5 straight losses? Are you getting the feeling that the Warriors would never win another game all season if David Lee remained out? I’m going to do my best not to repeat what I’ve been posting recently about Coach Keith Smart, but it’s not going to be easy. The simple truth is that with Lee out, Keith Smart is getting exposed. He is getting out-coached something fierce. He is giving every impression of a man so out of his depth that he is trying to out-smart himself.
Instead of risking stupefaction among my readers by letting myself go into another full-lunged squawl, how about I just lightly run down my bullet points? Like a funeral dirge for one finger….
Smart, in D minor:
- I’m sure that Smart has a very sophisticated reason on the tip of his tongue for starting Dan Gadzuric alongside Andris Biedrins, but whatever it is, it can’t be right. By the time he got EGadz out of the game the Warriors were down 17-8.
- If Smart really believes this lineup is capable of “getting off to a fast start… getting out to a 10 point lead,” then it’s past time someone checked under his hood.
- At the start of the game, Monta Ellis was being guarded by rookie Xavier Henry, who — as Jim Barnett hilariously noted — has size 16 feet. Xavier Henry cannot guard Monta Ellis. Don Nelson would have poured brandy over Xavier Henry’s head, and set him aflame with the tip of his cigar. But the score was 11-2 Memphis before Keith Smart got Monta Ellis his first shot.
- In the first half, the Warriors were -8 in points off turnovers. That is a stat that Don Nelson never, ever lost, for reasons that have already been discussed.
- The difference between Reggie Williams and OJ Mayo in this game? Lionel Hollins called Mayo’s number.
- Smart began the third quarter with Yo Adrien instead of EGadz, and ran the first play for Monta Ellis. Too late.
- Once again, Smart rested Stephen Curry, who was on fire in this game, for 11 straight minutes in the second half because he had 4 fouls. Insane. Wrong.
- Once again, Smart had both Curry and Ellis on the bench at the same time in the fourth quarter. For over 5 minutes! Ellis joined Curry on the bench to start the fourth, and Smart didn’t get them back in the game until the 6:48 mark with the Warriors down 8. Insane. Wrong.
- Even Matt Steinmetz called Smart out for this post-game. There is no reason for both Curry and Ellis to be out of the game at the same time. On a team that has Jeremy Lin standing in for a real NBA bench player, that should never happen.
- Was Smart coaching the schedule in his management of Curry and Ellis’ minutes? The Warriors play back-to-back in Minnesota tomorrow night, a gettable game that Smart desperately needs. I don’t think you manage minutes when you’re in a winnable game. I know Nellie wouldn’t do it. You go all out to win this game, and let tomorrow take care of itself.
- After bringing Curry back in the fourth, Smart almost immediately yanked him back out when he fumbled a pass from Ellis out of bounds. And this is where I think Smart may wind up in trouble with his players. He called it “a teaching moment,” in his post game interview. A teaching moment that lasted until the 2:00 mark, apparently, which is when he brought Curry back in. Is crunch time in a closely contested game the right moment for a teaching moment? Is this how you treat an all-star caliber player, the leader of your team? Is this how you treat your team, that has fought and clawed its way back into the game?
- During this teaching moment, a very ugly thought occurred to me. A thought so terrible, that I’m almost ashamed… Hell, no I’m not: Did Keith Smart subconsciously need a scapegoat for this loss?
Andris Biedrins: Whether it was a coaching adjustment that had the guards looking for him, or Beans just got more aggressive in making himself available under the hoop, this was an amazing offensive performance. Where has it been?
If he continues to play like this when Lee returns, Keith Smart may start looking like a coach again.
Vlad Rad: Yes, Vlad let off two gigantic brainfarts. Passing up a layup for a no-look behind the back pass to the Memphis bench was priceless. One for the Vladdy highlight reel. But the truth is, with the exception of those 2 TO’s, Vlad played an extraordinary game in his 9 minutes. He really did. Exceptional defense, man-t0-man on Randolph, and on rotations. 2 blocked shots. Good rebounding (the ref stole one from him). Excellent floor spacing. Two great passes for layups. And he hit his shots.
Despite his hair-destroying eccentricities, Vlad should have gotten every minute that EGadz has gotten at PF. And perhaps more.
Yo Adrien: My god it can be fun to watch a real man play power forward. He was moving Zach Randolph! And he hit that 20-footer like it was nothing. Can he really do that?
What will the Warriors do with BWright and Adrien when everyone returns? The plot thickens. Particularly in the chest area.
Reggie Williams: There is a use for sixth men in the NBA. There really is.
Dorell Wright: Not a stopper.
EGadz: It’s not his fault.
Jeremy Lin: Sorry, not ready for the NBA. He’s just not. Among other things, he’s afraid to take his shot. Which Memphis knew, which is why they blocked every one of his layups. And now every other NBA team will know it too.