Big Man Blues: Grizzlies 121 Warriors 108

Let’s just call this one B minus two.  B as in Beans. The Warriors are counting down the games until their starting center returns to action, and they never missed him more than they did on this night.  Because with Biedrins in the middle for this game, the Warriors might very well have come away with the win. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph steamrolled the Warriors front line for a combined 55 points and 27 rebounds, and came within one of fouling out both of the Warriors “centers,” Chris Hunter and Anthony Randolph.

Despite this huge disadvantage, the Warriors were competitive in this game.  With about 6 minutes to play, the Warriors were down 7, and Monta had the ball in his hands and was headed up court.  Unfortunately, he forgot to dribble.  That moment of ineptitude kickstarted an avalanche of ineptitude that buried the Warriors down the stretch. Monta was unable to take over the game when it counted, and the exhausted and fouled-out Warriors were unable to hold off the Grizzlies’ interior assault.

Biedrins minus two.

Monta Ellis:  Monta got himself into early foul trouble, which if the Warriors hadn’t been pummeled so mercilessly inside, would have been the story of this game.  A couple of the offensive foul calls were questionable, but the bottom line is that the Warriors rely too much on Monta for him to allow this to happen.  He needs to play smarter, and even back off a little, in order to keep himself on the court.  Don Nelson said post-game that Monta’s fourth foul, which occurred in the second quarter, had the double effect of costing the Warriors a large stretch of minutes without him, and taking Monta out of his real game when he did return.

Monta has been a revelation so far this year.  He is an elite scorer, and a surprisingly effective defender.  He has also begun demonstrating some leadership qualities.  But what he isn’t, at this stage, is a closer.  He has been unable to close quarters and games effectively.  This game was no exception. When the Warriors needed him to take this game over in the fourth, he once again came up flat and turnover prone.  Blame the refs if you like, but I see a larger pattern.  This is an area where he needs to grow.

Stephen Curry:  Curry may have played more minutes than Nellie wanted him to, because of Ellis’ foul trouble, and CJ Watson and Morrow’s ineffective shooting.  He played a solid game, but seemed to tire in the fourth quarter.  Still, 14 and 8 represents a continuation of his steady improvement.

He was robbed of one assist on a play that Jim Barnett and I thought was sensational. He ran a high pick and roll with Hunter, that he finished with a left handed pass, off the dribble, that hit Hunter right on the hands. Hunter failed to finish the bunny, but picked up a foul. That high pick and roll play is one that I have been predicting since the beginning of the year would be a staple for the Warriors.  But with the injuries to Biedrins and Turiaf, it has been buried.

Matt Steinmetz has opined that the return of Biedrins and Turiaf won’t do much to improve the Warriors offense.  I think he’s nuts.

Beans minus two.

The Blackhole:  Maggette was the Warriors’ best player in this game.  He got the start at small forward, as Nelson opened the game playing big.  I’m sure that pleased him no end.

Maggette did everything right in the first half.  Drove the ball and got to the line.  Moved the ball well.  Defended on Gay. His fourth quarter was not as good.  He made a bad turnover on a 2 on 1 break.  But that turnover I place squarely on Monta’s shoulders.  He gave up the ball too early, hoping to get it back, rather than driving it all the way, and then giving it up.

Maggette also settled for jumpers on two possessions in the fourth quarter that cost the Warriors. Again, I don’t really fault him for that.  On both of those possessions, the Grizzlies were sagging off of him, and basically triple-teaming the drive. The jumper is what was open.

The Warriors needed better play calls in that spot.  Either that, or for Monta Ellis to take over the game. You decide.

Chris Hunter:  Hunter was terrific in this game, in all phases except rebounding.  He is at his best when playing against larger opponents like Marc Gasol.  After the game, Nellie was asked if Hunter would see minutes after Biedrins and Turiaf returned.  Nellie, replied yes, that he foresees the need to play a third center in the future.  He also said something that I have been fearing: that the Warriors’ are unsure just how well Turiaf will be able to play on his knee. We learned before the season that Turiaf has a cartilage problem, and I have a bad feeling that he will be the next Warrior to submit to surgery in this season.

We also learned from the broadcast team that Hunter was limited by shin splints during the road trip.  Which explains why he played so little.  This might be of interest to Adam Lauridsen and Geoff Lepper and the other commentators who hammered the Warriors’ coaching staff for playing small lineups on the road trip.  Actually, what am I thinking?  Of course it won’t interest them.  They have an agenda that is blind to reality.

Anthony Randolph:  This was not a good game for Randolph.  He got steamrolled on the boards, even letting the rookie Thabeet outmaneuver him for an offensive rebound off a free throw.  Randolph is in the game, first and foremost, to rebound.  He has a tendency to forget that at times, as Don Nelson has pointed out.

Randolph also wanted nothing to do with Marc Gasol in the paint, as I predicted.  5 fouls in 20 minutes.  He’s not going to earn minutes with this performance.

Vlad Rad and CJ Watson:  Both of these guys had off games.  Vlad got eaten alive on the boards by Zach Randolph. And neither was very effective offensively.

Anthony Morrow:  Who?

6 Responses to Big Man Blues: Grizzlies 121 Warriors 108

  1. Pretty optimistic to think that the dubs may have had a chance to win that game if they would have only had Beans or Turiaff. Little far fetched but do like some kind of optimissm, I guess.

    The only thing that I would contest about your break down is that Matt Steinmetz, Leopper, or Laurisden are not crazy to state that Beans coming back isn’t going to make that big of a difference. The reality is that it is probably not going to make that much of a difference and at least for me to try to dismiss that fact as crazy b/c we are soley missing the use of the pick and roll is a little outlandish. Yes, it may give the team another option on the offensive end but the way you describe it makes it seem as if we have stockton and malone running the pick and roll.

    For those two it worked effectively because you had 2 viable scoring threats with the “Roller” malone being able to step out and hit a consistent 15 to 18 ft jump shot if he did not continue to roll to the basket. Thus making the defender have to over play either the ball handler or the roller in order to just put up some semblance of defense. Not to mention the fact that it was 2 HOF’rs running that game perfectly.

    The big difference in that is that our “Roller” doesn’t even have 15% of the offensive game of malone(although not many players do either to be fair). So really all a defender needs to do is stay home with Beans b/c 9 times out of 10 beans is going to just continue to roll to the basket because that is really only one of the things he can do. (defense aside)

    As for curry running it, the defender also really doesn’t have to respect his part in the pick ‘n roll b/c his shot isn’t consistent enough right now to do so. I’m sure it will get better with time but right now it just isn’t. Plus it is not like he is going to blow by anyone to get to the rim or really be able to finish at the rim. How many times did Curry get his shot blocked by gasol or z-bo at the rim yesterday? i at least saw 3 before I had to go. Although i do admit that I like his littel floater shot and if he can perfect that maybe he doesn’t have to get all the way to the rim.

    The only thing I’m saying is that you do a good job on your write-ups (regardless of if I agree or disagree with them) but by just trying to say that these other guys are crazy because they don’t think Beans is going to have a big as an impact as you would lead your readers to suggest just negatively impacts my view on how you see the game. Their points are just as valid and just as you feel they aren’t being as objective as you would like them to be, you are also suffering a little from that same lack of objectivity.

    There is room for everyone’s view but to be dismissive is not why I read your blog. I want to get both sides of the story in terms of optimmism and pessimism but both should be grounded in the reality of what we see on the court and right now it ain’t pretty any way you slice it.

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » The Warriors Report: Ah, yes, the old “glass-half-full switcheroo”

  3. I seem to have struck a nerve in several places by mentioning my difference of opinion with other bloggers. Have I crossed some sort of line of decent blogging behaviour? To me, I’m just trying to keep it interesting, and generate discussion.

    UC Dubs, I’m not sure how exactly you’d want me to rephrase what I wrote about Steinmetz’ opinion that would indicate that I respect his right to give it, but that I disagree with it wholeheartedly.

    I think the return of a healthy Biedrins will have a dramatic effect on the Warriors’ offense. The high pick and roll is only part of that. His defense and rebounding are absolutely key to the Warriors getting out on the fast break, and the fast break is what this team is built for, above all else. And Biedrins is also a terrific offensive rebounder.

    He and Turiaf have been greatly missed on both ends of the court, not just on defense.

    Geoff Lepper also took offense to me calling him out by name. You can see his posting, and my response, here:

    http://48minutes.net/2009/12/23/the-warriors-report-ah-yes-the-old-glass-half-full-switcheroo/#comment-4423

    Feedback is welcome.

  4. I don’t really mind your difference of opinion felt cuz its your blog, I guess I just didn’t like the “crazy” aspect attached to some of the other writers and their view on the situation.

    No problem with the wholehearted disapproval either, I guess I just feel like the points that have been made to the contrary are just as valid as points that are defending the fact that injuries have set the team back.

    At this point I don’t really see any real difference though between a 25 win record team and a 35 win record team because they both just show the team is bad.

    One question though, if and When biedrins comes back and RT comes back, if he doesn’t have to have surgery, and the team is really not doing any better than it is currently. Will you concede that you may have over valued Biedrins importance to the team?
    (Also “not doing that much better” meaning a similar record over the same amount of games as opposed to barely getting over .500 by 2-3 games so as not to slant the record in my favor)

    I respect your points though felt, I don’t want you to get that twisted, I just can’t be as purely opptimistic about this team as you can be.

  5. I think I do my best to be objective. Any time you see me straying from that, go ahead and let me have it.

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