Changing of the Guard: Jazz 78 Warriors 85

I’ve got news for Warriors fans.  This Warriors team is better than the Utah Jazz, and will remain better than the Utah Jazz for the forseeable future.  The Warriors played just about as bad an offensive game as they possibly could, and yet dominated this game in every way except on the scoreboard.  52 rebounds to 46.  21 offensive rebounds to 10.  The last time it was mentioned, late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors had 24 second chance points to Utah’s 8.  But the biggest disparity of all was this: 93 shots to 76 shots.  The only reason Utah even stayed in this game was that the Warriors couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean. They finished the game shooting 38%.

The Warriors are now bigger than the Jazz, and at the same time faster, better skilled and far better shooters. If Keith Smart can ever figure out how to run the offense efficiently, the Warriors should beat the Jazz blue every time they play, home and away.

Something is afoot in the Western Conference.

Monta Ellis: For most of the game, Monta couldn’t hit a jump shot, and was in my opinion given far too few opportunities to drive the ball by Keith Smart. Virtually every time he did drive the ball, something good came out of it.

And yet, Monta still managed to dominate this game.  He did it with his defense. He managed to turn over Deron Williams 8 times.  That is simply a fantastic performance going against one of the two best point guards in the league.  And one more way in which Monta Ellis is becoming a superstar.

We also saw signs in this game that Monta is beginning to take the final step towards superstardom: CLOSING. Monta ended the first half with a beautiful driving layup off an isolation. (And the reason why he was virtually never isolated against the much slower Utah guards is what?)  And his clutch dagger at :55 of the fourth quarter effectively ended the game.

Stephen Curry: An incredibly gutsy performance by Curry, coming off a layoff, with not one but two gimpy ankles.  Curry is just one of those players who finds a way to win. A basketball savant.

Andris Biedrins: There’s going to be a lot of gushing over Beans’ 20 rebound performance in this game.  But it won’t come from me.  Andris Biedrins should destroy the 6-9″, slow as molasses, and glued to the floor Al Jefferson and his munchkin counterpart, the 6-6″ Paul Milsap, every single time he meets them. He should pwn them. He should snack on them, with fava beans and a fine Chianti.

And he did.  He did his job. It was nice to see, after two long years of not seeing it.

He is still terrified of going to the free throw line.  He is still fading away on his hooks, and releasing them out of his effective range, in order to avoid contact. It would be nice to see this cowardice end as well.

He did make a fine spin move and right-handed and-one finish at 3:25 of the 3rd that brought back memories of the old Biedrins. But that was his only free throw of the night.

David Lee: Lee effectively neutralized Paul Milsap, who was averaging 21 and 11 coming into this game.

If he had the support of his coach, though, he would have destroyed Milsap. Keith Smart either does not know how, or is completely refusing to get Lee the ball in position to score.  The Warriors did not run pick and roll with Lee until late in the fourth quarter.  Curry started it at 7:40, with a fantastic left-hand behind the back pass for a slam.  They ran it again at 3:05, which resulted in free throws.  And then finally, at the key moment of the game, Lee set a pick for Monta at the free throw line, the Jazz adjusted by going under to defend the roll, and Monta stepped back and nailed the clutch jumper.

Virtually every time the Warriors run pick and roll with Lee they get something good out of it.  And yet they never run it.  Even when their offense is completely falling apart, as it was for most of this game, they never run it.  Why?

Keith Smart is obsessed with getting Andris Biedrins early touches and early looks.  But he never gets those early looks for his truly gifted offensive big man. Why?  Keith Smart has got this ass-backwards, and it is completely perplexing. Does it have something to do with his extraordinarily close relationship to Biedrins?  If so, it’s getting in the way of him coaching to win.

Because the number one reason why David Lee is struggling so badly on offense right now is Keith Smart.

Dorell Wright: Wright had a nightmare matchup in this game, going against the freakishly long if somewhat slowed Andrei Kirilenko.  And yet Keith Smart’s motion offense kept finding him at the end of the shot clock in isolation against Kirilenko.

Wright’s 3-13 performance cannot be laid entirely at his feet.  Like David Lee, he was not put in positions to succeed in this game.

The Bench: Were you perplexed to see both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry on the bench to start the fourth quarter?  So was I.  That should never happen.

Gadzuric was the only star off the bench in this game. In his prime, when he was healthy, DG was a highly energetic and highly effective backup center. Could the Warriors be lucky enough to keep him healthy all year?

Vlad Rad came in and immediately blasted off two enormous brain-farts.  A silly lazy pass directly to a Jazz player.  And then he gave away a rebound right after snagging it, which is a specialty of his.  I was happy that Smart yanked him. Is there a cure for Vlad’s brain disease?

Reggie Williams didn’t get much run in this game, and didn’t get many shots while he did. He was the only Warrior in this game to hit his first jump shot.  And then he was never given another.  Why?

Keith Smart: You could tell I was building to this point, couldn’t you? In a season in which I have been like clockwork alternately pleased and disappointed by Keith Smart, this was my turn to be disappointed.

I simply don’t believe that Don Nelson would have let this slow, soft in the middle Utah Jazz team take the Warriors out of everything they wanted to run, the way Keith Smart did.  Nellie would not have wasted time and possessions on a motion offense stuck in wet sand.  He would have attacked the Utah Jazz where it hurt, over and over and over until their ears bled. David Lee against the smaller Paul Milsap in the pick and roll.  Monta Ellis isolated against anybody. Reggie Williams given the green light.

I think it’s highly likely that Nellie could have unstuck one or more of the struggling Warriors players, and blown this inferior Jazz team out.

But there was one thing that Keith Smart did in this game that pleased me enormously. It was when he removed Andris Biedrins from the game a scant minute into the third quarter, in order to take care of business. And at 10:25, on the Warriors first possession after his insertion, Dan Gadzuric took care of business.  He ran to the free throw line and intentionally flattened Raja Bell. Oh yes he did. And then Andris Biedrins came back in.

Thank you, Keith Smart.

The Pundits: The pundits told us that David Lee and Andris Biedrins would cannibalize each other’s rebounds.  Remember that?  Well they picked up a measly 35 in this game.  And the Warriors have now won the rebounding battle in 4 out of their first 5 games.

The pundits told us that David Lee would not help the Warriors defense. Remember that?  The Utah Jazz were averaging 107 ppg coming into this game. They scored 120 ppg in their last two games, including against the defensively voracious Thunder on the Thunder’s own court.  The Warriors held them to 78 points.

Did David Lee have anything to do with that?

Monta Ellis was asked after the game if Keith Smart was emphasizing defense more this season.  Monta responded: “We have been focused on defense for the past few years. It’s just that we have more guys that feed into it and guys that are willing to play defense.”

I will lay you 1,000 to 1 on a dollar that that quote doesn’t show up in Adam Lauridsen’s recap.

The Warriors Bet: The Warriors covered this spread, and did so in a fashion that convinced me it wasn’t luck: this spread was dead wrong, and the Warriors are very seriously undervalued.  The Warriors are now 4-1 ATS on the year, and 1-0 for The Warriors Bet, which is about to take its show on the road.

34 Responses to Changing of the Guard: Jazz 78 Warriors 85

  1. Great catch on the Biedrins being subbed out in the 3rd qtr for Gadz sending a message to Raja Bell. I’m not recording these games, so I can’t go back and see what happened.

  2. More evidence that David Lee will not help the Warriors’ defense:

    “Now I can go help and I know somebody will help me, too,” said Andris Biedrins, who had 20 rebounds. “That was the main thing. I was getting mad all the time because I always went to help and I was disappointed that a lot of times guys didn’t help me out. But David (Lee) is always behind me and he keeps talking, saying ‘don’t worry about your man, I got you.’”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/11/05/10/Steinmetz-Is-Something-Screwy-in-Warrior/landing_steinmetz_v3.html?blockID=347118&feedID=5986

  3. Biedrens and D. Lee outstanding performance on the offensive boards, they each had seven, and on the defensive end as well does not hide the fact that neither shot particularly well on open shots and they failed to effectively defend shots taken both Jefferson and Milsap.

    Both Jefferson and Milsap shut down Biedrens and D. Lee when they took shots. What they didn’t do was keep both Biedrens and D. Lee off the Warriors offensive boards where they garnered 11 more possessions for the Warriors and scored repeatedly on put-backs of missed shots mostly by Ellis driving to the basket.

    Both Jefferson and Milsap scored effectively against both Biedrens and D.Lee. The Warriors interior defense is still virtually non-existent. Neither Biedrens nor D. Lee seemed to be pushing their opponents off the block, although they were aggressive going after rebounds on both ends.

    We should be on the look-out as to whether D.Wright has a limited game. He has shown no propensity to drive effectively to the basket. His 2 points shots varied from being short, long, or to the side. His main strength appears to be shooting 3′s on wide open looks and he should probably limit his game to taking such shots. His defense is good. His passing in half-court sets is marginal at best.

    The Warriors best offense was attacking the basket and either making the shot, going to the foul-line, or D.Lee and Biedrens garnering the offensive rebound on the missed shot and putting the ball in the basket. That’s where a good number of their scores came from. Why they waited to the second half to attack the basket is puzzling.

    I agree that Smart has to develop plays for D. Lee. R. Williams has to be better integrated into the offense. Carney should not be taking more shots they Williams.

    The offense was completely helter-skelter and our turnovers seem to be rising from game to game rather then diminishing.

    By tbe Warriors obtaining 17 more possession then the opponent through offensive rebounds and committing less turnovers resuled in the Wariors win even though the Warriors shot a lower FG% (39.5% to 37.6%).

  4. Good post, Frank.

    This is not the same Utah team we saw last year. Yes defense was good in spots, but I suspect the larger problem was Utah offense. We got lucky. But I’ll take it.

    Defense will only get this team so far. They gotta score.

  5. We are lucky that Okur didn’t play, and the Boozer and Korver are gone.

  6. Feltbot –

    I don’t know enough about the game. Does the team have to establish an outside shooting presence to open up the defense and allow the pick and roll? I.e., if we’re not shooting well, can the defense contract in the paint and make it hard?

    What I’m thinking is that this team will need the shooting from the guards and Wright and Williams to have any kind of chance against the better teams.

  7. GovernorStephCurry

    I don’t think Coach Smart’s doing a great job but why is your blog so dedicated to talking about a coach who was very good, but never won a championship? He didn’t do a good job the last 2 years and that’s pretty obvious this season. Why is the blog still focused on Don Nelson? He’s a friggin retired coach.

  8. basketball for dummies

    Finally after your hollow ‘Mission Statement’ at the inception of your blog when you stated you’d be critical of Mr Don Nelson if you saw something wrong, it’s finally happened even if it was inadvertant!!!

    AB’s comment on being afraid no one would have he’s back on D if he went to help, could & should be interpreted as a direct slam at Nellie for always playing him with 4 smurfs, NEVER giving AB any defensive support!!!

    Job felty or whatever your current handles are these days.

  9. basketball for dummies

    BTW while your on your Smart is only as good as what Nellie taught him. Did you ever address this Smart comment about one of Nellie’s primary coaching methods??

    “…And because Nelson routinely, as one of his trusted coaching tools, used it to isolate or humiliate a player. And because Smart vows the doghouse will not be in his coaching toolbox.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_16519177

    (R U ready to have your “bfd handle” back yet?)

  10. Rgg, against the starting unit, defenses can’t collapse against the pick and roll without leaving DWright or Ellis/Curry open. I don’t think you can continually give those players practice three-pointers. Eventually they will make you pay. The other option is double covering Lee with Biedrins man. But Lee is too good a passer for that.

    GSC, this is a roster designed by Nellie. Everyone, not just myself, is actively engaged in comparing what Smart is doing with it to what Nellie would be doing. But somehow, I don’t think you’re running around telling bloggers who are blasting Nellie to stop focusing on him.

    BFD, I remember there was some dispute about the handle, so as you’ve just identified yourself as the impostor, if the real BFD shows up I’ll have to see about banning you. Why not just create your own handle? Beyond your gifts? As to what I think are your basketball points, I believe Don Nelson engineered the David Lee trade. Before the Warriors got Lee, who did they have to play behind Biedrins, and how often was Biedrins even on the court? Your other point was addressed in the previous thread.

  11. The Warriors are FAVORED by -1 in Detroit tonight. The Pistons have been solid home favorites against the Warriors in the last three years, and have covered three straight times. I’m not sure whether this change in the line reflects the new positive state of the Warriors so much as it does the absolutely dreadful state of the Pistons, who have terrible dysfunction to go along with their terrible roster.

    Curiously though, the Pistons are 4-2 against the spread this year. So 4-1 meets 4-2.

    Regardless, the Warriors bet is on. I think the Warriors should blow this Pistons team out on their home floor.

  12. FB –

    This was my point, I think, that Curry/Ellis/Wright have to score outside to make the system work. Curry especially hasn’t taken many outside shots the first halves of the games so far, which I assume is the plan?

    bfd –

    FB comes to praise Nelson, not to bury him.

  13. basketball for dummies

    Sorry rgg, the digs at Smart & the taunts he’s dropping at Adam’s got in the way of my vision!

    Felt, of curse you believe “Nellie engineered the Lee trade”, you’re having a full blown panic attack over what Smart/Riley are accomplishing.

    RE the doghouse Nellie “..used to isolate & humilate players” link, sorry I didn’t read where you already covered it. However I saw where as Nelliesbiggestfan the topic about “How bad teams stay bad” was covered ad nauseum on a couple threads & then as feltbot you’re now taunting Adam’s site again… the exact same way!! Same exact M O…hmmmm!

  14. bfd, The difference in MO is that I hold myself accountable for my opinions and address issues raised by posters, while Kawakami and Lauridsen do not. So long as they won’t, I will do it for them.

    rgg, Smart obviously doesn’t want Curry creating for himself early in the shot clock, particularly in the first half. He seems to want Curry’s shots to come off the ball, as the result of the motion offense. I think that by taking the initiative away from one of the best players in the NBA, he is making the offense far less efficient.

  15. CURSE OF MULLIN

    feltbot: I will continue to consider your individual comments about Smart’s coaching of this offense, but at this early point I think your overall criticism of the offense is unfounded. I do think we’ll see more P&R between Curry and Lee as Curry heals and they get used to each other. Moreover, it’s a bit like complaining of the way Cindy Crawford walks. My eyes don’t care how she walks. And you know what’s beautiful? Winning basketball. Playing defense and rebounding is playing winning basketball. The difference between “now” and “then” is stark in so many ways, thus far. I know it may be difficult to swallow but Nellie, although he had areas of brilliance, was a flawed coach.

    Also, I have seen no evidence that Nellie was behind the Lee trade. Riley’s comments before and after the draft that he had to plan for BBall after Nellie, get more rebounding, etc., indicate to me the opposite. Please provide evidence if you think Nellie was behind that trade. And, if you think Nellie was behind the July Lee trade then you must think he was behind the earlier Udoh draft pick? I find that even harder to believe.

  16. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Let me put it this way, felt, I would be as surprised if Nellie picked Udoh as if you and nbf are the same poster. How’s that? I think Nellie would have taken Monroe.

  17. COM:
    1) Riley was Nellie’s boy, as everyone knows, and as every Nellie hater in the universe wrote and posted, right up until the very moment that Nellie was fired, and they started writing and posting the opposite to fit their agenda.
    2) At the time Lee was traded for, Nellie was still the coach, and both Riley and Nellie believed Nellie would remain the coach, as evidenced by Nellie’s presence at summer league, where he and Riley huddled together in the stands plotting roster moves EVERY SINGLE DAY. Which I witnessed with my own two eyes.
    3) By Riley’s own admission on Ralph and Tom’s show, he had been working on getting Lee for a full year before the trade went down. In other words, starting around the same time the Warriors were working the Amare Stoudemire deal that fell through when Curry was drafted. Who was behind those deals? Who was behind the Curry draft? Who was behind nixing Curry for Stoudemire? I know it was Don Nelson. And every Nellie hater in the universe knew it was Don Nelson, and said so at the time. You can’t have it both ways.
    4) David Lee, like Amare Stoudemire, is a quintessential Nellie big man.

    If you need more evidence than that, your mind is simply clouded by hate and propaganda.

    As for Udoh, as I already responded once to you, it is obvious that Nelson greatly preferred the smaller Udoh to the bigger Monroe. Why is that so hard to believe, if you’re in the camp that says Nellie didn’t want to make the Warriors bigger? Again, your blind hatred has interfered with your intellectual rigor. Ekpe Udoh has ALL of the traits that Don Nelson wants in a big man, while Greg Monroe has NONE. Which if you’ll read the piece I wrote about Udoh, should be obvious:

    http://feltbot.com/2010/06/24/did-don-nelson-get-the-player-he-wanted/

  18. And one more thing. Do you seriously believe the Warriors wouldn’t be playing big under Don Nelson this season, with this roster? If you do, there is simply no hope for you. Nellie played big in Milwaukee, he was about to play big with RunTMC when Webber blew the team up, and he played big in Dallas all game, every game.

    The only time Nellie didn’t play big was when his bigs weren’t worth playing. When playing them guaranteed a loss. Which was the case for most of his last GS tenure. Again, people who can’t see this are more interested in strong emotions than in thinking clearly.

    If you don’t think Don Nelson could take this roster to the playoffs, you’re nuts.

  19. Felt,

    I feel like you’re looking at the game just the same as Don Nelson would. I don’t say this as a bad thing, but I think with Smart being more of a defensive guy than Don, it reflects in the types of adjustjments and substitutions he makes during the game. I understand that you felt Nellie could have gotten this team off offensively, but I think Smart looks at it the other way around, that he team is playing very well defensively, and that as long as that defensive efforts is maintained, they will find points. With the Jazz averaging over 100 points a game in this short season, I couldn’t see a game being coached like this from Nellie. I like this difference in philosophy and don’t think of it as a detriment to the team. Nelson was a great coach, but I don’t believe the day to day emphasis on defense was preached to the team as it is currently, and during games, Nelson did not hold all players to the same accountability on the defensive end. This makes a significant difference.

  20. You make an excellent point, JL, one that I am keeping in the back of my mind but haven’t voiced. If Smart is adjusting the balance between defense and offense to MAXIMIZE the Warriors overall efficiency, that would be a good thing, and I will strive to recognize it, even if it is a departure from Nelson’s game principles.

    Here is a point that you should keep in mind: when defensive stats are created at the expense of offense, nothing is improved except the coach’s defensive credentials. What matters is not that the Warriors held Utah to 78 points. What matters is the POINT DIFFERENTIAL, which in this case was 7 points, but a lot closer than that down the stretch. I happen to think Nellie could have blown this Jazz team out.

    I think that Smart can do a lot to free up this offense, without hurting the defense a bit. I also think that he should never put Charlie Bell on the court in favor of Reggie Williams, which he has been doing. Which does improve the Warriors defense, but at a huge cost in offense. And I think that this Warriors team is better served by playing up-tempo, even if that does hurt the defense a bit, because this team is DESIGNED for uptempo, and can literally run teams off the floor if Smart takes off the reins. In short, I don’t think Smart is optimizing the team’s capability to create point differential in the way that Nellie would. Not yet. But let’s see what happens.

  21. There were all kinds of problems tonight — TO’s, poor shooting — but the Warriors came out with a good run 3rd. quarter and seemed to be hitting their stride. Then Curry picked up two really light and questionable fouls and Detroit got a couple more in a few minutes. These took the Warriors out of their rhythm, put Curry on the bench, and kept Ellis on the floor longer than they wanted, this on the first of 5 road games in 7 days.

    I’m not screaming conspiracy, but if I were head coach, I would have been thrown out.

  22. It has always been a truism that Nelson loves playing small, and would do it to the detriment of defense and the team.

    Can we not consider the hypothesis that Nelson would play the players whom he thought would give the best advantage, even it is against common wisdom?

    JL, although I respect your post, I think that it is based this common wisdom, and disregards the alternative (and in my view more realistic) — there was just too many injuries, and too little talent in the 4/5 positions last year to make playing big a realistic alternative.
    Chris Hunter? Not even in the NBA this year.
    Biedrins? Hobbled by injury last year. Is really a totally different player now, which I celebrate, but attribute to health rather than coach.
    Randolph? Barely getting 10min a game now on the Knicks, and not really doing too well in those minutes.
    All the other big options were injured most of the year — which is why someone like Mikki Moore would get playing time.
    Coaches try and get the most of what they are given. Nelson just took that to the logical extreme, was slammed for it, and is still being slammed for it.

  23. I have a lot I’d like to say about this game, but I’m going to give myself a break on back to backs and only recap after the second game. So here’s my minimalist impression:

    Jim Barnett said postgame: “I think the Warriors are a better team than the Pistons.” I couldn’t agree more.

    At 3:17 of the 3rd Quarter, David Lee received a simple isolation in the pinch post against Ben Wallace. He faced up, then drove around him for a layup. And then that was the end of that. David Lee got 11 shots in this game, at least 5 of which were on tip-ins or fastbreaks. Lee averaged 20 ppg shooting 55% for Mike D’Antoni last year. For Keith Smart, Lee is averaging 12 ppg, shooting 39%.

    At 1:20 of the 4th Q, Curry ran a high pick and roll with Lee for a wide-open layup. Jim Barnett said: “We haven’t seen a lot of pick and roll between those two.” You think?

    This Pistons team is terrible defensively, with absolutely nothing in the middle. Which means that Monta Ellis, one of the few actual superstars in the league, could have gone for 40 off of simple isolations and high pick and rolls. Instead he was asked to play off the ball in motion offense.

    Stephen Curry was clearly hobbled in this game, but was used to run around setting backscreens all night long in a motion offense that resulted in nothing but long bricks and turnovers. It is my belief that you don’t need to run a Jerry Sloan offense when you have three of the most gifted scorers in the league on your team. Give ‘em the damn ball, set a high pick and get out of the way.

  24. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Feltbot: You act as if the Warriors under Nelson never had a night on the road where they took too many 3′s and missed them. Give me a break. Nellie’s offense was full of those nights. Nellie’s offense ground to a slow trickle many a night on the road. Remember StackJack chucking from 3? Maggette’s one-man bowling game?

    Ellis attacked the basket quite a bit tonight. And against the Jazz, too. It wasn’t enough. Perhaps we could have gone to him some more but the guy can’t drive the key every time you come down the court. I agree with you re the Lee isolation outside on Wallace and the P&R with Curry. I also agree with you re CBell; not sure what Smart thinks he’s bringing to the table.

    And if Riley did whatever Nellie told him last season, which may well be true, why did Nellie end up with the players he did? Nellie loved Maggette. You think DWright would be here if Nellie were here? We’d be watching No D Maggette, the Great Black Hole. DWright is a serious upgrade at the 3.

    Monroe is going to be a very good passing and pretty good scoring big man. And he’s averaging over 7 rebounds a game in less than 20 minutes as a rookie. I think he’s going to be a pretty good player, and I suspect Nellie would have been interested in him long term over Biedrins, whom Nellie seems to have soured on because of his offensive limitations. I can’t speak much about Udoh because I haven’t seen him play beyond some snippets. Those snippets didn’t reveal an offensive player. They showed a defensive player and rebounder. If that is what Udoh brings to the table, I can’t see how he’d be high on Nellie’s list. However, just my speculation, granted. Just yours, too. We may never know.

  25. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Oh, and why would I think Nellie would play big players if they were available to him? I’m supposed to rely on his Milwaukee days nearly 30 years ago to support that hypothesis? That was before Nellie fell in love with Doug Moe’s Small Ball. It’s a hypothesis, because other than the Milwaukee days, Nellie’s never played big. One year with Webber before that experiment exploded. I think I’ll have to put a little more emphasis on what Nellie’s done the past 25 or so years than what he did the first few years of his coaching career.

  26. Feltbot smart. Keith not so.

    A couple posts ago, predictions were made, standards for success were set, and the difference between the two were discussed. I have no predictions. I’m not feeling good about the way the offense is being run. I think it would be boring if not for this being such a dynamic roster. But I will continue to hope that the more optimistic forecasts posted here come true.

    My standard for success (assuming decent health) for this team, their 1st year coach, and their new boss: 42 wins. I think it’s obvious to most that – again, given decent health – their most recent prior coach (he who shall not be named) would have had a winning season. Playoffs? Who knows?

    But if this squad doesn’t win more than they lose this year, something is very wrong.

  27. I agree with the fact that the offense is not up to par so far. I think it’s due to the fact that the team is now focusing on establishing a defensive identity. I do see the offense improving as they play more with each other. Coach will realize the mistakes and adjust. But the fact that the warriors can still be close in a game, without having any offense to speak of is in stark contrast to what we have seen before from this club. That, if nothing else, is a step in the right direction. With guys like Monta and Curry, we can definitely sneak away with wins, just being close at the end and playing t0ugh defense.

  28. Actually, as I remember, Curry and Ellis took shots first quarter but didn’t hit, which means, I understand, they drive or look to other players. Slightly better shooting, a few fewer horrible turnovers, maybe at least a mediocre homecoming performance by Bell (or maybe just one fewer bad foul call on Curry?) and they win on the road.

    Or a backup point the caliber of CJ last night would have made all the difference in the world.

    This team strikes me as being very conscious of being a team, down to the last man on the bench. I assume this is the plan and don’t know it’s a bad idea for the long haul. But it also means–temporarily, let’s hope–that there will be times they’re standing around looking at each other. And give props to Vlad, for a change, as well as the rest of the bench (sans Bell).

    Smart also seems very conscious of managing the whole game, down to the last minute, even if it means slow starts. They’ve had very good third quarters, as opposed to last year when they often collapsed.

    Several games ago, Ellis was wearing tape because of a hand problem — anybody know what’s going on here? I haven’t heard.

  29. Warriors +1 at Toronto tonight.

  30. Ellis out for Wed. X-rays tomorrow. And he’s still wearing something on his hand, which I assume has affected his shooting.

    One of the things I hoped for this season was that Ellis wouldn’t have to resort to heroics (and flying contortions). Hold your breath.

  31. Also, a blowout would have been nice. . . .

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  33. If you win on the road more than you lose at home, you are decent.
    As of now…we are decent!

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