Lakers 113 Warriors 107

Who makes the pre-season schedule anyway?  Whoever it is has no sensitivity to the feelings of the Warriors and their fans.  Its hard to go into the regular season feeling good about your team’s chances when every other preseason game they’ve played has been against the World Champion Lakers. 

Call me crazy, but I would make this Lakers team a favorite against the best of the Michael Jordan Bulls teams.  At point guard, you have have nothing but role players:  no edge there.  Jordan and Pippen against Kobe and Artest: we’ll give the edge to the Bulls.  How big an edge?  A question for the ages.

But Longley, Wennington and Rodman against Bynum, Gasol and Odom?  Hmmmmm.  As much as I loved Rodman, that’s where those Bulls teams fall short.   This current Lakers team is dominant offensively at four positions on the floor.  The Bulls were dominant at two spots only.

The Bulls had 3 great defensive players when you add Rodman to the big two.  But their frontline lacked the athleticism and incredible length of this Lakers team.  This team is going to embarrass virtually every team they play.

Reggie Miller recently stated that he expects this Lakers team to tie the 72 win regular season record set by Jordan’s Bulls.  A ridiculous, over-the-top prediction.  That I think is 100% right.

So I don’t read too much into the Warrior’s struggles against this team.  I certainly don’t see it as a predictor of their season.  The Warriors are going to get massacred against this team.  And so will Portland, Denver, Dallas and Utah.  On to the analysis:

The Big Lineup

How great was it to see Rony Turiaf in the starting lineup?  The Warriors captain has been greatly missed.  He gave a great performance in his first game of the season.  12 pts, 12 rbs, 4 assists and 3 bs in 32 minutes of action.  Welcome back Rony.  Having said that, he and Biedrins looked like kids trying to contain Andrew Bynum, who went for 20 and 9.  Its pretty disheartening that the Lakers are dominant even at their least experienced position.

The Warriors opened with a big lineup of Biedrins, Turiaf and Randolph.  I hope you didn’t miss it.  It’s probably the last time you see it this season.  Anthony Randolph is just not ready to play small forward.  His floor game is still raw, and his outside shot isn’t ready either.  The Warriors looked horrible on the offensive end with this lineup: poor ball movement, and no shooting.  Randolph got temporarily knocked out of the game with another hard fall on his tailbone, and was replaced by Morrow.  And the Warrior’s floor game improved immediately.

The pairing of Biedrins and Turiaf looked pretty good though.  Both of these big men pass well enough now, and run the floor well enough, that Nellie may give them some run together.  The presence of Mikki Moore as a legitimate backup will make this easier.

Randolph returned to the game, but finished with a lousy line.  Partly I’m sure because of his sore tailbone.  But also because he can’t get much done against the length and physicality of this Lakers team.  He did play some nice defense in the second half, when he was matched up against Ron Artest at power forward.  (Yes, with Gasol in street clothes, Phil Jackson played small ball for much of the game.)

Monta Ellis

Monta was better in this game than the last.  He got to the basket and to the line.  He still had trouble hitting an outside shot, however, and was putrid from the line.  And there was no evidence that he is progressing as a point guard.  I never got the feeling that he was running the team in the first quarter.  Stephen Jackson was running the team.

I am very disconcerted by the fact that the Warriors ran virtually no pick and roll with Monta.  I had expected this to be a primary weapon for this team.  Is this a sign that Monta can’t pick it up?

I’m also concerned that Monta still does not look like the Monta of old.  He is nowhere near as quick, and doesn’t get the same elevation on his drives.  He doesn’t get the same elevation on his pull-up jumpers either.  The old Monta seemed to levitate.  This Monta is distinctly earth-bound.  Scary.

Private Jackson

Jackson did a good job on Kobe in the first quarter, forcing him into difficult shots.  Kobe being Kobe, though, he made them anyway.  Jack also did a nice job on the offensive end of the court, holding things together for the discombobulated Warriors, and running the point-forward to good effect.  He wound up with 10 assists, even getting Morrow a three.   Unless and until Monta starts improving, point-Jackson may remain the Warriors’ best option on the first unit.

Chocolate Rain

AM did a nice job burying his open shots.  Unfortunately, he gave up as good as he got.  He wound up getting beat off the dribble by both Sasha Vujacic and Adam Morrison in this game.  That’s not easy to do.

CJ Watson

After one off game in his return to the rotation, Watson looked like his old self in this game.  Self-assured with his handle, opportunistic on defense.  He was also aggressive going to the hoop and finished well, which was  a weakness last year.  I would be very happy to note this progress, if I weren’t sad that he looked quicker on his drives than Monta Ellis.

Mikki Moore

hit a corner three in garbage time!   Should Randolph be concerned? (Just kidding.  I think.)

Stephen Curry

just looks like a player.  His 4-6 tonight included a nice pull-up J off the dribble, and a killer cross-over and driving layup.  His self-possession is extraordinary.

Stu Lantz

who I generally despise as the ass-kissing color commentator of the Lakers, actually uttered a candidate for line of the year in this game.  After DJ Mbenga made a nifty move and finish, Lantz shouted “It’s alive!”

You may have to take another look at Mbenga to get this.

9 Responses to Lakers 113 Warriors 107

  1. passthescotch

    felty this is solid…what an unbiased reasoned analysis…didn’t know you had it in you?

    Great read, even Ragdoll would’ve been impressed.

  2. Good recap, except for the CJ Watson praise…he didn’t look that good. Missed wide open 12 footers, couldnt contain his man, and failed to run the team effectively at the PG

  3. Appreciate you doing this. It is hard to know quite what is going on from up here in the hinterland.

  4. Nice analysis my man. This game had a lot of good and a lot of bad in it. What it showed me? We have enough pieces on this team to play any style of ball with plenty of depth to keep the energy up the whole game. For those who have faith in Nellie’s ability to exploit match-ups when provided with the right pieces this bodes well. Nellie is going to have the horses to play any style of game. I look forward to seeing him get creative when the season starts.

  5. The Warriors will be ‘short’ on bigs until BW gets back, unless they make some kind of a roster move. I’m sure they’re hoping for a trade, as all 15 roster slots are filled. However, I’m not expecting to see any proven bigs moved this early.

    Jazz just cut their 2nd round draft pick, Goran Suton. He’s a PF/C at 6′10″, 245#, and has a solid jumper (44% last year on college 3s). I doubt we cut a guaranteed contract, but he might be worth a look. If not now, maybe once 10-day contracts can be signed (assuming he doesn’t go international).

  6. I’m still a little sceptical of Nellie playing Beans and Turiaf together gmoney. We’ll see.

    How about Rob Kurz petaluman? :>

  7. no way! rodman is the best rebounding machine ever, and there is no one on lakers that can/could stop him. rodman would be getting 25+ rebounds per 30 min every game against gasol / bynum / odom lineup. and it is not even close for lakers.
    have you seen rodman vs malone?
    rebounding is not about height as much as it is about fighting for position and re-entries.
    these lakers are way worse that jordan bulls and kobe is way worse than mike. especially on defense.
    i like preseason schedule, cause it really allowed to assess level of readiness of our players against some of the leagues best. i’m sure glad we didn’t play 4 games against NY or NJ.
    i actually like law, ellis lineup more than curry ellis. u r right ellis is not a point guard and i think law is the best of our small guards on defense.
    so our best lineup would be:

  8. Admire your passion for Rodman farid. I share it, one of my favorite all-time players. And watching him play against Kemp and Malone some of my favorite hoops memories. But he wasn’t a scorer, and I don’t think Longley, Wennington and Rodman would have much success keeping Gasol, Odom and Bynum from putting the ball in the basket. That makes the difference for me.

  9. “The presence of Mikki Moore as a legitimate backup will make this easier.”

    I can not disagree with this statement more. Mikki Moore brings almost nothing to the table, on offense he can not create and his man frequently leaves him to double other players. On defense he is slow and unable to stop quick penetration by guards or strong low post players.

    I love playing turiaf and beans together as much as you do, but I do not see it as a viable option when we have no other bigs to play center. I was actually a huge fan of his when he played on the Nets a few years ago, he showed a lot of scrappiness but those days are over and he should not be on the warriors roster.

    Other than that one disagreement I really enjoyed your post and will continue to read your blog. Keep up the good work.