If you don’t have a size advantage, where can you exploit them? That’s in the running game. — Jim Barnett
I’ve always been an advocate of the running game. Particularly when you’ve got this kind of club. — Jim Barnett
Don’t walk it up! — Bob Fitzgerald
Early offense! — Bob Fitzgerald
Jim Barnett has been subtly hinting all season long about the Warriors need to get out and run. Subtlety went out the window at the start of this game. Barnett hit it hard. And in this game, for the first time all season, Bob Fitzgerald kicked in on the chorus. I’m not sure where the Warriors announcers got their talking points for tonight’s game. Did it come from Joe Lacob or from Mark Jackson himself? I’m curious, because whomever it came from, Mark Jackson didn’t listen. The Warriors were facing a great team tonight, the Indiana Pacers, an extremely big team with a dominant half-court defense. And they let this team out-run them on their own court.
The Pacers outscored the Warriors 17-10 in fastbreak points. This was not due entirely to the 18-12 turnover disparity that favored the Pacers. The Warriors outscored the Pacers 22-14 on points on turnovers. What it had to do with is that the Pacers pushed the tempo. Not just after every turnover and rebound, but also when taking the ball out of bounds.
The kinds of things the Warriors should be doing all game long, but simply aren’t. Do you realize that the Warriors did not beat the 7-2″ Roy Hibbert down court even one time in this game?
And that disparity in free throws that plagued the Warriors in this game, just as it has plagued them all of this season and last? Believe me when I tell you that it had less to do with the Pacers size and inside play, than it did with the Warriors being forced to foul to defend the Pacers’ early offense drives to the basket.
Under Keith Smart last year, the Warriors were dead last in the league in free throws attempted. Under Mark Jackson so far this year, the Warriors are 18th in the league.
Under Don Nelson two years ago, playing with a short-handed midget roster of D-Leaguers, the Warriors were 11th.
It has to do with PACE.
To win basketball games, this Warriors team must do what it was designed by Don Nelson to do. They must do what the Denver Nuggets are designed to do, and are doing. They must out-run every single team in the league. After turnovers, after rebounds, run. And if you can’t get the rebound, run after made baskets.
The Warriors must run from the opening tip. They must run in the fourth quarter. And they must run every single moment in between.
Or they will lose.
I’m not all that inclined to diss Jackson after this game. The Pacers are a great team. And it was Curry’s first game back, and he was winded and tentative. And the second unit is pushing the pace a bit.
But it’s not enough. The Warriors are not pushing the pace enough, and if Jackson doesn’t wake up to that fact soon, it’s going to be another very long season.
He’s also going to have to wake up to the fact that to win basketball games with this roster, he needs to get creative. Do you happen to remember how Don Nelson guarded David West? I know, those tapes have all been burned. But we still have our memories, even if Joe Lacob’s staff doesn’t. Don Nelson guarded David West with Andris Biedrins, and used his power forward to guard the center.
Crazy Nellie, right? Except it worked.
I also happened to watch the fantastic Clippers-Timberwolves game tonight, because the Timberwolves are my new favorite team in the league to watch. Guess what that wily veteran coach Rick Adelman did in this game? He used Darko Milicic to guard Blake Griffin, moving Love over to guard the center Jordan. The result: Darko 22 points, 7 rbs; Griffin 21 points on 7-17, 10 rbs.
Adelman also played small the final three minutes of the game, with Love at Spread-Five. He played a two point guard backcourt of Ridnour and Rubio. Completely opening the court for the Timberwolves’ offense, which overcame a 7 point deficit to tie the game with less than a minute left.
And with 1.9 seconds left, Adelman designed an absolutely beautiful double-guard screen that got Kevin Love a wide open three to win.
In the post-game interview, Love made a point of congratulating his coach for his brilliant substitutions and play-calling. Ever seen that before?
That coach is Rick Adelman, the guy that Joe Lacob didn’t even deign to interview. Not a defense-first coach. Not the right guy to coach this team.
I’m just saying.
Monta Ellis: Of course, all the discussion will be about that last play. I’m not even sure what the right call should be. Hill definitely made a kicking motion as the ball contacted his foot, but I think it’s obvious that Monta would have dribbled off his planted foot regardless. Monta made a careless play.
Or maybe Hill and the Pacers read his mail? It is his pet game-ending move, isn’t it? The cross-over, dribble left and pull up from 18?
Maybe Jackson should have called a timeout, gotten his non-shooters Biedrins and McGuire off the floor, and designed a play.
I’m just saying.
Up until that point, Monta’s game was absolutely brilliant. Particularly in the fourth quarter, when Jackson had the wrong lineup on the floor, and the Warriors had no offense but Monta going one-on-one.
And also on defense, against the 6-8″ Paul George, who has been lighting it up this season.
Monta is a fabulous all-around player. I absolutely love his game. One day he’ll get his due.
When he’s on the right team, with the right coach.
David Lee: The Warriors post-game crew stated that Lee got outplayed by David West in this game. I think that’s bogus.
Lee simply didn’t have his shot going. He got away from West with ease, got himself wide-open all game long. He simply missed every jumper and virtually every layup as well.
But that didn’t stop him from working. He doubled West’s rebound total 14-7. And I think his team defense was superb, particularly in crunch time, when West went 1-4 with Lee guarding him.
Andris Biedrins: How many good games did we get out of Biedrins this season? He’s already weakened, as I predicted he would.
0-1 and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes.
It certainly doesn’t help that he’s playing in the wrong system. Beans could beat Hibbert down court all game long. If he were only allowed.
But the best thing to do is to simply get him off the court.
The Ballerina: My new nickname for Dorell Wright. I was planning to praise Wright in this game. He had a beautiful floor game, going against one of the NBA’s premier players, Danny Granger. And since my rant, he has shown an occasional propensity to drive the lane and take the foul.
But there was that godawful play at 3:20 2nd Q, that brought to mind his nearly identical play at the end of the Lakers game. Wright drove the lane, but when confronted by Hibbert under the basket, jumped straight up into a 360 piroutte to avoid contact, and turned the ball over.
The great Jim Barnett: “Go right into him and get to the line!”
The Spread Four: The Pacers don’t really need one, because both West and Hibbert are scorers that must be guarded. But they have one anyway, 6-9″ 228 lb. Danny Granger.
The Warriors still have none. Unless you want to count Dorell Wright, who took an absolutely punishing turn on West in the fourth quarter. Which led Mark Jackson to bring Biedrins back.
Stephen Curry: A long way from himself, but still great to see on the court. I have been praying to Buddha regularly about his ankle.
Just to make sure that base is covered too.
The Dominator: People, by which I mean Bob Fitzgerald, need to recognize that Dom is not a small forward. He is playing power forward for the Warriors virtually every minute he’s on the floor. Even when guarding Melo, he was playing four. Because that’s what Melo was playing.
8 rbs in 13 minutes. Mark Jackson, please take note. There are other options to putting the ghost of Andris Biedrins back in the game in the fourth quarter.
Nate Robinson: Love his energy. He’s just not a thinker. Nor a passer. In a backup point guard, that will wind up killing you on a lot of nights in the NBA.
Like this night.
The Nightmare: Apart from the 2 rebounds, a signature defensive performance against the Pacers weak second line. (Lou Amundson!)
I really wish his two pick and rolls with Nate had been completed. You know, the two that Nate threw out of bounds.
Klay Thompson: The kid can really shoot.
But they play a lot of zone when he’s in, don’t they?
Authentic Fan Friday: Anyone else struck by the name of this promotion? Like, you have to have a ticket to the game to be an authentic fan?
It kind of reminds me of Joe Lacob’s comment that bloggers weren’t true fans, because they weren’t season ticket holders.
Bob Fitzgerald: If every authentic fan had a ticket to the game, why would we need to be blessed by the golden tones of this man?
Come to think of it, why do we need to be blessed by the golden tones of this man? Isn’t that the great Greg Papa I now see gracing the Warriors’ studio broadcast? Anyone else reading something into this? Why would Papa take this job?
One can only hope. I am having serious difficulty keeping the sound turned up on the Warriors games. The only reason I still do is in the hopes of catching a perfect moment like occurred tonight, after Fitz started shrieking about the officials not hearing the shot clock go off.
Jim Barnett: “Hold on. It’s going to be fine.”
One can only hope.