Thought Bubbles: Suns 133 Warriors 131

  • I was near courtside for this game, courtesy of GSoM.  Thanks guys!
  • The Warriors didn’t play bad, exactly, it just felt like they never got going.  They missed every important shot, and made the ones that didn’t count.
  • The D-leaguers outplayed the vets.  Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and Corey Maggette didn’t quite have it in this game.  It looked like their feet were stuck in mud.  And I’m guessing that’s what it felt like to them, as well.        
  • Even more so than Monta, Maggette’s game relies more on athleticism than smarts.  Since he’s come back from his hamstring injury, his game has been off: dumb fouls, dribbling turnovers, lack of rebounds. It’s tempting to blame him, but I’m guessing the problem is physical.  He’s worn down after a season of banging against power forwards, and he’s still being asked to bang against power forwards.
  • Curry is not 100% on that ankle, which is why he was rested so long. The rookie wall is real.
  • Even so, Curry did a fantastic job guarding Steve Nash, who is also struggling with injury issues.  Outright stole the ball from him four times.  And blocked him once, right in front of my seats.  I don’t know how the scorer missed that.
  • Hope for the future:  Monta Ellis 6 assists, 1 TO.  Stephen Curry 8 assists, 1 TO.  Both players are growing out of their turnover issues.
  • That Stoudemire dunk on Tolliver’s dome?  Rocked the Oracle.  As loud a reaction as I’ve ever heard, and a buzz that lasted throughout the timeout.  This is not something you want in a Warriors uniform?
  • Tolliver was the clear star of this game, despite being overpowered by Stoudemire.  An incredible effort, that kept the Warriors in it on a night their big three weren’t feeling it.
  • Nellie raved over the performance of his D-leaguers post-game.  I see all three of these guys in a Warrior uniform next year.  So long as Nellie is in a Warriors uniform.
  • Hunter sprained his tendinitis.
  • How has Reggie Williams gone from D-league obscurity to NBA star in 2 weeks?  Two words: Don Nelson.  What other coach in the league would be featuring him at point forward after two weeks with the team?
  • The difference between J-Rich and Reggie Williams?  Reggie Williams can see his teammates, set them up, and hit them.  Reggie Williams can dribble in traffic.  In other words, Reggie Williams can play point-forward.
  • How did the NBA scouts miss on Reggie Williams, who led the NCAA in scoring two straight years?  He played at VMI.  And NBA scouts, like 99% of NBA GMs and 99% of NBA coaches and 99% of NBA sportwriters, like to run with the pack.
  • Spotted before the game:  Reggie Williams bouncing the ball high in the air, leaping to grab it in his left hand, and slamming it.  Effortlessly.  For what it’s worth.
  • Spotted during the game:  Monta Ellis taking Don Nelson’s hand, and sharing a private laugh.  For what it’s worth.
  • Spotted in the stands:  An African-American man rocking a Rob Kurz jersey.  Go figure.
  • I have mixed feelings about the impending sale of the Warriors.  On the one hand, hallelujah.  On the other, I’m worried this is the last year for my favorite coach.  I’d like to see Nellie finish what he started with this group of players, which is to win 50 games and make the playoffs. I’d like to watch the fastest team end-to-end in NBA history.  If you put Anthony Randolph, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry on the floor together, under Don Nelson, that’s what you will have.

11 Responses to Thought Bubbles: Suns 133 Warriors 131

  1. I think you forgot to mention Morrow, or the lack thereof. If the choice between Williams and Morrow come about, I hope they keep Williams. As for the game, I was there as well, when Hill missed two freethrows with seconds left and the W’s down by 3, Amare grabs the board and I thought to myself…Why wasn’t Hunter in there to secure the rebound? Yes he was hurt, but he was fighting through the pain all night, and that rebound was HUGE.

  2. Hard to beat the entertainment value when these two teams play. The game ended as I have come to expect. Warriors keep it close but the Suns pull through. What was suprising is how many chances the Warriors were given to pull it off. I would have to think that if Ronny were available the results would have been different.
    CJ, Morrow, Cory were, quite frankly, absent from this game. It’s been a very long season and if it weren’t for the hungry NBA D’s, this team would be unwatchable.

  3. IQofaWarrior

    There was something about that game that didn’t feel pretty at all, even though it was a close match. Nash dealing with injuries would help explain how he looked so off last night.

    My favorite part of the game was the consecutive “point Reggie” plays that he scored on. It was a 2pt, and 2 3pts. Suns certainly weren’t expecting him to hit those.

  4. IQ that is a good point, once teams realize he can shoot, he won’t be getting open looks and that, as in Morrow’s case, can drop that % down very quickly.

  5. If the Warriors keep Williams next year, and with Azabuike back, & Maggette, & Morrow they will have a lot of 2-3’s. As bad as Biedrins played this year and last, Maggette should still be the big money player the Warriors should trade this summer. He’s at the position the Warriors have the most good depth at.

    It perturbs me how many people think that Nelson will be automatically turfed upon new ownership, and how that would be a good thing. What coach could have gotten anything out of a team without its top 5 big men for most of this year?

  6. What I would hope for is no major housecleaning the first year until the new owner sees what he has. Nelson gets a chance to finish what he started and maybe, in his last year of coaching, we’ll get to see the relaxed, witty, clever Nelson some of us remember from his first go-around.

    Lots of pieces in place on this squad. Add a top three pick and a new attitude in the front office, and…

  7. Second the motion that Don Nelson has done one heckuva coaching job this year. Forget the won-loss record. The guys are competitive and don’t give up, which makes them a lot more entertaining than many teams with more pure talent.

  8. feltbot, thanks again for sharing your views and providing this blessedly uncluttered venue.

    you and others who share your hope that the three d’s will all stay with the team next season will probably have to see Hunter or Tolliver depart, because otherwise there’s no room on the roster for both the high draft pick and an established player like Bell, or even the second round pick.

    One can hope for trades that reduce the clutter, but it’s hardly probable–teams recognize the cost effectiveness of hanging on to their own draft picks now that the cap is shrinking, reducing options of player-for-pick deals. Watson could sign an offer sheet to leave, and simply let go with no matching counter deal–again, not probable. The draft pick could be attached to someone like M’gette or Radmanovic as an inducement, to add a solid, two-way player, but that draft pick might help the team more than any one made available on other teams, making it a fantasy trade of questionable merit. One significant trade last summer actually increased roster clutter, bringing in two contracts for Crawfor-, and the price was paid with the release of Claxton in order to put an able player on the court.

    Bell will likely go to a better team, and there might be no other free agent vet with the right stuff to be of help, but the team needs reinforcement in two critical areas it’s not likely to get immediately from its draft pick–perimeter defense and boards. Getting lucky in the draft and landing another near-all star rookie of course changes the picture considerably, but mis-guessing the pick at the third, fourth or fifth slot is just a likely to occur. Over-optimistic fans can hope all they please that their favorites (any of the second/third year players, Azubuike, Wright, Randolph, ,Morrow) will improve, but it’s rare for a good perimeter defender to develop out of someone who’s shown little from the start. I’ve heard hopes placed on guys like Belinelli, O’Bryant, Diogu, Dunjr, and go by the evidence of actual play.

    The likelihood of a major roster shuffle, including a player or two whom Riley has already described as a fan favorite(s), is probably fading with the imminent ownership change. Even if a fan favorite like Turiaf were traded, which would on one level increase the need to retain Hunter or Tolliver, as long as the players coming in are even with those going, the roster limit conundrum remains constant.

  9. Great post, moto, and do keep coming back.

    This would have been an interesting team this year had Biedrins, Turiaf, and Moore been healthy. Mikki, of course, is gone. Feltbot has mentioned that Biedrins’ injury could be long lasting. And I haven’t heard any kind of scenario for Turiaf. My first concern is that the team have some kind of size next year — and backups. We have a lot of intriguing back court players, but their performance has been hurt by front court woes. Hunter and Tolliver, if both come back won’t be enough.

  10. Don Nelson intends to coach summer league to work with the D-leaguers!

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/24/SPHF1CKB37.DTL

    I think that should address Moto’s concern that there might not be room for all of them. But how about those concerned that Nellie is mailing it in, and is not interested in developing these young players? I think his incredible work with Hunter and Tolliver so far this season has already belied that, but this is confirmation that Nellie is as impressed as I am with their basketball IQ, and loves working with them.

    As far as fixing the roster goes, I’m not sure I get Moto’s concern. The Warriors already have a wing defender in Azubuike (who has said he’s almost definitely coming back), and if they feel the need for another one, they’re not tough to find. As for big men, the Warriors have a lot of interesting pieces to trade. Let’s not forget that next year Vlad will have an expiring contract.

  11. feltbot, if all three d-men plus watson are retained for next season, one roster spot opens up with george’s attrition, taken presumably by the high lottery pick .

    we simply disagree about the defensive proficiency of azubuike–he’s good but has trouble with quick guys his own size, which one reason he ends up at forward–and about how easy it would be to add a good wing defender. you were high in your praise of jackson–that’s the kind of defender the team needs. they’ve never really addressed what they lost defensively when pietrus and barnes left, let alone jackson.

    for the team to become relevant again (beyond the paene-insular realm of nor. cali) thirty losses have to become wins. Hou now is five games over .500 and five games out of the last playoff spot. the present players can’t all improve and all remain healthy. radmanovic needs to show he can still play before he can get anything more than a mediocre player or bad contract back in a trade, because teams don’t collect expiring contracts on non-functioning bodies like they used to–szerbiak, e.curry, claxton never attracted buyers.

    you can make good $$ with your wagers playing the spread on a mediocre team, and that might be the ceiling for next season’s ‘revival’, but we should set fifty wins as a goal. one draft pick and minor shuffles is very unlikely to accomplish that.