Buzz-Saw: Hornets 112 Warriors 103

Once again the Warriors were dismembered by a veteran team currently playing great basketball.  No need to freak when they lose to a team like the Hornets, who are currently on a 10-0 run.

But there were a couple things to be disturbed about.  Beginning with Biedrins, of course.  This loss began with him.  It is clear that he will never again be the player he was, whether it’s because of chronic injury problems, as I suspect, or something mental. Whichever it is, the Warriors again found themselves playing 4 on 5 for most of the game.            

Which is why I believe that this loss ended with Keith Smart.  Is it fair to ask whether Smart’s close personal friendship with Biedrins is hurting the Warriors? Beans’ play in this game should not have been tolerated for more than a minute each half.  And Lou Amundson’s play should not have been tolerated at all.  By playing Biedrins and Amundson so many minutes, Keith Smart failed to ask these important questions of the Hornets: Can David West guard Vlad Rad out at the 3 point line?  Can Emeka Okafor guard David Lee out to 18 feet?  Can Okafor guard Monta and Curry with Lee in the pick and roll?  Can the Hornets deny penetration to Monta Ellis with West and Okafor pulled out of the lane?

Given the current construction of this Warriors team, these are the kinds of questions that must be asked whenever the Warriors match up with a frontline squad, if the Warriors hope to have a chance to win. And I don’t have to tell you that Don Nelson, and George Karl, and Mike D’Antoni, and Alvin Gentry, and Greg Popovich would have asked them.

A lot was made of the Warriors 23 TO’s in this game.  But no one really pointed to the reason why the Warriors are committing so many TOs against good defensive teams this season.  The reason is that Keith Smart is willing to play 4 on 5, and even 3 on 5, for long stretches of time.  The reason is that NOTHING IS OPEN.

Some comparisons were made between Chris Paul and Stephen Curry in this game. I say that comparison is unfair. Try making the comparison in a game in which Chris Paul doesn’t have a center to play pick and roll with, and Curry does. In a game in which Paul is playing 4 on 5, and Curry 5 on 4.

I’ll end with Udoh. If you are not willing to play Lee at center and Vlad Rad at 4 — which I cannot understand — then you simply must start playing Udoh in place of Biedrins and Amundson. MUST. Udoh may still be out of condition. He may still be confused on some sets.  He may still be too light and too weak after months of zero weight work. But the Warriors are desperate to have a center on the floor who can put the ball in the hoop. They are desperate to have a center on the floor who MUST BE GUARDED.

It is time for the Biedrins nightmare to end, and the real Nightmare to begin.

18 Responses to Buzz-Saw: Hornets 112 Warriors 103

  1. Biedrins is Keith Smart’s Alex Smith. Keith Smart’s dense nature is hurting the Warriors. The Biedrins PT thing is only one aspect of it.

  2. Agree with concept, Biedrins is a backup. However, admit the Dubs were flat in first quarter. Lee was cold, and so was Monta.
    Lacob looked upset the whole game, Im sure it didnt go unnoticed by the Dub bench. But as you say in your earlier posts, they may fall into the trap of getting a center and not strengthening the bench which has given little the past few games.
    How about getting Udoh to play more, and then going out and getting another scorer since Reggie needs backup when he cannot throw a pea in ocean. We need a three and not Kendrick Perkins (whom Lacob is thinking over, dont ya know it).

  3. No disagreement with your assessment, but I saw the game in a different light focused on the PGs — the damning difference between Chris Paul’s efficiency and Stephen Curry’s carelessness. Yes, Paul actually had one more TO (6) than Curry (5). But in seven fewer minutes of play, CP had 17 assists to SC’s 6, and he made his offense go. Meanwhile, Curry’s TOs were forehead slappers — two simple wing passes intercepted, a pass to the corner when no one was there, and a couple of passes into traffic that had no chance of reaching the recipient.

    That doesn’t even count the mediocre defense and — worst of all — the pouty demeanor. I suspect some of it has to do with Joe Lacob and Keith Smart messing with Curry’s head, and Smart’s coaching limitations. But if the result is for Curry to play like he did tonight, then the kid lacks maturity or character or both. Sure, he can shoot lights out. But it’s not enough.

    I’m beginning to think Curry is not now and never will be the next Steve Nash. Therefore, the thought of trading him has begun to creep into my mind, something that I was very much against before tonight’s debacle. He needs to grow up fast or we need to find a mature PG who can run the show. Not an easy task, but with Curry as trade bait, it might be possible.

  4. Hey Feltbot, can you do a video analysis of a play and tell me if my conclusion is correct? The play is in the 1st qtr, 8:59, an out of bounds play. It looks like the play ends up being is a pick and roll play between Monta and Biedrins. But to me, Biedrins fails to slip past his defender IMMEDIATELY when his defender starts paying attention to Monta. Instead, Biedrins LOOKS to screen Monta’s trailing defender, and in fact, LEANS over to try to screen Monta’s defender. Please tell me if you see the same thing.

  5. It appears Beans could have slipped that pick earlier but I’m not sure he’s supposed to. I noticed Jim Barnett chastised Lee for always slipping the pick rather than holding the screen later in the game.

    Note that Belinelli very cleverly grabbed Biedrins and prevented him from rolling on the play. That is what appeared to make Biedrins lean: he was struggling to free himself from Belli’s grasp. Of course, since Beans plays for the Warriors (and is Beans), no call was made.

    Speaking of pick and roll, did you notice the beautiful pnr that Curry and Lee ran near the end of the game, with the pick set not high, but at the foul line, and ending with Lee going right down the middle? That is the play I’ve been looking for all season long, and that Barnett immediately said we haven’t seen enough of this season.

    Why haven’t we? I’ll tell you why. It came with Lee playing with Udoh, who was spreading the floor. That, or Lee with Vlad Rad, is the lineup the Warriors have to get to as much as possible, and especially in crunch time.

  6. “No need to freak when they lose to a team like the Hornets”

    Well, when you claim that this is the stretch that you need to take advantage of–being at home for a month and a half–and you end up with a losing record (5-6) during that stretch, there is absolutely a need to freak out…or at least be livid with the results.

    I don’t care how well the Hornets are playing…you’re at home and you beat these guys a few weeks ago on the road…granted, they were not playing as well, but isn’t there any pride to maintain that advantage? It’s disgusting.

    Biedrins issues aside, I’m really entertained by how no one ever speaks about defense anymore. I remember Keith Smart saying “defense travels well,” as if it was a given that they were going to be a better defensive team just because they talk about it.

  7. With Udoh playing the last seven minutes, NO scored only eight points, and shot 3-8 from the floor. And it would have been even less if D.Lee would have stepped in and guarded Okafor when Udoh forced Paul to pass off toOkafor who then scored.

    Both in the first quarter and the fourth quarter, Smart had Udoh picking up his man at the foul-line, when he should by lingering in front of the basket so that he can get to anyone penetrating the paint. He probably should play a zone when Udoh is on the court.

    The Hornet’s scouted the Warriors well. As the Warriors predictable offense allowed for them to continually picked off passes to the wings when the wing players didn’t move to the ball.

    Ellis a few times dogged it getting back on defense. Smart should be adding new plays for each game. We have yet to see him install ally opps to his bigs on back door plays or the along the baseline.

  8. Smart has to not only start but must integrate Udoh into the offense. Udoh should be playing at least 30 plus minutes, and must shoot at least 12 shots per game. Even if he misses inside, if D. Lee and D.Wright go to the boards that should make some easy put-backs. With Udoh shooting, such will force our opponents to play 5-5 and free up our outside shooters.

    I don’t think Udoh is either weak nor tired. He’s much stronger the Biedrens,and seems to give it his all on every play. And it’s not that Udoh plays out of position, but rather that Smart has Udoh playing too far away from the hoop, thus diminishing his effectiveness.

    Smart needs to play B. Wright, and sit Amundson.

    Smart is coaching his way out of a job. By playing a limited offense, and by not putting his best players on the court, he has no future. And I say this even though in recent games, the Warriors shot more then 50% from the field.

    To bad that Lacob cannot swallow his pride and bring back Nelson to finish out the season. What Nelson could do with this team would marvel most posters.

  9. OG — Wes Mathews “did not practice Wednesday as he rested the sore right ankle that has been bothering him for a couple of weeks now.” I had a feeling it was something.

  10. Nice analysis. I haven’t visited you blog since you first started it but I’ll certainly be back. I’ve been campaining on other sites of the Warriors need to move Biedrins. At this point I would be willing to take cap relief in order to be free of the remaing 3 years and 27 million due. I can’t recall another player who has regressed as much during the years in his career where he should be on the rise. You used to be able to say he has value because he can block shots, play good defense and is an above average rebounder, but he doesn’t even due that anymore. Udoh should be starting alongside Lee. It’s time to take the training wheels off. Smart should be more focused on winning and saving his job than taking baby steps with Udoh. The kids 23 not 18.

    I said this before and I’ll say it here. Trade Biedrins and Law to Charlotte for Livingston and N. Mohammed. Mohammed’s 6.5 mil contact expires. So that would give the Warriors about 14 mil in cap space next year to pry a restricted free agent center (Gasol, Oden, Gordon) or an unrestricted free agent like Perkins. Livingston is signed for 2 more years at 3.5 mil. He has shown enough game to me this year to be that third guard behind Ellis and Curry.

  11. By the way, even Fitzgerald eluded to the need to start Udoh and sit Biedrins during the telecast last night. If that isn’t writing on the wall then I don’t know what is.

  12. Joe Lacob apparently just did an hour long interview with Gary Radnich, in which he put to rest our fears of Curry being traded. Apparently he said he wants to build around Curry and Monta, with a bigger shooting guard (who’s idea was that?) and a better inside presence.

    If this is true, Hallelujah! Here’s the link:

    I’m too busy to listen to this right now, but if any of you get the time, please post the particulars. Thanks!

  13. That’s what he said, except he left the possibility of upgrading the team at the cost of trading one of them open. He said it would have to definitely be something where they get value in return that would make the team better. A blanket statement that covers your fears, feltbot, and also gives rosterbaters enough to keep up with their fantasy trade ideas.

  14. @Feltbot:

    Yeah, without knowing how Keith Smart wants the play to be run, we’ll never know for sure if Biedrins was supposed to slip early. But I’m not entirely sure why they’d want Biedrins to stay on the screen when he has a chance to get by Marco and the other defender.

    And you’re right about Marco grabbing Biedrins and tangling with him. But it still kinda looked like Biedrins looked for the screen first, instead of trying to look to cut to the hoop. Annoyingly, Comcast OnDemand doesn’t have slomo playback, so I can’t be sure. I guess I’ll just chalk this up to another play that “suggests” Biedrins might be “hiding” on the pick and roll. By itself, I might have shrugged my shoulders on this play. Combined with my previous analysis when I heard Smart yell “Roll! roll! roll!”, my suspicions are still high.

    Also, for the Curry -> Lee play at about the 5:40 mark, to me, what made that play work was that Lee rolled to the basket AS SOON AS the opening was there. He didn’t try to screen Curry’s trailing defender the way Biedrins did in the “Roll roll roll” play.

    Interestingly, you’re right about Jim saying that he wanted Lee to hold the screen more often instead of slipping it. He said it right on this play. I tried to listen to what Jim said, but I got lost in the terminology.

  15. You can’t roll on every pick and you can’t always roll at the same time. You guys know that and the players know that. But for some reason, they haven’t been able to adapt to what the defense is giving them and executing the best play available.

    Hey, speaking of Biedrins, despite his limited FTA’s, his FT motion does look improved. Small sample size, I know. He just needs to look to get fouled. I think he can achieve this if he wasn’t in such a hurry all the time (again, this goes back to him being scared of contact, even though Keith Smart says no). He has some great little moves to get away from his defender and I’d say he’s missing about half those attempts at the basket. If he just threw in a pump fake, he would get to the line (and tack on a foul on his defender).

    How valuable would it be if Biedrins actually got the other team’s center in foul trouble before he gets into foul trouble? Rhetorical question.

  16. FB:
    About the Radnich interview–
    The sequence is intriguing. Lacob grants interview with TK. TK posts column to trade Curry. Lacob replies this is not his intent.

    Did TK overreach, or was the possibility of a trade a trial balloon Lacob let go?

    (I’d like to think that Lacob read some blogs between 1 and 2 but am not sure this is the case.)

    “Whichever it is, the Warriors again found themselves playing 4 on 5 for most of the game. ” It’s been this way all season. . . .

  17. It’s an absolute given that TK overreached. The guy is desperate for attention.