Williams is an all-purpose scoring player. I'm excited to see who else will contribute. Even Dan Gadzuric, despite some problems catching the ball, provided important minutes off the bench.

Keith Smart deserves credit for giving the W's a defensive identity for the first time in a long time. This team continues to improve on it's faults, as they have committed less fouls and
turnovers
The rock-concert electricity of Oracle Arena suits this defensive identity, but this upcoming road trip will be the true test.
Key individual stats: David Lee 14 points, 15 rebounds; Andris Biendrins 20 rebounds; Monta Ellis 23 points, 7 steals; Steph Curry 20 points

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