Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lakers beat Warriors in thriller, Kobe and Monta duel

The Warriors should not be disappointed after losing to the Lakers 115-110 Jan. 12. They led the two time defending champs at the end of the first, second, and third quarters. Both teams played their a game. The Warriors moved the ball and hit open shots in the half court and scored fast break points off Lakers turnovers. The Lakers got back in the game with a 15-1 run toward the end of the second quarter.

In the first half, the Warriors didn't commit stupid fouls (outside of Dan Gadzuric), they closed the quarters out strong, and took care of the ball. In the third quarter, they fell back into fouling. The Warriors fouled the Lakers six times before L.A. committed one on the W's. The fouls in the third quarter prevented the Warriors from getting out on that fast break which served them well in the first half. Monta Ellis carried the Warriors and Kobe Bryant carried his Lakers.

In the fourth quarter, the game turned into a duel between Monta and Kobe. Despite the outcome, it was Christmas/Hanuka for basketball fans. Credit the refs for letting the two stars play because it got physical between both of them. Monta got up in Kobe's face and Kobe took Ellis to the rim and scored. Kobe got up in Monta's face, only to have Ellis step around him and hit a reverse lay-up to answer.

The duel between the two unstoppable offensive forces invoked memories of a game I attended with my dad when I was 17 years old. On Dec. 6, 2000 Antawn Jamison and Kobe Bryant each scored 51 points in an overtime thriller won by the Warriors.

The Warriors played a great game, but the Lakers stole the momentum in the fourth quarter with Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom dominating the paint and the front line of the Warriors. The under-performing front line of the Warriors has been a subject of discussion around the Bay Area. Andris Biedrins has been the name people cite when referring to the lack of production. Biedrins, who is making $9 million a year, has not only been unproductive, but has become a liability. His inability to make a free throw has spiraled into a phobia of working around the rim and has made Biedrins down right timid. Opposing team have scouted the Warriors to not pay attention to Biedrins, as his defender can leave him to help on defense.

In 2008-09, Andris averaged double figures. He was a solid pick and roll finisher alongside Baron Davis and cleaned up on tip-in put backs. It seems like Biedrins' struggles are more mental than physical, but they need him to be the player he was back in 2006, 07', 08' in order to compete for a playoff spot. Otherwise, the Warriors are at a big disadvantage when they play any team that matters in the West.

One of those teams are the Clipper, who the Warriors play Friday night at Oracle. The Warriors will have to repeat their brilliance to beat the Clippers, who are playing great basketball right now. The Clippers front line of D'Andre Jordan and Blake Griffin will be a problem once again. But will the Warriors put a body on Jordan? Will they refrain from committed stupid touch fouls? Will they lure the Clippers into a fast break game? If the Warriors can hang close in the rebound category and turn the Clippers over, they'll have a chance.

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