Road Kill: Warriors 93 Atlanta 103 + Vacation Open Thread

A lot of things annoyed me about how Keith Smart went about business in this Warriors loss to the Hawks. And I’m annoyed in general at how he goes about business against the “better” teams of the league. I do not accept the notion that this was a game the Warriors couldn’t win.

But I’m going to save my breath, because with so many excuses currently available to the Warriors, I don’t think anyone would listen.  Monta Ellis is hobbled by what we hope is a sprained ankle. Stephen Curry is hobbled by two bad ankles, poor conditioning, the flu, and a head coach that… no, strike that last bit. Andris Biedrins and both DGadz and EGadz were unavailable against the big Hawks front line. The Warriors are kicking off an East coast road trip, suffering from the time difference, and came out flatter than road kill.

Too many excuses. Nothing I want to say would carry any weight. So I’ll hoard it, like a guerrilla fighter hoards bullets.

Like the Warriors, I’m hitting the road on a two week vacation. Looking at the schedule, it looks like the next game I’m going to be able to watch will be the Lakers game on Jan. 12th (Seriously? That’s the game I come back to?).

I will have time on the road to read the box scores and participate in the discussion, though. I will be leaving this post up as an Open Thread for the next two weeks, and checking in on the comments. Hopefully, some of you can do a little recapping for me, and we can keep the discussion going.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Thanks for reading, and thanks for the all the encouraging words. I truly appreciate them.

And shout out to Dorell Wright after a second straight huge performance. He’s added some midrange game, some fast break running, some clever drives, and a whole lot of rebounding to his game. Could it be that he will become a whole lot more than just a role player?

86 Responses to Road Kill: Warriors 93 Atlanta 103 + Vacation Open Thread

  1. Marcus Thompson post-game:

    I disagree with both MT and Smart on how to beat the Hawks. But with Curry as sick as he was, it doesn’t matter.

  2. Here felt, try this on for size (repost from my earlier post on Fast Break; and I don’t care about Curry’s cold–go for the win in a winnable first game of a back-to-back.):

    Even though Nellie drove me crazy with his small ball all the time, I always felt that Nellie was very smart, came into every game with a plan that could win the game (granted, too often within his small ball prism for my liking), and was able to control the flow of the game somewhat with his substitutions. Even playing Magette, who I hated as a ballplayer, created problems for the the opposing coach to adjust to. I don’t “feel the plan” with Smart. I don’t see the creativity. I see him sit players too long–sometimes because of foul trouble; sometimes because (eg, Curry) they are recovering from injury. Curry sat for the first 9 minutes of the second quarter and a bunch of time in the third and fourth quarters tonight. When he was out, the offense stagnated. When he came back, he was cold. Both times. If you sit for 9 minutes in a game, there’s a good chance your shot will be cold when you finally get back in. It was.

    Sometimes–as with Carney the other night–I just can’t figure out why he doesn’t bring them back in. After the first half he had the other night, Nellie would have brought him in in the second half. Hell, with Wright on fire, Nellie would have brought Carney in at PF the second half to get another hot player in the game. And since it would have been small ball with a discrete purpose (rather than a general plan), I would have been fine with it.

    I also often feel that Smart doesn’t initiate problems for the opposing coach–rather, I often see Smart reacting to what the other coach does. Generally, we go big or small to match the other team. We rarely initiate the mismatches on our own. Until recently, we didn’t even run to take advantage of our guards’ speed. Talk about not taking advantage of a mismatch! We don’t put enough pressure on the ball on the perimeter. In tight games, other teams often deny Curry the ball to take us out of our offense comfort zone–I rarely see us do that to other teams.

    Of course, our entire defense, well, that still stinks just like last year; that’s a whole ‘nother post I’m afraid.

    Tonight I felt like Smart was conceding the game to a team he thought we couldn’t beat on the road. Conserve Curry, don’t push Monta (even with the 45 minutes, he didn’t really push it much) or Lee too much–go for the more winnable game tomorrow against Charlotte. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that Smart conceded a game against a better team. And the team plays as though it picks up on Smart’s ambivalence in these games. I thought we could have won that game tonight. There was no good reason to sit Curry for those long stretches. There was no good reason for the team to play that flat.

  3. Nice post OT. I totally agree with your general premise that Smart lacks strategic vision, and allows opposing coaches to dictate matchups and style of play to him.

  4. Phew… Glad to see I didnt lose my blog in the internets. For those who searched and couldn’t find it, sorry for the drama. I transferred the domain to Dreamhost preparing to self-host the site, and forgot to point the servers in the right direction… Genius!

  5. Smart did not set the tempo by having the Warriors play up-tempo both offensively and defensively. He played not to lose basketball. And letting Amundson start, play many minutes, and bringing back in the fourth quarter, when he was being abused by Atlanta, relegated the Warriors to a guaranteed loss.

  6. Nice win! Sure wish I caught it. Love the box though. Love that VR started and LA came off the bench. Best role for both of them. Looks like monta did a heck of a job on Jack. And great that Curry found his game.

  7. WheresMyChippy

    Vlad Rad starting was a revelation, maybe Smart really has turned a corner. We started the game on a 13 – 2 run I believe.

    This shouldn’t have been so close. The refs really tried as hard as they could to give it to the Bobcats throughout the 4th. Jim and Bob were flabbergasted.

  8. WheresMyChippy

    And Monta did a good job but Jack mostly did it to himself. A lot of dumb shots including a potential game-winner that should not have been taken (an early, contested 3)

  9. Feltbot, glad to see you’re back. I was worried…

    Q and A with Monta

    Five questions with Warriors guard Monta Ellis:

    Q: I’ve heard a lot about the “new Monta” and how different you were when you reported for camp in September. What kinds of specific changes did you make?

    A: I’m a totally different person. I just tried to come back with a better attitude and a positive attitude and give off positive energy for guys to want to play with me and play for this organization. And so far it’s been great. We’ve bonded as a team. We do everything as a team. We do everything that a team should do. We’ve just got to get everybody back [healthy] on the court and try to make a push.

    Q: What do you think the chances are that we see you or Kevin Love in the All-Star Game? Do you think you guys will get any consideration when the teams you play for have losing records?

    A: If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I know how it works. I’ve been in this situation for the last few years. I’m pretty much thinking about helping this team. To me, making the All-Star Game, that’s just an individual goal that I never really looked at. If I did make the All-Star team, it would be great for me and my organization and my team, but I’d rather make the playoffs.

    Q: I’m sure by now you’re used to hearing people say that your numbers were inflated by playing in Don Nelson’s system. So what do you say in response now that your numbers have gone up without Nellie?

    A: I gotta give a lot of credit to Don Nelson. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t even be known at all in the NBA, because he gave me an opportunity to show my talent and let me do me.

    [But] playing for Keith Smart is just like playing in the Nellie system. It’s just a younger Nellie [coaching]. He’s just got more energy. Nothing’s really changed. The system is still the same.

    I would say numbers-wise it’s the best that I’m playing. But I have a lot of guys around me who are willing to work and can actually make plays, so it really makes my job much easier than last year. I don’t have to force too many shots. I don’t have to try to make plays for everybody. We’ve got guys that make plays for me also.

    Q: The stuff about you and Steph Curry being too small to play in the same backcourt together … has all that been buried?

    A: Me and Steph talked about that this summer, and we’ve let that go. We’re moving on, we’re growing together and we’re not worrying about what people think about what I said [almost] two years ago. He don’t worry about it, and I don’t worry about it.

    I think it’s going great [alongside Curry]. It started [at] the end of last season. It’s not like it just started this season. We just said we’re gonna go out full blast with it.

    Q: You’re hugely popular with Warriors fans, but your name has also been in a lot of trade rumors. So how do you see your future in Golden State? Do you go to management and ask them what their plans are for you?

    A: I don’t want to leave. That’s my second home. That’s where I grew up at. I call Golden State my second home. I’ve been here for six years. Got a lot of great memories, got a lot of miserable memories, but I’ve got more great than bad.

    I’m comfortable where I’m at and I want to stay there. I’m not worried about if they’re gonna trade me or not . I’m going to let them handle that upstairs and I’m just going continue to play basketball otherwise.

  10. Great post Tiger. His comments on Nellie and system very interesting…

  11. “What if LBJ had been a Warrior?”……..Forget about LBJ’s stats, how about the Warriors as a TEAM? Would that have been something to watch, or what? Oh well, back to reality. :(

  12. Miami:

    It’s as if the basketball gods — and refs — decided basketball is not supposed to be a gorgeous game.

    I’m surprised they didn’t make some kind of offensive adjustment 2nd. half with Wright and Ellis shut down, specifically to Curry, who didn’t take many shots at all. And maybe playing Vlad more.

  13. Can’t wait to watch this game. Must have been an amazing first half.

  14. I was amazed how little defense the Heat played in the first half. It was like they knew they could turn it on if they needed to–and did in the second half. The first half was amazing, the best half of the season, but I thought it was due more to the Heat being uninvolved than anything the Warriors did differently. But it was fun for a while.

  15. Whatever the mindset and determination of the Heat first half, Smart found the best way to make best use of the players and talent he has and exploit a team that can give up points. Imagine if they had started out with a more conventional offense. They had to win this one on offense. I still wonder if there weren’t some offensive adjustment that could have been made second half. Any run of points would have made a difference.

  16. rgg: The Heat extended their defenders aggressively almost to the three-point line in the second half. Two ways to beat that: 1) have you guards drive by them to the hoop, or 2) pass the ball to the low post and take advantage of the one-on-one coverage. Problem was, Monta tried to drive and didn’t get the calls, and we don’t have a low post scorer. This is why we need a low post scorer. You can’t just live off of great 3 point shooting against a top team. The Lakers and Spurs did the same thing against us. Smart should have used Udoh more for his low post scoring in the second half. By going with small ball after the Heat extended their defense, Smart played into the Heat’s hands.

  17. I’ll have to watch the game to see what happened, but I’m curious to know why they couldn’t get the ball to Lee on the move in the middle.

  18. WheresMyChippy

    This is getting ridiculous. You’d think Monta might get a little recognition after being named player of the week but no. Ilgauskas INTENTIONALLY fouled him on two consecutive plays and was not called for either. I don’t get it.

    I admire his ability to keep his composure, but you can see him becoming more and more frustrated over the past couple weeks. It’s mind-numbingly frustrating for me to watch I can’t imagine how he must feel.

  19. Lee, word is, is hobbled — ankles, knees.

    OT — yes. I just wondered why Curry didn’t take more shots.

  20. Lee was hurt. Landed hard on his tailbone and is questionable for tomorrow night’s game.

  21. This could get ugly. DLee is doubtful for tonight’s game in Orlando. But DGadz should play.

    Also, Jeremy Lin is being recalled. Seriously?

  22. Acie Law has a hand problem and is going to a specialist in NY.

    I think it took Lee landing flat on his back to get a foul call from the refs.

  23. the team looked pretty used up in the last half of the Mia game, and Orl is strongly motivated to build on its remade roster — a scheduled road loss, in other words. they should have slightly better chances vs. NO in a couple of days.

  24. geraldmcgrew

    Heat game 1st half was a joy to watch, 2nd half a predictable heartbreak. But, in retrospect, I’m quite comfortable blaming the refs for that one. As has been stated, Ws couldn’t buy a call. And it was the clear statistical difference in the game. Not usually big on excuses, but I think they earned it that game. I still think Nellie would have an actual STRATEGY to get to the line more. Might have been inevitable though – Chancellor Stern has a lot of ad revenue riding on Heat success.

    Hopefully calls won’t determine this Orlando game. It’s early yet.

  25. geraldmcgrew

    Seems to me I remember a time during the Run TMC days when Nellie would fine any player who went to the hoop without yelling out as if he’d been hit. Ah, memories!

  26. geraldmcgrew

    …guess I should be careful what I hope for.

  27. Deja Vu. It seems Smart starts the game with a good strategy but lacks the ability to make half time adjustments necessary put the hammer down. A day or two to prepare he’s fine, but thinking on his feet he’s too slow.

  28. Think you jumped and reached the wrong conclusion regarding B. Wright not being a good NBA basketball player. Time will tell. Watch Orlando game.

    Udoh is the center we so desperately have needed playing alongside B. Wright playing inside. The Warriors now have an interior defense. The Warriors should not be funneling opponents inside, not leaving players wide open at the three point lne.

  29. Have noticed several interesting things in the box scores that have me looking forward to watching the games. I saw BW’s line and will check it out…

  30. Rodney Carney waived today.

  31. Two great Nellieball teams duking it out on NBA TV: Knicks and… Spurs!

  32. Does the waiver of Rodney Carney mean that Smart will now have to play Reggie Williams? Or is it just making room for Vlad Rad at the 3, where he doesn’t belong?

  33. A lot of Warriors fans got their wish today: Tommy Abdenour is gone.

    Pushed out?

  34. Did they waive Carney to call Lin back? Lin was called up.

  35. Nice Hoopsworld article. So what position is Riley targeting? He seemed to single out Udoh so maybe he’s thinking an upgrade at center, and I would have to agree the greatest weekness in the starting 5 is Biedrins. Blatche seems to be available and might fit that need.

  36. WheresMyChippy

    Was very impressed with BW in the Orlando game. He seemed to be tired of sitting on the bench. Went after every rebound with ferocity, even snatching a few away from Dwight Howard on both ends.

    He was also aggressive on the offensive end, posting up and going to his moves quick as soon as he got the ball. All his shots were hookshots basically and the ones that missed were halfway down and out.

    I was entirely surprised.

  37. rgg — carney was waived mainly to avoid having to guarantee his contract for the whole season and to give the roster wiggle room for transactions. ten day contracts will soon become allowable and barring other deals they’ll be able to plug in d-leaguers at a position of need, with a possibility of ‘discovering’ a williams or tolliver.

  38. Carney was let go to allow for a 2 for 1 or a 3 for 2 trade per Riley in MT2’s recent article.

  39. Wow, great win with Biedrins not ready and Lee obviously hurting. I’m flying blind here, love to hear what happened.

    I do see one thing: Udoh +17, Vlad Rad +16. Nellieball?

  40. I don’t want to sound like a fan or anything, but Vlad Rad was a key part of that 4th. quarter comeback. (Could have done without his two fouls the last minute.) Boards, assists, points, all in those key minutes. Check the game flow on this one.

    I don’t understand Smart’s second quarter sub squads — no offense nowhere for Steph or Monta to go. I would have liked to have seen Vlad and Udoh those minutes.

  41. The game just looked lost in a familiar way, beginning of 4th. qtr.

    They played 4th. the same way they played the first halves against Miami and Orlando, which probably isn’t an accident. They moved the ball, ran well, executed well. And instead of watching Biedrins rack up fouls on Okafor, we got to watch Okafor rack up fouls on faster players (with a little help from the refs).

    Smart has to get credit here, for keeping the guys together and committed, for bringing along players who have delivered more than we expected.

  42. But the game must have been a fluke — we lost the rebound battle.

  43. DWright tweeting on Udoh postgame: “This Kid @The_Nightmare13 is goin to be REALLY good!! Kid got sum stuff wit him #pause. Good to see him on the court!! #future trust me!!”

    Marcus Thompson tweeting during game: “Ekpe showed me something. With 4 scorers around him, he got rock down low, in the clutch, on the road, and perfectly executed a post move.”

  44. One word: Ball Security. TO’s GSW:8, NOH: 18. Curry had only two TO’s, by far his best outing since returning from injury. And how about a rookie stopper to close out the game. And finally some decent % from the FT line, decent but not good.

  45. Most interesting note:
    First game in the last 202 where EVERY player was healthy enough to play.

    With this wonderful come-from-behind road win, with the ultra-favorable sched coming up, and with team chemistry/performance ever improving…are the planets aligning?

    VOTE MONTA IN 2011!

  46. Felt,

    Enjoy the highlights.

  47. Thanks, Tiger! I saw every highlight on ESPN except the Warriors…

    Getting excited again about Udoh, and this season. Despite all the recent struggles, the Warriors are only 4.5 games out of the 8th seed, with the toughest part of the season out of the way.

  48. Yeah, you liked that post move and hook shot over West.

    In the Orlando game, he’s on the same block, spins middle (you’re thinking righty hook coming), then goes back to his right and banks a lefty hook in. Sweet.

    (I’m sorry. I don’t have any Greg Monroe highlights for you.)

  49. Really? Amazing you should post that. I was just wondering if he had a counter to make defenders respect that move…

    Have a lot of catching up to do. Although the record didn’t reflect it, it seems to me the Warriors identity began to solidify in important ways on this road trip. I’ve missed a big part of the story.

  50. maestro felt, the young nigerian-american studies video of the low post virtuosos and tries to imitate some of their choreography. he’ll need to increase his boards to secure consistent and substantial minutes, and that’s something more difficult to study.

  51. Moto, I noticed a pretty good rebounding instinct when he wasn’t actively involved in providing help. He knows where the ball is coming off the rim, and he boxes out like a man. Hopefully, his rebounding numbers will take off alongside Biedrins or Gadzuric.

    Or, the Warriors might be happy with him shotblocking in the middle, and letting Lee and others mop up the boards.

    In other words, I don’t think his low Lacob Quotient indicates by itself that he’s a poor rebounder, given the amount of time his help is required. I have never seen him get boxed off the defensive boards on the weak side, or get simply pushed off the court, or let a man go right through him, all of which are specialties of Brandan Wright.

  52. Basketball in Nigeria —

    Here’s a story to tide us over until FB comes back and tells us what we’ve been watching, and it’s a good one:

    Andrew Lovedale played alongside Curry at Davidson and was one part of the strength and character of the team, unheralded. He was rock solid and determined. You didn’t want to be in front of him when he drove for a dunk. In the words of one of my former English profs — I went to Davidson — “What a prince of a man.” Lovedale was a fast, physical, tenacious defender, high and low. Starting late probably hurt him. I suspect your shot has to grow up with your body and strength, and he didn’t have this chance. A more consistent shot and we might be hearing about him over here now. Instead, I understand he’s playing in France, with so-so success.

    Udoh seems to be cut out of the same cloth, my point.

  53. Feltbot,

    Yes, you must find a way to watch every minute of all these games. There is a disturbance in The Force, and something really good is happening right now. The 4th quarter of the Hornets game showed me a different team. You are right to be impressed with Udoh (as am I), and I will take Vlad Rad’s occasional ill-timed brain fart if we get that kind of game from him more often. It all seems to be coming together, and at just the right time.

    The Andrew Lovedale story got me. Thanks, rgg, for the post.

  54. Really looking forward to getting home Andria. I’m Jonesing badly!

    Nice story, Rgg.

  55. Udoh keeps opponents players from putting the ball in the basket which few players in the NBA can do. This results in opponents shooting al lower FG%, one of the most important defensive statistics in basketball. He’s already light years ahead of most of his competition.Smart just needs to give him significant playing time so that we can sit back and enjoy his game.

    Warrior coaches have done a good job showing how to garner defensive rebounds.

  56. “Don’t be surprised if the Warriors make a run at injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming(notes) after he becomes a free agent this summer. While Yao is expected to be out as long as 10 months after undergoing ankle surgery, the Warriors have long wanted to add him to help boost their profile in the area’s Asian community. Seldom-used rookie guard Jeremy Lin(notes) is nearly as popular as Stephen Curry(notes) and Monta Ellis(notes).”

    And you thought I was joking? This is exactly what I’m afraid of…;_ylt=Aojc0sPmYt1HOTzkZuR8TLe8vLYF?slug=mc-afterthebuzzer010711

    Note also Ellison/Hornets/San Jose rumor.

  57. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Man, what an ugly 3rd. quarter! I was hoping to subs all 4th. q.

    Ellis and Lee, obviously, and Ellis made some sparkling assists, but first half, during sub time, when the Cavs cut the lead, it was Vlad Rad who held up the offense. I think you said it, FB — Lee, VR, EllisCurryWright is the best team they can put on the floor.

  59. How to be a successful owner:

    DeBartolo made a great hire when he took Bill Walsh from Stanford and then kept a strong arm’s distance from the day-to-day details. In New England, Bob Kraft recognized the brilliance of Bill Belichick and let Belichick do the rest. In Dallas, Jerry Jones won three titles early on after hiring Jimmy Johnson and staying out of the way. When Jones started getting more involved in the team’s daily operations, the situation went downhill fast.

    From Yahoo’s Jason Cole article on Miami owner, Stephen Ross.;_ylt=Ar0W9cR5GOFWoD50wcgQtOxDubYF?slug=jc-harbaugh49ers010711

  60. 3rd. quarter — it was like they didn’t know what to do with themselves. And I suppose this might be true. Holding a 20 point lead is a new experience for this team. Here’s hoping they figure this one out. Also they’re much better as a team when they and the ball are moving.

    One thing that struck me last night that we’ve seen before is how conscious this squad is of being a team, which is good, of course. But they overdo it sometimes or still haven’t quite figured out this one either. Several times they made an extra pass or drove and passed out when they should have kept going. Or they pass to a guy who is open but really isn’t an offensive threat. Passes to Amundson and Law come to mind. (Which means let’s keep scorers on the floor.) Also that fast break when Ellis threw it back to Curry when he should have gone to the hoop. VladRad and others had shots or should have driven when they passed instead, in most cases leading to turnovers. Curry especially is holding off his shot. (I feel confident with these observations because that’s what Barnett said!) It’s a good problem, and I suspect they’ll figure this one out as well.

    Don’t count turnovers and judge players. Figure out why they happen and evaluate from there.

    VladRad, btw, showed nice authority driving to the basket three times. One stellar dunk, one missed, one that led to a foul.

  61. geraldmcgrew

    Rgg, almost all of 4th quarter could have been as you envisioned it if Smart had waited before resting both Monta and Curry simultaneously. That should not happen until the game is in the bag. Overall, I’m as pleased with Ws’ current upswing as most others. One of my other remaining criticisms: D. Wright should pass more. Too many times he forced his own play when the ball should have gone back to one of our stellar guards.


    Tayshaun Prince, definitely. But Zach Randolph? There could be no greater mistake for this team. He would represent the final triumph of the Lacob Quotient over all basketball sense.

  63. Orlando 117 pts in Dallas? Hedo Turkoglu 17 assists? The Nellieball assault on the NBA championship is in full gear…


    Extraordinarily impressive numbers for Monta in this article. A must-read for all those who think he should be traded for comparative offal.

  65. Clippers —

    If Curry and Ellis can’t get going, there’s not much hope. . . .

    Still I wonder, and I’ll defer to better basketball minds. But when you’re outsized and can’t match up–and we couldn’t–why play to the to the other team’s strengths instead of playing from your own strengths? Why commit yourself to a defense where the best you can manage is rack up fouls? Conventional wisdom says you set up offense with good defense. I wonder if the opposite isn’t true with the Warriors. The best way to get to the other team’s offense is to keep up with them in the score and force them to keep scoring until they cool off–as the Clippers did. Or run up a lead and put their offense out of rhythm, on its heels.

    And in the case of the Warriors, their strength is offense. Get it going. Ellis and Wright are shooting early — but Curry is not. And Curry is a player who can need to get into a rhythm (not that it would have made much difference today, I suspect). Give him plenty of shots early — he’s not taking many first half.

    Keep offense on the floor. I’ve forgotten the lineup the last 5 minutes of the first half, but it wasn’t strong. The problem wasn’t defense, but that they weren’t scoring. Biedrins, Amundson, and Gad can’t score inside or out or shoot free throws. Law, to a lesser extent, is also an offensive liability. When you have two or three of these players on the floor, you’re giving up too much offense and putting too much pressure on the others. And if your main guys can’t get it going, see what the other scorers can do. Vlad Rad and Reggie can drive with authority, shoot outside shots, and make free throws. But they only took nine shots combined. I suppose it’s also time to see what kind of shot Udoh has as well.

    (I believe I am phrasing crudely what FB has been saying all along.)

    We’ve seen today’s scenario before and will see it again on Wednesday.

  66. For example:

    Look at the box score of this game with the Lakers last year;_ylt=AlFpSz2hJnluH5b51Sj9JBGkvLYF?gid=2010031509

    Hunter was center, but could score (and did! 22 points!). Maggette and Tolliver were our only other size. We did foul — 26. And got out-rebounded 56-25. (Also note Ellis had a bad night.) But we got up 100 shots and lost 121-124 (with both Curry and Ellis having a look at a tying 3).

  67. rgg, I agree with you completely without even having seen the game. The box score tells the tale.

    Smart allowed the Clippers to dictate the matchups and the style of play.

    He again got the backcourt matchups wrong: Ellis needs to be guarding quickness, and Curry size. Curry is remarkably clever at guarding bigger players. He did a commendable job guarding Davis last year. Can Smart have forgotten that already? Why does he have this agenda of trying to force Curry to guard the quickest player on the floor?

    Don Nelson never made this mistake. He always knew how to protect his poorer defenders. Mullin, Nash, Morrow, Maggette, Curry — under Don Nelson, they always guarded bigger (and thus slower) players.

    And it must have become obvious early in this game that Biedrins and Lee were not matching up well against Jordan and Wright. Why then would you continue to fight this battle on the Clippers’ terms? Why in the world would you go to Amundson before you went to Vlad Rad in this fight?

    To win this game, Smart had to either force Griffin to guard out at the three point line, or force Del Negro to matchup small. He had to spread out the Clippers defense, and get some easy buckets for Monta Ellis. He had to get Curry, as rgg has been pointing out all season, started EARLY. Curry needs more shots, flat out. He is a phenomenal scorer, getting absolutely buried under Smart’s incompetence. This Warriors team, like the Heat and like the Thunder, is not an inside-out team, despite what Lacob might be dictating from his front row seat.

    Smart needed to up the tempo, at all cost to the Lacob Quotient. He needed to run Baron Davis and the Clippers bigs off the floor. The way Don Nelson did it so easily and so spectacularly last year.

    The Warriors’ great edge against other teams is their guards. Smart needs to USE them. The Warriors’ great edge against other teams is speed, intelligence, passing and shotmaking. Smart needs to use that.

    This Warriors team will never win trying to outrebound and outdefend bigger stronger players in the halfcourt.

    91 points with this offense against the Clippers defense? Most people will chalk it up to poor games from Ellis and Curry.

    I chalk it up to incompetence.

  68. They did hang in there most of the first half, but then the unit the last 5-6 minutes couldn’t score, and that was that. It has to be noted that neither Curry nor Ellis could hit today, and that’s the worst I’ve seen Curry look when he shot. I assume his hip was bothering him. Good performances from both of them second half might yet have turned the tide.

    But what we saw was Curry get two quick fouls in the first few minutes against Gordon and then sit down most of the rest of the half. And nobody could contain Gordon that half. It’s disheartening what an average player Curry can look like under this system, or worse. (His little brother Seth is getting sidelined at Duke as well–but I watched the Maryland game tonight and Seth got a chance to shoot second half and brought Duke back in.)

    Someone correct me, but I believe this has been the pattern so far. When they match up fairly well up front, they do fine. When overmatched, they play a game where they haven’t had a chance.

    Anyone who watched the games last year should remember just how much these players could do with so little — no size, no bench. Now they have some size, a bench. . . .

  69. Don’t be impressed with Gad’s rebounds, btw. He got 3 rebounds on his own missed put ups (or was it 4?) before he got the ball in. Amundson rebounds himself a lot, too.

  70. When will Smart get it. Udoh has to be in the starting line-up. He came in when the Warriors were down three points and left when they were up five points. He almost single-handedly dropped Clippers shooting over 50% from the field to 42%, which means the Clippers for awhile was shooting at lest then 40% from the field.

    I know you don’t agree Felbot, but B. Wright should be playing more then Amundson or Radman.

  71. Udoh was plus 7 in 8.5 first half minutes (I haven’t checked but the other bigs must have had horrendous numbers), was off the court when the Clips made their big run at the end of Q2, then only played 3.5 minutes in the second half. Criminal rotations.

  72. Home! Time to roll tape… :>

  73. This just out: Monta has some kind of flu and was put on IV. Which explains a few things and I suspect he’s not alone. Not sure he will play Wed — game time decision.

    Would be curious to get your take on Smart’s comment about Blake Griffin in the Clipper game:

    “I’m glad we doubled him, because what would have happened if we hadn’t?” Warriors coach Keith Smart said.

    Read more:

  74. Wow, am I glad I didn’t see the Clippers game. The box score was bad enough. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water…….. Uh oh, getting bipolar again. Welcome home, Feltbot. In an ideal world, Keith Smart reads this blog and learns from it. In that same world, Smart stays in touch with Nellie and picks his brain about matchups.

    Nice story on Monta Ellis in the Chron this morning.

  75. Not looking forward to tonight, given what happened to Cleveland yesterday.

  76. Rgg…and if no Monta? Ugh…

  77. If we just had a center who could score. I leave Vlad Rad in all 4th qtr. I’m not sure they’d have even given up that much on defense.

    Shame this wasn’t broadcast nationally. Ellis would have moved up in the All Star balloting.

  78. Here are highlights from the Warriors 2,749th consecutive loss to the Lakers.

  79. Steve, I have 5 of those fantasy players on my team, which has something to do with why I’m leading the league right now. Felton, DWright, Kevin Martin I drafted. I picked up Wes Mathews when Roy struggled. And then traded Roy and Diaw for Ibaka before Roy completely fell apart. Value, value, value.

    Regarding the Ibaka trade, I think it is very easy to pry loose the unglamorous categories of blocks, steals and shooting % in return for the glamorous categories of points, 3 pointers, assists and rebounds. And the reverse trades are almost impossible to pull off. This should be an important consideration when drafting. My draft left me short blocks and shooting %, something Ibaka plugs admirably.

    Another case in point: I just managed to pluck Battier off the waiver wire in my league, despite the fact that he’s performing like a 6th round pick and should be starting for most teams. Why was he available? Doesn’t score points. Old. Not glamorous.

    Trying to get myself started on Lakers recap, but I feel winded and out of shape after such a long layoff…

  80. Pingback: THAT’S the Way: Warriors 122 Clippers 112 | Feltbot's Warriors Blog