Lone Star: Mavericks 110 Warriors 101

The Warriors lost their seventh game in a row last night, and are currently the third worst team in the league, by record.  It is easy to get down as a Warriors fan watching this season play out, particularly when the Warriors don’t give much of an effort, as we saw in the Houston game.  In this game, however, with the return from injury of Corey Maggette, and the return to dominance of Monta Ellis, we saw the return of the heart and effort that has characterized the Warriors’ play in this most tragic and difficult of seasons.  As a fan, I can derive enjoyment from that, even if the result is a loss.        

The core of this team, as currently contructed, is Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Corey Maggette, Andris Biedrins, Rony Turiaf and Kelenna  Azubuike.  Is there a quitter in that bunch?  Anyone who dogs it?  It is not only the talent, but also the heart of this Warriors team that gives me hope for the future, and sustains me during this bleak period.  I continue to believe that if Cohan and Rowell give Nellie room to operate, and this team ever returns to full strength, winning is around the corner.

It begins, of course with Monta Ellis.

Monta Ellis: The superstar returned in the last two games.  And for all the current discouragement, a team that has a superstar is never very far from winning.  As this game showed.

The Mavericks are currently third in the Western Conference.  Simple question: What would the score of this game have been if the Warriors were playing with Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike, and Biedrins and Turiaf were healthy and playing like they did at the start of last year?

Whatever the poison-mongerers like Tim Kawakami and Adam Lauridsen keep writing, that’s how far the Warriors are from winning.  In Dallas, against the three seed in the West.  On a back-to-back.  With a dead rookie.

Something to keep in mind.

Stephen Curry: If you’ve ever wanted to see what the rookie wall looks like, you’re looking at it.  I’m guessing this was brought on by the spate of 48 minute complete games Curry played when Monta went out.  Curry simply can’t feel his legs right now.

Take another look at the end of the game last night.  Nellie brought Curry off the bench in the final seconds to practice getting a last second shot.  Curry drove the lane and picked up the foul.  But before he shot his free throws, he stood for a long time under the basket, bent over and grabbing his shorts. I was thinking, is he that tired after 3 seconds back on the court?  Then it hit me: he can’t feel his legs.  He’s looking at them like they’re impostors. Check it out.

Corey Maggette: Not one of Maggette’s best games, but what doesn’t show up in the boxscore is how hard he had to work for his shot.  The Warriors showed none of the ball-movement that has created wide-open looks and layups for Maggette in the past.  I thought that was the chief difference in Maggette’s game and Marion’s.  Kidd repeatedly found Marion under the basket for easy lay-ins.

Devean George: His defense on Dirk Nowitzki was pretty impressive last night, and easily as important as Monta’s scoring in allowing the Warriors to creep back into this game.  He held Nowitzki to two free throws in the third quarter.  Nowitzki did come back to score 9 in crunch time, but George made him work for those shots, and also turned him over twice.

George has now shut out Carmelo Anthony in a fourth quarter in Denver, and Dirk Nowitzki in a third quarter in Dallas. On one leg. He is something on one leg that Marco Belinelli is not on two: a bonafide NBA player.

The Centers: It may be wishful thinking, but I think Biedrins is starting to look a little more like himself.  It helped, of course, that the Mavericks played small ball all night, with Dampier out.

One unspoken casualty of his free-throw shooting has been the high pick and roll.  The Warriors almost never run it, which I can only attribute to Biedrins’ fear of going to the line.  That might also be the reason he always rolls the wrong way.  This play should be a staple of the Warriors’ offense.  I’ve been very disappointed to see it missing in action.

The Warriors started the game with a big line-up of Biedrins and Turiaf.  The line-up worked about as well as could be expected, which is not at all.  The Warriors out-rebounded the Mavs, but couldn’t put the ball in the hole.  They wound up with 21 points for the quarter.  I’m guessing that by using this line-up in the first quarter, Nellie was buying time for Devean George in the second half. He knew he couldn’t use Anthony Tolliver.

CJ Watson:  With Curry missing in action, Nellie went to Watson down the stretch. It wasn’t one of his better games. He looked unsure down the stretch, failing to create open shots, and committing a couple of turnovers.  The one big shot he should have taken, a momentarily open three with 1:54 left, he passed up, resulting in a Warriors’ loss of possession.

The D-League All-Stars: As Nellie would put it, they looked like D-Leaguers. There was no one on this Mavs team that Tolliver could guard.  He works against the big dudes, not so much against the athletes.  Nellie played him only in the second quarter. Coby Karl needs to hit threes to be effective.  His drives remind me of Belinelli’s.

13 Responses to Lone Star: Mavericks 110 Warriors 101

  1. felbotloveslosing

    Great team work, Fritz read your lines on his show today. Feltbot and Fritz, such a one two punch.

  2. WheresMyChippy

    TK, is that you? Don’t you have your own blog to defile? Leave feltbot alone.

  3. Monta was simply amazing and was the only thing worth watching in this game. How about that over the backboard shot. Atleast once a game he does something that leaves me in amazement. I wouldnt belive my own eyes unless I replay it on my DVR 4 times.

    That fantom fifth fould on Monta was a horrible call, but CJ played very well while Monta was on the bench to keep the Warriors in it.

    I love the fight in this team. The only people that expects them to win are the players themselves.

  4. That fifth foul call on Monta was shockingly bad. Another in a series of horrible crunch time calls against him this season.

    I am led to wonder whether, as Don Nelson suggests, its a matter of him not getting the star treatment because the Warriors are so terrible, and he is still unknown.

    Or perhaps it is because he simply moves too quickly for the refs to fully pick up what is happening, and they haven’t adjusted to his skill level yet. I’m sure the refs don’t like being embarrassed when reviewing the tape.

    Whichever it is, I’m looking forward to the day Monta gets some of the same deference from officials that Kobe Bryant gets. But I’m not holding my breath.

  5. Feltbot,

    I missed the game, but thanks for another shot in the arm of faith.

    I mentioned my concerns about two man offense elsewhere, and when I saw the box score I wondered if Curry (only 6 shots) and overall team play was pushed aside once more.

    Curry is tired.

    I wonder if it might not be as simple as that. He has been pushing himself hard since last spring, really for the last two years, and maybe it has caught up with him.

    We judge so quickly without knowing the facts:

    Why does Nelson look so tired and uninvolved?
    He has pneumonia.
    His back is out.

    Why isn’t Mikki Moore hustling more?
    He has a bone spur.

    Morrow has lost his shooting touch?
    He just came back from a family funeral.

    Patience plus perspective equal sanity.

  6. sir feltbot–you used the word ‘tragic’ in describing this season. did someone die or suffer a devastating disaster (meaning, like hurricane katrina or the haiti temblor, not jackson alienating himself and forcing his trade) ? if this season ends up the turning point toward the end of the cohan ownership, wouldn’t ‘magic’ be more applicable than ‘tragic’?

    are you referring to the injuries? all of the players involved are getting very well compensated, there’s no hardship imposed on them or their families.

    perhaps you’ve lost the distinction between poetic license and propagandistic hype, so overused by mega-billion $$ professional spectator sports.

  7. Moto – literary criticism is always welcome, particularly from you.

    Tragic is of course a bit of hyperbole, but I take exception to characterizing it as hype. Contrary to the paranoid delusions of many, I have no interest in defending Cohan and Rowell, and feel no reason to hype this team. I am as optimistic of the talent of this team’s full roster as I was before the season. (Why should the team’s injury woes change that? If anything, seeing the development of Monta and Curry has made me more optimistic.) It may seem ridiculous to you that I have an objective judgement of the full and healthy roster that runs counter to the teams’ current record. But my objective judgement, not hype, is what I am expressing.

    And I think I do have ample justification for using the word “tragic”: I don’t think players are as accepting of injury as you are. Kelenna Azubuike was on the verge of becoming a starter, and perhaps a better than average starter. His injury may wind up costing him quite a bit. Will he be the same when he returns? The same thing might be said of Brandan Wright. Will Biedrins ever be the same player he was (from what I’ve read about his specific injury, it’s not unlikely he won’t). What about Turiaf, after he gets the knee surgery he needs? Players want to play, and to achieve, in addition to making money. I think you underestimate the fear and devastation they go through when they are injured.

    Don Nelson: Will he still be around when this team gets healthy? If he goes out like this, then I would view that as a somewhat tragic end to a great career. And yes, I know I’m one of the few who feel this way (cue vomiting sounds), but that doesn’t make my word choice wrong.

    And lastly myself: I had great expectations for this season that were tragically dashed. The consequences to my wallet were tragic too!

    Hyperbole with a wink yes, hype no.

  8. sir feltbot, i appreciate your thoughtful response. one reason i had hopes for azubuike when he was first promoted to the nba was his family responsibilities due to his father’s imprisonment for fraud. i think the father is out of prison now, and the worst of that is behind the family thanks to azubuike’s nba success. now he simply has to face the realities of whether he has the musculoskeletal make up to endure the stress and trauma of the nba life, as do his injured teammates and indeed all the players. all of them got to taste at least some of the dream that billions wish for and never come close. it’s why i appreciate citizens like foyle and mutumbo, who never lost touch of how most of their fellow beings live.

    my old school education taught me that tragedy in the classic sense means a fall from greatness; all humans are flawed, but only one of great (or in the modern egalitarian context, potentially great) status or worth could be said to have a ‘tragic flaw.’ nelson of course fits the classic model the best, with the classic tragic flaw of hubris. i doubt he indulges much in self-pity though, because he knew what he could be dealt when he engineered his fat contract extension. the media has exploited his ‘tragic fall’ to the fullest, playing the equivalent role of the eumenides.

  9. OK, you got me, on the tragic scale, this Warriors season ranks below Aeschylus :>

  10. We could look at the Warriors purely from the point of view of pathology — physical, psychological, social, entrepreneurial, you name it we got it — as many now are doing and have been doing for some time. I have no argument against that: pathology can be entertaining. But thinking in pathological terms breeds pathology, as we have seen elsewhere. Also it doesn’t give us much reason to actually watch the games themselves. Most, I’m just not up to it now.

    Northrop Frye, on tragedy:

    “Tragedy in the central or high mimetic sense, the fiction of the fall of a leader (he has to fall because that is the only way in which a leader can be isolated from his society), mingles the heroic with the ironic. In elegiac romance the hero’s mortality is primarily a natural fact, the sign of his humanity; in high mimetic tragedy it is also a social and moral fact. The tragic hero has to be of a properly heroic size, but his fall is involved both with a sense of his relation to society and with a sense of the supremacy of natural law, both of which are ironic in reference.”

    So I’d say that the Warriors’ situation is tragic at least in the elegiac sense, to an extent in the high mimetic.

    Nelson = King Lear

    My most sincere apologies to all who want them for the above. The last few weeks of play have worn me thin.

    Curry got into the 3 point contest over Morrow. What a snub to Morrow. This is a spotlight he’s earned and I heard he’s been practicing 3’s like crazy the last week.

  11. Has Nelson split his kingdom?

    I also feel bad for morrow. As much as I like curry, this is a shameless act of promotionalism from stern, and a slap in the face to knowledgeable fans. Curry doesn’t deserve it yet.

  12. Feltbot,

    When I subscribed to this blog, does that give you my email? I have a piece that might be of interest. If so and you’re interested, send a note? I think I’ve established I’m safe.

    If not on either case, no sweat, just ignore.

  13. What did Fitz quote from Feltbot. I missed that