Small Again, Naturally: Warriors 96 Sixers 89

My schedule has been a bit crazy this holiday season, and will be through New Years, so please forgive the abbreviated recaps.

The most notable thing about this Sixers game is that Mark Jackson corrected his error of the Lakers game, benched his conventional centers in the fourth quarter, and went back to the crunchtime Nellieball lineup that has been responsible for so many wins this season.            

And as has been shown so many times before, the Warriors’ two-point-guard backcourt is virtually unguardable by conventional backcourts. And with a spread floor, David Lee and Carl Landry are virtually unguardable by conventional frontcourts. And with opposing defenses forced to scramble all over the floor to help, Klay Thompson at the three is…  not virtually unguardable, but quite literally left completely unguarded.

That, my friends, is a recipe for victory. Don Nelson’s recipe.

Fastbreak Points: The running game has been a real bugaboo for both myself and Jim Barnett the past few years. Simply because for the last three seasons the Warriors have had a running roster (despite Joe Lacob’s best efforts to destroy it with the Kwame Brown Era and the Andrew Bogut Myth), but have not been allowed to run by their rookie coaches.

There are signs — signs — that this is beginning to change. I’m seeing the guards beginning to leak out on occasion. I’m seeing David Lee — one of the top 5 outlet passers in the league — getting the occasional chance to throw an outlet pass. It’s still not close to where it should be, but it’s headed in the right direction.

A few weeks ago, the Warriors were 18th in the league in fast break points per game. They are now up to 12th. Last year, they averaged 13 fast break points per game. This year they’re averaging 14.4. And in the last three games, despite getting only 9 last night, they are averaging 19.

What should they be averaging? Houston is leading the league at 18.4. The Nuggets, 18.2. Clippers, 17.7. OKC 16.4.

Is there any reason why the Nellieball Warriors, possessed of the best shooting wings in the entire league, should be pushing the tempo less than these other teams?

No there is not. Unless of course your agenda is to show your boss a low “Field Goal % Against” stat at the end of the year.

I will have something to say about that completely bogus stat — which as of late has been much ballyhooed by the Warriors PR machine — in a later post.

Jarret Jack and Stephen Curry: It’s pretty amazing what Jack can do when he’s allowed to look for his own shot, isn’t it? And it should be noted that on most nights, Jack has the far easier matchup on the offensive end. Curry is being guarded by the point guard, Jack by the two guard, and you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of two guards who can guard point guards in this league.

Remember the theory that Monta had to be traded because the Warriors backcourt was too small? Hah. Remember the theory that Monta had to be traded to get the ball back in Curry’s hands? Hah.

Monta was never the problem with this team. Never.

David Lee: Empty stats? Lee carried the Warriors in crunch time last night, just as he could every night when Jackson gets the crunch time lineup right.

It was a crime that Jackson forced him to watch on the wings in the Lakers game as Curry tried to run pick and roll with Ezeli.

And it was a crime that Lee wasn’t featured in pick and roll offense for two long years.

Klay Thompson: Not the best night from Klay, but not the worst either, as he went 4-7 from three.

3 assists, and many of his best passes, coming off the dribble, were either fumbled or not finished.

Carl Landry: Anyone else noticing that his jumper has stopped falling? That has severely limited his usefulness to the Warriors in the last few weeks, and led to Green taking some of his fourth quarter minutes.

He was great around the hoop last night though, in a good matchup for him against Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown and former Warriors-killer Thaddeus Young.

And he spreads the floor just enough to give David Lee room to operate.

Kwame Brown: Thank god some other poor team is having their Kwame Brown Era, and no longer us.

I see those 8 rebounds and that +4, but watching the game I felt that every minute he was on the floor Doug Collins was blowing his team’s chance to get back in the game.

And he did.

Andris Biedrins: It’s nice to see Beans enjoying a healthy stretch of games.

Festus Ezeli: Jackson has correctly stopped trying to post up Ezeli, and instead is trying to run pick and roll with him. Unfortunately, in the last couple of games Ezeli has been simply unable to catch the ball. Curious, as his hands looked pretty darn good earlier in the season.


The Brand: Earlier this year I uncharacteristically begged off pronouncing judgement on the lottery pick for whom Joe Lacob tanked an NBA season. I needed to watch a few more games.

I don’t need to see any more. My analysis will be dropping shortly.

Last night’s game was like many others we’ve seen from Barnes this season. One play in particular stood out to me, I think in the 3rd Q, if you want to hunt it down. Barnes got inside position on a rebound, timed his jump perfectly to get it, but had it simply ripped from his grasp by the player behind him.

Bobby Knight would note that he went up for it with one hand.

Happy New Year everyone!

123 Responses to Small Again, Naturally: Warriors 96 Sixers 89

  1. The score still was close, but, as you say, it got close not because they played small and gave up points but because that unit didn’t score points, especially 4th quarter, where they were stagnant. Something similar happened in the Laker game, when they again gave up a substantial lead.

    I still wonder if they’re making best use of that lineup. Half court, control offense led by Jack, with Curry passive, doesn’t seem to be working.

  2. Thanks Felt! Happy New Year!
    Agreed with most everything. Nellieball/smallball rules!

    RE: Curry/Jack backcourt

    “…you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of two guards who can guard point guards in this league…”

    So true, and building on this – one can also count the number of point guards on one hand who can consistently guard two guards.

    Jarret Jack guards two guards fairly consistently, and likely better than he does quicker point guards. Jarret Jack, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, types… This tandem is working well.

    Monta “was never the problem with this team?”

    Monta who? I just checked twice and there’s no Monta on the W’s roster. Hehe! (again, I’m baiting our friend White Hat here LOL!)

    I’m only a simple man. Someone smarter than me has to explain how there’s no more Monta? And the team is actually winning? How is this even possible? How can this be?

  3. RE: Celtics game tonight

    Last year, the Celtics Perkins/Garnett chose to physically intimidate David Lee by knocking him to the ground and then sneering in his face (why this wasn’t a technical on top of the foul was beyond me – and we were in the Oracle!). That was the Charmin-soft Golden State Warriors of last year.

    I hope David Lee brings his A game…. Payback is a *itch.

  4. Agree that the offense has to run through Lee in the fourth quarter, including the pick and roll.

    Against most opposing teams, the Warriors small ball performs better than if we played a big line-up. But that only indicates that that both Ezeli and Biedrins are not not very good defenders.

    Biedrins has improved dramatically with the new defenses employed this year. He now doesn’t have to provide as much weakside help, as the wings now double down at times. Allows him to stay with his man. Opposing team’s are no longer shooting 60% from the floor was they did last year when Biedrins was on the court.

    The Warriors have improved their shot distribution over last year. Now, by and large, the guys who should be taken the most shots are taking the most shots. As of right now, the Warriors two best players are Lee and Curry, followed by Jack, Landry, and Thompson.

    Ellis had to go. He’s not an efficient scorer. Didn’t shoot three’s particularly well, hogged the ball, and played lazy in games. Had a negative rating, and skirted practices by feigning injuries. And he’s not doing well this year. Jack’s much better. The only question is whether we received any value for Ellis given Bogut’s being unable to play.

    Thompson is basically a three point shooter. He’s making two’s have declined from last year.

    Ezeli, may well in fact, have bad hands. Need to see more.

    Landry’s jumper has disappeared, but his ability to get to the foul-line has not.

    Barnes, on drives, twice last night banked the ball off the glass. Hasn’t done that before. Guess the Warriors have been reading this blog.

    It appears that you are about to say the Warriors drafted the wrong guy. If so, who would you have drafted?

  5. Halftime in Milwaukee:
    Bucks 56
    Heat 44
    Jennings and Ellis going to town. Monta with 11 pts, 5 ast, 1 to, 2 st. Udoh with 2 bs in under 9 min. Nice game.

  6. It was nice watching the game with you last night … I think tonite will be a continuation GS92 BOS87

  7. GM@5

    No one in the East will want Milwaukee in the first round. Including the world champs.

    Easily the deepest team in the league. With versatility to rival San Antonio’s.

    Larry Sanders, 15th pick in 2010, probably the best young center in the league.

  8. Monta as good/better than DWade?

    • warriorsablaze

      Prime example of why his personality alone was reason enough to move him.

      • Kobe has personality? I don’t watch the NBA for the mentality. I have watched Monta Ellis win games, and carry the team on his back on occasion. He also had the misfortune of playing with half of a NBDL team.

        He doesn’t come from the ‘right neighborhood’, and that does offend some people, but not me. I hope he kicks it this season and the future.

        Below is a clip of his 48 points off the Thunder last season, ok, Ellis didn’t walk on water, ya got me there. But Bob Fitzgerald does a great job describing it!

        • warriorsablaze

          I don’t care about whether I like him or not… or whether he came from “the right neighborhood” (is this your attempt at calling people who don’t like Monta racist? Pathetic.) I care about winning, team basketball. Monta can be amazing, but when someone has an unrealistic opinion of himself (cue above video) then they tend to apply that to their game. Curry is CLEARLY a better player by pretty much all measures, yet Monta never deferred to him and we were worse for it. Monta is 6th man scoring spark plug for a good team… any bigger role than that and he is hurting you.

          • Monta Ellis is a team player, your post talking about his personality does not take away from that.The fact that Steph Curry is a very good team basketball player doesn’t change that (NBA success is not a zero sum game). It was your post justifying the trading Monta Ellis “on personality alone”, you don’t like him. Don’t walk away from the post.

            He makes $11 mil per year, and likley will make more next year because he is a very good NBA player. Tonigh he scored 30 and nine assists. At the two guard with nine asists, I would say his team values him.

            I’ve seen many a Dub game in person inwhich they over achieved and won. Ask D-Rose and your aforementioned D Wade about the last two years in Oakland.

          • Monta Ellis leads NBA two guards in assists this season. Ahead of Wade. He is behind only LeBron James among non point guards for assists.

            Monta Ellis is 12th in steals and 12th in points per game, averaging almost 20 points a game. If you watch any Bucks games (you should really subscribe to the NBA league pass), Ellis defers totally to Brandon Jennings on offense. Yet Ellis has better overrall stats than Jennings.

            Ellis essentially was traded for Bogut and Jefferson neither of whom have played very much this season. Naysayers of Monta clearly wish to ignore the above numbers.

            Lets agree on this: Warriors versus Bucks in the Finals!

      • Monta does not have the personality and likabilty of a Joe Lacob.

        I have seen him interviewed as well. I also saw Joe booed at the Oracle last year. Why did those stupid Warrior fans boo Lacob?

        Thank the Baby Jesus he doesn’t dare venture out to midcourt to speak to the fans anymore.

      • Amazingly – the W’s team is playing better WITHOUT Ellis than WITH Ellis…

        Either this – or Lacob, Meyers, and Mark Jackson are Owner/GM/Coach of the Year!

        Dwayne Wade > Monta Ellis, no matter what “Ellis” dreams.

    • Ellis and Wade had almost identical personal stats last year. Look it up.

      • warriorsablaze

        Really? Monta averaged less points in 4 more minutes per game…shooting 43% while Wade shot just shy of 50%. There’s also a part of basketball called defense. They are not even in the same league even as Wade starts to decline.

  9. warriorsablaze

    Though the party line was that Monta had to go because of the small back court, it was really his style that made it time to go.

    Jack can guard 2’s… even Curry can guard 2’s OK… Monta can’t guard anybody. Jack puts up too many iso’s for my liking (currently playing way above his career %’s , so I’m not sure it’ll hold up, but hoping), but his game is not similar to Monta in any way. We don’t get this Curry with Monta. We don’t get this offense. We don’t get these wins. Period. Monta can get you some exciting games, but he’s barely shooting 40% and 24% from 3… he gives away more than he scores on most nights.

    • Monta and Captain Jack are both free agents at the end of the season. Proof in the pudding will be who is more sought after.

      Warriors gave Monta up for Bogut and Jefferson. Me thinks the Warriors could have gotten more. Last night, Ellis played a team game at the 2 guard and had nine assists. He also was a decoy on offense as he stayed in the corner where Wade had to guard him.

      Feltbot, good call on Larry Sanders, he is coming along nicely for the Bucks.

      What do the Warriors have in common with the Bucks? Neither teams misses Andrew Bogut!

      • Monta Ellis is NOT a free agent at the end of the season. Ellis has an Early Termination Option for 2013-2014 for $11 million. Thus, once Ellis makes his intentions on re-signing or not known, Milwaukee will likely either re-sign Ellis (Ellis could just play out his last season, but not likely if he could do better) or TRADE Ellis to a team willing to re-sign him.

        • The Bucks wouldn’t do Ellis for Bogut straight up.

          “Warriors gave Monta up for Bogut and Jefferson.”

          Even WORSE – Monta Ellis + Ekpe Udoh + Kwame Brown’s $8 million expiring for an injured Andrew Bogut and a big-time disgruntled STEPHEN JACKSON (not Jefferson).

          • Article from the Milwaukee Sentinel:

            Bucks want to keep their dynamic duo together for years:

            Both are proven dynamic scorers. They have the ability to attack their defenders off the dribble or bury perimeter jumpers if given too much cushion.

            They’re also far more willing passers than they’re given credit for. Both have been considered offensive black holes, but that’s an oversimplified reaction to studying more box scores than game films. They’ve both been their teams’ best offensive players, so coaches have called their numbers and teammates have deferred to their talents.

            Defensively, both use their quickness to attack loose dribbles or lazy passes. And their natural gambling instincts are given leeway in Skiles’ system. When Ellis or Jennings guess wrong, the Bucks have long rim-protecting presences behind them.

            The NBA has been and continues to be a star-driven league. Milwaukee has two on their roster for the first time since Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson occupied the Bradley Center locker rooms.


            Bogut/Jefferson for Ellis/Udoh – Bucks got the better of the deal for sure.

  10. Video: Celtics with lots of problems, not the least of which is all that gray in those beards.

  11. This game much easier on the eyes tonight, although I will briefly b*tch about the Warriors trying to turn FestusE into a “scoring machine” by passing him the ball WAY too flippin much in the post.

    It’s now pretty obvious that his hands leave much to be desired, and since you pass and shoot with your hands, bad things usually soon follow after FestusE gets his mitts on the ball. Let him dunk the put-backs on misses otherwise STOP PASSING HIM THE BALL (and just another reason why GSW will be so much better when Bogut returns)!

    Also, Steph has been better than really good so far but he’s got to cut down on those sloppy passes in traffic. His carelessness gave Boston some life ending the 3rd period, but as usual, Capt Jack to the rescue in the 4th. And too many left hand passes from Curry, as well. Forget about Sportscenter highlights, just make the smart and simple play.

    OK, I’m through with my spoiled-ass b*tching, not go kick some Clippers butt next week. :)

    Game recap from

  12. @7

    feltbot | December 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply


    No one in the East will want Milwaukee in the first round. Including the world champs.

    Easily the deepest team in the league. With versatility to rival San Antonio’s.

    Larry Sanders, 15th pick in 2010, probably the best young center in the league.


    Felt, the Bucks to this point are one of those “nice teams from the East” that benefits from playing in that “other conference”. Frankly, if they were based in the West they’d be a lottery team.

    Milwaukee has thus far played 8 games vs Western Conference teams and has lost 6 of those games, with their 2 wins coming against New Orleans (they also lost to NO) and Sacramento.

    To say they put up any kind of fight in their 6 losses would be a huge stretch of the truth when you consider that even including those 2 wins vs a couple of Western bottom feeders, they only averaged 92 points while giving up an average of 102 points in those 8 games outside of the East. And once they lose Monta Ellis? No thanks.

    • BTW, speaking of the Bucks, here’s an interesting bit of speculation on when Bogut will be back and playing……..the Warriors visit Milwaukee on Jan 26. Just sayin’.

  13. Felty, you know how much I love watching Monta play.. He definitely has energy, but his focus winds down , especially back to back games.(Playing the next day)Milwaukee only won one back to back game witch was against Detriot.. Tonight’s game Milwaukee vs Pistons I predict that the Pistons will cover and the game will be under due to the Bucs not scoring above their average. The line Det -3 o/u 192

    • yer on

    • In fact, now that Milwaukee has just gotten several shooters back from season long injury, I think their offense will be much more efficient going forward. And I think the bookies may be behind the curve for the next few weeks. Go Bucks!

  14. Great game last night. Boston had so many more possessions than the Warriors by garnering more offensive rebounds and committing less turnovers.. Nevertheless, by holding Boston to shooting less than 40%, and the Warriors shooting more than 50%, they won handily.

  15. What Boston most shows us is how wide open the NBA is now, how much other teams have declined. There are only maybe six teams to be feared when once there were a dozen.

    If the Warriors were in a position to make some kind of deal come trade deadline, they could think about the playoffs seriously and continue building to ensure success next season. I’m thinking a true veteran with versatile skills, 2-3, maybe an undersized 4, simply because those are the only players likely to be available. Such a player could shore up the second unit, maybe help bring the rookies along, offer more options, and simply spell the other players more and fill in in case of injury. (A capable Jefferson would have made a difference.)

    I don’t think it’s impossible to contemplate a 4 or 5 seed in the west, not because they’d be better than a team like Memphis or even the Lakers, but because they would have played more consistently the entire season, thus have more wins. And they’d be better poised to keep up with teams like Denver, Minnesota, and Houston who yet have potential, should they emerge.

    A true difference maker is just unlikely. He won’t be available or affordable. But he might also be a mistake. Many of the teams are banking on one player—NY, as long as Melo holds out, which is uncertain; Chicago, who fell apart when Rose went down.

    And of course they’re not in that position. They don’t have any money or tradable pieces.

    Lacob prides himself on his “gambling,” most notably the Bogut trade. What the trade forced him to do, inadvertently, was make unglamorous yet competent and affordable acquisitions—Jack and Landry—and overlooked draft picks, none of them fitting the molds of what teams were looking for. Yet it is those picks that have given the team its depth and stability.

    • “Lacob prides himself on his “gambling,” most notably the Bogut trade. What the trade forced him to do, inadvertently, was make unglamorous yet competent and affordable acquisitions—Jack and Landry—and overlooked draft picks, none of them fitting the molds of what teams were looking for. Yet it is those picks that have given the team its depth and stability.”

      Yep, thank goodness for those inadvertent trades, FA signings and draft selections, which of course has led to 21 inadvertent wins in the first 31 games of the season.

      As the great John “Hannibal” Smith once said, “I love it when an inadvertent plan comes together”. That makes two of us, John, and thank you, Mr. Lacob. LOL

      • The only thing “inadvertent” was the “microfracture” in the ankle surgery! LOL!

        And when Andrew Bogut’s ankle surgery EVER heals, the W’s will have one of the top defensive players in the NBA – added on to an already clicking 21-10 squad.

        And perhaps Joe Lacob – will seem a lot smarter than the professional gamblers – who banked on the Warriors failing miserably.

  16. AB @14

    Pistons 96 Bucks 94.

    Monta Ellis 30 pts and 9 assists on a night in which not one single other starter showed up for the Bucks. Monta single handedly kept them in the game.

    And by the way, his defensive matchup in this game was with the 6-8″ Kyle Singler. 2-11.

    Loses focus on back to backs? That’s not what I’ve seen in his career. He’s one the NBA’s true iron men, and one of the best back-to-back players in the league.

    He’s playing as well, right now, as any point guard in the league. Despite having to go 2 on 5 every night in a starting lineup that can’t shoot a lick.

    I will accept payment in Chipotle rice bowls.

    • feltbot | December 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply

      “No one in the East will want Milwaukee in the first round. Including the world champs.

      Easily the deepest team in the league. With versatility to rival San Antonio’s.”

      Then, 24 hrs later:

      “Not one single other starter showed up for the Bucks”

      “Despite having to go 2 on 5 every night in a starting lineup that can’t shoot a lick”

      Felt, why do I feel like I’m “listening” to someone talking out of both sides of his mouth after reading these two posts? One minute it’s, “Watch out for Monta and the rest of his San Antonio-of-the-East teammates”, and the next it’s, “Wow, if only Monta had more help from his can’t-shoot-a-lick teammates he might have a chance to win more games”. LOL

      • TheOriginalTruth


        Thank you as I have said many times before Feltbot is a FLIPFLOPPER!!!!! You wont get a response from feltbot because he is hiding under a rock. When Feltbot is called out and exposed he either ignores it or deletes the post. I have seen quite a few posts that exposed the Felty as fraud be deleted from this blog.

        • TheOriginalOriginalTruth


          How would you know if Feltbot deleted entries? He doesn’t delete yours apparently.

          Kirk, or Lacob, or Adam L whoever you are, why don’t you publish your ‘deleted’ posts again. Substantiate don’t just attack.

          • TheOriginalTruth

            Because I have photographic memory and I read the blog and see posts vanish. It’s called an eye test maybe you should get one.

        • TheOriginalTruth

          Maybe its your views on basketball!

      • “In fact, now that Milwaukee has just gotten several shooters back from season long injury…”

        Don’t see the inconsistency there, myself.

        Ellis was by far the best player on the Warriors for at least the last 2 seasons, on offense AND defense. In that time he was the ONLY player on the team who could, and repeatedly did, shut down his man-to-man opponent on D. Check his defensive work last year against Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams – and tell me anyone on the Ws current roster who could do that. The difference this year is that this year’s team plays team D. We’ve never seen that in these parts before. Ellis wasn’t the Warriors’ problem, TEAM defense sucked.

        On offense, name ANYONE else on last year’s team who could consistently score at will. His coaches always called for Ellis isos and final shots simply because he was the best choice. He even led the team in assists and steals. And minutes played – tops among all guards in the league for several years running. A big accomplishment all by itself.

        I don’t get the Ellis hate. As far as I can tell, the Ellis haters out there are ignoring his contributions and focusing on his public image or something. Jarrett Jack is a fine player, and he works the microphone well. Monta Ellis is a better player. This year’s team would be better with him on it. It’s just too bad he didn’t get the chance to play with a well-coached Warriors team.

        • “I don’t get the Ellis hate. As far as I can tell, the Ellis haters out there are ignoring his contributions and focusing on his public image or something. Jarrett Jack is a fine player, and he works the microphone well. Monta Ellis is a better player. This year’s team would be better with him on it. It’s just too bad he didn’t get the chance to play with a well-coached Warriors team.”


          I’m not feelin’ any “hate” for Monta from reading other posts, just a general opinion from those who are happy to see Ellis playing elsewhere that GSW is a better team without him, and I agree with those sentiments.

          IMO, while Monta is obviously a wonderfully talented individual, that’s also his ultimate problem, the fact his skills translate better individually than they do team-wise. And what better proof than what happened after the trade.

          The Bucks were battling for one of the last playoff slots in the decidedly easier Eastern Conference, yet despite adding Monta (and Udoh) they only finished 13-11 in their last 24 games, and missed the playoffs.

          Now, fast forward to the new season, and any further team improvement is barely discernable after their first 29 games. Milwaukee is a less-than-impressive 16-13 in the weaker East, and while they did manage an upset win over the Heat, they’ve also found a way to lose to Charlotte, New Orleans, Cleveland and Detroit.

          In summary, despite Monta now playing in the inferior conference, and on a team that Felt says (at least from one side of his mouth) is “easily the deepest team in the league. With versatility to rival San Antonio’s”, the Bucks continue to plod along at a win/loss rate (5 games over .500 in 49 post-trade games) that doesn’t exactly equate to bigger and better things in the future. And given all these numbers you’re (Milwaukee)gonna pay Monta max numbers in a new contract extension?

          Monta has already said he’s not interested in coming off the bench, which further questions his future goals. Is he more/only interested in winning, or in his personal/individual stats?

          The recent video of Monta has him talking about HIMSELF vs DWade, and who’s the better PLAYER. That makes for a nice little one-on-one debate, but again that seems to be the problem with Monta and arguing his ultimate worth to a team.

          There’s no question about the individual numbers he puts up almost nightly. In that regard, I can’t blame the Monta supporters for going there with their pro-Monta arguments given the fact that the (Milwaukee) TEAM numbers since the trade haven’t been much to brag about.

  17. Lets see last time I added 96&94 is less then 192.
    An L is on their record after last night BIG win.. Back to back…NOT SO MUCH.. Going dutch

  18. 2013 Resolutions for the Dubs

  19. From MTII twitter:

    Monta Ellis named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Avg’d 21.3 pts, 8.3 asts, 4 stls as Bucks went 2-1 (beat BKN, MIA) #MontaHaveItAll

  20. Talkin’ Warriors hoops on 95.7FM The Game:

    Gary St Jean

  21. Here’s something to keep in mind the next time Joe Lacob’s love of quantitative analytics as it pertains to running an NBA franchise is brought to question: “My NBA Predictions for 2013” (

    “Yet another analytics-driven team will win the NBA title. Since 2004, five franchises (Heat, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers and Mavericks) have won an NBA title. All five scout, coach and/or make personnel decisions as informed by analytics, and this season’s eventual champion will almost certainly follow suit. Miami and Oklahoma City are the favorites from each conference, and both run quiet, diligent forays into the quantitative side of the game. The Spurs and Grizzlies are also very much a part of that conversation, with the former being among the most numbers-savvy team cultures in sports and the latter having recently hired stat-head John Hollinger as vice president of basketball operations. Odds are good that one of those smart, analytics-inclined teams walks away with the Larry O’Brien trophy this season, in only the latest example of new-wave thinking making a significant difference in the way basketball operations are run.

    • What a sublimely stupid prediction, what a wonderful example of the post hoc egro propter hoc fallacy. Using the same logic, it could be argued that the winning team wears socks and eats meat.

      Let’s see. What are the other factors? The Heat, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Mavericks, and Thunder since 2004 have had the top coaches, most intelligent veterans with much experience, and the bulk of the franchise players in the NBA. The SI author, btw, assumes all these teams were “analytic-driven.”

      David Berri takes on Hollinger, replying to this question:

      4) The Grizzlies released their scouting department when they hired Hollinger. Do you believe that any stats system by itself is appropriate for an NBA team?

      Short answer: No

      Here is a longer answer…

      Teams would make better decisions if they fully understood how the numbers they see in the box score translate into wins. That being said, you have to do more than just measure past performance.

      Let me repeat something that was said in The Wages of Wins in 2006:

      “…one cannot end the analysis when one has measured the value of player performance. Knowing the value of each player is only the starting point of analysis. The next step is determining why the player is productive or unproductive. In our view, this is where coaching should begin. We think we can offer a reasonable measure of a player’s productivity. Although we have offered some insights into why players are productive, ultimately this question can only be answered by additional scrutiny into the age and injury status of the player, the construction of a team, and the roles the player plays on the floor.”

  22. Top 10 NBA Dunks of 2012

  23. Do the 2012-13 LA Clippers and their now 17 game winning streak remind you of any recent NBA good-but-far-from-great team? How about the 2007-08 Houston Rockets? They were a very ordinary team with a very ordinary record of 24-20 when all of a sudden they absolutely could not be beaten, winning their next 22 straight games.

    The streak began on January 29, 2008 with a win against (guess who?) the Warriors, and ended on March 18 with a loss to the Celtics.

    The Rockets returned to normalcy soon thereafter and were a quick one-and-done in the playoffs, losing in the first round to Utah, 4 games to 2.

    • Good stuff, Steve. Also the Monte Ellis analysis above. And all your other recent stuff.

      Was kinda thinking the W’s were gonna run into the Clippers buzzsaw and it wasn’t gonna be pretty.

  24. Happy new year we missed you guys also..Hey felty this is my run down of all the games today… Went to work this morning and they figured I was not needed( my other job:)..)
    Wash+4..Nowitzki still not ready.. Crawford playing
    Det-61/2 U197… Even out sac 1 for 12 on road
    Port+9… Even thou stoudemire playing not(off the bench) not fitting in yet..Anthony might not play
    New Orleans +2.. Atlanta no legs
    LAC pk …hope I’m wrong on that one :)
    76 ers +81/2.. They will give LA a hard time with 3pts shooting

    One dollar a game till one losses enought to buy lunch.. I pic you book!!

  25. Look back I’m 3 out 4 so far.. Do the math .. Plus it’s not legal to take juice!! At least on record

    • Huh? I only started booking the Bucks game.

      But actually, I should lay u juice just to have the privilege of having u pick the games.

      So OK, we start even from here, at even money. Good luck, sucker.

  26. Which brings us to a part of the show we call PREDICTION TIME.

    Over the next 12 games (a very challenging part of the schedule), what will the Warriors W-L record be?

    Calling all posters to make your prediction for games between Jan 2 thru Jan 26.

    2- v LAC
    5- @ LAC
    9- v Mem
    11-v Por
    16-v Mia
    21-v LAC
    23-v OKC
    25-@ Chi
    26-@ Mil

    I’m gonna say 5-7 with losses against LAC (3), SA, Mia, OKC, & Mil.

    But if they can pull off 6-6 or better, then the W’s (with no major injuries) are playoff bound.

    The Oracle energy at Wed’s game will be crazy, especially if the Clips still have not lost and the W’s can keep it close.

    • Brytex, I’m gonna say 6-6. As you said this is a tough stretch of games coming up but I think the Dubs will be up for the challenge and do OK. Highlights? I think they’ll beat LAC at least once more which would mean no worse than a split of their season series (You think they’re losing ALL 3 games to the Clippers? C’mon, man. BOOOOO!).

      I also think they’d love some payback for their “Brandon Rush loss” in the season home opener when they play Memphis next week. And talk about “love”, you don’t think Bogut wouldn’t LOVE to be back by the time the Warriors hit Milwaukee on Jan 26? Should be an interesting month.

      Happy New Year!!

      • Clippers got beat. So I’m thinking that changes a lot of stuff for Wednesday. W’s will be amped. Clips won’t be. W’s win. 6-6 over the 12 games.

        Steve, hope Bogut is back before Milwaukee. One of those surprise starts by an injured player. Hey, maybe tomorrow?

  27. From Marcus Thompson:

    There is ample reason to believe the Warriors and Clippers won’t be going anywhere.

    Golden State is 11 games over .500 despite playing most of the season without two key players.

    Starting center Andrew Bogut has played four games this season. He shut it down Nov. 8 to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left ankle and has yet to return. Swingman Brandon Rush, a key reserve, suffered a torn left ACL and MCL the second game of the season.

    But in a drastic transformation, the Warriors have found success by being gritty and tough. They still shoot a bunch of 3s and push the tempo. But their success has been because of their defense and rebounding, which has people around the league believing the Warriors are for real.

    “Sure. Absolutely,” Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. “Do they rebound? Yes. Top five opponents’ field goal percentage? Yes. Top 10 defending the 3? Yes. Can they score the ball? Yes. So, do they have staying power? Yes.”

  28. From Ric Bucher:

    “Adding to the entire wholesome collegial atmosphere surrounding the Warriors these days: the parents of both David Lee and Jarrett Jack came up and introduced themselves this weekend.

    We’re talking two couples straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Give Jarrett Jack’s dad a long snowy beard and he’s Santa Claus, Huxtable version. The whole thing felt like homecoming. The parents also let me know that they were leaving town, almost as if they wanted me to keep an eye out for their sons. Ok, maybe I imagined that part. But not the rest. Definitely not the rest.”

  29. LOS ANGELES — Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 103-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year’s Day, Kobe Bryant had a simple answer for what has been plaguing the 15-16 Lakers this season: their age.

    “Cause we’re old as s—,” said the 34-year-old Bryant when asked why a lack of energy has been a problem for L.A. all season. “What do you want? We just got to figure out how to play when we don’t have that energy. We got to change things up a little bit defensively. We got to figure out what we want to do offensively, figure out what we want to do on nights when we don’t have those legs or have that energy.

    The Sixers beat the Lakers on Tuesday primarily with the contributions of 22-year-old Jrue Holiday (26 points, 10 assists) and 24-year-old Evan Turner (22 points, 13 rebounds).

    “You just saw an old damn team,” Bryant continued. “I don’t know how else to put it to you. We’re just slow. You saw a team over there that was just younger and just had fresher legs and just played with more energy, and we were just stuck in the mud. I think individually we all have to figure out how to get ourselves ready each and every game to have a high level of energy. That’s all that is.”

    • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News:

      The Los Angeles Lakers are in unfamiliar territory in these parts. Despite a lineup that features more than a sprinkling of potential Hall of Famers, the Lakers are no longer the team in Tinseltown. That distinction for the moment belongs to their arena mates, the Clippers, who lost in Denver Tuesday for the first time in 18 games. The Staples Center usually has a very good buzz whenever the Lakers play. Maybe it was because it was the first day of the New Year or due to the absence of Jack Nicholson, but the arena was eerily quiet just about the whole game. The 76ers made sure it stayed that way as they grounded out a methodical, 103-99 win in front of the listless sellout crowd. The Sixers have had bad spells early in games recently, a big part of the reason they had lost eight of their previous 10 games. Tuesday’s first half was different, though, as the Sixers hung with the much bigger Lakers on the boards, moved the ball very well and forged a 54-50 lead.

  30. “What’s real and unreal in the West?”

    REAL: Golden State Warriors

    The kids (Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green et al) are playing like grown-ups. David Lee is playing like the superstar his agent portrayed him as when he hit the market three years ago. Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush have hardly played at all — yet the Warriors have won two-thirds of their games. They’ve got their loyal fans reinvested in the team, ready to make the Oracle one of the best home-court advantages in the league. The Warriors might not hang on to the No. 5 seed, but they’ll be in the playoffs. And we all remember what happened the last time they reached the postseason.

  31. MILWAUKEE — The last time Stephen Jackson played in a game at the Bradley Center involving the Spurs, he scored 34 points.

    He was suiting up for the home team then, and his season high single-handedly lifted Milwaukee to a 106-103 victory.

    Jackson’s offensive eruption of Jan. 10 would be the lone highlight of his contentious, 26-game Bucks career.

    Two months later, amid constant clashes with coach Scott Skiles, the firebrand small forward was traded back to the Spurs via Golden State, napalming the bridge out of Milwaukee as he left.

    “I just wanted to be around a positive organization that’s used to winning and plays the game the right way,” Jackson says now. “Milwaukee, they’re not used to winning. I just wasn’t going to go for it at the end of my career.”

    Jackson, 34, returns to Milwaukee tonight for the first time since his March 13 trade, unmoved by the chilly reception he is sure to receive on the shores of Lake Michigan.

  32. OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Since Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin captivated the Bay Area in the “Run TMC” days of the early 1990s, the Golden State Warriors have been known for scoring a lot of points and giving up even more.

    Not anymore.

    In Mark Jackson’s second season as coach, the Warriors finally have started to change their focus. Golden State (21-10) is off to its best start in more than 20 years entering Wednesday night’s home game against the NBA-best Los Angeles Clippers (25-7), a surprising turnaround that has been propelled largely by defense.

    So much so that the Warriors-Clippers matchup — both long-time losers in the Pacific Division — suddenly pits two of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers, who lost 92-78 to Denver on Tuesday to snap a 17-game winning streak, suffered one of its other few losses to Golden State in Los Angeles on Nov. 3.

  33. Given the Warriors play some of the weakest of the twelve teams away, they should probably win only three games. Hopefully, they will surprise by winning 5 or 6 games.

  34. The Clippers:

    What impresses me about this team is not their young, athletic front court of Griffin and Jordan, whose games are limited. Nor does the addition of Paul change the team that much, in itself. They are not winning because of brilliant lobs to the dunk crew. But what the addition of Paul gave the club was credibility with other prospects and a competitive, winning environment where they will want to play. What veteran players like Barnes and Crawford, or young talented but uneven players like Bledsoe and Green, might do for another team is one thing. What they are willing to do for a team like the Clippers is an entirely different matter. With the Clippers they are strongly motivated to fit in and play to their abilities, knowing they can contribute and are well supported.

    What impresses me is their balanced scoring and depth:

    Seven players averaging 9 points or more a game. Add two more if Billups and Hill are ever able to return. The mix of size and athleticism and experience similarly pays off in defense. And I would argue having a system where so many are allowed to score motivates them on defense.

    They also are getting balanced minutes from all players and no player is pushed too hard. The whole team should be fresh and tested, come the playoffs.

    Now look at the Clipper’s roster and salary structure:

    Not a dud in the bunch, except maybe Odom, though he was a gamble they could afford. There are a lot of manageable salaries, one to five million, and a lot of players who could easily step up to the starting lineup or be replaced in the coming seasons. And a lot of players will want to come. (I’m not clear where they are on salary cap, but it looks close.)

    The Clippers were able to take advantage of the amnesty season and of course got a break (and some help?) with the Paul trade.

    Needless to say I want to invite a comparison with the Warriors on the same terms. I’ll end instead on a minor thought. Turiaf apparently is healthy and is playing serviceable minutes. The Clippers picked him up late at a bargain, $854k. I’d much rather have seen him on our bench than Tyler, though by that time the team had no money.

    • I’ve stated before that I’m not a believer in this Clippers team, at least as far as any meaningful playoff success is concerned for this season.

      Their entire team revolves around Chris Paul. Take him off the team and they possibly don’t even make the playoffs, IMO. Their next best player is Blake Griffin, who’s hype has been further magnified by the large media market in which he plays. Is he a magnificent “physical specimen”? Yes. But after your PG, if he’s the best player on your team then your team simply isn’t going to be good enough to seriously contend for an NBA championship, again IMO. (BTW, I love his “Fake Griffin” net-nickname. LOL)

      The Clippers roster is filled with older, NBA vagabond types who give them much more experience than what the Warriors currently have. Almost half (7) of their team is made up of guys 30 or older, with a couple even hovering on the verge of retirement. That experience should bode well for a consistent level of play the remainder of the regular season, but after that I wouldn’t bet 5 cents on any extended playoff run.

      As for comparing LAC to the Warriors, the Dubs only have one player on their roster 30 or older (RJefferson), so their opportunity to build something special far beyond this season is very real. And while I wasn’t sold on Mark Jackson coming into this season (and even during the preseason when he was going all out to win meaningless games), I’m becoming more and more a believer in MJ and his staff with each passing week.

      From the get-go Jackson said his team needed to be tougher in all phases of the game, and that has happened right before my eyes as I watch these guys refuse to back down from the opposition. The players have indeed taken on the personality of a coaching staff preaching both mental and physical toughness, an absolute prerequisite for winning championships.

      Lastly, there is no comparison whatsover in the two ownerships. Joe Lacob et al, IMO, will eventually be known as the people who helped transform the Golden State Warriors into one of the premiere franchises in the NBA, while Donald Sterling is simply the worst owner in the league, if not all pro sports.

      Right now, after OKC and the Spurs, there’s a decided space between them and the third best team in the West, even though current records say otherwise. And after the Clippers were hammered by the Warriors to go 0-2 on the season series thus far, an argument can now be introduced that says GSW is currently the best team in the Pacific Division. An argument, BTW, that I would subscribe to.

  35. Gorgeous, gorgeous game.

    H. Barnes did look good, and would have been especially impressive if he had scored 4-6 points 3rd quarter when the backcourt was shut down.

    The Clipper front court was especially unimpressive. Biedrins outplayed Jordan. And not only did Griffin get made a fool of, he made a fool of himself.

    Saturday should be interesting. I assume they’re going to step up the defense first quarter, and it will be interesting to see how the Warriors adjust.

    Kenny Smith was there. If anyone hears what he has to say about the Warriors when he goes on the air, pass it on?

  36. From TKawakami:

    Jackson doesn’t want to hear it, but he’s clearly a better coach this season than he was last.

    “You know to me, in this league, whether I was a player, a fan, an announcer, or a coach, you get talent, you become a better coach,” Jackson said.

    He’s calmer and he’s clearly connecting with every player on this team; it’s natural progress for someone in only his second full season as a coach on any level.

    And it’s phenomenal overall progress for this franchise, which has made enormous strides in just a few months, just like it planned for decades but finally figured out this season.

    “Leaders at their peak, a defensive tweak, and the 5 real reasons why the Warriors are winners this season”

  37. Game recap from (Also note, from the comments section LOL >>>>>> Rogelio Rodriguez AS A FAN …THIS IS THE BEST I HAVE EVER SEE THE W’S.. I TRUELY APOLOGIZE TO JOE LACOBE FOR BOOING ….)

    • Kenny Smith‏@TheJetOnTNT

      Thanks @JacksonMark13 for treating the fam to a Great Warriors game! Yall are a problem right now !

  38. Adam Lauridsen: “The Next Level”

    A really good read from AL but an even better post from his comments section:

    Judge Wapner says:
    January 3rd, 2013 at 1:46 am

    The Warriors look like a complete NBA team for the first time in my life. I’ve been following this team intelligently for 25 years, and even their best teams over that span were incomplete, albeit sometimes wonderfully specialized or even quirky.

    Run TMC led a fast, high octane attack that could shoot and score in bunches. But those teams never had a true interior attack, nor could they defend the paint against traditional half court offenses. They relied on fast breaks and playing quicker than their slower, more traditional opponents. This created an exciting brand of basketball, and some legitimate success for a few seasons during the Run TMC era. But those Run TMC teams never had a legitimate shot to win, because it takes a complete team to win in the NBA.

    When the mad scientist who orchestrated Run TMC reappeared to lead the We Believe team a decade later, it was no surprise that the We Believe team, while wildly exciting and fun to watch, suffered from many of the same deficiencies that limited their predecessors a decade before. No defense. No legitimate post presence. No interior scoring. No real chance to win.

    The current Warrior team is everything that their predecessors were not. This team is deep. They play defense. They contest nearly every offensive possession of their opponents. They don’t shy away from physical play. They have size, toughness, and resolve. They appear to have a real plan in most games, and they seem to have the IQ and emotional maturity to stick with and execute those plans.

    As a Bay Area native, I am most excited to see my team finally stand up to physical challenges from other, traditionally “tough” basketball teams. As a fan, I want my team to be a reflection of me. I want to feel proud. I appreciate watching these guys, because they play with a chip on their shoulders, they refuse to back down, and they play like they have something to prove.

    I don’t know how far this team will go. But I am truly proud to root for the Golden State Warriors. I’ve waited 25 years to say that. This team is one that I don’t have to make excuses for. I no longer defend my affection for this franchise with explanations involving “duty” or “loyalty”.

    I’m proud of this this team, and this franchise. And after 25 long years, its about damned time.


  39. The Warriors have shown they are a team to be reckoned with given that they have taken 15 plus leads over teams like Atlanta, Boston, and the Clippers. Such leads would have been even more but for their making careless mistakes.

    Their offensive and defensive sets, when added to their new found running game, has resulted in the Warriors completely dominating teams. Opponents have struggled to shoot 40% against the Warriors. Such should continue over the next eleven games as they face a difficult schedule. Barring injuries, they should win many more than five games as I previously predicted.

  40. The Warriors are winning because they are—finally—playing to their strengths, strengths they’ve had the past years. All the things the national media used to sneer at—the quick offense, transition play, the shooting, the high scoring—as being merely “entertaining” is getting their attention. In many of the games they lost, they had a slow start first quarter and had to play catch up. Now they’re setting the pace and putting teams on their heels. The quick, effective start last night made all the difference in the world.

    Having Bogut go down is a mixed blessing. It forced the team to move to this kind of game. If he ever comes back, he will have to play an ancillary, not central, role, primarily as a banger and occasional scorer where, in fact, he will be useful. Secondary passing will have to come from Lee, the best front court assist man in the game, not him. (As I recall, the initial plan was to run much of the offense through him, posting him up and having him dish out.)

    • Warren Davis

      Agreed but pretty expensive role player! Maybe he will sit next to RJ for this season, and we won’t have to worry about it.

      • There’s no such thing as any “mixed blessing” in being without Andrew Bogut for the Warriors. This guy, besides being one of the very best centers in the NBA, is also one of the best “team players” in the league. And while Lee’s passing game is outstanding, there’s no better “passing-big” than Bogut (see highlights below).

        Initial plan? The “initial plan” for Bogut was for him to be the starting center, and then just do his thing from there. His overall game/skills fit so well for how this team wants to play and does indeed play today it’s scary-good to even think about.

        Bogut is no “role player” in the way the comment was meant to infer. His (hoped for) eventual reinsertion into the Warriors lineup will not only make this team better, he’ll give them an opportunity to climb the conference ladder and be in position to do things this franchise could only fantasize about accomplishing previously.

        As much as I like our raw rookie center, for the Warriors to be as good as they possibly can be, it’s Ezeli who needs to “sit next to RJ for this season”.

        P.S. As a reminder of what Bogut can bring to this team, he last played on Nov 7 vs Cleveland. He only played 17 minutes, and didn’t even score (only taking 2 shots), but his contribution was quite noticeable (check out the 1:20 and 3:40 marks) in this extended highlight package for that game. Bogut can’t return soon enough.

  41. The improvement from last year is mainly due to a installation of a new defensive system, and the addition of Landry and Jack. The double threat of Lee and Landry scoring down low, has opened up the court for our three point shooters. No wonder we lead the league in three pointers. Each and every night, Warrior players are given a consistent defensive effort.

    No longer is the Warriors center running out beyond the foul-line arc, etc.

    The offense has improved by the Warriors passing the ball, going to pick and roll, looking for the open man, and running. No longer does the ball come to a halt in Ellis’ hands and stagnating the offense.

    The Warriors are still shooting slightly less FG% than they did last year. But, with the Warriors consistently holding teams to shooting below 44%, they are not going to lose many games.

  42. From TK: Good Q&A with Jarrett Jack………

    -Q: How much do you think your coach has to do with this team unity?

    -JACK: I think good teams and great teams, you have to take on the personality of your coach, because at the end of the day, he’s the ultimate leader. Our whole foundation starts with him.

    Our coach is the foundation of what we’ve formed so far. So it’s definitely a credit to him–but as players, we’ve got to be branches off of him and kind of keep relaying that message and making sure we build off of that foundation as the season goes along.

    -Q: Are there things that he does that no other coach you’ve had did?

    -JACK: I just think he has an air about him that makes you want to play for him. We play for each other, but I know myself, I play for him as well.

    I know that this is, what, the final year of his contract. (My note: Jackson is in the second year of a three-year deal, but I’m not sure of the guarantees involved.) I want him to be the coach of this team and part of this organization as long as he wants to and I’m going to play as hard as I can for him to get that.

    I think if you go out there and you play selfless basketball and you’re playing to help other people achieve their goals, yours will fall in line right there with it and that’s just what we’re preaching around here–selfless basketball.

  43. “Joe Lacob, who is attempting to turn one the league’s lovable losers into the latest powerhouse franchise, chatted with USA TODAY Sports about his new reality this week. He discussed the special chemistry that this David Lee and Stephen Curry-led team clearly have, their push to make the playoffs for just the second time in 19 seasons, the timeline (or lack thereof) for a Bogut return, the trade deadline and whether the Warriors will be active leading up to it, and the move from Oakland to San Francisco that he hopes to have completed by 2017.”

  44. Mark Jackson: Thanks to @Kenny Smith for Speaking to my guys after the game! #NYC Twitter @JacksonMark13