Monday, February 28, 2011

Warriors open road trip with a loss

Are the Warriors still on All-Star break vacation? Someone needs to tell them school is back in session as this team has lost all three of it's games in the virtual second half of the season.

A loss to the Celtics is forgivable, at least the Warriors competed admirably in the first half of that game, only to get shut down by Boston's defense. Everyone thinks the Celts are this old station-to-station type of team, but they are one of the best transition offenses in the NBA. The Warriors play some of the ugliest transition defense in the NBA.

Getting beat by Atlanta was no shocker, as the Hawks are better than the Warriors, but it was the lack of fight the Warriors put up that disturbed me (and disappointed the fans who paid to get into Oracle to watch a competitive professional basketball game).

The most recent loss in Minnesota on Feb. 27 is a sign that the Warriors are in a bad way right now. Sure, the T'Wolves had lost six straight and were hungry and at home. Again, the manor in which the Warriors lost is almost as bad as the loss itself. They collapsed. The Warriors scored 72 points in the first half then went 5-27 in the third quarter. A cold shooting stretch is understandable, happens to everyone at some point, but the Warriors stopped putting effort into getting stops.

Their only chance is to play scrambling defense, embodied by Monta Ellis creating havoc in the passing lanes. Ellis' hustle tends to ignite the Warriors team energy and start the fastbreak. That's how this team wins because they sure as heck can't get to the free throw line. I have a feeling Monta Ellis is not emotionally right because his intensity has fluctuated during this three game losing streak. Hopefully he hasn't been watching D-Will and Carmelo on Sports Center this year.

The way the T'Wolves out-rebounded, out-worked, and man-handled by Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Wes Johnson. Former Warriors D-League sensation from last year Anthony Tolliver inflicted some damage to his former club, too. The Warriors have lacked urgency and lacked heart. I am embarrassed for using the term playoffs in previous posts.

If this uninspired type of play continues, Keith Smart is in trouble. I don't see him coming back next year. It's not because he is a bad coach, but the new ownership is ambitious and will look to shake things up. There has been observable disinterest on the floor during this losing streak, ultimately that falls on the coach.

Coach Smart is risking his job by starting Andris Biedrins, as the overpaid center has regressed back to being a liability when on the floor. He seems more interested in fidgeting with his armbands than going after rebounds.

The Warriors are not a good team, they're a rebuilding team. That shouldn't be a surprise. But running back on defense and giving maximum effort should be a requirement.

No comments: