Game One Recap: Denver Nuggets 97 Golden State Warriors 95

Heartbreaker. An amazingly resilient performance by the Warriors on the Nuggets’ home floor, given the youth and playoff inexperience of their roster, and the loss of David Lee. 

This was a difficult game for me to process. Some questions about how the two teams match up were answered. But just as many remain. Particularly given the fact that the Manimal, Kenneth Faried, is scheduled to return in game 2, which will alter the Nuggets’ look considerably. And it looks quite likely that the Warriors have lost the services of their all-star power forward.

Even setting aside Lee’s injury, this game probably represented the Warriors best chance to steal a game on the Nuggets’ home floor. I know the Nuggets are not the world’s best three point shooting team, but its unlikely we’ll see this nervous 3-16 (19%) shooting performance repeated. Especially since the Nuggets don’t take threes unless wide open, and the Warriors give them all the wide-open looks they could possibly want.

Could the Warriors have had a chance in this series if Lee doesn’t get injured and they steal this game?  It’s hard for me to say that question was answered by what we saw in this game. Too many variables: Faried’s absence, the Nuggets’ shooting, Bogut’s ankle.

Andrew Bogut and the Nugget’s fast break: As predicted, the Nuggets tried to run Bogut off the court. And for awhile in the first quarter it looked a lot as if they would succeed. On the third play of the game, the Nuggets beat Bogut down court after a made basket for a Fournier layup. On the very next Nuggets possession, Chandler again beat Bogut (and Lee) downcourt, getting fouled at the rim. And at 4:20 1Q, as soon as Bogut came back in from a three minute rest, Javale McGee beat him down court for a dunk.

But remarkably to me, this became less and less of a problem as the game wore on. I never noticed him get beat again. The Warriors wound up holding the Nuggets to 15 fastbreak points, 5 below their league leading average of 20.

What happened? And can the Warriors, and particularly Bogut’s, performance against the Nuggets fast break be repeated?

Even setting aside the effect of David Lee’s injury for the moment, I think there are reasons to doubt this. The Nugget’s fastbreak was no doubt affected adversely by the absence of Kenneth Faried. The Warriors outrebounded the Nuggets by 10, and were particularly effective on the offensive glass, garnering 13, with Bogut contributing 5 on his own. This problem grabbing defensive boards made it tougher for the Nuggets to get out and run. Faried will help with that a lot when he returns.

And then there is the fact that Faried is one of the Nuggets’ most effective players on the fast break. He is terrific at beating big men down court and finishing.

And then there is the fact that the Nuggets tired badly in the fourth quarter of this game. I think that had a lot to do with Faried’s absence, which required them to play Nellieball right from the opening tip, and throughout the game.

And then there is the fact of Bogut’s health. He played what for him is extensive minutes in this game, 31. How well can he recover from that? He has stated recently that his ankle has good days and bad days, and it has obviously been killing him headed into this series. He gets 2 days of rest before the next game, but when the series comes to Oracle, the Warriors will play 3 games in 5 nights.

So while crediting Bogut for not getting run off the floor in this game, I’d like to reserve judgement on whether he can continue to get back on defense against the Nuggets, until we see what happens when Mr. Manimal takes the floor. 

I prefer not to contemplate what happens if David Lee can’t play.

Andrew Bogut in half-court defense: This is where I potentially made the biggest blunder in my series forecast. I knew the Nuggets were reluctant to shoot from outside, and I knew that they would be relentless in attacking the rim. Which they were, right from the opening tip.

But what I didn’t know is that Bogut would stand up so well against the barrage. I anticipated difficulty moving side to side and serious foul trouble. Instead, Bogut delivered his best defensive performance in a Warriors uniform. 4 blocked shots, and countless others altered. Dominant rebounding.

Quickness, nimbleness, aggression, force. A flashback to earlier days.

The Manimal is getting set to return. Another ferocious rim-rocker added to the wave of Nuggets attackers.

Can Bogut continue to repel them?

Bogut on offense: The Warriors offense struggled badly in the first and third quarters, as it has so often with Bogut on the floor. And he himself was invisible.

But in the fourth quarter, the floor seemed to open up for Bogut and he delivered some big buckets.

Bogut in crunch time: Bogut’s fourth quarter play was pretty remarkable. Easily the best stretch of basketball he’s played this year.

Some highlights:

  • 7:35: Jack and Bogut complete a pick and roll! Back on defense, Bogut blocks a shot.
  • 6:05: Bogut blocks Chandler
  • 4:10: Bogut offensive rebound, then runs down a second long rebound on its way out of bounds and makes a remarkable slap save straight to Klay Thompson for a three.
  • 3:15: Nicely designed play on the right box gets Bogut a left-handed jump hook.
  • 2:15 Bogut finishes on a Jack assist.
  • 1:00 Bogut’s presence turns away several consecutive Nuggets drives.

Stephen Curry: As I predicted, George Karl put a target on Stephen Curry’s back in this game. The Nuggets blitzed ferociously on the pick and roll, taking the ball out of Curry’s hands whenever he was the point guard.

And as I predicted, Curry struggled badly against the length of Iggy, Chandler and Brewer. Virtually all of Curry’s made threes were shot over Ty Lawson. Including the one that tied the game.

The Nuggets take away from Curry the best and easiest part of his game, which is the high pick. You don’t want Bogut setting that pick, because the Nuggets ultra-mobile big men will blitz, and Bogut is no threat to punish them when he receives the ball in the high post. When Lee set the pick in this game, Chandler blitzed, which is the worst of all worlds.  And it’s virtually the same if you try to pick with Klay Thompson or Barnes: all you accomplish is a switch that results in Curry facing a longer, tougher defender.

After shooting 0-9 to start the game, Curry came alive, finishing 7 for his last 11, with most of his scoring coming off the ball. But I think it’s worth noting that by their own admission (Andre Miller’s post game interview), the Nuggets tired badly down the stretch. That may not occur again, at least to the same degree, after Faried comes back.

Curry’s in for a tough time in this series. Mark Jackson will have to get really creative to get him open looks.

By the way, did you happen to notice the play to end the first half? Mark Jackson ISO’D Curry at the top of the key against Ty Lawson. Perhaps Jackson has had second thoughts about the end of the Lakers game?

Unfortunately, despite what I think was supposed to be a 1-4 alignment (the other four Warriors spread out on the baseline), Klay Thompson drifted up court, bringing his defender, Andre Iguodala, into the way of Curry’s drive, resulting in a turnover.

I’d like to see more Curry iso’s against Lawson. He can beat him.

David Lee’s injury: Obviously the injury overshadows everything. It’s even more terrible given how long he’s waited for this playoff appearance. I’m no doctor, but I don’t think the news is going to be good.

David Lee’s game: He didn’t shoot well in this game, because the matchup with Chandler bothered him. With his quickness advantage, Chandler is able to guard him more closely than conventional big men can, and challenge his dribble.

The pick and roll is difficult, because Chandler is the ideal defender to blitz Curry, long and quick.

And posting up Chandler is ill-advised, because he’s simply a great defender. And because Andrew Bogut’s man is always under the basket to give help.

It’s worth noting that Carl Landry struggled badly against Chandler as well, particularly in the fourth quarter, which is what caused Mark Jackson to take him out for Draymond Green. Landry was -4 going against Chandler in the fourth. Green +3.

Faried is probably returning next game, a matchup for which both Lee and Landry are better suited. But it is a gold-plated certainty that George Karl will continue to give Chandler minutes at power forward, particularly in the fourth quarter.

He might force Mark Jackson to go small.

Klay Thompson: His shooting kept the Warriors alive. He was undoubtedly the beneficiary of the Nugget’s focus on Curry, but he still came up big against some of the best wing defense in the NBA. Huge performance in his first playoff game.

The Warriors used him to guard Ty Lawson, which takes its toll, on both on his legs and with foul trouble.

His defense continues to impress. Take a look at the possession he played against Andre Miller, at 1:10 3Q. And compare it to any possession in which Jarret Jack or Harrison Barnes attempted to check Miller.

The Andre Miller problem: With the other Nuggets struggling to get anything   going, Miller took over, simply destroying the Warriors with his low-post game. I was shocked at how overmatched Jarret Jack was against him. This is one strong dude.

And Harrison Barnes? He just couldn’t stay in front of him. Take a look at the old-school professor spanking the rookie at 2:15 3Q. Miller literally called for the ball. It’s unusual to see that against a bigger defender, isn’t it?

Mark Jackson clearly didn’t want to double team Miller in the post, but I wonder whether that might not be the best solution. Yes, the crafty Miller can dice you up with a pass to the open man, but can that open man hit a shot?

Actually, the best solution would be for Harrison Barnes to take some pride in playing defense.

Jarret Jack: Jack got more open looks than Curry did. He’ll need to do better than 3-12, 0-5 from three for the Warriors to win a game.

And he’ll need to find someone he can defend in this series. The Nuggets look set to punish the Warriors small backcourt in a way we haven’t seen much of this season.

His saving grace in this game was his playmaking. 10 assists. He was particularly good at getting open looks for Bogut and Landry down the stretch.

Carl Landry: The Nuggets expose all of Landry’s weaknesses as an NBA player.

He wants to play in the low post, but struggled against the long and mobile Nuggets shotblockers, Koufos and McGee. He also got swallowed up on the boards.

The playoffs are where undersized power forwards go to die. Just take a look at Carlos Boozer’s highlight reel.

And he’s not a spread four. Can’t spread the floor himself beyond 15 feet. And can’t guard spread fours, like Wilson Chandler. Not at all.

Nor does he run particularly well. Not nearly as well as Faried and Chandler.

Even with Lee out and the Warriors desperate for his services, Landry might have trouble keeping himself on the floor.

The Brand: Barnes was left virtually unguarded on the perimeter in this game. To his credit, he buried his two wide-open threes.

And as predicted, the Nuggets picked him up with their worst defender. The shooting guard Fournier to start. And frequently even Ty Lawson.

George Karl has Barnes scouted well. Take a look at 9:40 3Q. With Lawson on Barnes, the Nuggets immediately double-team, leading to a turnover. Barnes was double-teamed again at 2:50 3Q, leading to another turnover.

Because of his poor handle and inability to find the open man, this is the ideal way to play Barnes. The Nuggets will not allow him to iso and drive to the rim, as so many poorly prepared teams did in the regular season.

With Lee out, and the Nuggets going small frequently with Chandler at the four, Barnes might wind up getting some time at stretch four.

If so, he’s going to have to do better than 2 rebounds in 28 minutes.

Draymond Green: The kid was down after the game because Andre Miller beat him from the top of the key to end the game. But how many players of Green’s size could even be expected to guard Miller in that spot?

The real culprit on this play was Andrew Bogut, who was “late” giving help in the lane, as Garry St. Jean pointed out after the game. I think there might have been some selfishness involved in that. Bogut was reluctant to leave Javale McGee, because he didn’t want to wind up on a poster.

Green gave the Warriors some good minutes down the stretch. He’s not the ideal player to lean on in a playoff series, but he’s the Warriors best answer to Wilson Chandler at the four.

We’ll be seeing more of Mr. Green.

Mark Jackson: George Karl is a master.

But remarkably, in my opinion, Jackson wasn’t outclassed. I was very impressed by his performance in this game.

Starting with his offensive gameplan. I loved the way the Warriors pushed the tempo in this game, even with Bogut on the floor. Early offense is the only way the Warriors can compete with the Nuggets.

The defensive cross-matches were creative and on point. The zone was sprung at good times, to good effect.

Subbing Draymond Green for Carl Landry in crunch time was essential, and worked.

Despite my frequently voiced opinion that the Warriors play better without Bogut, I had no problem with Jackson riding Bogut in this game, because Bogut delivered a lights-out performance.  So long as he has this kind of (rarely seen this season) effectiveness, he must be played.

Jackson shows a dynamism in his lineups and play-calling that is absolutely essential in the playoffs. And in my experience, is actually quite rare in NBA coaches. In his second year, Jackson is a thinking man’s game coach, something I think my readers know I prize above everything when watching basketball.

Full marks.

53 Responses to Game One Recap: Denver Nuggets 97 Golden State Warriors 95

  1. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now… Lee is done and Faried will be in next game. Tragic. Props to Lee for being such a workhorse this season… gotta feel bad for the guy.

    I actually think Klay, along with Bogut, is also at fault for not rotating on the final play… Draymond forced him into the middle and Klay decided to stick with Iggy, who is a mediocre midrange shooter. I’d much rather force Miller to pass or pull up than allow him to get all the way to the rim.

    They played Curry tough, but all but one or two of his first half looks were decent looks that Curry has hit all season…. he was just off. Now the Lee is out, the pick and roll is going to become even less effective. Curry iso’s with Lawson on him could definitely prove useful. I’m still holding hope that we can pull together and rise up, but that’s probably just because the playoffs are no fun if you don’t have at least a little faith in your team. :)

  2. Also wanted agree with your props on Jackson. I’ve been frustrated a lot this year with rigid rotations and an apparent lack of in game adjustments. He seemed way more engaged and even chewed out the players a few times… and made some good strategic moves throughout the game. The one major criticism I have is leaving Jack on Miller for too long. Dude scored like 16 points in the quarter before an adjustment was made.

  3. http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/10428650/hip-flexor-strain-hip-flexor-injury-iliopsoas-.htm

    Hip flexor Grade 3 Tear: all muscle fibres are ruptured resulting in major loss of function. The site mentions fatigue as one possible contributing factor, but there are many others.

    It will take several months for Lee to recover. The Ws really should try to sign an additional scoring big this summer. Even assuming Lee comes back fine next season, the team should reduce his minutes.

  4. Hate seeing Lee get hurt, but I’ve been waiting for the Ws to give significant playing time to Draymond Green all season.

    He’s one of the most accomplished bballers in Michigan State history (more than any of the Fab Five including Chris Webber). And that’s from a guy who can only pretend to be 6’7″.

    His records and awards go on for pages and pages on the MSU website, but here are his totals. Check out the last item in particular.

    2012 NABC National Player of the Year and Consensus First-Team All-American • Michigan State’s leading career rebounder (1,096 rebounds) • One of three players in MSU history with 1,000 career points (1,517 points) and 1,000 career rebounds • Ranks second in MSU career blocks (117) and steals (180) • 80 career double-figure scoring games and 50 career double-figure rebounding efforts • 40 career double-doubles and three career triple-doubles (ranking second in MSU history only to Earvin “Magic” Johnson) • During his career, he led MSU in scoring in 31 games, in rebounding in 78 games, and in assists in 45 games.

    Here are Green’s awards from just his last season of college ball:

    2011-12
    Named First-Team All-American by The Associated Press, NABC, John R. Wooden Award, Sporting News, USBWA and CBSSports.com • Named to Dick Vitale’s First-Team All-Solid Gold Super Seven • Finished third in voting for John R. Wooden Award • Named Big Ten Player of the Year by both the league’s coaches and media • Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player • Unanimous selection for First-Team All-Big Ten • Big Ten All-Defensive Team • USBWA District V Player of the Year • NABC All-District Honoree • One of four finalists for Naismith Award • Finalist, Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award • MSU Team MVP as voted on by the media and his teammates •

    I ask you, does THAT sound like a guy who should be sitting behind Harrison Barnes?

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Green finally unleashed. Who knows? He might not work out. But he gets my bet.

  5. great piece as usual Feltie. I think you have amply demonstrated tonight that value which I think my cohorts on this blog know I prize above everything when reading a blog, the ability to change your mind as the information changes. Much like Keynes who famously said, “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” I appreciate the comments on Jackson and Bogut.

  6. Switching topics to get my mind off the loss, especially the last play…how about game 1 of the SA, LA series? San Antonio is slow as molasses right now with Parker hobbled. If the Lakers had any team speed at the guard or small forward position, they would have beaten the Spurs, in my opinion. And funny enough, with Duncan missing jumpers and Parker unable to get to the rim, it was two big threes by Ginobli (Who has been MIA all season) that buried LA in the fourth quarter of a close game.

    If the Lakers sign Howard to a long term deal, it will basically guarantee that the Clippers will be better than them for years to come. Gasol is clearly the better center, and Howard is never going to be dominant because he does not actually have a post game.

  7. Always a great read Feltbot!!!

    I’m surprised as much as you/others – and I’ve been a loud proponent of a “somewhat healthy” Andrew Bogut – that it only took the whole season for him to recover and merely 1 playoff game for the Andrew Bogut flip-flop to occur! Lol! Granted, Bogut may need a week minimum for his ankle to recover from this game! Lol!

    If the W’s can continue to slow the break down (a huge “if” when Faried comes back), this W’s team has a chance to win and do some damage – Denver does not shoot well from the perimeter (injuries to Gallinari/Lawson), W’s can protect the paint with their effective zone funneled into Andrew Bogut/Festus Ezeli, and the W’s have to bring their “A” game, not their “B” game.

    Lee struggled against the length/athleticism/quickness that is the Denver Nuggets in Chandler/McGee. So did Landry.

    Playing Draymond Green and/or Festus Ezeli more – would add a different dynamic to the W’s team – defense – so it won’t all be bad.

    I’ve been a big proponent of Mark Jackson from the beginning – because he – like George Karl – are Hall of Famers in my opinion… Yes, Mark Jackson too. As a PG. 3rd All-time in assists. Rookie of the Year. Perennial Playoff challenger – with the Knicks and Pacers. Players relate/respond/respect to him and he’s a willing communicator. Joe Lacob and the W’s management have done a lot of things wrong, but hiring Mark Jackson/Mike Malone aren’t one of these things. Jackson needs 2-3 more good players though!

    • Very interesting how Bogut’s game opened up immediately after Lee went out… Bogut can run the pick and roll just fine – just not as efficiently as Lee. And of course Bogut can’t shoot, but Bogut can handle the ball and distribute very well – things Lee does well.

      How will the W’s coaching staff react/adjust to Lee’s absence?

      Playing Harrison Barnes – ain’t the solution this year… Richard Jefferson may be… Richard Jefferson might be their best chance to fight and slow down Andre Miller in the post and make Miller more of a jump shooter.

      • PB, I don’t know why the team hasn’t played Jefferson more, but I suspect they’ll prioritize Green over Jefferson for the rest of the playoffs.

        The team needs to fill up David Lee’s playing time, and Green is a more “natural” PF than Jefferson. Despite his lack of height, Green was MSU’s all-time leading rebounder. An extremely rugged paint player.

        • Draymond Green for sure – his defense and rebounding are superb. How many minutes though?

          If Bogut can do some of the things Lee does on offense – run pick and roll, facilitate, handle – Green’s offensive liabilities shouldn’t be so detrimental. Green should match up okay with Faried.

          Landry still gets his minutes scoring on the second unit. Or does he start?

          Jefferson and Barnes – probably should be matched up on Chandler when they go small.

          Can’t wait for Game 2!

    • PB,

      Can’t say I’ve been a big fan of Jackson’s from the beginning. “The problem with Monta” last year was mostly Jackson’s game planning. And Jackson completely shamed himself during the tank job last year.

      Jackson has turned it around this year, though, and he deserves full credit. It doesn’t even matter where the better game plans come from (Mike Malone?), Jackson made it happen.

      Even more, if you think back to last year’s games, it was fairly typical for the 3rd Q to be the Ws’ downfall. This year it’s the reverse. That’s an indication of coaching’s ability to make adjustments to game conditions. This year the game-time coaching – run by Jackson, whatever his personal contribution to tactics – is WORLDS better than last year’s. It has become an advantage, not a liability.

      Now if only the owner would honestly, wholeheartedly commit to winning we could have a winner here. Entering the playoffs short-handed to save a few bux doesn’t cut it.

      • The W’s might have to go over the cap next season – I understand the decision why not to go over the cap this season.

        I’ve always wished Mark Jackson, the player, to be a Warrior… Never happened. Just always thought he’d make a great coach – as a player. A huge risk never having coached, but I liked the gamble.

        Mark Jackson needs better players. Couple more and B. Rush healthy. The dead money from Andris’ and Jefferson’s contracts will make all the difference. $20 million (and maybe re-signing a healthy Bogut) is enough to get the players needed to jump to the next level and give raises to Klay, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t have a plan on how to accomplish this yet! Lol!

        When Andre Miller was a free agent, many thought he’d be a great pairing with Stephen Curry and/or Monta Ellis – a big PG who can guard SGs – and allow Curry and/or Ellis to play off the ball… Oh well…

    • Superb? Hm.

      It’s thoroughly documented, yes. It even provides the PT history for the remaining possible lineups. But it does not at all project what remains possible for the team.

    • Feltie, what do you think of that idea?

    • I think it’s something that Nellie would have tried from the opening tip of the season, and been killed by the media and by Harrison Barnes’ agent for.

      Given Barnes’ size and apparent inability to guard threes, the position should be a natural for him. It will, however, immediately call into question the size of his heart.

      If Barnes could somehow handle the defensive and rebounding responsibilities of the position, playing him at four would do absolute wonders for the Warriors offense, as ESS notes. A spread floor of Curry, Jack, Thompson and Barnes would be literally impossible to guard.

      • If Barnes is at the 4, he’ll certainly be in a better position to get defensive rebounds. He could do OK against a Wilson Chandler, but will get destroyed by Faried if he’s even close to full strength. Would certainly open up the lane for more penetration from our guards, who need to figure out how to get to the line more. Curry went once, on a defensive 3 seconds call.

        I really wish Green would find his shot. His college performance seems to suggest a decent stroke, but he never found the range. Barnes may have more potential, but Green brings so many intangibles he only has to get to average offensive impact to become a high impact player. Here’s his chance, he’s likely to get a spike in minutes with Lee gone.

        • Perhaps Draymond Green matched up with Faried.

          Thus, Barnes/Jefferson matched up with Chandler.

          Barnes can rebound when he wants to. Barnes can drive and finish when he wants to. Barnes can shoot and score when he wants to. Defend? Not so much… What does Barnes want to do???

        • at least we were spared the sight of seeing green cheerlead from the bench like bazemore while mcguire put on his usual display of big hustle/modest results, as many fans wished for in the closing months of the season. now they’re nominating mcguire as the defensive stopper to put on miller for this game. if what the brain trust said was truthful, that jackson had final say on late season roster additions and he wanted to give his rookies a chance to grow, it’s a positive sign.

          green might or might not make a positive impact this series ; either way his minutes are a risk free investment for the future, and the outcome of the games will be affected far more by lee’s absence and how the vets respond than anything green or barnes for that matter come up with.

          evidence is accumulating that green’s hoops intelligence is significantly quicker and deeper than barnes’, and we should give him at least another season, better two, to see if he has sufficient other skills.

      • Thanks for a sort of answer I guess, Feltster, but…

        After seeing Barnes play for a whole season, do you believe Sir Don Nelson would bet on Barnes’ heart? Or would Nelson, right here right now, pick someone else to fill the 4?

        Just saaaay iiiit (he said while waving his noogie knuckles in a perhaps-not-completely-benign-but-possibly-humorous-and-certainly-far-too-suggestive-easily-misunderstood-and-DEFINITELY-NOT-ACTIONABLE manner)…

        • I think Barnes has been enabled in his softness this season by the unearned gift of his starting position, and by Jackson’s refusal so far to try him at power forward. He has been crossmatched at the two ten times more often than at the four, which is absolutely ridiculous.

          I would not mind seeing his manhood directly challenged by forcing him to play the four. We all suspect that Faried would dominate him down low, but is it a given that he SHOULD? Barnes, 6-8″ 210, 40″ vertical. Faried, 6-7″ 225, 35″ vertical.

          http://www.draftexpress.com/

          And we all suspect that Chandler will eat him alive, but again on paper, there is no reason why he should. Barnes can do something important that Green can’t right now: draw Faried all the way out to the three point line, and take away his rebounding; and do the same to Chandler, to prevent him from guarding the entire Warriors team.

          Barnes’ limited talents are such that he is BEST suited to playing stretch-four. I confess that I wouldn’t mind seeing him sink or swim there, even if it takes minutes away from Draymond Green. Because unfortunately, I think by this point in the season we can all agree that while he’s a defensive monster, Green takes the “stretch” out of stretch-four. I was mistaken in projecting better for him. At least for this year.

          And at the very least, watching Barnes thrown into the deep end will give me something new and entertaining to write about.

          • Bless you, Feltbot. May you grow and prosper and all that, amen, etc.

            Agreed. Barnes has all the physical tools needed to be awesome. Green has none of Barnes’ athletic performance stats, but “awesome” resonates on his college resume.

            It’s money time.

  8. Just read on twitter that Faried might not play tomorrow, and if he does it will most likely be off the bench.

    Pretty clear to me that Karl is looking past the Warriors, to future opponents for which having a healthy Faried will be paramount. He doesn’t really need him anymore in this series, now that Lee is out. Chandler will do very nicely against the Warriors’ options, thank you, and perhaps even better.

  9. D. Lee’s injury highlights how Lacob and Jackson were short-sighted pursuing the sixth seed rather than concentrating on developing the roster by playing Jefferson.

    Lacob also made a big mistake not trading Barnes and Biedrins for Paul Pierce. Pierce is far superior getting to the line more, and distributing out assists. He has a option for next year. Even if he opted out the Warriors could have used his freed up money to sign a free agent. Barnes is not our future SF at least not if the Warriors hope to deeper into the playoffs in the future.

  10. there’s another installment of the local media’s love letters to barnes over on sfgate (the reliably friendly rusty simmons) in which jack and barnes seem to be nominating the rookie to assert himself and help replace lee’s production. barnes’ bytes sound as if they’re direct from a p.r. teleprompter. for another rookie’s view with more of a hoops focus consider green’s interview over on the lauridsen blog.

    the increased coverage of the team with the post season revealed this little piece of how they’re coached — they do very little video study as a team, but leave it up to individual players and the assistants who tutor them. my impression during the season was that jackson did little video analysis himself and was more inclined to tend to his church’s business (the one he has with players or his LA flock) in off hours. green is a serious video student.

    • http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-look-to-Harrison-Barnes-4454553.php

      I can predict with confidence right now that if the Warriors go to Barnes with “4-downs” and “4-isos”, as he wants, it will be a massive fail. It was a fail all season long (as isos or post-ups for Barnes at SF, not Lee at PF) — some of the Warriors’ worst, ball-stopping, least efficient offense. I can see Barnes beating Faried off the dribble from the wing, but I can’t see him getting anything done against either Faried or Chandler in the mid-post.

      Stretch fours spread the floor and wait for the ball to find them for open threes. Or slash to the basket to receive passes for dunks, when their defender turns their head or ignores them. That role has worked for Barnes at the three, and it’s definitely the best way for him to help the Warriors at the four.

      • Barnes can drain the 3 at 35% or so which is higher than probably most or all Nuggets players – and he can cut/drive to the rim and finish well. Guarding the other guy well enough (SG/SF/PF) – will be his problem.

        • for the regular season, both chandler and fournier surpassed .35 from 3 pt. range ; in post season career shooting, lawson is very close to .35 and miller is at .38.

          one reason that the preacher has favoured thompson over barnes in fourth quarter closing situations — thompson asserts himself and takes open shots or gets to the rim, while the coach seems reluctant to count on barnes to do the same. when defense or boards is needed in those situations, the coach has been more inclined to put in green rather than barnes. fans might have their preferences but it’s the coaches who determine what we actually get to see.

    • Kind of late to be doing this, no?

      • Focusing on Barnes now simply ignores the larger problem of how this team is built, its lack of depth and diversity.

  11. How to beat Denver (almost) when you’re shorthanded :

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=AkOQyjMKqdBlq.09U0sUtn.kvLYF?gid=2010010507

    I’m not defending Ellis necessarily, btw. The game provides an example of what can be done with certain types of players, played to their potential in a strategy that makes best use of that potential.

  12. Thoughts for tonight’s game:

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our English dead.
    In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
    Let pry through the portage of the head
    Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
    As fearfully as doth a galled rock
    O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
    Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.

    WS/KH V

  13. Zach Lowe’s Winners and Losers from three days of NBA playoffs:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9201687/paul-george-success-chris-paul-clutch-play-more-weekend-one-nba-playoffs?ex_cid=grantland33

    Of interest:
    1) Winners: stretch-fours and stretch-fives
    2) Losers: Perimeter players that can’t shoot. (Dom McGuire anyone?)
    3) The comparison of Klay Thompson to Chris Mullin. (Where have we heard that before?)

  14. Reading through the interviews, I’m starting to pick up a vibe that the Warriors might eschew the high pick for Curry altogether, and just let him go to work on Lawson in isolation at the top of the key. I think that would be a brilliant adjustment.

    Also guessing that the Warriors will try to punish Karl for playing Chandler at the four with Carl Landry on the low box. I’m a little less confident in that working out, because Landry doesn’t pass well out of double teams.

  15. Warriors finally playing as they should have all season. Denver is toast.Has only one shooter. Good call Felty on howvthe Warriors should play. Tribute to Nellie ball.

  16. Harrison Barnes is soft according to Feltbot. WAKE THE FAKE UP!!!!!!!!!

  17. warriorsablaze

    Barnes feasting at the 4. No heart?

  18. The passing tonight was brilliant! So many dunks because Denver came out and doubled Curry all night. That was the Warriors best game of the season.

  19. as many of us suspected, barnes would thrive in an open court offense.

  20. Harrison Barnes is going to be a huge star. He’s only 21. Time for you guys to get with the program.

  21. What a brilliant game. After so many dreary playoff games, this one outshines them all.

    Give credit to Jackson and crew for mixing it up and winning the coaching battle. I was expecting to see them feed Bogut down low all night, regardless.

    Karl, I suspect, made the mistake of thinking he could massage a win here. Instead, the Warriors came out firing and Denver couldn’t get back in. We’ll see a different Denver team Friday and they’ll ratchet it up a notch.

    Our dismal bench came out confident and extended the lead. We haven’t see that all season.

    My reservation, minor, was with Jack. He really doesn’t see the floor that well and missed open players and made ill advised drives. But of course he redeemed himself.

    And Barnes. Who would have believed? We haven’t seen anything all season to think he could step up like that. Maybe he can play 4 against certain teams. Why wasn’t this tried earlier? In a sense, it took Lee going down to find this out. But if they had experimented with lineups more all season, they’d be more developed now. And Lee would have been rested more during the season—and maybe healthy now.

    A five star game for Curry. He looked gimpy after he came back in. I guess we’ll find out what he’s got Friday.

    • Getting Thompson going early was the key. In so many games, we’ve seen dismal post play or plays run for Barnes. Instead, tonight they got the offense running where it was strongest, which opened up options for the rest of the players.

  22. NBF: You should consider changing your handle to mr. Irrelevant.
    Mr.MOTO: So true.Glas to see jack in starting line-up all year. Interesting to see if Warriors continue to run they keep Denver from going to the offensive boards.

  23. Game flow:

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20130423&game=GSWDEN

    The segment that most intrigues is the first 4 minutes of the 2nd. Q, when the team usually falters. Curry, Ezeli, Jefferson, Landry, and Green: +5. Have we seen this lineup before?

    Stay up all night with this one, Feltbot.

    • good catch there. they did not try that combination during the season, though it’s directly derived from the lineup in which jefferson put in the most minutes, jack the lead guard instead of curry. most of us would see an unforced compatibility between jefferson, with his understanding of spacing, moving without the ball, and ball movement, and curry, but the coaches underplayed them together.

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