The Warriors are winners of two in a row after beating the Clippers on Jan. 14 and the Nets today in the Marin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at Oracle.
The win over the Clippers was much needed, not only to stay above L.A.'s other team in the standings, but more so the win provided a psychological boost. After losing to the Warriors, the Clippers beat the Lakers and Blake Griffin scored 47 points in a win over the Pacers at Staples Center. The Clippers have some really talented young players on their roster and look to be moving in the right direction. Obviously, Blake Griffin gets all the attention with his dominant play, but Eric Gordon is their guy on the perimeter to compliment Griffin. Gordon proved to be a handful for Warriors defenders as he put both Monta Ellis and Steph Curry in foul trouble throughout the game. These teams will meet for the final time this season on Jan. 22 in L.A.
The Warriors were able to hold off the Nets on Jan. 17 for the MLK day game which started at 1:00 P.M. Both teams looked thrown off by the early start time, as the energy was casual and lacked the intensity. It looked like the speed of a walk-through in practice. While the Warriors led the entire way, the Nets wouldn't die, as they hit shots and out-hustled the Warriors for a few runs. Dorell Wright had a rough game. He wasn't terrible, but he made some errors that showed he wasn't focused. He failed to collect a long rebound that bounced right to him and it led to a Sasha Vujacic jumper. On another play, he got his pocket picked by Brook Lopez on a transition off a Monta Ellis steal. D-Wright's struggles were compounded by some missed lay-ups at point blank range. I like how Keith Smart subbed in Vladamir Radmanovic, who has been giving the Warriors a big boost off the bench. I can live with D-Wright having an off night, especially in a win. He still scored 10 points and he will bounce back against the Pacers on Jan. 19.
The Warriors got solid games from D-Lee and Monta, other than that, they played down to the level of the 10-31 Nets. Ellis scored 26 points and added nine assists and Lee scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds.
Opposing coaches have tried to use more zone defense looks to force the Warriors into settling for perimeter shots. In theory, it doesn't make sense since the Warriors shoot the ball so well, but it's been effective at times. With a dribble perpetrator like Monta Ellis, a big who passes as well as D-Lee, shooters like Curry, D-Wright, Reggie, Vlad...the Warriors should shred anyone who wants to play zone. I would like to see the Warriors use more zone to lure teams into a shootout pace and create fastbreak opportunities off missed jumpers. Maybe it would also help them foul less.