Friday, February 4, 2011

Warriors win ugly against Bucks

The Warriors beat the Bucks on "Beat the Bucks" night at Oracle. It was ugly, just how the Bucks like to play. Nonetheless, the Warriors made the shots at critical moments to offset some really poor basketball. The Bucks grabbed 20 offensive rebounds to the Warriors eight, which resulted in 91 field goal attempts the Warriors 77. The Warriors turned the ball over 17 times, Steph Curry committed seven of them! The Warriors bench, Reggie Williams and Vlad Radmanovic, scored 23 points combined and gave the Warriors a final push in the fourth quarter to get this bumbling win, a win that would not have come if Andrew Bogut was healthy. The Warriors were also lucky to miss Deron Williams in the previous win over the Jazz.

Steph Curry had an awful game and he knows it. His seven turnovers were the result of sloppy ball handling, but not so much his overambitious one handed pass attempts. Curry is extremely talented, but he is not a natural point guard. Curry also played sorry defense. He was incapable of staying with his man and blundered more than one pick and roll switch. The pinnacle of Golden State's defensive underachievement happened around the eight minute mark in the third quarter. Curry's man Brandon Jennings slipped a screen to make a lay-in of pre-game warm up ease. Keith Smart emphatically called timeout and his frustration was audible through the telecast:
"We're not talking!" Smart shouted at a dejected bunch of gold jerseys.

The game had, what Bob Fitzgerald called, a "Rec center feel", as there were few fouls called on either side. Eventually the Warriors tightened up on defense and got somewhat serious about defensive rebounds. They also survived 12 consecutive points from Correy Maggette down the stretch. Monta Ellis hit a pull up jumper with 17 seconds in the game to put the Warriors up 96-92. On the next play, Correy Maggette made a driving layup and was fouled by Dorell Wright.

When that happened, the Bobcats game flashed back. Here we go, more mistakes in the critical moments. Maggette missed the free throw, the Warriors rebounded, and the game was essentially over.

Over the past three games, something has been different with the Warriors, mainly Monta Ellis. He hasn't been terrible, but his jumper has been off and his three point shooting has vanished. Monta is well rounded enough to realize he needs to drive more to get higher percentage shots and also find team mates on drive-and-kicks. But he's not attacking like we've come to know, hesitating somewhat, and his field goal percentage is down.

I think it's more than lingering injuries or tired legs. From the lack of communication on defense, it looks like there might be some tension between players, tension caused by not knowing where they will be in the near future. Tension from Monta's comments a year ago. The players know better than anyone else that it's not working. This mix of players is not going meet the "We Believe" hype and it's frustrating, especially for a guy like Monta who's had a small taste of success. This is a tension Warriors fans have come to know well over the years.

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