There was much to praise in Mark Jackson’s game plan last night, but he simply had the wrong lineup on the court in the fourth quarter and overtime. Landry proved that Howard couldn’t guard him in the first half, forcing Howard’s third foul. And yet when Howard has five fouls, this doesn’t cross Jackson’s mind?
Some element of flow coaching in Jackson’s decision to ride Jack, and not Curry. And ride Barnes, and not Thompson or Green. I don’t have a problem with that.
But the Warriors’ all-star center, David Lee, was made a complete spectator by Jackson’s uncharacteristic decision to ride Ezeli’s defense in crunch time. Was the moment too big for Jackson to stick with what won him the last 10 games?
Systems matter. And I’m tempted to say that Jackson suffered a failure of nerve at the end of this game. He allowed the Lakers to dictate matchups and style of play, rather than the other way around.
This is not meant to be a criticism of Ezeli. He was FANTASTIC last night, in his proven role to start the first and third quarters. Stopped all penetration, recovered to rebound. Gave Dwight Howard a physical pounding. Fantastic.
But Mark Jackson put him in a position to fail in crunch time. That’s the time when the Warriors’ center is going to be NEEDED for buckets, and buckets is simply not what Ezeli does.
A lot of rookie mistakes last night, particularly on the defensive end. But perhaps none so big as that made by the Warriors coach.
I have holiday commitments this weekend, so that’s all I’ve got for now.