The Warriors stumbled over the finish line last night, nearly obscuring just how much better they are than this ridiculously bad and mismatched Timberwolves team. The Warriors lost their legs in the third period, but were able to dig deep in crunch time to preserve the win. A gritty performance on a road back-to-back in Minneapolis in January.
Monta Ellis: Monta was clearly exhausted in this game, which may be one of the reasons he did such a great job running the team. Monta ran the Warriors plays to perfection, had great court vision, and nailed every pass. He would have gotten more than 6 assists if his teammates had the legs to finish their open shots. This is one of the best games I have seen from Monta as a point guard.
And, he was clutch in the fourth quarter. Hit a key turnaround J, had a beautiful soaring putback of a choked Morrow open three in the last minute to ice the game. Never forced anything, ran the plays down the stretch. Has Monta made a mental leap? Here for your pondering is one of his post-game comments:
“That’s what we’ve been lacking this season, the fourth quarter, closing games. We’ve got to continue to run our plays….”
Stephen Curry: Curry looked like an accomplished veteran next to Jonny Flynn last night. Here’s how Jim Barnett put it during the game:
“Jonny Flynn is a different type of point guard than Stephen Curry. He just doesn’t have the skills, or the basketball knowledge that Curry has.”
Here’s how Corey Maggette put it after the game:
“Curry is going to be a wonderful, wonderful player in this league.”
I continue to pinch myself that we have this player on our team. A player that simply radiates basketball intelligence. Always moving to the perfect spot, always seeing the open man, always one step ahead. As a rookie.
And those skills. The incredible ambidextrous handle. The crossover. The reversal of direction with the live dribble. The money J.
Has this kid studied tape of Steve Nash? I would bet my bottom dollar that he has, even before Nellie gave him his library. Because he looks more and more like Nash with every passing day.
Don Nelson stole the draft.
Corey Maggette: A gutsy 28, 9 and 4 performance from Maggette, on a night in which his legs deserted him. Like Monta, he was unable to hit his outside shot, and even had trouble finishing his layups. But he got himself to the line 14 times. And he unflinchingly took up the challenge of guarding the much bigger Kevin Love in the fourth quarter, and once again led the Warriors in rebounds. Maggette has simply put the Warriors on his back.
Feel like booing?
Anthony Randolph: Randolph got absolutely eaten alive by Kevin Love last night. Randolph got 5 rebounds, Love got 16. Randolph got 3 defensive rebounds, Love got 7 offensive rebounds.
Why is Anthony Randolph in the game? You know the answer. Don Nelson has said it to the press, with regard to both Randolph and Brandan Wright, over and over and over again. Rebounding. They are in the game to rebound, and if they refuse to rebound, Nellie might as well play a player with more offense.
The Warriors were outrebounded in this game by 9. Anthony Randolph was outrebounded by Kevin Love by 11.
The Play That Got Him Yanked: Tonight’s play occurred in the fourth quarter. Nelson, no doubt to the shock of many, was attempting to play a big lineup of Turiaf, Randolph and Maggette. And Randolph had just finished making a beautiful soaring putback slam at the offensive end. Do you know what play I’m referring to, home-gamers? Did you watch the ensuing play on the defensive end? If not, cue it back up at 3:15 of the fourth quarter, and follow along with feltbot:
The Warriors, for once, played 20 seconds of great defense on Al Jefferson. And Jefferson, for once, missed his shot. But there was Kevin Love, slipping inside Randolph, for another offensive rebound and easy tip in. The ever-eloquent and understated Jim Barnett:
“Randolph had no other job on that play but to block Love off.”
Anthony Randolph has been the biggest disappointment of the season for me so far. Last year it looked to me like he had a ferocious heart to compete at the defensive end, and rebound. This year, he is repeatedly getting run over. He has looked, dare I say it…?
Like a ragdoll.
Beans and Turiaf: Beans took a big step forward in this game, with 8 points, 8 rebounds and 5 BS. Great to see. Turiaf didn’t do much statistically, but he was the only man standing between Jefferson getting 50, and Love 40. I pray to Buddha daily for his knee.
The Little Three: Who?
Paging CJ Watson. Your jumper is needed on aisle 3.
Vlad Rad: What’s the next level of invisibility after invisible? Is it possible to be enigmatic when you’re invisible? Vlad Rad is inspiring me to new levels of metaphysical inquiry.
Anthony Morrow: Made a few shots. But once again choked the one that counted, the wide open corner three with 1 minute left that would have iced the game. Fortunately, Monta’s putback covered up for him. This late game choking has become a theme for Morrow this season.
In the pre-season, Morrow challenged Reggie Miller to a shooting contest in a post-game interview. Miller responded: “I’ll be your huckleberry.”
Who would you like to have your money on when the chips are down?