The Sins of the Past: Warriors 95 Lakers 87

The Sins of the Past.

Two power-forwards slugging it out with seven footers on defense.  The high post and high pick and roll drawing them out of the lane on offense.  A spread floor opening the lane for swooping drives.  The fear of swooping drives bringing on a hard rain of deadly three-pointers.  The fear of deadly three pointers creating space for the pick and roll. Unstoppable guards given free rein to create havoc. A long defensive three to switch onto the best scorer. The swarming help. The gang rebounding. The outlets. The devastating fast break.

The Sins of the Past.                                                           

The speed advantage. The quickness advantage. The shooting advantage. The steals advantage. The passing advantage. The basketball IQ advantage.

The Sins of the Past. Nellieball.

Brought to you for a short return engagement by the injuries to Andris Biedrins and Acie Law.

PLAYS:

Ekpe Udoh:

  • 9:10 1st Q: Udoh tips an offensive rebound to David Lee for a layup. Ever see a rookie big man do this before? How about a veteran?  To say this kid thinks this game two steps ahead is an understatement.
  • 4:00 1st Q: Udoh stones a Gasol face-up iso, then blocks his jumper. How many times have you seen Gasol get his jumper blocked?
  • 2:30 3rd Q: Udoh stops Kobe Bryant at the free throw line and forces him to give up the ball to Fisher.  Udoh immediately chases the ball to Fisher at the three point line, and forces him to swing the ball to Barnes in the corner.  As Barnes drives baseline, Udoh beats him to the rim and changes his shot.  This quiet, unspectacular play was for me the most spectacular of the entire game.  I watched it 5 times. And I’m going to go back and watch it again.

I had a sense that Udoh would be this good, and stepped out and predicted it at a time when I risked looking ridiculous.  When, in fact, most were scorning this draft pick as another of Nellie’s follies (see eg., Adam Lauridsen: Fast Break Draft Party, comment 133).

Now I’m ready for another prediction:  Ekpe “The Nightmare” Udoh will radically change the face of this franchise. As soon as next year.

Thank you, Don Nelson.

David Lee:

  • The two-man game with Monta at 10:10 2nd Q. Two successive give and go’s resulting in a Monta layup.  The chemistry these two are displaying right now is extraordinary.  Why did we have to wait an entire season for it?  Why did we have to suffer through so many static Lee post-ups?
  • The high-post backdoor to Curry at 3:15 2nd Q.  Is there a better high-post big man in the game?

David Lee has now gone toe to toe with the three best power forwards in the entire league, in successive games: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol. And pwned them, successively.

Is that worth $80 million?

Right after the David Lee trade was made, I fought a battle over it with the ignorant Bay Area media who ultimately ran Don Nelson out of town (see eg., Adam Lauridsen: Randolph for Lee — How Bad Teams Stay Bad).

That battle is over.

Thank you, Don Nelson.

Dorell Wright:

  • 2:12 3rd Q:  Wright breaks JRich’s Warriors season record for made threes with a flat-footed bomb from the left corner.  And all of the great Bob Fitzgerald calls from this season came flooding back to me: “Dorell Wright is becoming a volume shooter now!” “It’s all on the perimeter!” “Missed corner threes become layups or dunks!” “The Warriors should be careful not to fall in love with the outside shot!”

Who could have predicted that Dorell Wright would have such a fabulous season?  Well, Don Nelson, that’s who.  As he told Greg Papa in his recent interview.

And feltbot, who is winning his fantasy basketball league largely because he drafted Dorell Wright on the recommendation of his favorite GM.

Thank you, Don Nelson.

Stephen Curry:

  • 6:20 2nd Q:  That wonderful half-court underhand lob to Al Thornton on the fast break.  Or as Jim Barnett put it: that “bocce ball throw.”  Hey Fitz! Was that a “one-handed pass”?

Thank you, Don Nelson.

Monta Ellis:

  • 0:40 3rd Q:  Monta drives full bore right down the gut of the Lakers’ defense, and beats their trees to the rim with a last-second decision to reverse the layup high off the glass.   Out of all the jaw-droppingly beautiful drives that Monta has made this season, this may have been the most beautiful. 10 from the Russian judge.

Thank you, God.

Lou Amundson:

  • 7:10 2nd Q:  Amundson chases down Shannon Brown from behind and blocks his shot (the forearm is part of the ball!).
  • 4:30 2nd Q: Amundson gets a perfect pick and roll feed from Curry, and finishes. It is a tragedy of this season that Amundson has gotten more of these opportunities than David Lee, because Lee has been used so infrequently at center.  Amundson in fact got another pick and roll opportunity in this game, and finished it as well. That’s a true rarity. A positive development, or just the bounce of the ball?
  • 1:24 3rd Q: Amundson rips a contested rebound away from Pau Gasol with raw animal ferocity. This is what Lou Amundson does best.

There is always an element of humor when Amundson plays. Do we really want to hear Jim Barnett leading the cheers next year, when Lou manages a 3-5 from the free throw line?

But this was hands down the best game of Amundson’s Warriors career.  He worked relentlessly against the Lakers bigs, and made them pay for cheating on the offensive end. In a true upset, he gets feltbot’s game ball.

Thank you, Joe Lacob?


29 Responses to The Sins of the Past: Warriors 95 Lakers 87

  1. WheresMyChippy

    I don’t know if I should be giddy about what’s to come or depressed about what could have been.

    It is strange to feel both at once though..

    Udoh impresses more an more each game. If he bulks up a little this summer and fine tunes his offensive game it’s easy to see him becoming the best player of his draft. Thank you, Don Nelson.

  2. Felty, those consecutive give and goes that got Ellis the layup were absolutely gorgeous. I mean pristine, perfect basketball, the Platonic form come to life. Playing Lee as the de facto pg was also something Nellie would have instituted from day one. Hopefully it will be the blueprint for the future.

    Have Lee man the middle and distract the opposing big, and let Curry and Monta get loose of screens and curls around them. It was extremely well executed and extremely effective. Ultimately a joy to watch. The best part? They couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn despite all the open shots and still won big. Why? The whole TEAM was into it because the ball was being shared, that translated into the defensive game as well.

    Too bad Smart figured it out so late.

  3. This is similar to what Gmoney wrote. Have you noticed that lately, David Lee isn’t playing the post any more? He’s positioned near the perimeter in triple threat mode to drive, pass, or take the midrange shot, which he has been hitting. Looks like Smart and/or Lee has finally figured out how to fit Lee into the team.

  4. It took Smart 7/8 of the season to figure out how to use Lee and to realize he does NOT belong in the low post.

    It took Smart 3/4 of the season to realize that hey, maybe I should start giving Udoh some run.

    It took Smart 1/2 of the season to quit trying to fit a round peg into square hole and quit feeding feeding Andris in the low post and then complaining as to why they get off to slow starts.

    Smart STILL doesn’t know how to utilize Curry effectively, though I did notice he started giving Curry more of the PG responsibilities after the AS break.

    Smart STILL doesn’t understand that he needs to scrap his motion offense and run predominantly pick-and-roll via Curry. With this group, it’s not an equal opportunity situation where everyone should touch the ball.

    It took me all but 10 games to realize this man needs to be fired…thank god his reign is coming to an end.

    LATER SMART.

  5. Curry and Udoh are the future of this team, with Lee, Monta and DW very nice pieces around them. Oh, and Amundson, the guy you’ve absolutely been roasting all season, has had several very nice games in a row, felt. He’s a nice guy to have come off your bench. We won bc our bigs are finally muscling up on folks at the defensive end of the floor. I have no idea why this didn’t happen 2 or 3 months ago. David Lee, in particular, suddenly looks like a different player. He’s shoving guys around for position underneath. Smart mentioned in his postgame that Lee and others at halftime of the Portland game said they wanted to take guard their players one-on-one. That type of mentality continued in the Lakers’ game. Did our players suddenly take things into their own hands? Finally!

  6. In fairness to Keith Smart, I retract a comment I made two weeks ago on this blog. I said that the Warriors big three — Ellis, Lee and Curry — held Smart’s future in their hands, were playing with a decided lack of intensity and commitment, and therefore it was clear they don’t want him back.

    The last three games have thrown that assessment into the garbage pail. The big three have played with intensity and focus, not only on offense, but on defense, where pure effort is half the battle. From this I must conclude (in order to be consistent, haha) that in fact they do want Smart back, and they’re playing hard in order to make a case for him to be retained.

    Why would this be happening? As Felty and others have observed, the Warriors have been playing Nellieball in recent games, and this suits the skill set of the team much better than the stolid formula of previous games. The players are responding beautifully. But why the change? Has there been a secret detente reached between the big three and Smart? Has Smart finally come to his senses and recognized that the way these guys and their teammates can win is to play Nellieball? Has Smart turned up the volume on his inner Nelson voice and turned down the volume on his inner Knight voice? Are the big three now fully on board with Smart because he’s had this conversion? Has the puppet master — Joe Lacob — played a part by quietly loosening the reins?

    This recent reversal is so extreme that I can’t imagine it happened by accident. There must have been some behind-the-scenes discussing and maneuvering we haven’t heard about yet, and the end result of it may be that Smart stays as head coach. I’m not sure I like this idea, but I certainly like the results of the free-flowing offense and sticky defense we’ve seen in the past week. We’ve got three more games to see how it pans out for this season. I’m watching with great interest.

  7. We’re all guessing, MWLX, but my take is the exact opposite. The team–and Smart–know he’s out, and Smart has turned them loose. Also I can’t believe these guys wouldn’t play all out no matter what. It’s who they are. And Smart has finally let them play the way they want to play and can best perform (read FB above). This has to be the case with Curry.

    The team started with great solidarity, which was strained by Smart’s coaching. They went through a run of something after the All Star break, and it showed on everyone’s face. And who knows what messages they, players and coach, got from above, from Lacob, who held everyone on strings if not by mandates, at least by his aloofness from who they are and what they can do.

    Watch Ellis and Lee especially, not just the way they are playing now, but by the way they look at each other and talk. Ellis wants connection and support, and something has started here that can last a long time, given a chance.

  8. Rumors of a coaching shakeup in NY: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/cal_to_the_bullpen_L33AvGz7jkmW3ClIRtwkNI

    Getting Mike D’Antoni would be unbelievably great for the Warriors.

  9. Felty, I agree, and it would show that Lacob has had a shift in thinking. Bottom line, if Monta, Curry and Lee are going to be your three stars, you have to run an offense that suits them. If you run an offense that suits them, you cannot be a traditional, strong defensive team. D’antoni knows this and knows Lee well. Given what he accomplished with Nash and and Barbosa, he would most likely maximize our Curry/Monta backcourt and his style of play and past success with it could lure guys who fit that system over to the bay. After watching the Warriors offense these past few games running and gunning, I really think our best bet is to ge a great offensive coach all while maintaining the level of defense we have developed over the course of this season. Add some serious depth, and watch D’Antoni mix and match and run a good, consistent, running offense.

    I can’t believe the rumors are that he gets dumped for Calipari. Thats just crazy talk .

  10. The NY front office sounds like a zoo. Hard to believe D’Antoni wouldn’t be attracted to players who hold these possibilities, to an enlightened owner who would stand behind him and allow him to develop them.

    One advantage to this season is that we got a chance to see Plan A and Plan B together, and realize that Plan A doesn’t work. If Lacob sticks to his Celtic model of basketball, he’ll have to gut the team and probably wait several years and still get lucky to make such a change. There’s so much in place now, ready to go.

  11. Nellie took D’Antoni to the shed. Can’t believe you want him to be our new coach. Ouch!

    Glad you finally saw the daylight with regard to Udoh after exposing that Biedrins start over Udoh. Not! You continue to say that Udoh is a come off the bench player. Not!

  12. Thanks Feltbot!
    True dat, Thanks Nelson! I truly enjoyed watching these last few games – probably since the OKC road game. It’s a darn shame Nellie couldn’t have led this team. Or that Coach Smart – couldn’t motivate and coach this way more of this season. Lee, properly utilized and motivated, can be an impact player in the right system.

    Gmoney – yes, Knicks owner Dolan is that freaking “crazy” to dump Walsh/D’Antoni for Isiah and Calipari… Anyone who listens to Isiah Thomas’ recommendations will ruin the three great players they do have… However, no chance Lacob were to hire D’Antoni – also a favorite of mine to coach this team – although D’Antoni may have belittled Lee’s athleticism here:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/antoni_takes_digs_at_lee_nuIB0TQaL9TIBrRCsZNzSP

    Here’s an outsiders view on how to fix the Warriors:

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=19375

    Now what to do with Smart?… I’m pissed that Smart waited this long to let the players play, but I’m even more afraid now of the W’s considering a Jeff Van Gundy-type coach…

  13. One thought about the sticky defense of the past few games:

    If players are fully invested in the offense, they like running it, get excited by it, are energized by it, then they’ll carry that energy back on defense because playing better defense means they’ll get the ball back sooner to play offense. In short, players who are motivated by playing an offense that allows them to succeed, are then motivated to play good defense. These days, most players don’t get energized by playing defense; it’s the other way around. I believe that’s what we’ve been seeing.

    This is a reversal of the standard NBA thinking — you must play good defense to succeed on offense. My theory can be tested for a few more games this season, but the thought of getting D’Antoni to coach this team in a Nellieball offense next year is almost too much to hope for. Jerry Sloan seems more likely to be available, and I don’t see him being a good fit. If there is a coaching search, we’re going to be in agony for awhile.

  14. what kind of team and coach does Chairman Joe truly want, that is the question. how did he view the re-make his friend Kerr did in Phx while d’Antoni was down there that tried to de-volve the squad into something more conventional? when he first took over, the Chairman’s comments seemed to reflect his disdain for the radical fast pace, score first game.

    for his part, is it really likely that smart learned and adapted, and gave up principles to which he appeared rigidly attached ? injuries to biedrins and law dictated his decisions, and there seems to be a different lee who has emerged as well, likely abetted by biedrins’ absence. if there was any player to whom smart would respond in terms of adjustments, would it not be the one of the owner’s favorites, the highest paid guy, and the most articulate of the established vets on the team ? the turning point might have been lee’s game vs. Orl.

  15. Feltbot, you made a comment on a previous thread about you probably winning your fantasy league. Congrats!

    You gave me advice at the beginning of the season( where I commented that having terrific glamor stats–3 pt, points, rebounds, assists–wasn’t enough for me to be in first place in fantasy) that it was easy to trade those glamor guys for players who could bring up my other numbers (blocks, steals, percentages.)

    Well, sometimes it is a good thing to not follow others’ advice, not panic and stick with one’s plan. As it turns out, having those great numbers in the 4 categories (of the nine) led to rarely ever losing a head-to-head match. I, better than 90% of the time, was able to pick up at least one other category and win 5-4 or 6-3. The consequence is that in 5 (supposedly) competitive leagues of 12 participants each, I placed first, first, first, second and third.

    It didn’t hurt a bit that I focused entirely on Western conference players in the draft. Lord knows where the other internet participants were from but they fought over the Eastern players and I drafted Monta, David Lee, Blake Griffin, Luis Scola and Stephen Jackson for all my teams . Add to that core a ‘star’ such as Durant, Carmelo, Deron Williams and Pau Gasol in the first and second round and mid-season acquisitions of Wesley Matthews and Kyle Lowry and I was golden almost across the board. There were a lot of turnovers and some shitty shooting percentages, but pissing those away in favor of the other stats proved to be winning strategy.

    So there you have all my secrets; I hope I didn’t bore your regular readers!

  16. “I hope I didn’t bore your regular readers!”……Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    OG, just kidding. BTW, did you by chance go to the game the other night when the Warriors smoked the Blazers? GSW usually never wins up there so watching that was pretty surreal.

    Speaking of the Blazers, I watched their game tonight against the Lakers and couldn’t get over how bad the Lakers are looking these days. They looked sh*tty against the Warriors but had a day off while Portland was playing last night in Utah so I figured they’d look much better but no way. Kobe is struggling and Gasol looks tired. The Western playoffs are looking more and more like a real crapshoot this year. Should be fun to watch.

  17. Congrats OG, that’s quite a record. I play in a rotisserie league, never played head-to-head. I would imagine the strategies would be quite different. I had a 10 point lead in my league and was snoozing last week. It’s down to 2 right now, and I just realized I have the wrong players in my lineup vis a vis my closest competitor. Hanging on by my fingernails…

    Steve, I wouldn’t worry too much about the Lakers, they’re resting for the playoffs.

  18. I’d also love D’Antonie here. I hope you guys know something about Lacob’s intentions that I don’t, ’cause I don’t see him doing it. Just guessing, of course, but if Mike D’ is shown the door in N.Y., I’d expect the Heat to scoop him up.

  19. Not recapping the Sacramento game…

  20. My highlight from the Denver game:

    Fitz at 10:00 1st Q: “This is where every rebound becomes critical!”

  21. Actually Fitz had a great idea. After Amundson and Nene got heated up, he suggested putting Adrien on him. This I wanted to see.

    Did I have a nightmare yesterday? I saw a blog theme that reminded me of a dark bar I stumbled into years ago.

  22. To improve by only 10 games over a 26 win season with this roster is in my mind a colossal failure. My grade would be much lower.

    I find it hilarious that the writer finds something to praise in the Warriors’ improvement in defensive efficiency from 111.7 to 110.9 points allowed per 100 possessions. How many more defeats were suffered in that statistical cause?

  23. Remember that last year’s team was loaded with D-leaguers because of the serious injuries suffered by regulars. A 10-game improvement, comparing this year’s roster with last year’s, is a major disappointment. And Keith Smart was quoted as saying only Warriors fans would be disappointed. The woeful cry of a man who has lost touch with reality.

  24. First thought on Bob Meyers as assistant GM:

    We haven’t yet heard any word from Lacob about what the team needs most, a sharp basketball mind with significant experience in the game itself.

  25. Pingback: Rookies: Denver Nuggets 107 Golden State Warriors 101 - Feltbot's Warriors Blog

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