THAT’S the Way: Warriors 122 Clippers 112

…Uh huh, Uh huh, I like it. — KC & The Sunshine Band

This was the best win of the Warriors’ season. I say that first of all because it came against a very tough team, the Los Angeles Clippers. Don’t scoff. This isn’t your Daddy’s Clippers team. This is the Clippers team of Blake Griffin, who only needs continued health to erase all memory of Karl Malone. (Yes, I said that.) This is a Clippers team with Eric Gordon, who is rapidly becoming a bonafide star. And with Baron Davis.  A healthier, slimmed down, motivated, gleam-in-his-eye Baron Davis, who has finally been freed from the half-court swamp of The Kamanosaurus by the emergence of DeAndre Jordan at center.      

This is a Clippers team that ended San Antonio’s 8 game winning streak to start the season in BDiddy’s first game back from injury, and ended the Miami Heat’s 13 game road winning streak 2 days ago. You can toss out their early season record. Injuries, youth and inexperience, Kamanistry problems. Whatever. This Clippers team is coming on. They’re for real.

It was also a great win because it came against a team that could very well be in the hunt with the Warriors for that 8th seed by the end of the season.

But for me, it was the best win of the season because it resulted directly from the Warriors finally playing the game on their own terms. Playing their style. With Keith Smart dictating the matchups to the other coach, rather than the other way around.

With running. With early offense. With three pointers. With unleashing the guards. With pick and roll.  With “gimmick” defense.

With Reggie Williams finally appearing at his best position: small forward. Point forward.

With Vlad Rad outplaying Blake Griffin in crunch time. Head to head.

With the Warriors playing the style of basketball they were built for, slowly and painstakingly over two agonizing years, piece after perfect piece, by the greatest GM in NBA history.

With Nellieball.

That’s the way I like it.

KEITH SMART: A lot of Warriors players stepped up tonight, but for me Keith Smart was the star of the game. I have never believed the mantra that games in the NBA are won by players, not coaches. If that were true, Don Nelson would have wound up back on the pig farm. Coaches make a huge difference in the NBA, and this game is Exhibit A for this season.

Let’s start with something simple: the guard matchups.  In LA, Smart made the same mistake he has been making all season long: putting Curry on the quick guard, and Monta on the big guard. In this game, Smart finally got it right, and put Curry on Baron Davis.

In my comment on the last Clipper game, I wrote that Curry is very clever guarding bigger players. I saw it last year, when he was asked by Nellie to guard Baron Davis and Tyreke Evans. And I saw it again on the first play of this game, when Vinny Del Negro immediately attacked Curry with a Baron Davis post-up. What happened? Baron was DENIED. The Clippers retained the ball, set it up again, and Curry DENIED it again.

Go back and watch this play again if you can. This is how the Warriors backcourt should be deployed when the opposing team’s most dangerous scorer is their small guard. This is how a great coach should deploy a slow but clever defender: on bigger players.

Smart paid the price for this move with Monta’s foul trouble. But it was worth it.

What else did Smart get right in this game? Let’s run down the list:

The running game: The Warriors have got it in 5th gear now. Finally. They are looking to push not only after turnovers, but after every rebound. Most telling for me is that the guards are no longer walking back for handoffs from the bigs. They are leaking out, and receiving outlet passes. This is a huge difference from how the Warriors were transitioning earlier in the season.  In Biedrins, Lee, Vlad Rad and DWright, the Warriors have forwards that can not only see, but also deliver a perfect outlet pass. In this game, they finally began using that talent.

That 122-112 score? It will be hard for Keith Smart to build a resume as a defensive coach with those kind of scores. But those are precisely the kind of scores that this Warriors team should be aiming for.

Astute fans noticed the defense that the Warriors played in this game. Defense can be played in the context of high octane running games, as the Miami Heat, the OKC Thunder and the Orlando Magic — and the Warriors — are in the process of proving. What results is point-differential. That is the stat that matters. That is the stat that predicts NBA champions. And that is the stat that Keith Smart should be looking to put on his resume.

Andris Biedrins: If you were to say that Beans heard the long knives being sharpened for him after the last game, you would be right. Marcus Thompson and Matt Steinmetz both interviewed Biedrins on his poor play, and wrote feature articles critical of him. Beans responded with a terrific effort, on both sides of the ball.

His improved offense was of course the most intriguing. And Keith Smart deserves a lot of credit for it. He obviously demanded that Beans assert himself more, and also that the guards look for him more. But he also finally gave up trying to post Beans up — which is so not his game — and instead got him the ball the way Nellie always got him the ball: on the move. That is the way you use a light and mobile center.

Take a look at that early offense, high pick and roll between Monta and Beans at 10:50 of the 4th quarter. Yes, yes, yes.

David Lee: Lee did a little posting up against Blake Griffin, and wasn’t half bad at it. That righty jump hook is money.  But Lee belongs on the wings, in pick and roll.  And in the key, running the high post.

I can only imagine what Don Nelson is thinking, watching Lee run the high post from his couch in Maui. David Lee is the apotheosis of the acme of what Don Nelson dreamed of in a big man. He is the best passing big man Nellie would have had since… the name that must not be spoken.

David Lee is an absolutely extraordinary passer.  A great deal of the Warriors’ half-court efficiency is due directly to his instant and decisive passing decisions, and his perfect deliveries. Dorell Wright should buy him an Escalade after this season.

(By the way, did someone know this about David Lee before the season started? It wasn’t anyone employed by our wonderful local papers, I can assure you of that.)

I digress. Keith Smart has started to uncover the best ways to use David Lee. Started. When he figures it out completely, he will realize that he is a lucky, lucky man.

By the way, are you tempted to tell me that Lee is a poor defender because of Blake Griffin’s 28 and 13 performance?  Well, Blake Griffin gave Tim Duncan 31 and 13. OK, now go right ahead.

Vlad Rad: Tell the truth, when Vlad got the ball after that Clipper turnover at 3:30 of the 4th Q, and began steaming full speed up the court, did you suffer heart palpitations? You can admit it. I did too. Such are the joys of watching our Vladdy. But lo and behold, he found a safe area to stop, look around and hand off the ball without incident.

And regardless of his propensity for malodorous brain emissions, there can be no denying anymore that properly deployed — at power forward — Vlad Rad is an extremely valuable player. Right?

Take another look at that huge corner three that Vlad hit at 3:12 of the 4th Q. Where was Blake Griffin on that play? Lost, under the basket, waiting to help his guards. THAT is how you beat dominant size in the NBA.

And those driving lanes that suddenly appeared for Monta Ellis after that?  It wasn’t a miracle that made them appear.  It wasn’t motion offense, or a terrific play call. It was Vlad Rad, 43% from three on the season and 3-5 in this game, stationed at the arc. THAT is how you beat dominant size in the NBA.

I wonder, where was this strategy against the Lakers? What made the light bulb suddenly go on for Keith Smart?

It did go on though, finally, in the 39th game of the season. And hopefully the switch will get stuck. In the WIN position.

By the way, which Warriors big man was most effective at guarding Blake Griffin? It wasn’t Lee, nor Biedrins, nor Udoh, nor Mr. Lacob Quotient. It was Vlad Rad. Take another look at his crunch time defense on Griffin at 2:40 of the 4th. He actually got Griffin moving backwards at the end of his move. Setting him up for the DWright capping.

As Don Nelson taught us, sometimes quickness and cleverness is the best defense against size.  That +19? It doesn’t lie. As I have argued before, Lee at 5 and Vlad Rad at 4 is the Warriors’ BEST lineup. The one they should be looking to get to in crunch time.

Reggie Williams: The release of Rodney Carney had one great effect on the Warriors. It forced Keith Smart to play Reggie Williams, and to play him at his best position: small forward.  You saw the results. Reggie had no problem getting his offense started, as he had a quickness advantage that left him open both behind the line and on his drives.

In fact, if my eyes didn’t deceive me, I do believe I saw a 2nd Q lineup of Udoh at center, Vlad Rad at 4, and Reggie at 3. Wow. How far we’ve come.

Yes, Reggie’s terrific crunch time play came with him playing point guard in Curry’s stead. But by that time he was fully into the game, with his confidence up, and no fear of being yanked for Carney after a defensive lapse.

As for Reggie at point guard: I have been agitating loudly for it in these pages since the beginning of the season, and suffering not a little push back for it from loyal readers. To these friends I say: rewind the tape and watch Reggie play the point in crunch time in this game. Two plays in particular: The drive and dish to Vlad Rad in the corner for three at 3:12. And the spectacular pick and roll with Lee at 2:20. The touch on that on-the-move, perfectly thrown lob was something special. There are not a lot of players — nor even a lot of point guards — in this league who possess that kind of passing ability.

Post-game, Keith Smart stated that he has been trying to get Reggie to play like this from the start of the season. I think I saw the ghost of Rodney Carney fall of my couch at that news.

Whatever. Reggie did it in this game, and Keith Smart deserves a lot of credit for having the guts to put him in position to excel in crunch time.

Which brings me to…

Stephen Curry: I have insinuated frequently this season that Keith Smart has perhaps been less than courageous in resisting the influence of Joe Lacob on the Warriors’ style of play.

I have to say this, though: Smart is damn courageous in his dealings with Stephen Curry this season. It takes balls to yank the face of the franchise in close games, and to keep him yanked and steaming on the bench in crunch time.

There is a war brewing between Curry and Smart.  I’m not entirely sure where I stand on it.  I want Curry to be free to create. I want him to be free to throw up any shot, at any time. I want him to be the phenomenal player he was as a rookie last year.  And in Smart’s shoes I would be willing to overlook a few silly turnovers and blown defensive assignments, to keep his leadership on the floor.

But Keith Smart — the former point guard — has a greater vision for Stephen Curry. He wants Curry to become not just a point guard, but a playoff point guard. A point guard who can manage the game in crunch time. A point guard who values possessions. A championship point guard.

And Smart is willing to go all the way with Curry in order to make his point. He is willing to infuriate the face of the franchise, something that has gotten not a few coaches fired in the past. I admire the balls it takes to do that.

I’m just not sure I want him to win this battle. Not completely.

Comic Relief: Smart also had the balls to yank Joe Lacob’s prize offseason acquisition after 5 miserable minutes in this game.  Among other things, Amundson went 0-2 from the free throw line, dropping him to 29% on the year.

It is a feltbot maxim that free throws should never be missed long. But after watching sweet Lou airball his first, I think I need to add an exception to this maxim.

I’m calling it the Amundson exception.

51 Responses to THAT’S the Way: Warriors 122 Clippers 112

  1. Clips-GSW from The Oracle.

  2. I didn’t mind pulling Curry the last minutes because Reggie provided a better defensive matchup in size AND he was in the offense well and scoring (this was Barnett’s explanation). And I still wonder how mobile Curry is after all those sprains, how much he’s reining in.

    But I still question all those Acie Law minutes, 3rd. and 4th. And I doubt Curry’s going to learn anything sitting on the bench. Some of his turnovers are just incomprehensible. But I wonder if some aren’t caused by the team itself, not paying attention, not being together, not moving on offense. In such a situation, it’s the point guard who has to make the pass and gets the TO stat. Curry will become more efficient as he grows and plays together with the team, not watching them. Smart is being a bullheaded parent.

    I saw Reggie grimace about that heel. Let’s hope.

  3. The big surprises for me this year have been Vlad and DWright. Both have impressed me with their new found proclivity to drive to the hoop. Vlad looks a lot lighter and quicker than at any time since becoming a Warrior. I not sure if coaching should get the credit, or if just watching Monte drive night after night has altered their basketball DNA. Whatever it is, it is transforming their offense, and more importantly, the dubs.
    Also great to see the team run again. As a connoisseur of NellieBall, and its spiritual equivalent the Oregon Duck football team, it was getting hard to watch our greyhounds walk the ball up the court.
    Love your blog, it’s a great service to the faithful.

  4. I also was very impressed by Smart pulling Curry. I can’t stand turnovers in any game and this goddamn game was slipping away with his consecutive turnovers. And son-of-a-gun if the game didn’t change for the better the moment he was out. Thank you Keith Smart!

    This was the most satisfying victory yet for me this season. Darned (I apologize for my use of an expletive above, but turnovers do that to me…) if Blake Griffen isn’t the next great PF and thank Gosh DeAndre Jordan got some ticky-tack calls to put himself on the bench. The staggering part is the Clippers are just one starter away–at the position the possibly easiest to fill, SF, from becoming a FORCE. I was very nervous about this game.

    My player of the game is split between the spear-carriers, Biedrens, Radmanovich and Reggie. These guys played the way they need to for the team to be a contender. And keep amundson on the bench; he again had the ball ricochet off his hands out of bounds under the basket. His good just about equals his bad which is not good at all. Anyway, a very satisfying win.

  5. We lost the rebounding battle again. If only we had given Amundson more minutes. . . .

    At least we all got a before and after with these two Clipper games for comparison. I hope everyone–including Lacob–is watching and learning.

    No one else is writing this stuff, FB.

  6. And let us not forget another gorgeous game from Monta! I notice his name hasn’t come up at all, yet he was superb. We must be taking him for granted?

  7. Smart’s SO not trying to go all the way with Curry’s development. His only MO is to win games. PERIOD. Players play for contracts. So is this fool. He could care less about player/team development. Every move he’s making is being filtered by his I-NEED-A-NEW-CONTRACT lens. He is the Curry neutralizer and the reason Curry will become disenchanted with this organization. FIRE KEITH SMART PLEEEASE.

  8. I’m not sure Smart deserves the nod for the defensive assignments… seems to me that by default, Curry guards the PG and Ellis the SG. Just happens to be in this case that the PG is lumbering and slow and the SG is quick. That said, letting Curry take the bigger man and Ellis the quicker man is an intriguing idea against many teams…. particularly against elite PGs like the CPs and DWs. Curry would get punished by teams that have super SGs w/ size like Kobe and Wade, though.

    I’m not a fan of Smart’s “punitive” benching…. especially when he does it for a single mistake. Also, his comment about not playing Udoh against the Lakers so he wouldn’t get embarrassed was possibly the single stupidest thing I’ve ever heard an NBA coach say. This isn’t High School and that was very disrespectful towards Udoh.

  9. I agree with with your analysis with regard to the Warriors playing the type offensive game they need to wom. I was glad to see Curry penetrating and either hitting easy baskets or dishing it off for easy scores. We hit 52.4 % of our FG attempts for the game. We won this game simply because we made 11 more three pointers then the Clippers did.

    You not ignore the Warriors lack of defense and even maintain that both Biedrens and D. Lee played good defense.While our offense is winning basketball, our defense is not.

    Biedrens did not play good ball on defense as he had no effect on the Clippers scoring at will. They scored 39 points in the first quarter. The Clippers shot 71% for the first quarter, and most of their points were scored inside. And such is reflected by the fact that Biedrens was the only starter who had a negative rating for the game, and it was a minus 10. It’s a mistake to get lured into the belief that he had a good game because was 4-7 from the field.

    Yes, Nellie’s offense is championship type ball, but who Smart is playing on defense keeps us from playing championship ball.

    You really need to look at a player’s rating for a game. Yes, it appeared that Amundson did little positive on the offensive end, but the Clippers did worse when he was on the court.That is why he earned a postive 5 rating. The most time he should get on the court is five minutes as he did last night because his negatives ratings for the year are sky-high, as is Law’s.

    Opponent’s FG shooting % would go down considably in my judgment when Udoh gets most of the playing time at center. Last night, Smart put Udoh on Griffith and double teamed him. Stupid. Udoh should had been at center and therefore he could have given help defense at time

    The Warriors offense would have done equally well with Udoh on the court. He is actually better then Biedrens on offense as he can hit foul shots, Biedrens can not.

    I hope Felty who will come around and push for Udoh to take more of Biedrens time. The Warriors have to address their interior defense weakness if they are to go places. There was no reason in this game for the Warriors to be tied at 104-104 near the end of the game. Nelson didn’t have a defensive stopper like Udoh. Smart does. He has to play and be used correctly defending the rim to protect the defensive deficiencies of all our other players, especially D. Lee.

  10. Feltbot,

    Excellent analysis, as usual. I’ve been humming “That’s the Way” since I read your post.

    It was my impression that the Amundson signing was meant to be an insurance policy in case Biedrins couldn’t get right. Also, Epke Udoh was injured and an unknown quantity at the NBA level when we signed Lou “Ham Hands” Amundson. I supported the Amundson move then, since I was not convinced (and I’m still not) that Andris Biedrins could get his head and his game right. While I am a big Epke Udoh fan and would like to see him play more, I have to agree with Keith Smart that it’s better to develop him slowly.

    However, based on what I’ve seen just lately, it’s time to send Amundson away. He may be an energetic defender, but he simply cannot shoot. And his free throw form parallels Biedrins’ as well. There is no excuse for an NBA player to shoot free throws like that, ever. It’s just ridiculous.

    Loved VladRad again (although I miss the beard), and it was good to see Reggie Williams get his real game on. David Lee is just getting better all the time as he heals, and I continue to be impressed with his basketball IQ. Is there anyone still out there who thinks that was a bad trade? Anyone missing Anthony Randolph?

    Kudos to Keith Smart ( the best-dressed coach in the NBA) for adjusting his game strategy and for not allowing the opposing coach to dictate the game. I have been hard on him, too, but my faith in his intelligence (there’s that word again) has been rewarded. Now if ownership gets/stays out of the coaching box, someday soon we might be “Dancing in the Streets”.

  11. Felt, you make quite a few excellent points in this post.
    Among other things, kudo’s to you for being so right about Vlad. I could see his athletic talent but the brain cramping that was holding him back is officially a thing of the past. Confidence and talent is a beautiful thing.

    But that’s not what’s really irking me this morning. What I want to talk about is Smart’s benching of Curry down the stretch of that game. I thought it was irrational, shortsighted (not the way to develop your point guard–no way, no how) and was another one of those ongoing “Smart” strategic decisions that, while it didn’t cost us this game mostly bc of Vlad’s heroic 3′s, certainly has cost us other games.

    Having screwed around by slowing the tempo of the Warriors’ offense the first quarter of the season, “Smart” finally has figured that out. Wonders never cease. Now, he’s screwing with Curry’s head. The problem is–Curry’s a phenomenally balanced young man–you don’t need to screw with him, you simply need to talk to him and he’ll get it.

    And last night, what exactly was Smart’s message in sitting him for so long in Q3 and into Q4? You made a couple of bad turnovers and missed a shot so I’m sitting you for 15 minutes? Forget the fact that his spectacular play in the first half kept you ahead in the game even after Monta had to be sat in Q2 with foul trouble? Curry had 18 pts and a bunch of assists by halftime. He makes 2 tos in Q3 and you bench him?

    Then he sits for 15 minutes including the quarter break. You bring him back, out of the rhythm of the game, but he plays fine, then you bench him again with 4 minutes to go in a tight game? You take out one of your two key playmakers down the stretch so Reggie Williams can better defend the Clippers’ big guards down the stretch? Reggie Williams and defense uttered in the same sentence?

    Keith Smart is not coaching Steph Curry to be a playoff point guard; he’s coaching him off the Warriors’ roster. At the very least, he’s retarding the tremendous growth Curry sustained last year under Don Nelson. Don Nelson NEVER would have pulled Curry from that game last night. A game in which Curry was brilliant most of the night and which the Warriors would not have been “in” were in not for his fine play. Nellie would have sat Curry for a few minutes after his couple of Q3 tos to rest and regroup, then would have put him right back in to start Q4 for the remaining fight. That’s how you develop your point guard, particularly when he’s playing so well. How could Keith Smart have learned so little?

  12. We’ll have to stop doing this at some point, but look at how Curry developed last year (as OT says) under Nelson and think about how much further he might have developed this year with Nelson. It’s another factor Lacob did not consider when he fired the Warrior’s head coach.

    Smart should talk to Bob McKillop, Steph’s coach at Davidson–really. McKillop is as disciplined and old school as they get, but he figured out Steph, or maybe they figured each other out. McKillop said he only had to explain something once to Steph to have him see it and then go out on the court and do it. Both McKillop and Nelson said Curry is one of the most coachable players they’ve ever had.

  13. Enjoyed the comments, everyone. OG — I actually had the same thought you did, that I was taking Monta for granted by leaving out his seemingly effortless 30 point, 6 assist Mamba-like execution of the Clips.

    This was Smart’s night, though, and I’m trying to stop writing War and Peace.

  14. Of possible interest: the Warriors apparently swung and whiffed on Flip Murray, a microwave guard, before settling on Acie Law.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-110114-16/howard-qa

    (right sidebar)

  15. I don’t know all the ins and outs of salary and trades — I’ll leave that to the lawyers — but in the event we can’t make a good trade, which seems likely, and instead of making an expensive compromise (Amundson), any chance we can get rid of some of the dead weight (we have so much), scout the D-League for the overlooked, and see who else we might bring out and bring along? Look at all the success the Warriors have had before.

  16. Andria, unfortunately we cannot choose which music to be imprinted with in high school :>

  17. A thought to pass along: In the 1st qtr, just before Curry was subbed out, he had missed a 3pt attempt real short. At the time, I had suspected that the reason for being subbed out may have been that he was tired. In the 3rd qtr when Curry was committing those turnovers, I noticed that Curry moved around a bit sluggishly. Moments later, Keith Smart subbed him out.

    I have the feeling that Curry can’t go more than 7-9 minutes of action at a time, depending on how fast and hard the game is played. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the ankle, or the summer FIBA play, or he’s simply not grown into tip top shape. So, just a thought to pass along.

  18. basketball for dummies

    Hey felt…’member when you ranted excessively about Monta that he “was washed up & would never regain his explosiveness”. Even called him fat!

    You & the ‘bellowing’ Tiger crack me up!

    How do you spell hypocrit…I spell it “f-e-l-t-b-o-t”

  19. Could very well be right, IQ.

  20. BfD, I’ll give you $1 if you can find that quote, or the opinion expressed in it, anywhere in my writings. As for calling him fat, Monta by his own admission was out of shape to start last season, and came into this season 15 lbs. lighter. So I guess I was right about that. Right?

    I welcome the push-back, but as Jim Rome puts it, when you step into the arena, “Don’t suck.”

  21. And if you want to call someone a hypocrite, learn how to spell it. Just sayin’.

  22. basketball for dummies

    Here you go felt..from your Nov 17 Pr-game itters: Cavs

    SEND THE DOLLAR TO A WORTHWILE CHARITY & no that doens’t include your Lagavulin fund.

    1) Monta Ellis is not Monta Ellis anymore. For whatever reason, he has not displayed the same quickness, burst or elevation since coming back from his moped accident.

    2) Monta Ellis is not a leader. Anyone who watched him explode at the drafting of Stephen Curry, and then proceed to freeze Curry out in the early going, knows everything they need to know about the character of Monta Ellis. He has also been freezing out Anthony Morrow and Anthony Randolph, if my eyes don’t deceive me. And if you read between the lines of many of the lockerroom quotes this year, there appears to be quite a rift between Ellis and Randolph.

    3) Monta Ellis is not a point guard. This is closely related to the failures already mentioned. But there is no indication that Ellis, even in a situation where he is happy, has the inclination or the basketball IQ to be a point guard.

    4) Monta Ellis is a cancer.

  23. basketball for dummies

    Oh & “Don’t Suck” when you bring your hyprocrasy to Adam’s!

    Pass that on to the “Bellowing Tiger” also!

  24. basketball for dummies

    andria your thoughts.
    Just saying.

  25. BFD,

    Big Friggin’ Deal

    You won’t find much in FB’s comments that Ellis hasn’t confessed himself, except #3, about being a point guard, but it was a tough transition for him, and he resisted and had clashes with Nelson. All indications were that Ellis was dissatisfied with being with the Warriors, though given circumstances, this was understandable (Steinmetz wrote a great piece on Ellis, one of his few). Much was up in the air with Ellis, and he admitted it himself. He also admitted his mistakes and changed.

    As did Feltbot. You won’t find a finer appreciation for Ellis than you’ve seen in these pages.

    Playing basketball, as writing, is about proving oneself and getting results. We’re seeing this in both cases.

  26. I stand by everything written there BfD, and I believe the newly mature Monta Ellis has pretty much admitted the truth of all of it in his recent interviews.

    There is nothing there that says that Monta Ellis was “washed up and would never again regain his explosiveness.” You do understand the difference between present and future tenses, don’t you? I was merely observing what I saw at the time. And I was dead right. Monta was fat, out of shape, and nothing like the player he was before, or is now.

    One other thing. My opinion of Monta Ellis changed as soon as his attitude and his performances changed. Within two months of the piece you quoted, I was calling Ellis a reborn superstar.
    http://feltbot.com/2010/01/09/monta-ellis-superstar-warriors-108-kings-101/

    And I covered that transformation extensively in all my posts between those two. So what exactly is your point?

    Whatever agendas I may have — and I do have strong opinions about how basketball should be played — I’m pretty sure I don’t let them affect what I actually see on the court (unlike Adam Lauridsen). But if you think I’m seeing something the wrong way, then go ahead and let me have it.

    Simply inventing fictitious opinions for me, though, so that you can knock them down, is pretty boring reading for everyone.

  27. basketball for dummies

    So would it be fair to say when posters were championing the Mayo/Monta trade (BTW I wasn’t one of them) that was around the time of your “Monta isn’t Monta anymore ” comment?

    Are you like meir? The only ones that know how well Monta is playing. Jeez, pretty brave to call him a Superstar January 9.

    I couldn’t agree with you more…this is VERY BORING READING. But then you brought it up didn’t you & threw out the taunts!

    ~big friggin’ deal~

  28. basketball for dummies

    Now about that dollar…you were called!

  29. Oops, if I’d seen your post, rgg, I wouldn’t have posted mine. Thanks for the backing :>

  30. BfD, this is positively the last thing I’ll say on the subject: You do realize those two posts were written in 2009, right?

    I’m spending that dollar tonight, feeding the ever ravenous Thaiblonde some sushi.

  31. Felt, what is with all the shots at Lacob and his son? I really don’t get why you have to stain your wonderfully written blog posts with these comments…every time it seems. What’s the deal?

  32. basketball for dummies

    Well spent then…enjoy ;o)

  33. maestro felt, we can’t know what smart really has cookin’, beyond grasping for wins which will be his ticket for a second year at the helm. here’s an alternative interpretation of his manipulation of curry — the younger of his two star guards is simply more tractable, adaptable, and keeps his head in the game if he’s benched, able to go right back in and understand the exigencies of the game situations. in this specific game, williams’ strong play gave smart another card to play in the fourth quarter stretch run.
    we can only guess what curry’s ceiling as a player might be, but it’s likely that ellis is very near his peak while curry still has a bit of head room. what fans will be reluctant to admit is the strong possibility that curry won’t fully flourish as long as ellis has such a prominent role — even trimming ellis’ minutes would probably help. smart meanwhile is addicted to ellis’ scoring horsepower and can’t rely on ellis adapting successfully to a different niche. if smart doesn’t win in the near term, there’s no future for him anyway, so he might as well defer curry’s future if the full throttle ellis paves the way for that second year.

  34. Uh oh. Just one brief comment to clear up BFD’s confusion.

    I’m the one who brought up Monta for Mayo/Thabeet at Adam’s and now BFD says to Felt,
    “But then you brought it up didn’t you & threw out the taunts!”

    Felt, I love it when they think we’re the same person. As always, I take it as a complement.

  35. bfd, if you want to know my thoughts about the Warriors, you can read them on this blog from time to time.

    You might want to check the spelling of “hyprocrasy”.

  36. basketball for dummies

    Here I’ll slow down…hypocrisy. An example might be feltbot first saying I didn’t make negative comments about Monta, then when proven otherwise, saying I meant every word of it…Can’t have it both ways unless you’re a (drumroll) hypocrite.

    Do you all know about felt’s trolling runs or are you all that naive? His “penis-envy” of Adam brings out the worst of your leader. Without the unprovoked taunts, I wouldn’t have anything to do with this site, think about that.

    One question: Has Adam ever left a insult or taunt here at your sacred site?

    (Why do I feel like I’ve been watching FoxNews?)

  37. The problem with Ellis is that it’s hard to believe that a 6’3″ 185 lb. guy can do all the things he does–his shooting in a crowd, all those incredible drives, those high flying, gymnastic moves. Or he can lie on the floor in contortions after having his back twisted, leaving us wondering how many weeks he will be out, then start the next game. Or be on an IV one day and battle Kobe two days later. He’s had other substantial injuries this season and hasn’t missed a start.

    Thus on some level we don’t believe what we see and take him for granted. We just don’t believe in supermen. Something similar must happen with the refs when he drives, thus they don’t call fouls–Barnett commented to that effect. He is an incredible athlete, especially for his size, and thus defies our expectations. He is also strong willed–and bull headed–which for the team is now an asset, a characteristic that is rare, too. He is wholly committed to playing hard and winning, and here he leads the team. He also sets an example Curry will have to follow, where he will have to prove himself, which I rather regret, given four ankle sprains, but this may pay off yet.

    It is impossible to read Ellis’ face or his few words, which is the way he wants to keep it I suspect, and it’s easy to project motives on him which probably are not there. Also his character, like his body, defies our expectations as well and we just don’t understand him because we don’t believe someone could be so determined, could commit himself so wholly to doing what he thinks is right.

    He must have felt abandoned last season–SJax left and all eyes were on the new puppy. But watch him with Lee on the court and off–I see a relationship building, an understanding that will cement the team. He is following the coach’s plans — watch his feeds to Biedrins. And he’s showing us a lot of things at point we didn’t see last season.

    I was one of many who wanted to see Steph take over, in part because like many I assumed Ellis was leaving. But I am glad he stayed. Steph most likely would have been overwhelmed, especially with the new coach and new system. If not overwhelmed, broken. And without a strong backup point guard, the season would have been a total disaster.

    moto–
    I still don’t understand why he was pulled 3rd. quarter and sat with Monta all those minutes. He made a turnover and the offense faltered. I see cause and effect. This has happened before. If he’s getting benched, it’s not because he’s not listening. Hear him talk in interviews — he can talk at length about what Smart’s plans are, better than anyone else, whether he agrees with those plans or not.

    Everybody–
    Why is everyone sniping at each other? We had a very fine win and a very appreciative write-up. There is pathology to sound here, I suspect.

  38. brytex:

    I believe that Joe Lacob is at war with the playing style that the Warriors exhibited in this latest win — because he said he was, in his very first interview. I believe he is disdainful of the architecture of the Warriors’ talented roster — which he refers to as “the sins of the past.” I believe he severely damaged the Warriors’ playoff hopes with his signings of Lou Amundson and Jeremy Lin. And I believe those ridiculous moves are simply a harbinger of far bigger, far worse moves in the future.

    Do you want me to censor my thoughts about this? In the name of what? Politeness? Civility?

    Aesthetics?

    Sorry that’s not how I roll. I started this blog to give voice to my thoughts on the Warriors. All of them.

    Moto: that’s an interesting thought, but one that wouldn’t make sense if Smart took Curry’s shooting % into account. For all of Monta’s drives to the hoop, which Smart obviously prefers, which player converts at the higher rate? I think it’s been pretty clear — at least to me — that Smart has been sending Curry a strong message with his crunch-time benchings.

  39. Watching the Clippers put away the Lakers down the stretch. Vinny del Negro made a great 4th quarter decision: to GO SMALL, with a three guard lineup, to open the floor for Blake Griffin.

  40. Fantastic 99-90 win by Clippers over Lakers in Staples. Absolute war between Odom and Blake Griffin, that finally erupted into blowup with :06 left. Odom and Artest ejected for Lakers, Griffin and BDiddy for Clippers.

    The Clips have now beaten SA, Miami and the Lakers. They have the 4th best road record in the league. And they have the best play-by-play man in the league.

    Make no mistake, this was a quality Warriors win. And this Warriors roster, at least 1-7, is one of the most talented in the league.

  41. “Smart has been sending Curry a strong message with his crunch-time benchings”

    But what exactly is this message? Curry certainly hasn’t had any objection to deferring to Ellis crunch time and his presence opens up the court for Monta. As I recall, Curry has been pulled for making errors, almost on the spot. He’s not going to cure turnovers sitting on the bench. But I don’t think you get anywhere punishing for errors. Also I suspect Smart is looking at symptoms, not the underlying cause.

  42. Don’t be surprised by a mid season change of head coach, Smart is trying to stray from Lacob doctrine, he is digging his own grave.

  43. Remember all the guys on adam’s blog complaining that Nelson was too hard on Randolph. Here are some comments from clippers fans regarding picking up Randolph:
    “Pass Love the kid’s talent, but he has a poor attitude and work ethic as evidenced by his inability to crack the Knicks’ rotation.

    by Wilpatyo on Jan 16, 2011 1:14 PM PST reply actions
    to elaborate… I was watching the Knicks training camp on NBATV and he was half-assing through the drills. D’antoni was screaming at him to pick up his intensity, but Randolph did not respond. You could literally see D’antoni shake his head in disgust.

    by Wilpatyo on Jan 16, 2011 1:18 PM PST reply actions
    he’s got a really bad attitude. watching warrior games for the last bunch of years, he just seems like a guy who is all “potential” adn we’ll be saying tha tabout him in like 5 years still.

    by hans007 on Jan 16, 2011 3:17 PM PST reply actions
    I’d say pass I had no idea about the character issues and low work ethic. He is not the sort of guy I would like the Clips to go after.

    This league is hard enough to make it as it is.

    by WashtoLA on Jan 16, 2011 3:45 PM PST reply actions
    Well if he has low work ethic and character issues..than next please. We don’t want those kind of guys on our team.

  44. My theory on why Curry is having occasional issues, and some notable comparisons with Steve Nash:

    – Curry is just 22, and only in his second year. Nash didn’t reach double-digit scoring until age 26, in his fifth season (second under Don Nelson).

    – Curry’s college career was with Davidson, which means there were many games when he wasn’t challenged by the best competition. Nash’s college career was with Santa Clara, comparable to Davidson. I have a feeling this accounts for some of his passing turnovers, since those passes may have worked in college.

    Obviously, they both play point guard, the toughest position to learn. Unlike Nash, Curry didn’t even play PG for much of his college career.

    As much as it pains me to watch Curry struggle at times and to watch Keith Smart “Bobby Knight” him when he does, he has amazing skill. When it comes to shooting, it took Nash six seasons to reach Curry’s current scoring average.

    I vote to cut him some slack while he keeps blossoming before our eyes.

  45. And here is Bobby Knight on Curry (I posted the link on the other blog under “dgrad.”) But don’t just watch Curry, watch the team, how they move, how they look for the passes. Cf. the Warriors last year. The other comment often made about Curry is that he makes other players better–given the chance. He does screw up, but I sometimes wonder if often he doesn’t just get stuck with some of the offensive sets the team runs–no one moving, the lane clogged, nowhere to go. The point guard is the one who gets stuck when this happens. Maybe they should call team TO’s, as they do with rebounds.

  46. Chris Hunter update (Fort Wayne DLeague): out for the season because of torn achilles tendon.

    Story of injury here:

    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20101226/SPORTS0603/312269932/1008/SPORTS

  47. “As good a passer as has EVER played college basketball.” Thanks for the video, RGG. I can scarcely believe the noises I am hearing now that Curry is not a point guard. Led by that all-purpose ignoramus, Matt Steinmetz.

    As for Chris Hunter, my heart goes out to him. The article solves the mystery about why he’s not in the NBA this season. Apparently he sat out the entire summer to get over his knee tendonitis, and was just now getting back into shape, and expecting a callup. A darn shame. The kid can really play. I hope he has better luck going forward.

  48. maestro felt, many of us are aware of curry’s superiority as a shooter over ellis, but it’s the coach’s perception that matters. the ellis bandwagon places a premium on his ability to get his shots off, and his highlight drives to the rim. in the first half of the holiday matinee vs. NJ ellis has 12 pts. on 12 shot attempts [a lousy yield/efficiency, but they're leading so who's counting?], more attempts than curry and williams combined. smart seems to be compromising in the usual coach’s conundrum that only a finite number of issues can be adequately addressed, and ellis’ history suggests that re-engineering the team so he’s less ball dominant and accepts a smaller share of the shot attempts would be a difficult and likely fruitless project.

    on the other side of the coin, opponents know now they can neutralize curry by going after him when he’s on d, and ellis rarely gets into foul trouble because he frequently reverts to passive resistance.

  49. Felt,

    Check out the 4th quarter of the Clippers game if you have a chance. Griffin goes for 47 and Baron remembered how to shoot.

  50. New Jersey –

    Root canal. . . .

    Why can’t they just run away with a big win?

  51. I didn’t catch the question, but I assume it was about keys to victory today, and the first thing Smart said was they kept down turnovers (and these are what are getting Steph pulled from games).

    Man, I’m tired of hearing about turnovers. I’d rather see the team rack up a dozen turnovers if they push the pace and get other players involved instead of controlling the ball and not getting good shoots or much else going.

    Part of it is situation–Smart has to win each game to keep his job and still may not keep it. But Smart is so much about control and caution and it shows on the team. (I still like and respect Smart, and he’s probably a better coach than a great many coaching now, than many options the team will consider to replace him.)

    But if there was ever a game where the Warriors should have built on what they learned against the Clippers last Friday, this was it.

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