Nellieball Triumphant: Warriors 131 Nuggets 117 — Game 2 Recap

“Height is a blessing, but speed kills.” — Reggie Miller

“RunJCT.” — Shaq   

A defensive shotblocker in the middle. (Alton Lister, Shawn Bradley, Andris  Biedrins, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli.)

A three-point shooting stretch four.

Four shooters on the floor at all times.

The two point guard backcourt.

Matching up smaller than your opponent, but with more talent.

Relentless fastbreak.

Outlets to half-court.

Walk-up threes.

Early offense pick and roll.

Running the opposing centers off the floor.

Playing for three points with the best shooters in the league, while your opponent is playing for two.

“Gimmick defense.” Packing the paint. Zone. Gang rebounding.

What’s it called? C’mon, I know you know the answer.

NELLIEBALL.                                  

Take a look at that stretch of basketball beginning at 10:45 4Q when Bogut picked up his 5th foul. The score is 99-87, and the Nuggets are trying fiercely to get back into the game, with the quicker Anthony Randolph at center hurting the Warriors at both ends. Mark Jackson goes to a lineup of Ezeli at 5, Barnes at 4, Thompson at 3, Jack and Curry. And this is what happened:

  • 10:18 With Anthony Randolph trying to guard Harrison Barnes on the perimeter, Barnes gets an easy drive and dunk.
  • 9:45 Jack and Ezeli pick and roll, Jack drives to the basket. (Just look at how wide open that lane is!)
  • 9:20 Barnes beats Randolph again on the drive, for a vicious reverse slam in his face. (Can power forwards guard Harrison Barnes?)
  • 9:07 Karl is forced to pull Randolph. Draymond Green comes in for Klay Thompson.
  • 6:41 Curry and Ezeli pick and roll leaves Ezeli WIDE OPEN under the basket for a slam. (Why is that lane so wide open? How the sight of that must have made poor David Lee wistful….)
  • 6:20 With Denver going ultra-small with a Faried/Chandler frontcourt, Jackson pulls Ezeli for Thompson. Leaving Green at center. The score is 115-100 Warriors, and the game is over.

What was that? What happened there?

NELLIEBALL HAPPENED.

I can only scratch my head in wonderment that it took the Joe Lacob Warriors three long years to get to this magical point. Three long years, and injuries first to Andrew Bogut, and then to David Lee, to see how Stephen Curry and a group of talented guards can play in an all-out running game. To see how Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack can run pick and roll with a stretch four on the floor.

Three long years to get to plans B and C. When it should have plan A from the start. For three long years we have been witnessing a crime against basketball, a crime every bit as heinous as the Cleveland Cavaliers forcing Lebron James to walk the ball up the court. (That was a crime, by the way, in which the then co-head coach of the Cavs, Mike Malone, was fully complicit.) I’m referring to the crime of forcing Stephen Curry and David Lee and Monta Ellis or Klay Thompson, one of the most talented Nellieball cores in league history, to play in systems completely antithetical to their talents, on rosters crammed with non-shooters when they weren’t stripped to the bone.

131 points in a playoff game, in Denver. This is a Warriors team that could have averaged 119 points a game, like RunTMC in 1991-92, instead of the 101 points they actually did. Just how many teams in the league could keep up with that?

Did this win make it clear? Is this result going to register with Joe Lacob? With the ignorati in the Warriors media and on the blogs? Is it going to stick?

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack (and David Lee) are one of the greatest Nellieball cores the league has ever seen. For the God of Basketball’s sake,

LET THEM PLAY IT.

David Lee: Surprised I’m giving him pride of place, when it was his injury that facilitated this breakout of true Warriors basketball? Please don’t be. He deserves it, after the season he’s had getting the Warriors to this point.

I’m sure the ignorati at the Merc will fall all over themselves trying to connect the dots between Lee’s absence and this convincing Warriors win. Don’t believe it for a second. What created this win was Harrison Barnes at the four, yes, but even more than that, a total commitment to an all-out running attack. It could have happened with David Lee at power forward in the first and third quarters, and at center in the second and fourth quarters, just as it did so many times this season against the league’s best teams, when Bogut was out.

Stephen Curry: We came into this series expecting a center to get run off the court. Who would have thought it would be Kosta Koufos and Javale McGee?

Mark Jackson made it happen, by running 5-1 pick and roll with a stretch-four on the floor, when Curry was being guarded by Iguodala. Bogut and Ezeli brought the Nuggets centers out, but they were too slow to blitz completely, or unwilling to completely leave the lane. They hedged, and Curry simply picked them apart, either firing threes over them before they closed, or driving right around them into the heart of the Nuggets defense.

On many plays, Curry and Jack simply created off the dribble with no pick at all, specifically when they were being guarded by Ty Lawson. This was a fantastic adjustment by Mark Jackson, that prevented the Nuggets longer wing defenders like Chandler from being able to blitz them on the pick and roll.

13 assists, 1 TO.

Is Stephen Curry “emerging” as a point guard? Or is he finally playing in the right system, with the right personnel on the floor, under a coach who knows what the hell he’s doing?

Playing with a completely spread floor, even without a decent pick and roll big man, Curry simply picked the Nuggets apart.

One of the greatest point guard performances I’ve ever seen, in his second playoff game.

Jarrett Jack: Stepped up big time this game, after struggling in the last.

Mark Jackson was determined to attack the weakest defender on the floor, which was Ty Lawson, who guarded Jack. And the unselfish Curry was content to make that happen, starting from the opening tip.

Jack did a much better job on Andre Miller in this game. I’m not completely sure why, but I think it had something to do with the bigs giving better help. There were a couple of double teams, and I think they threatened several others.

The Nuggets have a really big problem with the Warriors’ two point guard backcourt. Lawson doesn’t have the size to bother Curry or Jack. And Miller and Fournier don’t have the speed.

Klay Thompson: Thompson had trouble guarding Iguodala in the first half, and got in foul trouble. The Nuggets went away from Iggy in the second half for some reason. Not sure what happened there.

But on the offensive side of the ball? The Warriors had a beautifully spread floor, and the Nuggets’ problems with Curry and Jack, and the Warriors tempo, made it simply impossible to guard Klay. He was far more wide open than you could ever dream possible in a playoff game.

And he made the most of it. How about these first two playoff games of his career?

Remember when people were saying that he’s not smart? That he’s not clutch?

What he is, is one of the greatest offensive players who has ever set foot in the league, and a future all-star.

Harrison Barnes: Obviously his best game in a Warriors uniform, and it is no coincidence that it came while playing power forward. I argued before the season even began that Barnes’ best position would likely be stretch-four, and this game illustrated why, in spades.

Barnes was virtually unguardable in this game. First, because the Nuggets couldn’t afford to guard him on the perimeter, what with the attention required by having Curry, Jack and Thompson on the floor at the same time. And he buried his open threes. Second, because as noted above, he can’t be guarded by bigger players. Barnes has the speed to get around them and dunk. Third, because of his speed on the fast break, which allowed him to beat the Nuggets down court. He makes the Warriors so much faster when he’s at the four.

And because of his floor-spreading abilities, if the Nuggets do choose to guard him, he makes it so much more difficult to guard Curry and Jack, and the Warriors’ center, in the pick and roll.

All that’s required of Barnes to be an exemplary stretch-four is the ability to hold down the fort on the defensive end and on the boards. He did a great job in this game, even when the Nuggets iso’d Chandler against him. It remains to be seen whether he has the willingness and heart to play the four against bigger players. Or whether Lacob and Jackson will let that happen.

Don Nelson said of David Lee that he was a very good power forward, but an all-star center. I think you can say something very similar of Harrison Barnes. His defensive deficiencies, poor handle and poor passing ability make him project as a mediocre small forward. But those problems all magically disappear against the slower, over-matched players he faces at the four. Barnes is currently a very mediocre three, but potentially a very good stretch-four.

Outlet Passes: At 5:50 3Q Barnes threw a long outlet to Jack on the fast break. This followed an earlier Draymond Green outlet to Curry at 8:11 2nd Q. Why do I mention this? Because all season long the Warriors rookies were forbidden from throwing these, and all season long the point guards came back to them to pick the ball up. Another indication of just what kind of breakout this game represented for Mark Jackson.

Andrew Bogut: This might have been one of those games where his ankle was killing him, or perhaps his early foul trouble setting screens just got him out of rhythm. But it wasn’t a great game for him. He was a step slow on offense and defense, resulting in foul trouble, and fumbled the ball away on numerous occasions.

He did set great screens for Curry though, and none so great as the one that knocked Iguodala out of the game at 11:13 3Q. That was one vicious screen, set with malicious intent.

Loved it.

Festus Ezeli: The man who saved this Warriors’ season came up big in this game.

I just have to point this out: did  you notice the Warriors’ final play of the first half? It was a Jack/Ezeli pick and roll. Jack was blitzed by Koufos, found Ezeli in the lane, and the young man finished with authority.

Carl Landry: He looked better in this game than the last, possibly because Koufos and McGee played fewer minutes. He did have some nice finishes, and he helped get Chandler in foul trouble, but he was the only rotation player who had a negative plus/minus.

The Warriors need his minutes, but the Nuggets aren’t a great matchup for him, and the Warriors are at their best playing stretch-fours.

Anthony Randolph: Karl went to Randolph because his quickness at center allowed him to blitz Curry’s pick and roll extremely effectively.

If Koufos and McGee continue to get torn up by Curry, we could see a lot more of the seldom-used Randolph in this series.

Kenneth Faried: He is to the Nuggets what the rusty Bogut was to the Warriors during the regular season: a liability. Faried killed the Nuggets in this game. He is not a basketball player so much as he is a physical beast on the boards, and a finisher on the fast break. When you rob him of his quickness and athleticism, there’s nothing left worth playing. He’s a particularly poor defender.

If he doesn’t get fully healthy in a hurry, the Nuggets could be in real trouble in this series. They might be anyway.

The Chess Match: Mark Jackson made an incredible number of great adjustments and playcalls in this game.

The opening move to Barnes at the four, Jack in the starting lineup, and all-out Nellieball. Returning Bogut to the role of high-pick setter, to spring Curry free of Iguodala and Chandler, helped by the spread floor. Relentlessly attacking the weak link in the Nuggets defense: Lawson, Miller, and Randolph on Barnes.

Nellieball, Nellieball, Nellieball, even after the Warriors sprang out to a double digit lead in crunch time. Never took his foot off the gas. Whenever Karl got smaller and faster, Jackson did him one better. Draymond Green at center.

Mark Jackson outcoached the great George Karl. A few more performances like this one, and he will enter my pantheon.

I wonder what will happen when Karl reinserts the Manimal into the starting lineup? Will Jackson return to conventionality with Landry at the four? Or will he give Harrison Barnes the ultimate test?

The outcome of this series could ride on the answer.

48 Responses to Nellieball Triumphant: Warriors 131 Nuggets 117 — Game 2 Recap

  1. Great Game, gutsy performance by the dubs. I agree with most of your analysis with the exception of Bogut and the possibly overuse of Nellieball.

    Bogut was +15 in this game ,and while it was not the performance of Game 1, he was still taking charges and contesting shots. We need him in there to clog up the middle and cover for lapses down low. Ezeli can do some of these things, but obviously is still learning when to contest shots, and how to control some defensive rebounds.

    I like Barnes at the stretch 4 as well, but I am a worried about Jackson going extremely small with Landry, Green, and Barnes as his bigs. With those three, we have no one to protect the paint and we often over-help on defense, leading to Corey Brewer threes. Barnes was fantastic this game, partially due because his jumpshot was falling. It has been wildly inconsistent this year, so I hope he brings it back to the bay.

    Yes, Nellieball worked this game, partially because we shot 65%. I still think we need to run when WE can, but continue to control pace. Keep Bogut or Ezeli in there at all times and avoid long stretches of zone defense.

    I hope the coaches preach defense for Game 3, because there was little in Game 2. Even with how well we shoot, going for 131 every game shouldn’t be the strategy to employ. Tighten up de, run when we can, limit turnovers, and play off the crowd.

    So pumped for game 3!

  2. Felt, glad to see you happy again.
    Re: Bogut….When he came out of the game for the last time and started high fiving on the bench his right arm was dangling and he was holding it very still. I’m guessing the physical play in the paint, especially tying up McGee and Faried on rebounds is taking its toll on his elbow. He always dribbles left and almost always shoots the left scoop. His right handed jumper was just ugly. The ankle and the elbow are probably both killing him.

  3. Agree on almost everything, other than the Lee references. Nellieball get’s crushed in this game with Lee and the 5 and Barnes at the 4. Why? Because the Nuggets then play volleyball on the boards. To work, you need a beast intimidator/rebounder at the 5 and let everyone else go nuts spreading the floor. Bogut and Ezeli give you that. I love David Lee, but there is no way he’s that kind of 5. I’m pretty sure the whole thesis falls apart once you watch Javale McGee pluck the ball from over his head and smash it down on him a couple times.

    Sure, Miami runs their spread offense without that kind of player (but look how much better they got once that put Birdman in there) but when you start with LBJ, you can get away with a lot.

    Great, eye-opening, win.

    • Everything was falling for the Warriors in this game, but presumably that won’t always be the case. Did you notice how wide open the pick and roll was? Iguodala said post-game that PNR defense was the Nuggets’ Achilles heel all season long. The Warriors would have lost rim defense with Lee at 5, no doubt. But at the other end there is no way that Koufos or McGee could have guarded Lee in the PNR. Nor run the floor with him.

      I’m not suggesting that Lee be started at the 5. If Bogut were unavailable I’d still start Ezeli. But strategic minutes there, particularly in the fourth quarter, would be invaluable.

      But I do take your point in this regard: The Warriors are seriously deficient in the kind of wing defenders that could take pressure off playing Lee in the middle.

  4. This link to my favourite play of the game. No, not the clanged jumper from Landry but instead focus on Green.

    Works his way into the paint, sneaking in behind Faried who rotated over to help contest the jumper. Double bounces on the rebound with fantastic timing – compare his to the performance of those around him. Then the vision to find a WIDE open Klay on the perimeter even though he could have worked in for his own shot.

    3 is worth more than 2. Fact.

    Instincts. Smarts. Toughness. Vision. Unselfishness. He’s a good one.

  5. Few teams can run Denver off their own mile-high floor.

    64.6% shooting! 50+% from 3! Add that to 50+% shooting from the Nugs and rebounding became almost a non-issue.

    Barnes didn’t really do anything different except play D with more intensity. I was happy to see Bogut get in his face about that (1st Q).

    Other than that, Barnes was largely the beneficiary of the game plan. The uptempo play and constant 3-pt threat left the Nugs paint defense almost non-existent by about mid-3rd Q. And you were right, Feltie, Barnes wasn’t assigned to D against Faried. Coach Jackson went with Green and others against him instead.

    Whatever. Barnes did great. Going in to the game, the big Q was how to replace DLee’s numbers. Barnes did that on O, and since so few rebounds were generally available, no one really had to take up the slack in rebounding.

  6. How about showing a little respect felt?

    That’s “Black Flacon – The Brand” to you…

    • I have no problem with players who actually earn their brand on the basketball court.

      And have their nickname bestowed upon them by someone other than themselves.

      • Totally agree, especially re nicknames. In sports you can only earn a label. That’s a rule or something. At least it should be.

        As a mostly under-performing (so far) rookie, Barnes has earned the label “PuppyWuppy” or “Sluggo,” not some raptor paradigm. Later for the Hot Stuff tag, maybe, but only if someone other than his marketing staff someday thinks maybe he deserves it.

        Right now that’s a big ol’ TBD, good buddy. One game isn’t a trend.

        If Barnes works hard, fills out his game, continues to fight for respect AND EARNS IT, he’s got a shot at (Gawd, I can’t even say his ludicrous self-appellation) something vaguely Marketing-Positive. Until then he’s little more than “HuggyWuggyPuppyWooPoo.”

  7. If Bogut was hurting or held back by fouls, he would have contributed more otherwise. What this game shows is his true role for the team, not as a central but complementary player.

    They had all season to experiment with lineups—and especially to find the best place for Barnes. If they’re going invest so much playing time in him and a starting role, they need to find a way to best exploit his talents. The question that needs to be answered is why they didn’t.

    We’ve seen the same starting lineup and same half-court strategy when Bogut returned, with Barnes at 3, with the same results, slow starts and getting behind.

    Why?

    We had every reason to believe we’d see the best compromise for the same kind of lineup last night, with Landry at 4. And it would have been a disaster. The Warriors would have stuttered or gotten behind and the Nuggets could have managed the 3/4 effort game they wanted to play to prepare them for the rest of the playoffs.

    Lacob has said from the start how he thinks the game should be played and what kinds of players should play it. I’m still not convinced it has sunk in. The evidence has been staring him in the face for three years, more if he bothered to watch the games before he took over.

    But about last night—

    Woof! Woof! It’s what I’ve missed most of the season and have been waiting for, the talent in the team to be released.

  8. Thanks Feltbot!

    You’re so right – Nellieball IS back (in spirit for this gme/Nellie’s impact throughout the NBA!) in Warriorland! Mitch Richmond on TV! We Believe II!!! You called the Harrison at PF campaign right on!

    LIFE IS GOOD!!!

    Mark Jackson out-Nellie’d HOFer George Karl? LOVED IT! The coach with the better, deeper roster at home (now 38-5) – lost… “The better team” will win this series says Mark Jackson… Karl’s lucky he’s not 0-2 heading into the Oracle…

    Curry, Klay, and Jack show… The Brand on the base, and singing backup vocals. Bogut on the drums.

    Lots of Feltbot Myths being tested in the playoffs…

    The Myth of the W’s not being a deep team? Busted. Obliterated. Slapped across the face by my 2 year old baby daughter.

    And the whole Andrew Bogut Myth is in a deep sleeper hold…

    With Festus Ezeli’s monstrous dunks with all that space, I got chills running up and down my spine!

    “The Trade – Myth” – looking VERY awesome now. In the playoffs, where everything matters. Bogut, Ezeli, even Richard Jefferson canned a three!!! Monta Ellis? Udoh? Who dat?

    The Black Falcon -The Brand (BFTB) emerges! The BFTB – is a bust campaign is in a MEGA deep sleeper hold… And to think many of us thought of trading him for a mere 1 year Paul Pierce rental and 1 year Andris salary dump… LOL!

    The Tank Season Myth busted – after witnessing The Black Falcon last night, last season’s tank worth it for me NOW! Lol!

    The Joe Lacob Myth soon coming under duress…

    In Jerry West I Trust…

  9. Picture worth a thousand words. Scroll down to the shot chart:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/harrison-barnes-reverse-dunks-anthony-randolph-dominant-performance-055959829–nba.html

    “That’s an awful lot of green zones for the Warriors.”

    Everyone oohs and aaahs over Barnes’s dunk. What they don’t do is consider what made it possible.

    • Ding! You nailed it, rgg.

      One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Feltbot’s blog is his real-deal, money-on-the-line insight into the impact of good coaching. In a competitive environment in which only the rarest of athletes could possibly compete, where the average winning margin is less than 3%, where the action is played at the most extreme limits of human performance and endurance:

      As often as not, coaching is the difference.

      Last night, Barnes’ brand was the beneficiary of a coaching “ambush.” No one, including George Karl, expected Mark Jackson to go all Nellieball on the Nuggets. After all, despite having the best possible team for exactly that strategy, it’s been 3 years since they’ve even attempted it, and the owner has been quite clear that it’s not the direction he sees for the team.

      Barnes didn’t suddenly discovered the ability to create all those points on his own (a la David Lee). Barnes filled in Lee’s point numbers last night because his coach’s game plan made it possible.

      In no way is that a knock on Barnes. Rather a credit to his coach.

  10. Felty: Great analysis. What last night’s game showed and what you point out is that the Warriors by playing slow ball all year, were not getting their best of this team. As Hat correctly pointed out, Barnes performance shows his limitations in the half court game and what he can do when the Warriors run.

    Not that I agree with everything you say. As the Warriors going small allowed Denver to shoot 50% from the floor which seems to indicate that Bogut helps marginally on defense. The game may will prove what we have both said, namely that either the center or PF, or both, have to be mobile. Neither Bogut nor D. Lee are mobile. That will continue to hurts us in the paint defensively unless Bogut, if healthy, proves to be mobile.

    With Lee playing center good teams will exploit us in the paint. They showed that in the past and such will continue to be true. But, the Warriors have demonstrated an ability to shoot a high percentage when they do go small which offsets most timestheir defensive deficiencies.

    Most poster like myself have been critical of Thompson for being inconsistent. That has changed the last two weeks.

    I disagree with you with regard to how smart he is. He does not make many assists, and turns the ball over to much, and commits stupid fouls when we are in the lead and otherwise, which hardly qualifies him for being considered and anointed as being a smart player.

    I think more attention should be paid to his lack of assists, offensive rebounds, steals, and the fact that he usually provides the Warriors with less possessions rather than more.

    While you are praising Jackson, one can see from watching the game, that was Malone who was the architect of the Warriors win last night.

    • How many assists should you expect from your off-guard, especially one that is asked to shoot the 3 as much as Thompson is?

      You watch the game on TV and come up with Malone was the architect of the victory. Geez.

      • Yes, what are your assist expectations for Klay Thompson – a SF playing alongside two point guards (who are really small shooting guards with pg skills) and a center (Bogut) and (Lee) with excellent passing skills?

  11. Last night, Denver shot 10-15 (66%) inside (within 10 feet) with Bogut defending the paint. Defended well the first game, but not last night. The myth still lives, but it could change.

  12. I wouldn’t exactly describe Ezeli’s game as great last night,While Ezeli shot 3-3 from the floor, he also had three turnovers, and Denver scored i at will against him inside the paint (9-10, if my numbers correct).

    • ezeli playing with a sprained knee and wearing a brace was still markedly faster and quicker than bogut. we might be seeing the shape of next season’s center rotation, with bogut’s minutes kept down to 25 or less and liberating the game plan on offense. tallying Den’s scores in the paint should be placed in context — they’re the best around at doing it, so the challenge is to punish their d against 3′s and match 3′s to their inside 2′s, which of course GS did, and take your own share of inside 2′s with your open, fast offense, instead of perimeter 2′s in the usual pound the ball around half court stuff.

      the lacob fallacy is to stress about defending the paint with a center, and expending resources on limited players like k.brown or bidding for d. jordan. trying to avoid giving lee minutes playing center also comes from this idee fixe. when ezeli was an even rawer rookie than he is now, he was plugged in as the starter and that lineup with the also rawer barnes held its own. (if it didn’t, probably no post season). with progress in both ezeli and barnes, it could be a viable alternative to the bogut-centric ensembles.

      • Ezeli’s knee is news. I’m not sure Thompson has recovered from his ankle sprain, and Curry can’t be 100% on his. Then, of course, Bogut. May be the walking wounded Friday night.

        • MThompson gave the news on ezeli’s knee on his blog a couple of days ago — the injury actually came in the season finale vs. Por. if you only have time to follow one blog on a news outlet by a regular columnist, thompson’s “inside the warriors” on ibabuzz.com is probably the best.

      • Bogut and Ezeli – don’t seem to be getting run off the court by the fast breaking Denver Nuggets.

        Can’t forget – Lacob also bid on Tyson Chandler, who’s a very mobile and can blocks shots.

        Bidding on K. Brown was a mistake. D. Jordan (which I agreed with) was likely a mistake as well.

        I’ll hope that Bogut’s ankle is more improved by next season – where the franchise can then make a decision on his W’s future.

  13. The Warriors Have better shooters. It will be interesting to see if Karl an devise defenses to reduce the Warriors high shooting percentage. The second thing Karl must do is dominate the differential in offensive boards. But that is risky for if they fail the Warriors will run them off the court. Tolbert also has the battle for offensive rebounds is key to a victory. I don’t think that there will be a significant turnover differential.

  14. http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=851&c=4831&f=1340751

    In Game 1, PF David Lee was guarded by a smaller, quicker man in SF Wilson Chandler. The Curry/Lee pick and roll got smashed by Chandler, a smothering defender.

    In Game 2, the Curry/Bogut’s pick and roll, Curry ran circles around Koufas and McGee – who obviously aren’t as mobile as Chandler.

    Bogut’s brutal backcourt pick of Igoudala – helped take Iggy out of his game. Bogut obviously blamed Koufas for not calling out his screen to his teammate. Did Iggy trap much in the backcourt afterwards? Lol!

  15. Not since Steve Nash was in his prime have I seen a guard dominate a game the way Curry dominated Game 2. And before that, not since Jordan. Before that, Magic. It was an unbelievable performance by Curry. You could see that the court was better spaced for him with that starting lineup from the outset. You are correct that he had his way all evening dribbling through the hedge 5 (be it Koufos, McKee or Faried, didn’t matter) right to the elbow. You could just imagine Karl’s heart racing every time Curry dribbled through his blitz and was open with his ball and live dribble at the free throw line. Yikes.

    • Curry is only as good as his teammates and the offensive system allows. But if there’s talent on the team, and there is, and there’s a system that allows that talent to respond, and we saw that Tuesday, he can do marvelous things. He’s been showing that ever since his first year, when given the chance.

  16. Personally, if Curry’s ankle is ok and Faried isn’t moving a lot better, I don’t think there’s much Karl can do. A healthy, conditioned Faried is his key and I doubt he gets that before they are down 3-1 (that is, if Curry’s ankle is ok).

  17. From Yahoo preview:

    Curry said his ankle became swollen after Tuesday night’s 131-117 win at Denver evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece. He sat out practice Thursday.

    Curry said he’ll continue treatment and remains optimistic about starting the first home playoff game of his four-year career. He also said he’ll consider a pain-numbing injection, which is something he has never done during the regular season when his twice surgically repaired right ankle gave him problems in the past.

    ”I can only speak about how I feel right now and I wouldn’t be able to play right now if there was a game,” Curry said before Golden State’s practice at Oracle Arena. ”Just got to take advantage of the next day and a half to get it right and I think I have enough time to do it.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/warriors-hopes-vs-nuggets-hinge-201222163–nba.html

    I don’t like the look of this at all. That was a nasty turn. A week layoff is probably more in order yet sounds optimistic.

  18. Absolute carnage in the West:

    Russell Westbrook tears knee cartilage, out indefinitely.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_23114480/thunders-westbrook-out-needs-knee-surgery

    • Horrible news! As a fan, loved watching his athleticism. The West is more wide open than ever before!

      Of course, the improved Miami Heat will be cruising by in the really weak Eastern conference – waiting for the Finals…

    • Lol! Nothing stops backcourt traps/pressure better than a bone-rattling knockdown! How many highlight dunks did Iggy get after getting leveled? Love or hate his game, every good team needs that tough physical presence and hard fouls. Like when he shoved J. McGee to the ground, bloodies PGs noses, etc. I’m glad the W’s finally have one.

  19. So what’s the deal on Biedrins? Is he hurt? How bad? I really don’t like seeing players push injuries, but it looks like he isn’t pushing it at all. He would be useful in spurts because of his quickness.

    • Like you were saying – haven’t seen much of him since the trade deadline (posturing?)… Probably could use him now with David Lee out, as a foul trouble replacement for Bogut/Ezeli/Landry/Green – who deserve the minutes more. Rotations tighten in the playoffs and smart teams “hack a biedrins.”

  20. Holy crap that game. Just lost years off my life. When Klay is off, he is really atrocious. Barnes stepped up again with a solid game. Jack shot well, but man some seriously low IQ plays and turnovers. He pretty much single handedly gave Denver a chance to win when it should have been locked up.

    By far the best series in the playoffs, and yet we’re bumped to ESPN2. Still no respect.

  21. G2:

    Ha!

    Ezeli’s play on Lawson the last seconds showed why he should have been in more and Bogut less. They need his range and quickness against this team.

    I thought Jefferson should have played more 2nd. Q just to stabilize the team.

    Most, I can’t understand why Denver couldn’t figure this one out—only 3-4 scorers on the floor at any time.

    But ha!

  22. A win is a win. Maybe each coach should twice be able to throw a towel onthe court to contest foul calls. I’m sure Karl would have eon a protest on the non-call when Ezeli cut-off Lawson on his drive by tripping Lawson by placing his knee into Lawson’s left thigh.

    • did you spot that when it occurred at normal speed, or only on the repeated slow motion reviews ? overall the refs haven’t been whistle happy, probably a deliberate measure to keep the television viewers content and ratings up. ezeli made a game saving stop with his quick side stepping — jack and thompson could have been the game’s goats if just a couple of plays go Den’s way.

      • Brilliant defensive substitution by Mark Jackson. Bogut likely doesn’t make that play out that far.

        However, Curry and Jack were getting trapped in the corners aggressively all game long with few calls… Call it consistency. Incidental contact. Ty Lawson had nowhere to go but on the baseline!

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