Once again Jarret Jack put this Warriors team on his back and gave them the inspiration to gut this win out. Came in with the Warriors on the verge of getting blown out of a 12:30 start in a February road game, immediately called his own number on three straight threes — burying all three — and dragged his sluggish teammates right back into the contest.
Finished with another monster performance. 23 and 8 assists, including 5-7 from three. Just as against San Antonio, this was Jack’s win.
And how about what happened at 8:30 2Q, when Jack walked up to 7′ Greg Stiemstra after a stoppage of play, said
“Do that one more time, bruh,”
and delivered a forearm shiver to Stiemstra’s solar plexus? What about that? I believe it was David Lee who said post-game that that lit a fire under the Warriors players.
Running back the tape, you can see what happened: Stiemstra deliberately raked Jack’s face on a whiffed rebound attempt. As play continued, Jack walked up to Stiemstra and delivered a right elbow to the midsection, and Stiemstra pushed Jack away. Still no whistle. Then the whistle blew on the other side of the court, and Jack returned to deliver his message.
How long has it been since the Warriors had a player with Jack’s brand of toughness and edge? Not since Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson, certainly.
I’m not a fan of extracurricular violence on the basketball court. But there are times in a basketball game when a message needs to be sent. TO BOTH TEAMS.
Jack is the man to do it. And he’s the only player on this oh so nice and gentlemanly Warriors team who’s willing to do it. He has become the heart and soul of the Warriors.
I’m with Mark Jackson on this: Jarret Jack is the obvious Sixth Man of the Year. It’s not even close. Jamal Crawford? Please. We all know what he is. A one-dimensional gunner who couldn’t lead an ant colony to a mountain of sugar. An absolute sieve on the defensive end.
Jack is a tough as nails two-way player. A leader of men. He’s not just a sixth man, but a candidate for the most valuable player on his resurgent Warriors team. He’s the John Havlicek, the Manu Ginobili of the Warriors. There’s no better sixth man in the league. Not even close.
I do find one thing lacking in Jack’s game, though: He needs a nickname. A great sixth man needs a nickname. Havlicek was “Hondo” (inspired by the John Wayne movie). Vinnie Johnson was “The Microwave.” Jamal Crawford, who won the award in 2010, goes by “J.Crossover.” Ginobili is, well, ask Charles Barkley.
So let’s have a contest: give me your idea of a good nickname in the comments section below.
I struggled with this myself. My first runner up is “40 Mill.” I think you all know what I’m talking about. Right, Joe Lacob?
Inspired by “50 Cent,” of course. Not quite as good as “Fitty,” too direct and literal, but it does get the point across.
Maybe, though, Jarret Jack should simply become a one-name player, like Kobe and Lebron. But in Jack’s case, it’s the first name that should go. “Jarret” is too nice and cuddly. I think he should get a court order legally changing his name to
Stephen Curry: This could have been one of the worst games I’ve ever seen Curry play. Horrible careless turnovers. Flat-footed defense and silly reaching fouls. And his demeanor. He should really work on his body language when he’s playing poorly.
Poker is a lot like sports in this respect: your demeanor is incredibly important. Poker players call it “table presence,” and it is an essential part of inducing respect from your opponents. When things are going badly for me on the green felt, I like to remind myself of a little bit of advice Shirley Maclaine gave to Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge (an underrated gem):
“Never let them see your ass.”
Curry shows his way too often.
And one other thing. Can you ever imagine Curry doing what Jack did to Stiemstra? Never in a million years, right? But what about simply getting into an opponent’s face? What about getting into one of his own teammate’s face, the way Jordan or Kobe or Garnett or Lebron or Duncan would, when that teammate was slacking? What about controlling what is visible on his own face when he is struggling?
Now, I would never argue that Curry needs to change himself into a different person. He can only be himself. And it is clear that he has the ultimate respect of his teammates, and is quite a leader of this Warriors team in his own right.
But it is worth observing that with a dominant personality like Jack on his team, Curry is in danger of being replaced as THE leader.
David Lee: Just another routine 22 and 13 for Lee. As anyone who followed Chris Webber’s career could tell you, you should never take performances like this for granted on the road. An essential part of Lee’s greatness is that he brings it every game, home or away, at 7 PM or at 12:30.
His man, Derrick Williams, also had a nice game, with 23 and 12. Illustrating my frequent point. Lee struggles with the superior speed and quickness of undersized spread fours. He did a far better job in this game when guarding the monstrous Nikola Pekovic.
Carl Landry: Another nice performance. The small-ball frontline of Lee and Landry dominated the game in the second and fourth quarters. Proving, once again, in basketball as in love, that size isn’t everything.
Talent and tempo count for something too.
The Brand: Barnes’ highlight was that left block iso at 7:04 4Q againt the smaller Shved, resulting in a Kobe-esque clean, crisp left-shoulder turn-around fade-away jumper in the lane. It was nice to see him finally get one of those to go down. Been a while.
For the rest of the game, in what has become a disturbing fact of life for the player for whom Joe Lacob tanked last season, Barnes was completely invisible. His two longer jumpers were badly bricked. The other two buckets he made were layups that were spoonfed to him, like a baby being fed puréed peas.
2 rebounds in 22 minutes. 0 blocks. Do you realize that Barnes has 1 block in his last 21 games? Do you find that curious in a 6-8″ forward with a 39″ vertical leap? I know I do.
I guess it’s just not part of his brand.
Draymond Green: 6 rebounds in 11 minutes. The guy is truly a rebound machine.
None bigger of course, than that rebound of Barnes’ miss at the line at 0:37 4Q. Take a moment to replay that glorious rebound. Green literally threw the bigger Derrick Williams right off the court.
He badly needs to get his offense in order. That iso at 11:30 4Q resulted in a horrible spinning fade away brick as bad as anything Barnes has ever thrown up. I would greatly prefer to see him go right at the basket, come what may.
I wonder if the Warriors work on his offensive moves in practice as much as they work on Barnes’?
Mark Jackson: The absence of the Andrew Bogut Myth has suddenly turned Jackson back into a pretty darn good NBA coach. And I’ve been enjoying his post-game press conferences more than ever lately. I think you know what I mean there.
One other thing. I think a large part of Jarret Jack’s incredible improvement this season should be credited to Mark Jackson. I watched Jack play a lot last year, as I had him on my fantasy team. (Which is why I knew enough to be ecstatic when the Warriors signed him.) And Jack’s current talent and ability were there in full last season, as the lead point guard for the Hornets.
The difference this season is that Mark Jackson has empowered him. Empowered him to call his own number, to look for his own shot, whether on a pull up from 18, or a walk-up three. Empowered him to take over the game.
Just as Mark Jackson empowered Stephen Curry, after a long miserable season of Cat Hell.