Monday, March 29, 2010

Warriors stomp Clippers in LA

There's nothing like a game against the Clipp Ship to put the Dallas game in the past. The Warriors didn't look good at the beginning of the contest, but found a groove in the second quarter and outscored Baron Davis' team 40-14.

Everyone in a Warriors uniform was effective at some point, and found ways to score. No one was worried about the absence of Monta Ellis, just as long as Steph Curry would play. The ball moved around and players made good decisions. Six out of the eight Warriors who played, scored in double figures and the other two had 9 points each. The Clippers looked limp on the court after the Warriors big second quarter run.

I invite anyone to officially jump on the Reggie Williams bandwagon, if you haven't already done so. Williams had a game high 25 points and hit key shots to hold off any chance of a Clippers comeback. Williams found himself the benefactor of offensive mismatches. He drew bigger, slower defenders out to the perimeter, then drove to the rim or pulled up to shoot. Williams didn't need coach Nelson to run plays for him, as he found ways to get the ball and contributed 7 assists, 6 rebounds.

Reggie Williams has quickly earned the trust of Don Nelson and elevated himself to be one of the best scoring options on a roster that's full of weapons. It's not just scoring with Williams, but the efficiency in which he gets his points. He takes good shots, handles the ball well, and passes well.

As Williams NBA success story develops, Anthony Morrow has disappeared. Morrow is a nice player and arguably the best three point shooter on the team, but Williams gives the Warriors more when he's on the floor. Williams can score inside and on the perimeter, he can handle the ball, and he can create for himself and others. Morrow does not handle the ball well and is most effective when another player creates for him. It's no secret to the league what Morrow wants to do when he gets the ball. Teams are forcing him to put the ball on the floor by crowding him, forcing him to dribble and increase the chances of a turnover. Morrow has a good attitude, he shows support for Williams and his team, but it's obvious his confidence his down right now.

Notes: The Warriors next game is Wednesday Mar. 31 in Utah. The next game is Friday Apr. 2 at home against the Knicks and would be a good chance for Morrow to get some good looks, hit his shot, and get his confidence back.

Don Nelson is now three wins away from the all-time coaching record.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mavs boat race Warriors, Beaubois scores 40

Rodrigue Beaubois is the name of the Tony Parker/Leandro Barbosa lovechild who shredded the Warriors and the nylon in Oracle Arena last night. The six-foot rookie came into the game averaging 6 points per game, scored 26 in the first half and 40 for the game. He sparked a run in the second quarter that led to Dallas boat racing the Warriors, thus killing any competitive spirit in Golden State. Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitski took the night off, so to speak, as their services were not needed thanks mainly to Beaubois, along with Shawn Marion (18 pts) and Caron Butler (14 pts).

Beaubois is an intriguing player. His out of body scoring streak invoked memories of diminutive Brandon Jennings putting up 55 on the Warriors in November. Both Beaubois and Jennings appear to be point guards, but that is a misnomer. Just because a player is the smallest on the court and likes to handle the ball, doesn't make them a point. Both Beaubois and Jennings look to score, and realistically, are undersized shooting guards. Monta Ellis fits that category, and Allen Iverson is the grandfather of the undersized two guard scoring machine.

If Beaubois can duplicate half of his production he achieved against the W's last night, the Mavs are the team to beat...right? No, it's still the Lakers, but with the Lakers Achilles heal being point guard play, Beaubois will have the chance to create a mismatch. The Lakers could counter by letting Beaubois do damage and hope that takes touches away from Nowitski, Butler, Terry, and Marion...We'll get to that next month.

Notes: No Monta Ellis tonight against the Clippers as the Warriors travel down to the arena where the Lakers play. Ellis will try to recover from a flu virus that has been nagging him this past week. The Warriors trounced the Clipps in February without Ellis and it was about the same time Curry took his game to the next level.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Warriors beat Grizzlies, avenge loss

The Warriors avenged the Mar. 20 loss in Memphis by handily beating the Gizzlies 128-110. Steph Curry was sharp going for 30 points, 11 assists, and 5 boards. Monta Ellis had 21 points, 8 assists, and 6 boards, playing unselfishly. The small, but high octane backcourt of the Warriors set the tone for the rest of the team to amass 73 points in the first half, the highest for a half all season.

Again, it was the scoring of Reggie Williams which gave the Warriors the edge. Williams, who has been signed for next season, contributed 23 points and 5 rebounds. Williams' 23 points equalled the total amount of the entire Memphis bench.

As I predicted back on Oct. 24, Stephen Curry will win the ROY.

Notes: Don Nelson is 4 wins away from passing Lenny Wilkins for most coaching wins all-time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Suns top Warriors, D-League players make impact

I finally made it out to Oracle for my first game of the season Monday night to watch the Warriors take on the Suns. If I make it to one game, Warriors versus Suns is all I need. What was the over/under? 300?

Once again it was the D-League all-stars who picked up the slack. Ellis started out cold, never found a rhythm with his jumper, and finished 9-27 from the field. He tallied 30 points on a volume shooting night and was overmatched by his former team mate Jason Richardson. J-Rich went for 34 points on 12-20 shooting and 5-8 from three point range.

Curry went for 14 points, 8 assists, 6 boards, but wasn't his efficient self going 6-15 from the field.

Reggie Williams can flat out score, whether its from range or driving to the rim. He could polish up his all around game a little, but it puzzles me that he wasn't drafted. Williams will be an offensive spark off the bench for some NBA team, if the W's elect not to keep him on the roster next season. Williams makes a case for himself every time he scores 20 or more, which is frequent. He scored 29 against Phoenix and carried the scoring burden for most of the second half. Williams' production has cut into the minutes of Anthony Morrow.

Anthony Tolliver has been the most valuable D-League player, despite getting captured on the wrong side of an A'mare Stoudamire poster in the fourth quarter. My group sat in the front row of 219, looking straight down the baseline on the basket which Stoudamire nearly shattered. That dunk was the nastiest live dunk in Oracle since Baron stuffed the ball down Kirelinko's throat in the 07' playoffs. Stoudamire taunted Dubs fans behind the basket, popping the front of his jersey with his thumbs, eliciting boo's and jeers, and showcasing his superstar swagger. One embarrassing moment for Tolliver doesn't detract from his 25 points and 12 rebounds, as his efforts kept the Warriors in the game. Next time, take a charge or try to strip the ball on the way up. Stay out of the poster!

In the end, the Suns fed Stoudamire in the half court set on every possession, where he either scored or got to the free throw line. The Warriors were forced to intentionally foul with 30 seconds in the game and it nearly worked, as the Suns uncharacteristically missed free throws. The Warriors got open looks, but couldn't sink a tying or winning shot.

The Warriors lack of an inside scoring option hurts most in the forth quarter when each possession is critical (like the playoffs).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Warriors officially for sale

The Warriors are officially for sale and billionaire Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison is the leading candidate to purchase the distressed franchise. Whoo hoo!!!

This is the happiest Warriors fans have been since the "We Believe" days. No deals have been made, let alone discussions, but fans can't help but fantasize of all the wonderful things that could come of this change. Good riddance to dead beat owner Chris Cohan, good luck in tax court. Also, you'd have to imagine Ellison would clean house, especially Cohan's lackey Bobby Rowell. There is no one Warriors fans would like to see thrown out on the sidewalk more than Rowell.

It tickles me to imagine the departure of all the incompetent boobs in the front office. If the Ellison buys the team, it would increase the probability of attracting a superstar to the franchise. Add a top five draft pick this year and the Warriors will have some nice pieces for a playoff run. Imagine a winning Warriors team. Imagine another playoff charge. Ellison would pick up where "We Believe" left off. It would be the beginning of the "We Know" era.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Comeback win followed by come down

The Warriors played an interesting game against the New Orleans Hornets at Oracle Wednesday night on St. Patrick's day. Golden State trailed the Hornets by as much as 21 points with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Warriors began to rain in the three's, make some defensive stops and chip away at the lead, without their rookie of the year candidate Stephen Curry, who sat out with a left ankle sprain. The stars of the game were the three D-League call ups: Anthony Tolliver, 30 points; Reggie Williams 22 points; and Chris Hunter 17 points. Tolliver carried the team in the first quarter and Williams caught fire from three point land in the fourth. Monta Ellis did a great job distributing the ball in Curry's absence and George continued his efficient shooting going 2-3 from three point range. If Chirs Paul were healthy, the Hornets would have won, but the "if so-and-so was healthy" hypothetical questions apply to no team more so than the Warriors. The point is the Hornets got cold in the forth, while the Warriors shot lights out.

The game last night against the Spurs went the way history has dictated over the last 13 years: a loss. Yes, that's right, the Warriors have not won in San Antonio since 1997. The Warriors have also not produced an all-star since 1997. I have a feeling both of these dubious streaks will come to an end very soon and I think Stephen Curry will have an impact. Last night's match up was a joke, varsity versus frosh, a snake against a mouse, a lion toying with it's lame zebra prey. Every player in a Spurs uniform did damage of some kind in a totally non-competitive game.

Getting destroyed by the Spurs is not entirely bad for the Warriors. At least no one got hurt, right? Playing against the most disciplined team in the league shows the Warriors where they really stand and puts the D-League players in perspective. The Warriors will have to chose which D-league player to keep on the roster, if any. The offensive explosion against the Hornets won all three D-League players the support of Warriors fans. Then against a quality team like the Spurs, Chris Hunter completely disappeared, failing to score a single point and Anthony Tolliver struggled mightily on both sides of the ball. Reggie Williams fared the best out of the D-Leaguers, scoring 15 points on 3-4 three point shooting.

As a Warriors fan, you have to appreciate what the D-League guys have contributed to a decimated Warriors roster. If the Warriors keep a player, it will probably be Anthony Tolliver for his versatility. I really like the offensive game of Reggie Williams and I think he will be a great offensive spark off the bench for some team in the NBA, wherever he ends up. Chris Hunter has breakthrough moments, but he lacks ability to finish around the rim and the Warriors will most likely drop Hunter after the season.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Warriors play the Lakers tough, but lose

The Warriors lost to the Lakers to the surprise of no one, but as I think about the game last night, it doesn't feel like a loss. The Lakers are not quite as formidable as they were last season, with recent complaints from Pau Gasol about not getting enough touches, underachieving Ron Artest, streaky Lamar Odom, and no standout at the point guard position. Still, the Lakers have tall, versatile players and the best player of the last decade in Kobe Bryant. I'm still not convinced there is a team that can beat the Lakers in a 7 game series, especially in the pressure of playoff atmosphere.

The Warriors, coming off a win over the Raptors Saturday ended a 6 game losing streak. The wins haven't been there, but the Warriors have been competitive in nearly every game. The most recent injuries have devastated the Warriors front line, leaving only Chris Hunter as the last remaining big, unless you want to count Anthony Tolliver. Monta Ellis shot 5-23, which had to be the worst shooting night of his career. Ellis must have been hampered by the sore back because he is too good of a shooter to miss as many jumpers as he did. Ellis still had an impact and kept the Warriors in the game. Ellis employed the drive and kick strategy, often finding open team mates on the perimeter for three pointers and played energetic defense on Kobe. Chris Hunter scored a career high 22 points, 7 rebounds, and shot 6-6 on free throws. Stephen Curry had 29 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds. The game was nationally televised on ESPN, allowing Curry to win more voters for the Rookie of the Year award.

The Warriors were down 3 points with 8 seconds to go and had two chances to hit a three to tie the game and induce overtime. The Lakers out rebounded the Warriors 56-25 and shot 46 free throws to the Warriors 13. The Warriors should have been blown out, but were able to stay within reach by forcing the Lakers to commit 24 turnovers and limiting their own to a season low 5.

The competitive nature of the few healthy Warriors and injured players healing hints toward a better season next year. The Warriors will have a high draft pick and some expiring contracts, so the opportunity to add more depth and talent to roster will be there if the jaws of life can open Chris Cohan's wallet. It won't be hard to do better than this season, considering all of the unfortunate circumstances. The big question is "will the Warriors be in the playoffs next year?"

Even if the injuries didn't decimate the roster, I don't think the Warriors would have made the playoffs this year. The Stephen Jackson drama, along with Monta Ellis' awkward resentment toward Stephen Curry, created a rift in the locker room before the season began. Curry has earned the respect of Ellis, while Ellis has been forced to step out of Jack and Baron's shadows to be the leader of the team. It would be interesting if the Warriors could add a talented rookie and a veteran leader, maybe draft Wes Johnson from Syracuse and sign Udonis Haslem from Miami.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Warriors finish road trip in New Orleans

The Warriors welcome the end of a brutal road trip, wrapping up in New Orleans tonight. The trip began in Miami last Tuesday, then subsequently moved to Orlando, Atlanta, and Charlotte. Despite playing without Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis, the Warriors competed valiantly in three out of the past four games, yet unfortunately couldn't win. The last time the Warriors won on the road was Jan. 6 against the T'Wloves. The Warriors have four total road wins this season (11/13 vs. Knicks, 11/24 vs. Mavs, 12/9 vs. Nets).

The Warriors catch a break tonight against the Hornets, without All-Star Chris Paul. The Hornets have received big contributions from rookies Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison. The Warriors should give the Hornets a good game tonight. They shot 32 percent against Charlotte and the Hornets is average at best.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Magic outclass Warriors in Orlando

The Warriors sailed into the perfect storm Wednesday night in Orlando, as they absorbed a sound beating at the hands of a loaded Magic squad. The Warriors played with a skeletal eight man roster and were outclassed in every facet of the match. The Magic methodically established Dwight Howard in the first quarter, which created openings for gang of talented perimeter scorers.

The upcoming bonanza off-season is an issue for many teams this year, polarizing buyers and sellers. The Magic are a buyer, while they did most of their buying before this season, they are in position to win now. The Lakers, Cavs, Mavs, Nuggets, and Magic have spent the money, stocked up with deep rosters, and are in position to win the NBA Title this year.

The Warriors, like many sellers in the league, are just trying to limp across the finish line. Again, give the W's credit for competing and not mailing it in like the Knicks, Wizards, and Nets. The insertion of D-League players is certainly a disadvantage in talent and chemistry, but these are capable athletes interviewing for a job in the Association every time they take the court. Hungry D-League players bring energy which keeps the Warriors competitive on most nights. Other struggling teams like the Knicks, Wizards, Nets, Clippers, and even the Heat seem to underachieve and suffer fluctuations of energy from night to night. These are teams predicted to undergo major reconstructions in personnel, perhaps creating a sense of unease for the payers who might be on their way out.

If I'm a coach and I need to win one game, give me a motivated D-Leaguer on a 10 day contract over a complacent veteran already under contract.

The road trip doesn't let up, as the Warriors visit "The highlight factory" in Atlanta. The Hawks will be looking to avenge a loss in Oakland where they blew a 17 point lead to start the fourth quarter. The Warriors benefited from Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins in the upset, two players they will be without on Friday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Warriors drop close one to Heat, 35 points for Wade

Give the Warriors credit for almost winning a tough game, without Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins. (Truthfully, the W's would be non-competitive without Steph Curry) Credit to the Warriors for playing with heart and competing 48 minutes, unlike the Knicks, who quit and lay down when the game gets out of hand. The Warriors were in position to win this game if they made a few plays down the stretch. Morrow missed a three that would have put the W's up one with under a minute remaining. With 8 seconds in the game, Jermaine O'Neill missed two free throws, leaving the door open as the Warriors had the ball, down two points with 8 seconds remaining in the game. On the following possession, Turiaf set a high pick for Curry, but fumbled Curry's zipped pass as he rolled to the basket, thus ending any comeback hopes.

The opportunities to win were there.

The Heat should be concerned about making it into the playoffs, as they had lost four previous games without superstar Dwayne Wade, and needed all of Wade's 35 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals to eek out a win over a group of D-League All-Stars. No disrespect to the players on the Warriors roster, including the latest call up Reggie Williams, who made solid contributions in his first NBA game going for 10 points on 4/7 shooting, 2-2 from three point range, along with 5 assists and 5 rebounds. The Heat are obviously a superior team to the lowly Warriors, but Miami showed a lack of maturity by trying to cruise through the game. Michael Beasley is ultra talented, but he lacks the attitude to be a professional on a team that goes deep into the playoffs. (opposite of a Jerry Sloan, Greg Papavich, or Phil Jackson player)...Like the Knicks, the heat are a team that will undergo a complete off-season makeover after the season is done. Like the Warriors, Heat fans and some players are thinking ahead to next season.

The Warriors chances to beat the Magic in Orlando tonight are slim to none, as they (along with most of the league) have no answer for Dwight Howard and play poor perimeter (and all-around) defense. The Warriors will face two former "We Believers" in Matt Barnes and Mikael Pietrus. Tip off at 4:00 P.M. Pacific.