An incredible, gutsy, inspiring effort from the newly reassembled Warriors kept them in this game right until the end. Only a heroic performance from Kobe Bryant allowed the Lakers to prevail.
Are the Warriors a mess? Is Don Nelson washed up?
Don’t believe it. This game, on a road back-to-back, during the holidays, against the best team on the planet, has served notice on the league. This Warriors team is primed to go on a run. They’re talented, they’re hungry, and once again, finally…
Monta Ellis: A little too gassed, the Lakers defense a little too tough, for him to take this game over. The positive? He recognized it, and played a beautiful team game. 7 assists/1 TO.
Corey Maggette: Carried the Warriors in this game. 25 points on 11 shots? That is unbelievably elite efficiency for a wing player. After years of being buried on the Clippers, he’s making his name under Don Nelson’s direction. A stud, and a winning basketball player.
Feel like booing?
Beans: Biedrins is currently a shadow of himself. I’d like to see him start taking it to the hoop on the pick and roll, rather than flounder like a fish looking to pass it off. It will come.
Still managed to grab 8 boards. The Warriors lost the rebounding battle by only 4 to the Lakers. HUGE.
Rony Turiaf: Incredible emotional leader of the defense in only his third game back. His block on Kobe at the rim one for the ages.
But his rustiness shooting the ball, particularly at the free throw line (or was that a result of his conditioning?) hurt the Warriors down the stretch. Once, when he bricked them both. And then, when he passed off from point blank range, for fear of getting fouled and going back to the line.
I learned something else about Rony tonight, from the Thaiblonde. It was after that incredible CJ Watson out of bounds save and assist to Turiaf for the dunk, and went like this:
Me: Great play!
Thaiblonde: Turiaf needs smaller shorts.
Thaiblonde: His pants keep falling down.
Anthony Randolph: On a “per 36 minute” basis, averaged a quadruple double: 6 pts., 6 reb., 5 asts., 5 bs, in 19 minutes. Say what?
Yet more proof that stats per 36 minutes lie? Or is Randolph really that good?
I have an idea why Nellie sat him in the fourth. He wanted Vlad Rad on Kobe. And then Maggette is his closer. And the Warriors were fighting from behind and needed shooters. And Randolph did get yanked earlier for failing to block out. And Phil Jackson went small. (I loved Jackson’s post-game comments. He told his inquisitors, “We forced them to match up small with us.” And barely cracked a smile saying it. Vintage Big Chief Triangle.)
But Randolph finally did enough to make me ask, why not more minutes? That’s a first of the season for me, and a sign that mini-KG is coming on.
Vlad Rad: That defense on Kobe? 11 points on 3-5? 5 rebounds? Tantalizing.
That fastbreak layup he allowed to get blocked? Enigmatic.
The Thaiblonde burst out of her blankets on that one: “You can’t be soft! You have to dunk that!”
To his credit, Vlad dunked the next one.
Stephen Curry: As predicted, Curry put the torch to Derek Fisher. But once again, he made a couple of silly, lazy passing turnovers in the third quarter, that helped change the momentum of the game. YANK! For the third straight game, Curry spent the fourth quarter nailed to the bench. Don Nelson is sending the rook a message. A STRONG message.
If his early season progress is any indication, there is little doubt that Curry will get that message. Soon.
Chocolate Rain: Aggressive, creative. Made Sasha Vujacic pay for whacking him in the nuts. Loved it.
CJ Watson: 14 points on 4-6, including 4-5 from three. 4 assists, 1 TO. 2 steals. Handled the point at crunch time.
The best backup point guard in the NBA.