Disappointing game from the Warriors last night. But I’m not too upset about it, because I think Smart coached a good game, and I also think it was clear that the Warriors are going to be able to play with this very good Suns team, very soon. It was simply a case of every Warriors shooter going cold at the same time.
This Suns team, now starting to put it together after a blockbuster trade, is good. They’re on a 9-4 roll right now, including wins over the Knicks, Blazers, Hornets and a crushing victory against the Celtics. They present ridiculous matchup problems for everyone, not just the Warriors. This was a difficult night for David Lee in particular, as he was asked to guard Channing Frye out at the three point line. An impossible task for Lee. But not just for him. It was impossible for Kevin Garnett recently too. And it was impossible for Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in last years playoffs as well.
The Suns are also much better defensively than they’ve ever been, with the additions of Gortat in the middle, and Pietrus on the wings. With Frye playing the four, and Dudley at utility, they are long, fast and very, very skilled. It is highly possible that they’re once again going to be one of the best teams in the league in the second half.
I think Smart did a great job trying to make things uncomfortable for them. Cross-matching Monta and DWright on Hill and Carter, recognizing he needed to go small quickly and for long stretches, going to zone in the second half. That zone got the Warriors back in the game, and if someone, anyone, could have stepped up and hit a shot, this game might have had a different outcome.
The Warriors were 2-18 from three in the game. The Suns, 13-30.
Notes from Courtside:
I knew I was in for a special evening virtually as soon as I entered the Oracle. I descended the staircase into the “VIP lounge” (I’m messing up the names of these fabulous hidden places, sorry), and headed down a hallway to…. and there was Al Attles, shooting the breeze with a couple guys. I was still saying “Hey, that’s Al Attles!” to myself, as I turned the corner into the tunnel that lead to the floor, and found myself face to face with Larry Riley, coming the other way. All by himself, just me and him. I choked miserably in the clutch, and just smiled and walked by. I then emerged onto the Oracle floor, and there was… Tim Kawakami. Standing by himself, friendless, with a frown on his face. (Did he just get stiff-armed by Riley?)
Yes? No. It wasn’t the right time. I was there to enjoy myself! I just walked on by without introducing myself, or asking him why I’m banned from commenting on his blog.
Still not completely sure (or believing) where my seat was, I handed my ticket to an usher courtside. He walked me onto the hardwood, and pointed me to a seat at halfcourt. And there I met my charming host for the evening.
So that’s where I watched this game. With my feet resting on the hardwood at half-court, in quite literally the best seat in the house. Better even than Joe Lacob’s seat. He was around 8 seats from me, down by the free throw line, among the hoi polloi…
Wow! It’s too hard for me to describe all my impressions from the game, other than it was a great, once in a lifetime experience for this Warriors fan. Let me just offer a visual:
If you rewind your game tape to 7:42 4Q, just after The Nightmare sent Jared Dudley crashing to the floor with another epic block, you will see a carried-away feltbot giving Dudley the Mutumbo finger-wag from center court.
I think that sums it up better than I can put into words.
Giant shout-out to gswfan30, for kindly bringing me along for the ride. Thanks, Robert!