One Leg Blues: Warriors 116 Hornets 112

I got a woman with one leg yeah/I got a woman with two/I got a woman with a wooden leg/I’ll tell you what that’s gonna do.

  — Wild Willy Barrett

These sprained ankles to Stephen Curry and David Lee could not have come at a worse time in the Warriors schedule. But the gritty Warriors fought through their one leg blues to turn in two fine road performances in San Antonio and New Orleans, culminating in this nail-biting win against the surging Hornets. And boy did they need it, coming into New Orleans having lost 6 of their last 7, and looking at a brutally tough schedule through the end of January. Out of the next 7 games, which include a 4 games in 5 nights road trip, the Warriors figure to be favorites in only two.

The Playoff Picture: If we assume the Warriors go 2-5 in the next 7 games, which is not unreasonable given their current gimpiness and the toughness of the schedule, they will finish the month of January with a record of 26-20. How would their prospects to make the playoffs look at that point?

I have to say they wouldn’t look like the complete lock of a couple of weeks ago. For one thing, there is little doubt in my mind that if the Lakers stay healthy, they will not only make the playoffs, but pass the Warriors to take the 6th seed (right where I predicted them in the pre-season). They are slowly starting to figure it out, and play some good basketball.

That leaves the Warriors in a 4 team dogfight for the 7th and 8th seeds with Utah, Houston, and Portland. And possibly a 5th team in Dallas if Mark Cuban makes good on his threat to help them at the trading deadline. I would make Utah a favorite for one spot if it weren’t for the fact that they will probably trade Al Jefferson. I love Houston’s deep and talented team, but they are awfully young, and just learning how to play with each other. Portland’s starting five are playoff worthy, but they have depth issues to rival the Warriors’. Dallas I’ve never believed in this season, but they have strung together some nice performances since Nowitzki returned.

The next several weeks, heading into the Feb. 21 trading deadline, should be extremely interesting. Is Joe Lacob playing a pat hand?

Jarrett Jack: Klay Thompson was great, but this was Jack’s game. He put the Warriors — gimpy Curry and all — on his shoulders in the fourth quarter, and brought this victory home.

What a fantastic pickup, and too bad this is his final season in a Warriors uniform. Yes, this is the final year of his contract, and yes, he has to have opened some eyes around the league with his performance the last two seasons. Jack is a starting point guard (as I mentioned back when the Warriors traded for him), and he’s going to command a starting point guard’s salary next summer.

I don’t see any way the Warriors can re-sign him. Not with over $30 million in bad contracts sitting on their bench.

Klay Thompson: Thompson answered his critics with this clutch road performance. Note that in the last game, even with Curry out, Thompson was the third option. Jack first, Lee second.

In this game, with Curry gimpy, he was the FIRST option of the starting unit, and the second option when Jack was on the court. And you saw what he can do.

Make no mistake about it, this IS a future all-star. Thompson’s talent and basketball IQ are off the charts.

It’s not just the three point shooting. It’s the shots he creates off the dribble. The pull-ups, the step backs. And the drives he creates when panicked defenders run out on him. Like the LEFT-handed drive by Aminu at 0:47 2nd Q.

And it’s not just his shooting. It’s the way he works to get himself open. The movement without the ball.

It’s the way he sees the whole court when he’s driving. The fantastic looks he gets his teammates. There is an extremely high basketball intelligence at work here.

He has taken a lot of criticism lately from Barnett and fans about his failure to finish several drives. My personal take is that Klay has muffed those drives because he has TOO MUCH TALENT. Yes, too much talent.

On most of those muffed drives Klay has chosen to avoid contact and finish with a spinning reverse, often with his left hand. They have an enormous degree of difficulty. Why does he attempt these shots? Probably because he owns those shots, in practice. He has one of the best left hands in basketball, at the age of 22. And he wants to use it.

Klay simply needs to learn that in clutch game situations, all drives MUST be finished, with either buckets or free throws. Even if it means taking an inelegant approach, concentrating on the direct route and the strong hand, and absorbing some pain.

It’s not a matter of talent, the talent is off the charts. It’s not a matter of brains, the IQ is off the charts. It’s a matter of experience. The kid has barely one season behind him.

Klay got a lot of praise from both Mark Jackson and Gary St. Jean for his defense on Eric Gordon in this game. I will join in that praise, with qualifications.

The one thing you can undeniably say about Klay on defense is that he takes the challenge. He is smart and conscientious, and works hard every single night. These last two games — with impossible assignments in Tony Parker and Gordon — were no exception.

But let’s be honest, Klay Thompson cannot guard a healthy Eric Gordon. He could barely guard tonight’s gimpy, out-of-shape Eric Gordon, who blew by him almost at will. 7:10 1Q, 3:48 1Q, 9:40 3Q, 5:03 4th Q were the most egregious examples I noted.

Just as with Tony Parker, the Warriors guarded Eric Gordon not with Klay Thompson, but with their whole team. And that hurts them badly at the three point line.

Sometimes.

Three Point Luck: I can’t resist making this point. The Spurs are one of the best three point shooting teams in the league, shooting like the Warriors around 39% from the arc.

Against the Warriors, the Spurs took 22 threes, making only 5, for a miserable 22.7%. The result of good defense?

I tell you what, if you still have the game on tape and care to go back and watch it again, I will give you $1 for every single three you can show me the Spurs took, that was contested.

By the time you finish re-watching, I will owe you precisely zero. The Warriors never contested the Spurs threes. They were too busy packing the lane to defend against the giant Spurs front line, and Tony Parker’s drives. The threes were what the Warriors were giving. Just as they give them virtually every night.

Yes, there is such a thing as variance in shooting. There is such a thing as three point luck.

And with the third best Three Point % Against stat in the NBA so far this season, the Warriors have gotten more than their fair share of it. The Warriors are now 2nd in the league, at 32.6%. I’m willing to wager a large amount of money they end the season significantly worse than that.

And I’ll spot you the Andrew Bogut Myth.

Stephen Curry: To be commended for a gritty performance on one leg. The Warriors probably don’t win without him on the court.

Let’s hope it doesn’t cost him down the road.

Festus Ezeli: No offense? Tonight was a perfect illustration of one of the ways in which stats lie. Systems matter. Usage matters. On this night, with David Lee out, Ezeli got more than twice his usual number of touches, and converted with authority.

Note that not one of his baskets came off of a post-up. The Warriors got Ezeli the ball on the move, which is what I’ve been arguing for.

Even more impressive to me than his offense? Robin Lopez: 2 pts. 0 rbs.

Festus Ezeli is incredible. I have never in my life seen a non-lottery big man step in and play like this in his rookie season.

Which is not to say I didn’t predict it, after watching him for one game in summer league. (Sorry, haters.)

The Brand: Barnes had a fine scoring night a few games ago, in the Dorell Wright role. Which is to say, parked at the three point line, serving as an outlet. And as tonight demonstrated once again, that is without question the best role for him.

In the last several games, Barnes had not gotten any of the mid-post isos that the Warriors were attempting to force-feed him with earlier in the season. For good reason, I thought. As I noted a few posts back, Barnes is incredibly inefficient in the “mini-Melo” role. Just doesn’t have the chops for it.

But after several games of Fitz and Barnett whining about how the Warriors needed to pay more attention to getting Barnes going (I wonder, who do they get their talking points from?), the mid-post iso was back in action in the Hornets game.

To start the game, in fact. Barnes got the first touch of the game, normally reserved for the Warriors non-scoring centers. An iso against Aminu that resulted in an And (Zero). And then the Warriors went back to their normally scheduled offense.

At 9:02 1st Q, Barnes got a right elbow extended iso, that he likes to turn into right handed drives. Monty Williams had done his scouting though. Aminu encouraged Barnes to go right, right into a Lopez trap. If you freeze the tape at exactly 9:02, you will see both Curry and Thompson wide open at the three point line on the weak side. That’s something that Barnes is apparently unable to see himself. He forced his drive, and turned the ball over.

He got one more mid-post iso at 9:25 3rd Q, resulting in him becoming flustered by a threatened trap, and turning the ball over once again. On the night, he had a total of 4 TO’s in 18 lackluster minutes. 2 points, 1 rebound.

Barnes is probably a good enough three point shooter to be useful to the Warriors in the Dorell Wright role on offense. Anything more is simply not in the cards, at least this season. It’s forcing.

The fact of the matter is that if Barnes is to be an impact player in the NBA he needs to hang his hat on something besides his limited offense. He needs to become a defensive stopper, and a monster on the boards, like Draymond Green.

Is that part of his brand?

Richard Jefferson: Good to see him let out of his coffin.

It should be obvious from this fine performance that Richard Jefferson can still play at the age of 33. In fact, it should be obvious that the 33 yr. old Jefferson is a much better player than Harrison Barnes. Barnes is playing ahead of him for reasons that have nothing to do with winning.

Take a look at the mid-post iso that RJ got at 2:30 3rd Q: Relaxed, assured dribble, nothing rushed. Smooth upfake, and perfectly executed up and under for the uncontested layup at the rim.

That’s what a skilled veteran looks like. Could the short-handed Warriors use that on a regular basis?

One other thing. RJ’s position for much of his time on the court?

Spread four.

Not that I expect that to give Jackson any permanent ideas.

Draymond Green: Great to see his jumper fall for him the last few games, and not just on those long twos that send Fitz into paroxysms of inanity.

Long twos are the most inefficient shot in basketball, as anyone who can multiply 40% from two versus 33% from three can tell you.

Contrary to what Fitz insists on poisoning our ears with, long twos are not Draymond Greens’ future. THREES are his future. And I absolutely delighted in him burying that corner three to end the first quarter, right in Fitz’s face.

I also continue to believe that Green will prove at least as good a three point shooter as Harrison Barnes in his NBA career. Not just because his college shooting percentage was better. But also because his shot looks more fundamentally sound to me. I’ll get into that in a future post.

Did you notice that nice crossover and left-handed drive down the lane that Green executed at 11:10 4th Q? It came off pick and roll action with Jarrett Jack, and it was wide open because he was being guarded by Ryan Anderson.

At the spread four.

110 Responses to One Leg Blues: Warriors 116 Hornets 112

  1. “Klay Thompson: Thompson answered his critics with this clutch road performance.”

    Felt, right there, seventh word in your first paragraph about Klay, is my biggest worry about his game in the future.

    The type of player I so love to watch in sports is the one with “ice water running through his/her veins”, the player who isn’t afraid of the moment, of the opportunity, to either win or lose the game in the closing minutes and seconds. We’re talking Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic and Kobe, etc etc. IMO, a professional athlete can never be considered a great player without, as Skip Bayless likes to say, the clutch gene. In all the years of Golden State Warriors basketball there’s only been one, ONE, great (clutch) player, Rick Barry.

    Chris Mullin was a very good player for many years but in clutch situations late in games he was almost always MIA. Lots of other good players as well have played for GSW over the years, but only Barry was truly great. And he was great because of that word you used in your first sentence about Thompson. Unfortunately, albeit still very early in Klay’s career, Thompson has been anything but clutch in big game moments thus far.

    Remember the great look he had courtesy an outstanding feed from Bogut in the Warriors first loss to the Kings?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERj5fAZ6fOw&feature=player_detailpage#t=271s

    Then there was the debacle vs Denver a few games later (sfgate.com):

    “After he missed a potential go-ahead 17-footer in Sacramento earlier this season, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson rehearsed the exact same shot 25 times before starting the next day’s practice.

    He might take 2,500 free throws before Sunday’s practice.

    Thompson, a career 86.1 percent free-throw shooter, missed two freebies that would have iced an overtime victory against Denver on Saturday. Instead, he clanked both, and the Nuggets were gifted a 107-101 double-overtime victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,956 at Oracle Arena.

    “I’m just disappointed,” coach Mark Jackson said. “This is the worst I’ve felt after a game. … We’ve got to be disappointed. It’s just a bad feeling.”

    After missing the free throws that left it 94-92 with 13 seconds remaining in the first overtime, Thompson inexplicably let Danilo Gallinari drive right past him and dunk home the tying basket with 2.1 seconds left. To make matters worse, the Warriors had a foul to give and had just discussed the situation in the timeout huddle.

    “The good teams, the good players, the great players: They miss free throws, shake their heads and say, ‘That’s OK. I’m going to get it back on the other end,’ ” Jackson said. “You can’t add bad defense to missed free throws, because you’re thinking about them.”

    Thompson didn’t talk to reporters after the game, and as soon as Jackson was finished talking to the team, Thompson left the arena without changing out of his uniform.”

    The other night with Curry a late game scratch the Warriors needed someone to pick their game up and help make up for those 20 ppg of Steph’s they’d be missing. The obvious candidate to do just that would have been the “other best shooter on the Dubs”, Klay Thompson. Instead, Thompson was completely invisible all night long offensively, scoring a grand total of TWO POINTS.

    Tonight he was fantastic in the first half but for whatever reason only took 3 shots in the final 24 minutes.

    I like Klay. He seems, like all the rest of the younger Warriors players, to be a really good kid who reportedly works very hard each and every day to get better, and his shooting skills are tops on the team along with Curry. But a great shooter and a great clutch shooter are two completely different things. And the bad thing is that being good under pressure isn’t something you can work on in order to improve. Either you’ve got that “clutch gene”, or you don’t, IMO.

    Time will tell. Again, Klay’s career is just starting and hopefully my fears will be alleviated down the road. On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with being a solid contributing piece to a winning team/organization in the form he’s now assuming in his early days.

    But for a fan who’s always craved the opportunity to watch a great clutch scorer wear the uniform of the Warriors (since the playing days of Rick Barry ended many years ago), I’m once again getting that knot in the pit of my stomach watching the Warriors in close, late game situations looking for someone who wants to take and can make that big, game-deciding shot. This season to date his name is Jarrett Jack, who may not even be here next season. Right now I’m very skeptical that Klay Thompson will ever fill that role in the future.

  2. BTW, check out the end of the previous thread for all the info (video, audio, text) on Saturday’s GSW win over NO.

  3. Thanks Felt!
    Didn’t watch most of the – but I did catch Klay’s 1st half shooting display! I’m just grateful on nights like this to be a W’s fan- that the Warriors really do have the best young perimeter shooters in the NBA bar none in Curry, Thompson, and Barnes (although Portland’s Lillard, Matthews, and Batum are great too).

    We’ve seen him absolutely dominate the boards, we’ve seen him play aggressive defense, we’ve seen him drive explosively to the hoop and finish with authority, we’ve seen him get hot from 3 point land… Barnes has all the talent and ability to dominate, but some players dominate and some players don’t… LOL! Can’t dominate periodically only when you feel like it or only when the matchup prevails (Korver) or in spurts. That’s why he fell to #7. He’s got to put his game together and be The Falcon! LOL!

    Green’s still a bench-riding rookie still adapting to the NBA 3 point line. Stepping up for a long uncontested two – or driving to the hoop are good alternatives – to a contested 3. I too want Green to shoot open 3s eventually, but I’d rather he make some shots to build up his confidence. He shot well from 3 over the summer against inferior defense so I’m not so concerned about his shot, only his confidence. Fortunately for us, he’s a first year player who’s got time and 4 year contract to figure it all out!

    Ezeli looks good on offense when all you ask is for him to do is catch and finish/dunk it. LOL! Ask him to do more and you’ll be slightly disappointed. I blame W’s point guards for passing him the ball too early. He should only get the rock when he’s in a finishing position – like Andris Biedrins of We Believe years. Great defense/rebounding. He’ll make a GREAT backup to Andrew Bogut!

  4. Here’s the complete salary picture for the Warriors going forward. The most interesting numbers relates to JJack being an UFA next season. The Warriors actually have his Bird Rights for 2013, which comes in at just over $8MM.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/golden-state-warriors-team-salary

    • “Bird Rights”:

      Perhaps the most well-known of the NBA’s salary cap exceptions, it is so named because the Boston Celtics were the first team permitted to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own players (in that case, Larry Bird). Free agents who qualify for this exception are called “qualifying veteran free agents” or “Bird Free Agents” in the CBA, and this exception falls under the auspices of the Veteran Free Agent exception.

      In a nutshell, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. This means a player can obtain “Bird rights” by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof. It also means that when a player is traded, his Bird rights are traded with him, and his new team can use the Bird exception to re-sign him. Bird-exception contracts can be up to six years in length.

      The basic idea is that a player must play for the same team for three seasons for his team to gain Bird rights (two seasons for Early Bird rights). It can be a single three-year contract, a series of three one-year contracts, or any combination that adds up to three seasons (two for Early Bird). However there are a number of complications:

      When a player is traded, his new team inherits his Bird rights. For example, if a player signs a three-year contract, plays two and a half seasons with that team, and is traded at the trade deadline in the third season, then his new team owns full Bird rights following the third season.

    • a team that has cap space that wants jack badly enough can make the lacobites choose between using those bird rights, or squawking, ‘cheeep’ because of their lux tax status. they can make some space to give jack a raise of some sorts without paying a big penalty, but beyond a point yet to be determined (and probably not the $3m. raise jack could conceivably attract), they’ll pay a dollar in tax for every dollar in the penalty zone.

  5. Video: Mark Jackson interviewed by NBA TV before Friday night’s game with the Spurs.

    http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/01/19/20130118-arena-link-mark-jackson.nba

  6. I believe when Barnes has problems it is due to a lack of specialization. He has these tantalizing talents that suggest he could have a dominating all-around game but by looking to do more he doesn’t execute as well at anything. He is only 20 years old; he needs to specialize and add elements slowly over the next few years, particularly on offense. The Dorrel Wright role is perfect for this year. Solid three-point shooter with the ability to react to hard closures with hard drives to the hoop, period. The coaches shouldn’t even think about adding another offensive element to his game this year. Add defense and rebounding and you have a perfectly good contributor who is building a base he can have confidence in for a number of years while he adds to his repertoire with a patience that doesn’t upset his base skills.

    Let’s not kid ourselves about Richard Jefferson either. He can’t handle starters minutes, especially on the defensive end. His veteran smarts and the veteran respect he gets from the officials makes him an almost-comparable contributor in short spurts for the average Barnes performance. But are you really going to put in a declining RJ over a rising 20 year old talent that is already as, or more, productive?

    As for Ezeli, like I’ve mentioned before, play him until he fouls out because he is the future. If he can add average offense and good rebounding to his defense, watch out!

  7. What a surprise. I didn’t think the Warriors could beat anybody without Lee. Ezeli and even Jefferson caught the Hornets off guard—but they’re a young team who hasn’t played that much together.

    Question: Why walk it up second half, why not mix it up and let Curry run point more? His shooting, not surprisingly, was off but he was really crafty first half. Although with the rooks and without Lee, I guess this would have been risky?

    When the Bogut trade was made, did Lacob have any reason to think he’d pick up a guard like Jack? What were the other options? What are the options if Jack has to be let go?

    Suggestion to Lacob: Instead of sinking money into the bay to build Xanadu, why not wait and put the money into something more substantial, a winning team? Oracle is selling out and the team is getting national recognition. Biting the bullet on the bad contracts and picking up some pieces will pay off now and later.

    • With Curry obviously playing hobbled and at less than 100 percent, I’m shocked MJ played him 38 minutes!!!

      Pre-season projected bench players like Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry and Festus Ezeli and Richard Jefferson – helped defeat a recouperating and now streaking New Orleans Hornets team at home – which only spotlights the depth of this W’s roster.

      The W’s already wasted their amnesty provision on Charlie Bell. Thus, these W’s have little financial flexibility to “bite bullets on bad contracts” and merely have to ride out another season – until there will be some expirings – that can be moved for other bad contracts! What the value of an expiring contract of crap players will be next year is unknown to me. Andris, Jefferson, Bogut, and Jack/Landry/Rush/Jenkins – decisions on these contracts will need to be made (agents/GMs) in a year or two. So I expect change to be slow.

      The W’s are winning at 24-15 and will likely make the playoffs! These are supposed to be good times! LOL!

  8. If Darth Could Have Chosen His Own Hat

    Could have been picked up by the Ws anytime since last July:

    http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_22413990/miami-heat-sign-chris-andersen-10-day-contract

  9. Warriors have a much better bench (depth) than Memphis? ESPN.com’s senior NBA writer, Marc Stein, in talking about possible All Star reserves, thinks so.

    Wild cards: 1. Tony Parker (San Antonio), 2. Zach Randolph (Memphis)

    Parker versus Stephen Curry for one wild card. Randolph versus LaMarcus Aldridge for the other remaining vacancy.

    That’s how it broke down on this scorecard after Ibaka, Blazers rookie Damian Lillard, Utah’s Al Jefferson, Denver’s Kenneth Faried and the West’s ultimate wild card — Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (yeah, I said it) — were grudgingly scratched from consideration.

    There are two Clippers and two Lakers in the starting lineup, plus two OKCers on the West squad when you add Westbrook to Durant. Did I choose Tony and Z-Bo for symmetry? Can’t deny it was a factor. Can’t deny that I’m more comfortable picking two Spurs and two Grizzlies before I go with two Warriors, even accounting for Golden State’s unforeseen success and with Curry finding a new level this season as a QB and tone-setter along with consistent health.

    Doesn’t hurt that Parker has taken his game up a notch even from last season and continues to be a Duncan-like rock for the Spurs with Manu Ginobili in and out of the lineup. Also doesn’t hurt that Randolph, on a team that doesn’t have nearly the bench that the Warriors do, is right up there with Lee on the double-double front.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-130118-19/nba-2013-all-star-reserve-picks

  10. Here’s a wing man the Warriors could pick up. Not too tall, but strong, fast, and versatile, and he should be available in two weeks:

    http://www.maxpreps.com/athletes/D-TTWTFDcUyeirHGOAP7ng/basketball-winter-05-06/stats-colin-kaepernick.htm

  11. Thompson will quiet his critics when he can consistently demonstrate that he shoot well above the 40% his from the field, and not commit so many turnovers. One good night does not define a player’s talent. Hopefully, he’ll have continued success like he did against NO.

    Your argument that he blows drives to the hoop because he has so much talent doesn’t quite connect and is not persuasive.

    It may well be that Green making three’s is not his future and that his success shooting three’s in college was attributed to the three point line being closer to the hoop than in the NBA. In my humble opinion he has too many problems with his delivery to ever be a decent shooter. Hope I’m wrong.

    • “Not persuasive.” Good phrase!

      Like Vlad Radmanovic, Thompson has brain freeze at inappropriate times. Very different players, but both are skilled and competent. Usually.

      The difference is that VladRad is getting near zero playing time with the Bulls this season despite the unique talents he brings to Chicago’s bigs, while Thompson gets to play through some extended stupid periods. As with VR, the Ws would really be better without Thompson on the floor when he’s having a bad stretch.

      Thompson a genius, Feltie? OK, maybe, sometimes, I’ll bow to your insight on that. But unfortunately, Thompson is a moron sometimes too, and when he’s “off” he’s terribly off, for long periods. Worse than VladRad, who only suffers the occasional isolated brain fart.

      Re D. Green, he seems to be suffering the rookie disease of pushing too hard, trying to make his mark in limited minutes. Once he settles into a role – perhaps once he’s given a regular role and consistent playing time – it seems clear he’s going to be a valuable two-way player. His college shooting stats 0ver 4 years are almost identical to those of Barnes, his shot is just taking a little longer to arrive in the NBA. More playing time should cure that. Even without a reliable shot, though, Green brings more overall game than Barnes does right now.

      Barnes is hardly a bust. It would be nice if he had more court vision. Every time he has the ball, he plays it like an iso. He’s also missing some of the basic skills and game insights Green learned in his more extensive college playing time. So while right now Barnes is probably below average as an NBA starter at his position, he really is a tremendous athlete with a lot of potential. I think what he’s missing is more a function of limited coaching and experience than basic talent. The jury’s still out on that, of course.

  12. Great piece from one of my favorite basketball blogs, demonstrating why Draymond Green’s future MUST be from the three point line.

    http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/keeping-score-magic-pay-less-attention-to-the-3-point-line/

    It also demonstrates why there has never been a great demand for Carl Landry’s services.

  13. Great win v Clippers. Curry one of the great clutch players to ever play the game.

    David Lee proved himself clutch too, on both sides of the ball. Total gamer, finally getting a chance to show it.

    Jarrett Jack should get a minimum of $40 million contract next year. Probably worth more. The Warriors have to find a way to re-sign him.

    The two-point guard backcourt finally getting the chance to shine, with the addition of some two way frontcourt defenders. How ironic it never happened for Monta. And required the loss of Brandon Rush to make it happen at all.

    Concerned about Chris Paul. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s bone on bone on that right knee now. Makes you wonder if he can make it through the season.

    • The Clippers beat Minnesota, Houston, and Memphis without Paul, handily. It’s beyond me why they didn’t rest him.

      • Pairing Jack/Curry in the backcourt – was a desired pre-season option discussed by Mark Jackson/M. Steinmetz in the preseason. It worked. Losing Rush to injury – certainly helped speed up the transition/necessity, but it didn’t make the Jack/Curry backcourt “happen at all.” Spread around, surely the versatile Rush would be taking some minutes at SG from Klay/Curry, but ALSO at SF from Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson, and R. Jefferson and a little at PF from D. Green and R. Jefferson. Hope Rush recovers from his ugly off-season surgeries – although I’ll not hope for anything from him next season yet – as that was a devastating, career threatening injury(s). W’s truly miss his athleticism and defense and yet another spread the floor shooter. Rush was better than Barnes is now and was primed for a huge season IMO.

        Why is it ironic that it never happened for Monta? In my opinion, Jarret Jack is better at guarding bigger, stronger, slower (SGs) – and not quicker, smaller players (PGs) – in general. Great fit with Curry. Jack is strong as an ox, but not lightening quick.

        The Milwaukee game will be VERY interesting – because I think Jack’ll struggle to guard Monta/Jennings one-on-one. Monta/Jennings guarding Jack? We’ll see.

  14. The Warriors won because they out-shot the Clippers 52% to 46 percent from the field. The margin of victory would have been greater if not for the fact that Clippers garnered almost twice as many offensive rebounds than the Warriors.

    The Warriors held their own on turnovers, at the foul-line, and shooting three’s.

    Curry was just terrific.

  15. Game recap from CSNBayArea.com:

    Blake Griffin says he is not scared of the Warriors

    Clippers highlight-reel forward Blake Griffin didn’t seem to take the Warriors too seriously.

    “They’re a good team, they’re solid, but by no means are we scared or worried about them,” Griffin said following the Clippers third loss in four games against the Warriors. “They played us well a few times, so you’ve got to tip your hat to them.”

    Griffin was asked later what he meant when he said he wasn’t worried about them.

    “Well we don’t play them anymore in the regular season so that’s one reason,” Griffin said. “If we do play down the stretch then we play them down the stretch. We’ll worry about that later.”

    Griffin was efficient, and too much inside for Golden State, finishing with a team-high 26 points on 11-for-18 shooting and added 13 rebounds and eight assists.

    “You’ve got to give them credit, they played the best they can play in three of these games we’ve played against them,” Griffin said.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/instant-replay-warriors-106-clippers-99

    • I got a place for Griffin to put his Kia.

    • From clipsnation.com:

      So the Warriors win the season series against the Clippers 3-1 to won, which matters in exactly two situations: (1) if the Clippers and the Warriors finish with identical regular season records, then it’s the first tie-breaker for the higher seed and (2) if the teams meet in the playoffs, the Warriors would have some amount of confidence about their chances. Scenario one is not likely to happen, and I would expect the Clippers to easily handle the Warriors in a playoff series unless Curry shoots like this for seven games, so the season series thing is no big deal.

      http://www.clipsnation.com/2013/1/21/3901372/clippers-come-up-short-in-oakland-106-99

        • Jamal Crawford postgame:

          “That’s a young team that’s improving, for sure, but we have our sights set on trying to play in June. Not saying they don’t, but we’re looking at bigger goals than celebrating everything.”

          • Cocky. I don’t like that at all. Also, the Clips are one injury to CP3 away from a first round exit.

          • From Rusty Simmons GSW/LAC game story:

            During pregame warm-ups, center Andrew Bogut (left ankle) ran sprints at full tilt and appeared to be moving well. “In all honesty, I don’t really pay attention to it as far as if he’s getting closer,” Jackson said. “He’s on the floor. I look forward to the day he’s in uniform. There will be no pressure on him. He’ll continue to have treatment, continue to go through his rehab, continue to work his way onto the floor, work his way into practice and all of that, but I don’t get caught up in it as a coach. I think we’ve got to keep it moving and look forward to having him one day, whenever that day comes. I, like Dr. King, have a dream.”

            http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-beat-Clippers-for-3rd-time-4211799.php#ixzz2IfXKztK4

            Bogut to play Saturday? Last Thursday night Peter Vecsey tweeted that ABogut had been cleared by team doctors to start practicing with the team, per his (Vecsey) sources. The local media hasn’t followed up on that “news” other than to ask Jackson about Bogut today.

            The fact that Bogut traveled with the team to San Antonio and New Orleans (and worked out before both games), and now Simmons observations in regards Bogut’s workout today before the game with LAC, seems to indicate that Bogut’s workload is increasing towards what presumably would be that return to practice tweeted by Vecsey.

            The Warriors next practice, and the first since the tweeted news, will be tomorrow. If Bogut does indeed practice with the team then a return to play by Saturday night in Milwaukee is a very real possibility if his ankle responds well. The Warriors play on Wednesday, and would figure to probably get in another practice on Thursday before flying to Chicago for the start of their 4 games in 5 nights road trip that begins Friday.

            If Bogut practices both tomorrow and Thursday, and his ankle is fine come Friday………

            Remember, Bogut only practiced twice with the team before starting in game one of the season in Phoenix, playing almost 20 minutes and claiming after the game he could have gone longer.

            I’ve maintained for some time now that Bogut has had Jan 26 circled on his calendar, for obvious reasons. Still, he’s smart and knows that the bigger picture (being healthy for the stretch run) is what matters most. That said, tomorrow’s “practice notes” will be interesting to monitor.

          • Extended GSW/LAC highlights Part 1

  16. I’m not sure I’d be that excited about Jack as a starting point guard. But the combination of Curry and Jack, especially with this team, is an entirely different matter. Jack fills in so well and can lead when needed, and you need to consider what he adds over the course of a 48 minute game.

    Jack doesn’t run the team as well in quick offense, and I’d like to see more up tempo/fast break from Curry. The problem may be that Curry doesn’t have the pieces he needs, or doesn’t yet. Barnes and Thompson are the most likely candidates, along with Jack.

    The second unit actually looked good in their first stint, first half, confident in their scoring, and Jefferson actually looked like a pro. Anybody know what’s going on with him, other than his calf injury?

    I’ll take our four starters over the Clipper starters hands down (OK, I’m being sentimental with Curry), Lee over Griffin, Ezeli over Jordan, Thompson over whoever they put at 2 or 3. If the team could just fill in.

    What a brilliant game by Curry.

    • Fitz was said during the game that the Clippers 2nd unit was the best in the NBA – Bledsoe, Crawford, Barnes, Odom, and Turiaf (huge negative +/-‘s in this game). Jack, Jefferson, Green, Landry, and Biedrins – outplayed them and made an impact in the outcome of this game.

      Yes, I’d say that the W’s bench is pretty deep enough… Especially with 2 starters and best defenders (post and perimter) out in Bogut and Rush…

    • when curry was out, or when he’s on the bench, it’s pretty clear that the team can’t really shift into a fast tempo/open court offense effectively. it’s another reason he’s the indispensable player on the roster. rush was so effective in fast tempo that the preacher took off the restrictors when he was in the lineup, and the other player capable last season was robinson, now giving Chi much needed back up minutes. jack, thompson, lee all play smarter on offense with curry on the floor because the stress he puts on the defense and the spacing that results, combined with his own passing and superior court vision. curry’s positive effect on team d is perhaps overlooked because he isn’t a long, lock-down, individual defender, and anyone less than excellent gets exposed on the perimeter. yet it’s not just on offense that he’s missed when he’s out.

      the brain trust mistakenly gave up tempo play low priority, when they didn’t make robinson an offer and thought jack, jenkins, thompson would suffice as curry’s back ups. bazemore is probably a better fit, and a better perimeter defender and rebounder than jenkins, but neither are assured of remaining after Jul if their ration of playing time indicates anything.

  17. It’s a stretch, but I’m tempted to say Griffin was the reason the Clippers lost. Yes, he got his points and boards, yes, we couldn’t stop him, but running so much of the offense through him took the other scorers out of the game. Also it kept them from running, which they do very well.

  18. From AL’s Fast Break:

    Festus Ezeli — He only logged 14 minutes, but they were some heroic ones. Ezeli struggled early against Griffin and got a quick pull in the first quarter. For the next two hours, members of the Warriors repeatedly went up to him and coached him. Andrew Bogut spent an entire timeout in the first half pointing to spots in the post and showing Ezeli how to set up defensively. Mike Malone took numerous trips down the bench to explain certain plays and give encouragement. Mark Jackson gave his rookie the ultimate vote of confidence, returning to him late in the fourth quarter when the team needed half-court stops against Griffin. Ezeli delivered, denying Griffin the type of easy look he had earlier. As fans wrap their heads around how good this Warriors team can be, there are a bunch of variables. Bogut’s return, Curry’s health, and Barnes’ development are all major factors. But Ezeli’s improvement and consistency should be up there. If the Warriors can lean on the rookie for physical, high-quality defense in the post — even if he fouls out after 20 minutes of it — it’ll be a big boost against some of the team’s toughest opponents.”

    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2013/01/21/getting-a-stop-warriors-106-clippers-99/

    Several of the bloggers attended the game and had some entertaining comments………

    (MarvAlbertsRug) “On another note, after Bogut’s workout, he was involved in the pregame ritual in the tunnel, which is televised on the scoreboard. The dude was shirtless and completely ripped. Like Wolverine, but bigger and taller. The man’s been staying in shape so look out, NBA.”

  19. Ric Bucher:

    The Warriors’ bench — Kent Bazemore in particular — clearly weren’t intimidated by Blake Griffin’s response to the last time they mocked an errant 3-point attempt. Bazemore and Co. feigned shock when Griffin shot a right-corner 3 off the side of the backboard in the third quarter of a 115-94 loss in Oakland on Jan. 2. Three nights later, Griffin and the Clippers exacted revenge for that slight and several others with a 115-89 return beatdown in LA.

    Fast forward to the Monday’s rematch and Griffin shooting an airball 3 from the top of the arc, after which Bazemore went Fred Sanford and staggered back into the bench as if he were about to faint. Griffin finished two assists short of a triple-double, but the Warriors got the payback they were looking for after the Clippers clowned them at the Staples Center.

    True rivalries are borne in hard-fought playoff series and maybe we’ll get one between these two teams, but there’s enough there already to assure both will be circling next season’s meetings on their calendar.

    http://sulia.com/channel/basketball/f/97b5fba4-d243-48f9-b486-f8064f720ad1/?source=twitter

  20. Thank you Feltbot. You are a good writer, with a unique and provocative perspective.

    I sometimes forget that FelterSkelter has already admitted that he is a persona and not a person. That he is geared towards sensationalism, contrary views and self-aggrandisement. That he craves provocation, preferably ending in assent or even better, dissent. That he is terrier like when sensing weakness, but agile like the wind and able to vanish at the drop of hat made out of devastating rebuttals.

    Those who argue on his terms have already lost. They’re like Avery Johnson tinkering with his starting line up ahead of game one of the playoffs.

    Me, I’d rather not engage head on with his machine-like funnelling of data into the protect-Nelly, champion-small ball machine. I like to step back, enjoy the writing, congratulate him on his hits and maybe talk about some other things. Maybe even take a leaf out of Sir Felton John’s book and offer my own outspoken opinions, hunches and theories:

    This upswing in Warriors fortunes is no aberration and will continue for at least the next two or three years. The reason is the visionary thinking and talent development abilities of the front office and coaching staff; skills that would be less noticeable had they not followed decades of almost impossibly improbable ineptitude, decrepitude and overall crapitude.

    Let this team grow. Enjoy their growing pains. Enjoy their weaknesses as a parent enjoys their children’s. Savour their strengths. Watch them. Watch Curry flex his grip on the cojones of the Association. Watch veterans get integrated seamlessly. Watch the selfless team play continue. And watch Andrew Bogut become an integral piece of it all!

    • The core of this team was set some three years ago, when the team acquired Lee. The “visionary” FO did little to build on this their first two years, and in fact retarded the growth of the team. Ezeli and Green, the rookies we’re excited about, were scouted by Riley, the last holdover from the old regime. As for Landry and Jack, they just got lucky. Necessity forced them to pick up these players who were available late in the trade season and who were affordable. They were the players they should have been trying to get years ago.

    • +1 While I agree with almost nothing, Mr. Hammertime, game recognizes game.

    • From the LA Times:

      OAKLAND — Clearly, the Clippers still are bothered by what they perceive as antics and trash talking by the Golden State Warriors.

      Even with Chris Paul laboring in his second game back since missing three because of a bruised right kneecap, and even after the Warriors won, 106-99, at Oracle Arena on Monday, all the Clippers wanted to get across was that they think they are the better team.

      The Warriors talk too much for the Clippers’ liking, even if Golden State backed it up by winning the season series 3-1.

      Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro acknowledged that the Warriors “get up for us, you can tell a little bit. Which is good.”

      After the Clippers’ four-game winning streak ended, Paul was asked about Del Negro’s comments.

      “Yeah, yeah, a little bit,” he said.

      Then he paused.

      “Young fella Harrison Barnes was talking a little bit over there after the game,” said Paul, who had a conversation with Barnes after the game in front of Golden State’s bench. “It is what it is.”

      http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-clippers-warriors-20130122,0,7127411.story

      Someone wanna pass the box of Kleenex please?

      The Clippers and Lakers are both headed to the same place (2012-13 NBA trash heap of also-rans), the only difference being their respective road maps. I suppose the only real question to be answered is which team makes the loudest noise when their season comes crashing to an end?

      • Barnes was trash talking?

        • @Felt – Barnes? No, it was “The Falcon!” LOL!

          I think the Clippers are actually FRIGHTENED of the prospect of playing the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs – AND GETTING TKO’D!!!! Third seed (Clips) versus Sixth seed (Warriors)… A likely scenario…

          Chris Paul is trolling for playoff motivation here! As he did with the whole Pau Gasol thing after a game.

          If I were The Falcon after the game? “Mr. Paul and Mr. Griffin, why congratulations on your all-star selections! I’ll watch you guys dominate from my Rookie Game seats!” Don’t give him any fuel for motivation.

          Why else would they pay so much attention to the W’s celebrating??? Just beat them and move on…

          Except maybe they can’t…

          3 of 10 losses are to our GSW’s…

          WE BELIEVE II Baby!

  21. CHICAGO – Everyone else on these Los Angeles Lakers had showered, dressed and bundled themselves to march out into the coldest night across the past two winters here. As the clock lurched past midnight in the losing locker room, the team bus gone, Kobe Bryant still wore his purple and gold jersey inside a tiny cubicle.

    For some reason, he was holding onto one more night, one more loss, a little longer on Monday. He had marched past the Michael Jordan statue in the United Center, embraced Scottie Pippen courtside and understood he had never been so far away from those six championship banners hanging above him.

    One more to go, and yet Monday night had been another cruel installment that Bryant no longer plays on a championship contender, that the parts, the system, the plan, is spiraling deeper and deeper into the abyss. Seven games under .500, four games out of the playoff picture and an unraveling in the final minutes of a 95-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

    So far, these Lakers are a failure. So far, a bust.

    “Obviously, this isn’t working,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–kobe-bryant—this-isn-t-working–101830224.html

    • What a mess. The only way to help this team is to play big and slow the pace to a crawl. Yes, Nellieball is not always the answer, and a Nellieball coach can be guilty of pounding round objects into square holes.

      My repeated mantra has always been this: you must coach to your roster’s strengths. D’Antoni’s intransigence has been remarkable.

      The corollary for GMs is that they must build in a manner consistent with the strengths of their core. The Lakers bench is totally unsuited for the half court.

      A mess.

      • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

        I’m still waiting for Gasol to dominate under D’Antoni. I guess we can just chalk it up to another inaccurate prediction by Feltbot that he ignores and acts like he never made.

      • I'm... waitin' for my hat

        Ahem. Don’t want to appear immodest, but at least one commenter on this blog did mention that D’Antoni and his system weren’t right for the Lackers roster. That didn’t stop the Lackers from hiring D’antoni, and it didn’t make them re-think their 2nd team either. Too bad for them.

        Mitch Kupchack should have checked in on the FeltBlog. If he had, he wouldn’t be in this mess now.

      • Mea culpa. That was a poor prediction, and I’m currently suffering badly for it on my fantasy team.

        I do still believe that Pau is an ideal Mike D’Antoni center. I would love to see Nash and Gasol run pick and roll with a spread floor. That would be a thing of beauty. The problem is that there’s no place but power forward for Gasol on the Lakers, and that throws a big monkey wrench in D’Antoni’s system.

        I also still believe that in his secret heart of hearts, if D’Antoni had a choice between keeping one of his centers and trading the other, he’d prefer to keep Pau.

        • Lakers need to trade Dwight Howard. Get D’Antoni to pair Nash with Dirk and Mayo and other assets. Sure Cuban said no trade, but Howard is the grail he can build around. I don’t know if Dwight wants to re-sign in Dallas if Deron and Dirk aren’t there…

  22. Grantland’s Zach Lowe picks his All Star reserves:

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    Starters:

    G Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
    G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
    FC Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
    FC Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
    FC Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

    Reserves:

    G Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
    G James Harden, Houston Rockets
    FC Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
    FC LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
    FC David Lee, Golden State Warriors
    WC Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
    WC Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

    “Curry’s in. A point guard who can shoot 45 percent from 3 on a ton of attempts is a franchise changer, and Curry has worked his tail off to fit within Mark Jackson’s revamped defensive scheme.

    That leaves Lee, Randolph, and Aldridge for two spots. All three rank as average or worse defenders, and Lee is probably at the bottom, even though he’s worked harder on that end — and on the boards — this season. He’s always going to be undersized and slow, with a short wingspan that limits his ability to protect the rim and contest shots in the post; opponents have shot a robust 48 percent against him in post-ups this season, per Synergy Sports, and the Warriors often have to send him help.”

    “Basically: This is an impossible choice. But since I have to make one, I’ll reward Lee for his 52 percent shooting — easily the best among three offense-first players — and ability to work as an efficient cog in just about every way the Warriors’ offensive system could ask. Aldridge gets the nod over Randolph for working as the clear no. 1 guy on his team, even if Damian Lillard has seized that mantle in crunch time. But if you want Randolph, that’s absolutely fine.”

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8866347/lebron-james-carmelo-anthony-more-nba-all-star-selections

    • Curry’s probably automatically in, as I would be surprised if Paul didn’t opt out.

      Lee clearly deserves the honor.

      • The All Star game is a street game that won’t show the strengths of either player. Curry maybe takes 8 shots, maybe makes two or three, as he did in the Rook/Soph game. So what? I wish there were a way they could both get the nod and then pass it up.

        I don’t like the All Star game, anyway. Couldn’t they throw a parade instead?

  23. When Bogut returns and he is coming back soon, an unanswered question is whether Jackson thrusts him into the starting line-up like he did before or bring him off the bench, which seems the better course to follow.

    As Bogut offensively played well with the first unit, but the team floundered being outscored by their opponents, mainly due to Thompson starting the season so horrendously.

    • What am I missing here? Bogut >>> Ezeli. It’s obvious to me. And it’s not even close.

      Bogut Offensively? Big edge to Bogut. PER = 15 hobbled, out of shape, new team. Bogut can pass to the open man/see the court. Can handle the ball for a big. Is a much better scorer/finisher. Has averaged 10-14 points per game in an NBA season.

      Ezeli Offensively? PER = 8 rookie. Ezeli is a turnover machine waiting to happen whenever he has to make a decision with the ball. Forget about passing the ball to him anywhere outside of 6-7 feet of the rim. Ezeli can catch and finish with authority/throw a little hook/baseline shot, Andris-like (We Believe years version). That’s it.

      Defensively – Big edge to Bogut, although Ezeli’s looking great.

      Rebounding – Deuce, maybe Ezeli. Ezeli’s so active on the boards with tips – he’s amazing me – and this doesn’t count in the rebounding stats.

      Unless you prefer to go Landry/Lee from the get-go, which we can discuss…

  24. I’m just saying that Bogut should be eased back into the starting line-up, and tgus not hamper the teams chemistry. No more. No one is arguing that Ezeli is better than Bogut. Actually, an argument can be made that the Warriors have faired better with Biedrins, rather than Ezeli.

    It’s still an unanswered question whether the team with Bogut will perform better than our small line-up.

    I still wish to see a front court of Bogut, D. lee, and Landry playing at the same time. Not going to happen.

    • Frank, you keep bringing up that big lineup, but I can’t figure out what you have in mind. One of those 3 would have to guard a small forward, a wing player. None of them have the quickness. What’s your thinking?

      • It’ll be tough to go small at the end of the game with Bogut on the bench. Something tells me Bogut won’t go silently.

        I say – get Bogut as many minutes with the starters – as many as possible prior to the playoffs. To build chemistry. With Bogut. Bogut looks for teammates as does Lee. Great passing big men!!! Awesome perimeter shooters! What’s not to like?

        The W’s will be dangerous if they can go both big and small. Inside. Outside. Offense. Defense. Passing. Shooting. Sweet!!!

        Dangerous in the playoffs.

    • +1 By the way, this new NBA fad of the colored shoelaces? That was something seen way back in the day on the playgrounds of Athens, Ohio — on young feltbot’s black Converse hightops.

  25. Take a look at what happens to Monta Ellis’ assists when Ersan Iyasova is moved to the starting lineup, and actually makes his shots.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore?gid=2013012215

    Not a point guard?

    • Nice stat line from Monta. Only 10 shots? Wow! Nice!

      Against Holliday? Or Ivey/Nick Young? There’s a difference. Nellie wanted Ellis to play point, right? Didn’t last long – we will have to ask Nellie why. Ellis just wants to be a “guard” and compares himself to SG Dwayne Wade willingly. Point guard? He’d be a perennial All-Star. SG? Not so much.

  26. Rusty Simmons (95.7FM The Game) talked tonight about Bogut possibly playing Saturday vs Milwaukee

    http://957thegame.com/episode_download.php?contentType=36&contentId=6208637

  27. David Lee starring in the “gif of the night”.

    http://derrickpapp.com/d/lee.gif

    • Great – I hope Lee and Bogut like each other on and off the court. Bogut strikes me as a hard-$ss, straight shooter, tells it like he sees it, calls you out when you’re dogging it, in your face kind of guy. I love this attitude, but it may rub others the wrong way. I hope not. Like Jarrett Jack – Andrew Bogut is also an enforcer. Every team needs a couple of these tough guys in a battle… Lee, Klay, and Curry – are more skill and finesse than dish out the hard foul types. Just an unconfirmed opinion… No stats to back anything up here! LOL!

  28. Practice interviews from Tuesday

  29. Coming soon to an NBA team near you?

    • Andrew Bogut at 50% of his former self will still increase the Warriors chance of winning from game to game, but at anywhere close to a full recovery will greatly increase those same odds.

      • So you are saying, the Warriors winning percentage will improve with Bogut at 50% health?…I guess you think Ezelli is pretty bad.

        Hmm, great thing about sports;
        we will see the results! Perhaps soon, or not soon, sometime anyway…

        • raggs, Andrew Bogut is a much better player, even at the stage of his rehab that we saw back in October, than Festus Ezeli, even if no other reason than his FAR superior passing skills. Throw in the difference in experience between the two to go along with Bogut’s superior basketball IQ and yes, I believe there’s no question the Warriors are a better team with Bogut playing (and taking the place of Ezeli).

          Remember, before Bogut was injured he was considered to be one of the best centers in the NBA. At this stage of Ezeli’s career, and at full health, he’s a LONG way from that status.

  30. @28 and elsewhere

    I watched the OKC/Clippers game last night. Same offensive scheme we saw. Much of the offense went through Griffin, who either drove or kicked out. Yes, he got his points, but the rest of the offense was stagnant. Little running, not much ball movement, and the other guys weren’t getting good looks and didn’t get into a rhythm. A lot of shots were late in the shot clock. Griffin isn’t that good a passer, doesn’t see the court that well, and doesn’t make quick decisions. Going through Griffin doesn’t play to the team’s strengths.

    I say this because I recall that the same offensive scheme was planned for Bogut, which would be a mistake for so many reasons. If any big should run the offense, it’s Lee.

    • Vinnie Del Negro is not a coach who makes adjustments very easily. Giving Lamar Odom all those minutes, WOW.

      To their credit, OKC did shoot lights though. Not sure any defensive schemes would have actually succeeded last night.

  31. Warriors once again fresh and waiting for a team on a road back-to-back. The schedule makers have smiled on us this season.

    re the Clippers:

    Chris Paul didn’t even play last night. I’m not buying the “bruise” story, particularly as its the knee he’s had surgery on.

    Grant Hill was held out of the Warriors game because of the back to back. He looks pretty good still, playing… spread four. Interesting that the biggest tweak to their lineup the Clippers made in the offseason was to add 3 spread fours. Hill, Odom and Barnes. When Blake Griffin moves to the five in the 4th Q, they are a much better team.

    But not as good as the team we’re going to see tonight. Durant is playing at a level I don’t know I’ve ever seen before. He’s turned on his passing game, playing Lebron-level point forward. And his scoring is efficient at historic levels.

    He simply ravaged the Clippers last night, against a darn good defender in Matt Barnes. Who will get the assignment tonight?

    • From what I’ve seen, there are only 2 ways to slow down KD. One is to deny him the ball – easier said than done. The other method, the one used to good effect by Stephen Jackson in game 2 of last year’s SA-OKC playoffs, is to slap, crowd, bang and bully Durant at every opportunity, damn the consequences. That’s not easy to do either. I don’t think the Ws have anyone besides Draymond Green with the ability plus the dirty-work mindset for the job.

      Assuming the Thunder start with Perkins and Ibaka, Barnes will face Durant at first, with the Ws emphasizing double-team help. Which won’t help. Durant can simply shoot or pass over anyone.

      Then Green will get the call, until he gets in foul trouble.

      By that time, if the Thunder are in small-ball mode Lee or Landry will probably pick up Durant. If Durant is playing the 3, it’s back to Barnes or Jefferson.

      In any case, it’s not going to be pretty.

      • Sounds simple, but how about making him go right and providing timely help?

        Or double teaming and trapping him when he dribble to the top of the three point line, and accepting the fact Ibaka, Perkins, Collison may make a couple shots?

        Hope Dremond and Ezelli read Feltbot!

        • Defense is all about forcing opponents out of their comfort zone. Durant handles double-teams pretty well, so I don’t think it will bother him at all.

          Against Durant, the Ws need to play someone like Stephen Jackson, whose particular genius as a defender is that he can be annoying as hell. He knows how to get under an opponent’s skin. On today’s Ws, the only one who even approximates that talent is Green.

          But Durant is a handful to whoever guards him.

        • If I made it sound simple, I didn’t say it right.

    • The only way to beat OKC is to outscore them.

      • Hard to disagree with your assertion rgg.

      • What’d I tell ya?
        Probably the worst game I’ve ever seen Westbrook play, though.
        I want Landry in 4th. quarter, not Bogut.

        • “The only way to beat OKC is to outscore them”……”What’d I tell ya?”

          rgg, to be honest, this wasn’t an “outscore them” kinda game, which intimates more of a 120-118-like score. OKC scored all of 42 points in the second half. This was a game won on the defensive side of the ledger.

          Westbrook, as you said, really struggled, but likewise Curry with his 3-point shooting. That one sequence in particular where he kept getting wide open looks from behind the line only to keep clanking the rim was unreal.

          Regardless of the “style” two really good wins this week over LAC and OKC. These are the kind of confidence builders that a young team needs to keep improving while subsequently taking their game to the next level.

          Landry over Bogut in the 4th qtr? I just want Bogut back playing, in any quarter. It now appears that after the All Star game is the likely target to return for Bogut. I always thought if Bogut was anywhere close to being ready when the Warriors played in Milwaukee he’d be playing but since it now looks like he won’t be back for that game it probably is a good indicator he’s at least another few weeks away from returning. Thank you, Peter Vecsey, for yet another good piece of inside info (cleared to practice) from one of your inimitable “sources”. LOL

          • Actually, a bizarre game. Obviously coach turned Curry loose, and I suspect he was leg weary 4th quarter. Barnes was the disappointment—if he had lived up to his billing, this would have been a different game.

  32. Warriors TV: The Playlist

  33. Ric Bucher:

    Warriors aren’t giving a timeline for Andrew Bogut’s return but they’re making a concerted effort to showcase his improvement. The Warriors could have him work out before games at just about any time, and it would make sense to have him work out early when the bench unit gets in their work, but Bogut is going through his shooting routine after 6 pm, when the building opens to fans.

    For what it’s worth, he shot running jumpers before Wednesday’s game, far more activity than the stand-still jumpers he had been taking, and looked comfortable doing it. The lift on his jump also would suggest reports that he has been dunking in practice are legitimate. Based on how he looks and his desire to at least get in a couple of weeks of scrimmaging in practice before he plays a game, an appearance right before or after the All-Star break seems the likeliest scenario as of right now.

    http://sulia.com/channel/basketball/f/4ad5cbac-d521-4e34-ad27-277b7702a21f/?source=twitter

  34. MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Beyond the personal animus and the uncertainty over his willingness to endure the job’s grind, the biggest issue Lakers vice president Jim Buss had with choosing Phil Jackson over Mike D’Antoni as head coach centered on the consequences for Steve Nash. With no use for this point guard in the triangle offense, Buss’s fear was that Jackson would’ve pushed to move Nash out, sources said.

    Buss passed on the Lakers’ glorious championship legacy to attach his franchise to the desert mirage of D’Antoni and Nash, a reunion tour born of a one-dimensional, gimmick offense and a point guard pushing 39 years old.

    “The way this turns out,” one league source connected to the hiring process said, “you’ve chosen not only Steve Nash over [Pau] Gasol, but maybe over Gasol and Dwight [Howard].”

    These Lakers are missing the athleticism and perimeter quickness to contend for a championship. This 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday at FedEx Forum was one more installment in a debacle of a season that the mere presence of D’Antoni worsens every day.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–forget-kobe-dwight–the-lakers-will-pay-for-doubling-down-on-failed-reunion-tour-of-d-antoni-nash-094336411.html

  35. “With Andrew Bogut, Are Warriors Contenders?”

    http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-130123/daily-dime

  36. Fast Break: Uncharted Territory

    “The ability to overcome Curry’s poor offensive stretch is a testament to the team’s depth, unselfishness and overall growth. The depth allowed the Warriors additional capable scorers to step up when Curry faltered. Without total unselfishness, the ball doesn’t move as freely as it did in the fourth quarter — finding the open man, with no hang-ups about who should be taking the “big” shots. And the overall growth and maturation showed in how the Warriors met the Thunders’ run not by buckling, but by collecting themselves and making an even bigger run right back at them. The Warriors were the more aggressive, focused and precise team when it mattered the most. They did the little things that elite teams, like the Thunder, do to close out against quality opponents.”

    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2013/01/24/uncharted-territory-warriors-104-thunder-99/

  37. DLee yes, SCurry no, but lots of love for Steph from Sir Charles on TNT. Curry just a victim of playing in the West but many AS games in his future.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/lee-curry-out-warriors-get-first-all-star-97