Saturday, October 30, 2010

Warriors beat Clippers 109-91

The Warriors are 2-0 for the first time since the 1994-1995 season. Like the win over Houston, Golden State shared the ball, played sound team defense, and secured rebounds to win.

Key stats: The Warriors tallied 32 assists on 43 made baskets. The ball movement was apparent as Warriors players found open jump shots and found success in the screen and roll game. Dorell Wright shot 6-8 from three point range and Monta Ellis dished out 11 assists. Most impressive about Ellis' approach is that he didn't force anything on offense. The Clippers game plan was to limit Ellis as a scorer by double teams and zone defense. Ellis only attempted 12 shots, but he made six, three of those makes were beyond the arc. Ellis should be applauded for smart, selfless play in that he found the hot hand in Dorell Wright and found his low post players under the rim for high percentage shots. A+ for Monta.

The Warriors defense held the Clippers to 38 percent from the field. The Warriors let the Clippers come back in the end of the first quarter on a 12-0 run, fueled by the absence of Andris Biedrins in the low post and sloppy turnovers. The third quarter was the turning point, as the W's went on a 21-2 run to begin a boat race. Overall, the Warriors made quick rotations on help defense and David Lee did a great job limiting the explosive Blake Griffin. The Warriors still need to limit personal fouls, as they committed 25 to LA's 16. Foul trouble will be the Warriors' demise against a savvy veteran club like the Lakers.

The Warriors out-rebounded the Clippers 46-40, and grabbed 37 on the defensive side of the floor. This improvement is still sinking in for Warriors fans who have long suffered watching shrimpy Warriors teams get man handled on the boards. Isn't it amazing how important rebounding is to winning? It doesn't matter if you play great defense. If a team fails to collect the board, it's back breaking. The Warriors new commitment to attack the glass is the main reason why this club finds itself 2-0. The rebounding department will get a big shot in the arm when Louis Amundson and Epke Udoh get healthy. With physical players like that on the floor, I think Baron Davis will think twice before clubbing Stephen Curry like he did.

The Warriors held the Clippers under 100. The Don Nelson era is officially over!
Of Note: Steph Curry re-injured his right ankle in the third quarter. Curry stepped awkwardly on Blake Griffin's foot as the big man set a high screen for Eric Gordon. Curry writhed in pain on the floor, but walked to the training room unassisted. It is undetermined at this point if Curry will play against the Lakers at LA on Sunday Oct. 31.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Warriors win opener, Ellis ties career high 46

The 2010-11' Warriors added substance to their new look with a win in the season opener against a solid Houston Rockets team. It wasn't pretty, as the W's committed 30 personal fouls and sent Houston to the free throw line 52 times. The Rockets scored 42 of their 128 points from the line, compared to the Warriors 22.

The newest look of this renovated Warriors squad was the rebounding effort. Warriors fans were treated to the mythical occurrence of a Golden State team out-rebounding an opponent, 45 to 39. David Lee notched a double double, going for 17 points, 15 boards, and 6 assists. Andris Biedrins looked like Daniel Tosh, but his game was good. He was aggressive, as he pulled down 11 boards, but he committed careless fouls.

The story of the game was the backcourt, whom TV commentator Jim Barnett called the soul of this team. Steph Curry dropped 25 and 11 on a bad ankle. Monta Ellis tied his career high with 46 points. He did this on 18-24 shooting, 75 percent!

I say it again, Monta Ellis has to make the All-Star team this year. After last season's snubbing, the voters don't have the Don Nelson-no-defense excuse. Keith Smart looks like he wants to move the ball, abandon isolation, rebound, and play a more traditional style of ball.

Aside from Ellis catching fire, the Warriors won the game because they made defense stops and more important, they collected defensive rebounds. The Warrior made sloppy fouls and still managed to win. It's nice to have an elite scorer to shoulder the load.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Warriors new look, top to bottom

While the San Francisco Giants captivate the attention of bay area sports fans and the 49ers...well, just another reason to look forward to basketball season. The Warriors are completely renovated from top to bottom. New ownership, new coach, and new roster. The Warriors will also sport new uni's, as they return to royal and gold (goodbye nacho cheese orange). Don Nelson is out and Keith Smart is in. General Manager Larry Riley has acquired physical players who rebound and play defense. Expect the Warriors to retain the uptempo style of offense, introduced by Nelson, but also be much improved in points allowed.

Predicted starting five:

Center, Andris Biendrins...Nelson's move to Hawaii comes as a big relief for Andris. Look for Andris to get back to averaging double figures in points and rebounds.

Power Forward, David Lee...The Warriors gave up some valuable pieces to get Lee (Turiaf, Randolph, Azubuike), but Lee gives Steph Curry are solid pick and roll partner with dynamic skill on offense. The Warriors will rely on Biendrins to protect the rim in the absence of Turiaf and Randolph.

Small Forward, Dorell Wright...Wright gives the Warrirors a well rounded player with length and defensive presence at 6'9". He is a competent catch and shoot three point shooter, but it's his size and athleticism that will help make up for the Warriors small back court.

Shooting Guard, Monta Ellis...Ellis had a breakout year last season and carried the team for most of the season with his scoring. Like Biedrins, Ellis is happy to see Don Nelson move on. Of course he has respect for his former coach, but everyone who followed the Ws last year knows there was tension. Expect Ellis to play hard for coach Smart and settle into his role as a veteran leader. Ellis will be an All-Star this year.

Point Guard, Stephen Curry...Curry is better than anyone imagined. He answered every doubt and made believers out of critics. He played great defense (on ball and team), he rebounded, and he showcased passing skills few people knew he had (especially in pick and roll situations). Curry and Ellis are the smallest backcourt in the NBA, but they will be atop the NBA leaders in steals and combined scoring.

The Warriors offense is based around Ellis, Curry, and Lee, who are all surrounded by a mob of physical bodyguards who defend and crash the boards. Next post, we'll take a look at the Warriors bench.