Thunder 113 Warriors 112: Jackson Vindicated

Brutal. Is it just me, or have the Warriors had more ridiculously unlucky last second losses than even imaginable in the last 5 years? I remember a Lebron three, a banked in three (Also the Thunder? Jeff Green?)….

A lot to analyze in this Thunder game, but unfortunately I can’t get to it tonight. I realize that I’ve been dogging it badly on the blog lately, but friends and the nightlife are calling me….

A man can’t hang out in Mom’s basement all the time.

Regardless of the outcome, and despite the fact that I think his dogmatic belief in playing big throughout the game has cost the Warriors badly in several games this season, THIS game has to be viewed as a vindication of Mark Jackson. In this game, we saw the Warriors epitomize what he wants from them, play his style, and all but beat a great team in their home gym.

It’s perhaps good that I’ve taken a break, because the Warriors are evolving in ways that are difficult for me to analyze at the moment. Maybe it’s a good time for me to just shut up and watch a few games.

Barnes: His defense was far more significant than his offense in this game. Yes, it was a nearly flawless offensive game, one of his most efficient to date. But, yes, he was once again being guarded by point guards literally throughout the game. He SHOULD dominate these matchups.

A quick point: Much has been made of how playing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has aided Iguodala’s offensive game. If you accept that notion, then you should also consider how much it has helped Barnes’. What kind of player would he be on another team, drawing a good defender every night?

As for his defense, I was rubbing my eyes in this game. I had a scathing analysis of his defense in the last few games all teed up to go, but that’s for another day now. Was Barnes really this good, or did Durant just have a lousy game?

One thing is certainly true, and that is that Barnes had a lot of help from the men in the middle. Half of the battle in guarding Durant is denying him the rim, and Bogut and O’Neal did a great job of that. Barnes was actually playing within in a team concept most of the time, forcing Durant into spots where teammates could help, and where his shots were uncomfortable.

But it can’t be denied that Barnes did a great job when iso’d as well. For some reason, he made Durant extremely uncomfortable. Made him turn and fade. Made him reluctant to put the ball on the floor.

I think it’s safe to say that Barnes guards big far better than he guards small. He’s much better defensively against fours and stretch-fours than he is against threes and twos.

Bogut: You should not interpret my criticism of Mark Jackson for leaving Bogut on the floor in certain situations as criticism of Bogut himself. Bogut is a really good player (despite certain obvious limitations) when he feels good, and he’s getting better by the day. He has really stepped it up on both sides of the ball in the last few games, and I’ve been impressed.

That’s all I have time for now — I’ve been holding back a lot of thoughts planning for a bigger post, which isn’t going to happen, so look for them in the comments in the next few days.

Bartender!

74 Responses to Thunder 113 Warriors 112: Jackson Vindicated

  1. warriorsablaze

    That was a hard loss to swallow. I don’t know what’s going on with the free throw shooting, but Lee and Klay have been disappointing.

    It’s worth noting that Klay is also a beneficiary of the attention that Curry receives. He was terrible while Curry was out. He was also terrible tonight, though, so maybe he’s just in one of his patented Klay funks. The first few games had me optimistic about Klay, but now I’m feeling like he might be the same player I thought he was… can have great scoring games and great famines… not a rebounder or playmaker… improving defense (not the last few games). Limited player.

    I’m not really a Barnes fan, but I’m starting to see where he MIGHT pass Klay if he can develop some consistency and play defense like he did tonight.

  2. the Roman goddess we’re familiar with as ‘justice’ with the balance scales is a kinder, gentler version of the Greek Nemesis — who finds equilibrium via vengeance. the hoops gods derived a balance this night for gordon’s shot in NO that bounced out and gave the visitors the win. doesn’t have to work out that way in the short term — the coin can end up ‘tails’ eleven times in a row with the odds .50 at each flip.

    OK has overall quicker players, keeping in the game by running the break even after woeyr scores, and the critical offensive boards in overtime were further dividends. lee, bogut, thompson can all be put off by varying degrees when they face quicker players — and the OK fellows have size and length along with it.

  3. Just face it: Barnes was awesome at both ends of the floor tonight and he has been very good for much of the season. Of course he is better with Curry on the floor–everyone is. But Barnes benefits less than most bc he can be isolated on one side of the court and create his own shot–far away from Curry. He does that better than Thompson or Lee, and he’s still early on his learning curve. You guys go to such lengths to diss Barnes, it cracks me up. Tata!

    • It’s exaggerated nonsense like this that in part fuels the criticism. Barnes was essentially conceded tonight by OKC, being defended by smaller guards—I recall Lamb, Jackson, and Westbrook—just as he was guarded by Parker in the SA series. But credit has been given. His performance against Dallas was dismal, and the rest of the season has been so-so to ok to blah, but look at the competition and match-ups. He hasn’t been good creating shots against larger, tougher defenders.

      • warriorsablaze

        You mean exaggerated nonsense like the meme that Barnes was “guarded by Parker in the SA series”. Go ahead, tell me how many of these plays Barnes was guarded by Parker vs. other Spurs… http://youtu.be/tWmqETzGlTU

      • Bigger defenders can’t stay with Barnes. That’s why they are putting smaller, quicker guards on him. They are hoping he won’t punish them with the post-up, but this year he has been punishing them. Yes, he’s had a couple of bad games, including the Dallas game. Which Warrior hasn’t had a couple of bad games this year. But Barnes has mostly been terrific this year. Open your eyes. Your missing the birth of the next star on the Warriors.

  4. Curry was turned loosed tonight, which made a difference. That walk-up three for example. He looked really frustrated against Dallas, as if under wraps.

    Lee was still driving into the teeth of their tough front court defense. Was there a way to open up a lane for him? Pick and roll?

    Stating the obvious, but 6 of the 8 losses were without either Iguodala or Curry, a strain on this thin roster. It’s hard to judge Jackson or the team under such circumstances, though there were games there they could have and should have won.

    (Repeat of my previous comments, since no one goes back) Credit to Barnes and Bogut for well exceeding expectations. Barnes had the easiest matchup on offense, but he delivered. But he was dismal against better defenders at Dallas—who covered him? Bogut got some points and made genuine stops at the rim.

    Curry’s performance was far superior to Westbrook’s, thought their numbers were similar, and you see the achilles heel of OKC. It’s all Westbrook or nothing, and if they were prepared at the rim, it’s because he kept driving. Plus they don’t have that third scorer to replace Harden.

    But the fickle finger of fate gives Westbrook that last shot. Plus missed free throws, a rough night at the start for Klay, and those calls on Bogut (moving screen?)/non-calls on Lee.

  5. I’m reminded of the San Antonio games, where Barnes was guarded by Parker. Can he step up against better defenders?

  6. The W’s did much better going big than I expected but can we please stop trying to iso Lee on Ibaka? Ibaka eats his lunch. I’d rather see Lee in a PnR or switch him onto someone else before iso’ing.

    I agree that Barnes does better defensively on slightly bigger than slightly smaller but I also think he has a young player’s gullibility and the crafty type of offensive player like a Ginobili can lure him into embarrasingly compromised defensive positions. He does better against the type of player that is used to dominating physically like a Durant or a Kobe; he can fight that fire with his own uber-athletic fire. The other thing with Barnes I’ve noticed the last third of last year and so far this year is that the defensive effort is there, the activity, he just needs to better learn what the offense is trying to do to him. Young and gullible but he’s learning.

    Thompson is frustrating. When Felt originally proclaimed him a potential HOF’er last year I argued against that likelihood but after the first few games of this season I was wondering if I was going to have to concede the point (happily.) Small sample size rears its ugly head and he’s come back to earth. He continues to expand his game but the protracted ups and downs may simply be part of his DNA; I just wish he didn’t wear his bad shooting on his sleeve and let it affect other parts of his game. Maybe some more maturing to do there, too.

  7. WaB @3

    I stand corrected. In your YouTube, Barnes was lightly guarded by Duncan and easily got two shots up. Give him credit for knocking them down. If the team can run and Barnes trails and has an open court and someone feeds him, he can drive and score, which I believe we saw twice. Given him time and an open court, and he can score on occasion, at times often. The moves against O’Neal, Green, and Splitter, were, however, good.

    But that’s only about 10 plays, and I’m not going to rewatch the whole series. The general principle still stands. SA clamped down on the perimeter and usually played soft on Barnes, which is why we lost and why Barnes was generally open and was able to score. Something similar happened last night. But again, he delivered in that role.

    Yet account for his play against Dallas, larger defenders, or in many other games. We could easily run a long lowlight reel of Barnes driving and fumbling or putting up a bad shot in the paint or not doing anything but quickly passing back out.

    When Barnes can play consistently against better, larger defenders, create better shots in traffic, against tough defenses, and take some of the strain off the perimeter, you will find many here changing their tune.

    • warriorsablaze

      Saying that Barnes was “guarded by Parker” isn’t actually being factual…. he was guarded by lots of different players during the series.

      Notice how no one minimizes Curry’s success against Denver when guarded by Miller or against SA when guarded by Parker… but when Barnes is the beneficiary of a favorable matchup, it’s an asterisk on his performance.

      I’m not even a big fan of Barnes, and I don’t disagree with your assessment, I’ve just been around here long enough to see how you and rgg wear your bias on your sleeves and don’t apply the same asterisks to your favored players Klay and Lee (unless they’re excuses for their poor play)… who were, coincidentally, friggin awful last night.

      • warriorsablaze

        whoops…supposed to be a reply to Felt below…

        Those videos are Barnes’ highlights… all his baskets. If the premise is that Parker guarded him, it certainly didn’t lead to many of those baskets.

  8. An interesting question for analysts is why we match up well against OKC this year so far, but not other teams such as Memphis.

    My guess is that OKC, like Denver last year, presents a predictable look on offense without much variety or outside help. They drove a lot, largely Westbrook, and the Warriors knew what was coming, so were prepared. After that, it’s only a question of whether or not Durant works his usual miracles. He wasn’t knocking down outside shots, and that made a difference.

    And I want to believe their offense is flawed by being Westbrook-centric. I can’t believe a better guard couldn’t get more scoring from the other players, especially up front.

    I’m not good at seeing defense. Did Barnes do that well on Durant? Explain and let’s give him credit.

    Barnes and Bogut had to score in a variety of ways to make the game close, and they did last night. But I’m still skeptical of the iso play. If they can score, they should also be able to pass out. Thompson did get his shot back second half, but not much was opened up for him that period.

    • I have 2 reasons why we match up well with OKC so far this year:

      1) Due to the loss of Martin/Harden, the Thunder have largely been playing 3 on 5. Which makes it far easier to give help on Durant. Take a look at their center and offguard production last night.

      2) Westbrook is not fully back.

      This is not the powerhouse OKC team of the last few years.

      • A healthy Bogut is obviously also making a difference. The Thunder got very few layups and dunks last night.

        And Iggy was a huge difference maker in the first game.

        • “Healthy Bogut” may be another one of those ambiguous terms that never gets defined, and we may not know he is ailing until he goes down. He looks tired and pained, but he always looks that way and it’s just his look. He has made a few hooks, a few drives on and off the ball, some tips and put backs, and of course some dead open dunks. If he can keep this much versatility, there is hope.

          My sense is, and I could be completely off, that he has to push himself hard and get worked up to perform. Otherwise he’s off. There’s not an even keel with him.

  9. Re Barnes @3: Presumably you still have last night’s game on tape WAB, so you can see for yourself who was guarding Barnes. I’m simply reporting fact.

    And yes, in the San Antonio series, several players took turns on Barnes, but he was principally guarded by the smallest or worst defender. In the video above, we see him guarded by Green, yes, but also Bonner, Parker, and a couple of Neal/Mills/Joseph (check the numbers). Kawhi Leonard, his counterpart and equal in size, is nowhere to be seen.

    And we know that Green principally guarded Curry in that series, while Leonard guarded Thompson — so who in your opinion did that leave on Barnes?

    rgg is simply being factual.

    If you want to make a case for Barnes you have to start with facts. Like who was guarding him last night, versus who guarded him in New Orleans and Dallas. And even in Dallas, IN CRUNCHTIME, he was being guarded by 5-10 Shane Larkin, while Marion or Crowder were on Curry.

    It makes a big difference to Barnes whether he’s being guarded by a small forward defensive stopper, or by a point guard. Just as it has to Iguodala, who’s frequently been getting the Barnes treatment. Not to acknowledge that is to undermine any analysis you attempt.

    One other thing really stands out about Barnes’ impact in the last three games: his rebounding. 2 last night. 4 and 4. In heavy minutes.

    Meanwhile, his opponents: Durant 13, Marion and Crowder 5 and 6, Aminu 9, etc.

    He’s regularly getting outrebounded badly at his own position. Averaging 3.5 reb/gm on the season, to go along with his neglible blocks. These are also facts, not bias.

    I mentioned Barnes last night because he gave a largely positive performance. I also balanced it with some qualifiers based in fact. You find those qualifiers biased and offensive, others might find them pertinent, particularly in light of the fact that Barnes was -6 on the night, while all other members of the starting unit were strongly positive. How might we account for that fact, given Barnes’ apparently stellar performance?

    He also, by the way, had the worst plus/minus of the starters against Dallas (-8). And against New Orleans (-7).

    Should we attempt to analyze this trend, or just acknowledge that he’s a great player and leave it at that?

    • barnes was discernibly more productive on the boards last season, while playing fewer minutes, by all metrics. he’s shooting better this season, but it’s questionable what he contributes in the games when his efficiency dips. his scoring possibly benefits from the bump up in his touches in iguodala’s absence, as it did when lee went out in the post season.

      iguodala’s absence has made things simpler for the preacher where his concepts and planning are murkiest, the offense. the team doesn’t have to resolve who Mr. Barnes is until next season, when some contract decisions are due. optimists might think that he could be the difference between a run to the finals or elimination in the conference rounds this season, but the team hasn’t even gained consistent traction against conference opponents in regular season contests yet, and Mr.Barnes is hardly the only component whose role has to be defined and tempered.

  10. Anyone hear anything about Iguodala? It is amazing how secretive about injuries the Warriors are. I’m worried that the fact we’re not hearing anything is bad news, though. Hamstrings are tricky injuries, and can take a long time to heal. Up to five weeks.

    I’m also wondering whether it might linger. Is it possible this might affect him all season long?

    • Reading between the lines:

      My doc says that if Iggy heard a “pop” he had at least a partial tear, not a minor strain. A partial tear would mean weeks on the mend, followed by fitness training to regain basketball shape. The exact amount of time depends on severity, etc.

      So without any info from the team, that sounds like a minimum of a month off for Iggy. But who knows? I’ve never seen another pro sports team as secretive about injuries as the Ws. They’re really very weird about that.

  11. OKC has not had a strong schedule so far. Your initial analysis may well prove correct, that no team in the west is that dominant.

  12. Barnes really seemed to bother Durant’s shooting last night, and he came through on offense. Durant is a real handful for anyone, and Barnes did about as well against him as anyone could hope for. But Durant shot 12 free throws while Barnes only had 3 fouls. Stopping Durant was clearly a team effort.

    On offense, shooting over guards most of the time, Barnes also did well. I’ll say this for him: He’s cool under pressure. Getting the ball in iso’s is the toughest way for anyone to score, no matter who’s defending, and that’s how Barnes gets 90% of his opportunities. There are two problems with that, neither named Barnes: 1) It’s the hardest possible way for a team to score, and 2) when Barnes is doing his thing, 2-3 better shooters are removed from the picture.

    Curry had only 5 assists (partly due to Thompson’s off night), but that’s going to be his new norm if the Ws offense is going to continue to be so heavily dependent on isolation play. Ball movement, off-ball motion, PnRs, PnPs, catch-and-shoot: forget all that. Do everything the hard way.

    Thompson missed open shots last night, but most of his shots came with hands in his face. The Ws didn’t run plays to get him open for a shot. He’s a far better shooter when he can simply catch and shoot. Everyone is, including David Lee.

    In motion plays, Lee can score (or assist) against anyone. In isolation-clearouts last night, with no passing outlets available, he turned Ibaka into a superstar defender. It wasn’t Lee’s fault. It’s not the way to make Lee successful, especially against an Ibaka.

    We saw team D from the Ws last night, but damn little team play on O. I don’t get that. Maybe Jackson thinks it’s not possible without Iguodala. Maybe he’s playing these early-season games as a player-development exercise, an attempt to develop a team full of heroes.

    Or maybe Jackson just doesn’t get the O thing, which is kinda hard to imagine, but possible. Not even the best PGs in the world can necessarily view things as a coach. For example, even Jason Kidd admitted he didn’t have the “coach’s eye” yet. I hope that’s not what’s going on with MJackson, but it might be.

    Whatever the reason for Jackson to dismantle the Ws coordinated team offense, the team is simply not going to score as efficiently or easily as it can until team play returns. This is not a knock on Barnes, but really, a dozen iso’s for him is a dozen possessions in which at least 3 better shooters on his team are entirely frozen out of the offense. That is just not a winning basketball strategy.

    • Hat — great point about the offense. The problem with Barnes on this Warriors team is that he kills the ball movement. The guy is a black hole. When he is hitting shots, you get a game like last night. When he is not hitting shots, he simply disappears from the game offensively and defensively at this point in his career. I can’t wait for Iggy to get back, so the ball starts hopping again. Where are all those assists that Bob Fitzgerald was raving about early in the season? Barnes kills that style of play.

      Two things:
      1) Thompson got it going when he was no longer guarding Westbrook. The energy he expands guarding a guy like Westbrook clearly took him out of his offensive rhythm.

      2) David Lee needs to start using a pump fake. A quick drive to the rim and a pump fake will get him to the line, a lot more than he does, and it will get other team’s shot blockers in trouble.

    • Ah’m with you, padnuh.

      Especially your points about Lee and Thompson. Lee, who is a model of consistency, has struggled two games in a row. Thompson finally got his shot going 2nd. half, but they didn’t work plays for him.

      The major qualification here—and perhaps glimmer of hope—is that this is a temporary solution owing to the weak bench and loss of Iguodala. When Iguodala returns, isos won’t make sense.

      The problem is that there are no bona fide iso players on the team, certainly not in the mode of Leron or Durant. Trying to make the players we have iso players only diminishes the skills they have. Nelson would run Maggette and Ellis in isos a lot that roster depleted year—while the rookie Curry stood and watched. Maggette could bull his way to the basket and draw fouls. He also got awfully banged up. Ellis could drive against most front courts. But that’s a limited offense when you can’t think of anything else or don’t have the means to try something else, and the results were mixed.

      It is also probably an easy plan to coach when you can’t think of anything else. We’ll have to hold our breath here.

      I also don’t like seeing it crunch time. Curry’s effectiveness, and the team’s, diminishes every second he holds or dribbles the ball.

      • CB – it’s not just Barnes. Iso’s kill team play, because everyone runs away from the ball handler. Lee had to shoot the ball because there was nothing else for him to do with it. All his teammates were on the far side of the floor.

        rgg – With or without Iggy, iso’s don’t make sense. Remember when everyone complained about Monta being “inefficient?” He was, BECAUSE Smart and Jackson had him running countless iso’s.

  13. I’m no fan of Mark Jackson but I’m glad he’s playing big. Nelson also would have.

    When your team is able to hold a team like the Thunder to 39% shooting from the field and the Warriors shoot 45%, what else do you want? With a limited roster due to injuries small ball is not going to better that result. We were only 2 down in offensive rebounds for the game because we played big. As a result the Thunder only had two extra possessions via playing big ball. That deficit margin is going to increase and get much bigger if we went with a smaller line-up.

    I guess Felty will continue to cite those rear times when the Warriors go small and outshoot their opponents over a 1:42 period which is hardly a sample, and ignore when they don’t. Who wants a frontline of Lee, Thompson and Green or Barnes? I don’t.

    As for Barnes, the reason he’s not getting many DR’s is because he playing SG and not SF. He’s staying back to stop opponent’s from getting run outs. The guy whose hitting the defense boards is Thompson as he is playing the SF spot.

    The reasons the Warriors are having problems is because they are missing the steals produced by both Iggy and Douglas and therefore our opponents are getting twice as many steals as we are and such also results in more turnovers by the Warriors.

    And the Warriors advantage in shooting is offset by our the Thunder taking 13 more foul shots and making 15 to our 10. We need to stop fouling so much.

    I agree with rgg the Warriors have primarily lost games because of injuries not the coaching although our offense has seem to fall apart without Iggy on the floor. Yes, I would like to see the Warriors run with even a big line-up. But, with no present depth, Jackson’s hands are tied. Also, think the Warriors are making a huge mistake not playing Dedmon who may well prove to help us in the long run if they did. Also, Lee should be taking more mid range shots rather than driving to the hoop as much as he does, especially in crunch time.

    Good to see Speights minutes on the floor being under 8 the last two games.

    Each poster either supporting or slamming a player based on his last game is getting old. A body of work will tell the story.

    I’m cutting Thompson’s shooting some slack as most of his inconsistency seems to be his rushing his shots. But his shots are not
    missing wide left and right as they were last year.

  14. I agree Barnes is not everything the media and or fans make him out to be. I also believe his ceiling is higher than what Felbot thinks it may be. As Jerry West once said, “work ethic is a skill in itself” and Barnes by all accounts has that and is highly receptive to coaching.

    That being said, with Warriors cap issues coming up (Klay specifically) I could envision a cap-Lessing, draft-pick gaining trade involving Barnes in the next 8-18 months.

    Question for Feltbot and this isn’t meant as a putdown – who (and I am truly curious about this) would you have selected ahead of Barnes in the ’12 draft? Not sure anyone has clearly shown they are or will be better though we could have traded the pick too.

    • I’m not sure there was a better pick, even though the consensus would probably rate Drummond far ahead of Barnes. I’ve seen opinions from scouts that Drummond is a potential Hall of Famer.

      IQ and character are really major factors when drafting bigs. What is their work ethic and ability to learn? How much do they love the game and want to win? I think the Warriors brass had qualms about these factors with Drummond, and I don’t know enough about him yet to second guess that.

      A player I really like and suspect will be a better pro than Barnes is Terrence Ross, Toronto’s #8 pick and the current dunk champion. He is a really long, super athletic two guard who is a great defender and can light it up from three. The perfect archetype of a two guard as far as I’m concerned. If the Warriors had drafted him, it would have moved Thompson to the three, and I’m not sure they would have had to spend all that money to get Iguodala.

      It will take time to discover whether I’m right about this, as Ross is currently buried behind DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay. But I’m pretty sure Masai Ujiri is trying to move one or both of those guys.

      It’s also possible that Houston got the steal of the draft with Terrence Jones at #18. He’s the Rockets starting stretch four at the moment, and he’s been playing great. Size, shotblocking, rebounding, three point shooting. Pretty amazing skill set for that low a pick.

      Harkless has potential, but has been disappointing so far this season.

      Apart from Drummond, there’s little doubt that Barnes was the best “asset” available. In other words, has the most current trade value.

      As far as Barnes’ potential — I peg it roughly at Al Harrington, Antwan Jamison, Marvin Williams (he’s been playing great!), maybe the unleashed Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley.

      In other words, a decent role player at stretch-four, but not someone I would want to play the three, or pay a lot of money.

      • Harrington and Jamison would be highly valued ‘assets’.

        I like Ross too but he can barely get off the bench.

        I bet a Barnes trade occurs for cap space and picks.

        Interestingly, Cleveland is reportedly trying to unload Waiters who
        West was high on. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Warriors make an offer involving Barnes and Cleveland giving up Zeller as well (another
        West fave) in return.

  15. Feltbot, I like Ross too But he can barely get off the bench though DeRozen has improved his jump shot.

    Drummond is all potential and doesn’t seem to have the BB IQ to live up to his athletic ability.

    I’m with you on Harkless – work ethic + athleticism + feel for the game = potential star and he’s only 21….

  16. Headed to Sacto to go to the Warriors game with an unfortunate buddy living in exile. So no recap.

    Will Barnes and DWill match up? I don’t see a reason for Malone to crossmatch on Curry or Thompson, since there’s not a single stopper on his team.

    The game within the game could get interesting.

    • I’m particularly interested to see if Jackson iso’s Barnes against DWill. I’m pretty sure that Barnes can beat him off the dribble just as if he were Matt Bonner.

      • Since Jackson has only ever run Barnes in iso’s, it’s a safe bet that he will do so again tonight. Since Jackson ignores player matchups, whether Barnes goes against DWill or someone else will be up to MMalone. I think he’s more likely to run Williams against Lee.

  17. While we’re at it, what’s the word on Douglas? Hat, what’s your doctor say?

    A stress reaction can lead to a stress fracture, I understand. Are they being cautious, or in fact is there a serious risk and we should expect a long delay?

    And are we getting accurate info from the FO?

    Seth Curry had a stress fracture his entire senior year at Duke, and it kept him out of most practices, though he played games. He had surgery after the season was over, which kept him out of summer league, and I’m still not clear he has fully recovered.

    So. Any chances of bringing someone else in? Their only real option to free a roster spot is to let Bazemore go, unless they can work an unlikely trade. I can’t see bringing anyone up from Santa Cruz and know zip about the rest of the D-league.

    A veteran guard with some scoring punch would be ideal, someone who could spell Klay or Steph with the second unit and give Nedovic someone to pass to.

    Barbosa is recovering from ACL surgery, has signed on with Brazil with an opt-out clause, I read. I’m still intrigued with Raja Bell, if he has anything left in the tank. That no one else has picked him up suggests he doesn’t—he’s 37. I never did read what conflict he had with Corbin at Utah.

    • When Douglas was benched, they said he’d be out at least 2 weeks. Time’s up, so he might see a few mins in Sacto.

      Douglas doesn’t have a fracture, the only symptom is/was pain. To avoid future complications it would be best for him to be pain-free before playing again. There’s no reliable timetable for that.

      At this point I have a few Qs about playing Douglas, though. First, Douglas is primarily an iso player right now – never big on assists to begin with, he doesn’t have enough experience with this team to be well in tune with his teammates. So, given Jackson’s recent penchant for running mostly iso’s, I don’t think Douglas is a cure for what really ails the Ws, its lack of a coordinated offensive attack.

      Secondly, I wonder if Douglas has been able to maintain bball fitness. He might have been able to put in time on a bicycle (or other non-impact aerobic training), but if not he won’t be able to run at game pace for more than a few minutes at a time.

      Thirdly, even if Douglas is physically ready, two weeks off the court is going to make his skills rusty.

      So my guess is that Douglas gets at most about 5 minutes tonight, and it would be kinda shocking if he had an impact.

      • We would have seen Douglas first in practice, at least light duty, no? And he’s all we got.

      • we probably won’t even hear about douglas practicing in the scrimmages until they’re at home long enough and his rehab/conditioning can be coordinated with team activities. before Mr.Barnes returned to the lineup he was observed doing shooting drills and 3-on-3’s ; no news on douglas probably means no hoops activity observed.

        a healthy douglas probably isn’t a difference maker to getting the team higher than its current middling performance and place in the standings. as long as iguodala is out and the preacher has problems getting consistency from several of his principals, they’ll have problems gaining traction against the stronger conference opponents. bryant returns soon, and if iguodala does not, the lacobites might remain in their familiar spot looking up at LA/bussies in the standings.

  18. SAC:

    A win’s a win, though I wish they could do it without Curry heroics. He won’t be able to do this all the time, against the better teams. He had a fabulous night, of course, but this game should have been in hand.

    Even Bucher noted it. The way they’re playing Lee—taking away the pick and roll, not playing him up top, not setting up his midrange or drives—makes no sense at all, especially now that they’re shorthanded. He has been on of the most consistent scorers in the NBA for years, against almost any lineup, playing often with weak lineups.

    It was the Sac bench that nearly did us in. The Warriors would have been much better off picking up a scorer on the bench—Ian Clark over Nedovic?—someone who can come in make shots with the second unit, who can spread the floor to set up the other subs. If he plays with Curry or Thompson, he’ll get more open looks. I’m skeptical Nedovic will be able to drive in the NBA, but at any rate, he won’t be able to drive with a second unit who doesn’t open up the court. I’m not certain much would have been given up in defense, but even if so, it would be offset by the +/– gain and his ability to keep the subs on the floor longer. This defensive unit can’t stay on the floor more than a few minutes.

    • Lee is a career 53% shooter. His average with the Knicks was even higher. But the last 4 games his average is 37%. I haven’t looked, but I’d wager you won’t find a similar stretch in the last 9 years.

    • warriorsablaze

      I’m starting to wonder if their use (or misuse) of Lee is the precursor to a deadline trade. With Draymond starting to put together consistent games (and a shot), he’s starting to be in the game during late game situations.

      It’s a tough call on the Lee pick and roll… when Bogut is the screener, Steph is far more likely to get a look, at the cost of not having much of a bailout with Bogut rolling. Lee, on the other hand, slips every screen and almost never gets Curry an open shot. He’s more dangerous on the roll, of course.

      Regardless, with Andre out, we should be using Lee appropriately… get him in the pick and roll and drop these stupid iso post-ups. The offense has been thin.

      • the preacher had Green closing quite a few games last season ; he somehow got a clue before this game to restore him for the role. he can do things on both ends of the court that neither lee nor bogut can (hit open 3’s, harass the perimeter on d and still help in the paint or the boards). he’s the third best player they have for running the fast break, and iguodala is m.i.a. at the moment. for some of the final possessions, Green was defending their most dangerous 3 pt. shooter, thomas.

  19. Here we go. Lee will struggle at straight-up post-up play, especially against the larger players he has to face. But if he gets a running start, he is quick—and he is leaner and seems quicker this year—and can get by players and get a good drive. Or he is open for a shot. Note his opposition.

    • I guess the last play was a pick and pop. Look most at the open court, the movement, and the defenders in all the plays.

      • warriorsablaze

        Also note that Lee doesn’t successfully set a screen in any of those plays. Lee is a great “roll” player, but not a good screener. I’m more interested in getting Steph a shot off the screen than Lee off the roll. It’s one of the reasons Steph was able to became so dominant in the playoffs… because Bogut often sets monster screens. It doesn’t take much analysis to know that a Steph shot is more valuable than a Lee shot. It seems the team has adjusted to this idea and Lee is becoming a bit marginalized as a result.

        Lee’s a great pick and roll player…. except when the handler is the best shooter in the game… in which case his tendency to slip the screen is detrimental to getting the most valuable possible shot out of the play.

        • I suspect that isn’t true, isn’t even remotely true. But I’m not going to be able to find highlight reels or stats of screens.

          Lee can set screens quickly, crisply, and does so in the flow of an active offense. In fact, Curry can find an opening by a screen by any player. Curry only needs a fraction of a second to find his shot. I’m not sure he doesn’t lose a little time with Bogut because he has to clear him.

          Bogut doesn’t set screens quickly: he just walks out and stands there. But yes, he has set effective screens. They’re monstrous only because he is so big.

          But the real point is what the Curry pick and roll does for the entire offense, and does so quickly. Lee’s rolls will draw defenders, leaving Curry yet more room to maneuver. Or if they go after Curry, Lee is open to drive or shoot or kick out. Bogut, as you concede, won’t draw defenders, and does nothing to maintain the tempo of the offense.

          • warriorsablaze

            You can suspect all you want, but I’ve been specifically watching and noting this aspect of Lee’s game for a while (along with never boxing out his man before chasing rebounds). There was an article during the playoffs last year that discussed Lee’s propensity to slip the screen as well… can’t find it at the moment.

            Lee is capable, as you say, of setting quick and crisp screens in the flow of the offense…it’s just that he generally doesn’t. He slips early to dive to the hoop before making any significant contact with Curry’s defender. It’s a good play for Lee, but not for getting Curry shots.

            Anyway, I’m not necessarily advocating for the change, just speculating on why the Warriors may have adjusted the structure of their offense. I’d prefer it remain as a weapon in our playbook regardless…especially in lieu of Lee, JON, Barnes flow-killing iso plays.

          • If you can find that piece, I’d like to see it. I’d like to learn something here. But I remain skeptical. Curry and Lee work beautifully together and have high basketball IQs, and if there were a problem, I’m sure they could figure it out in a few seconds.

            I suspect the rebuttal to that criticism would be tempo, that what they do, they do to main the tempo of the offense, where both excel. Maintaining a fluid, quick tempo not only opens up possibilities for them but also the other players.

            And like you, I’d like to see an argument defending what Jackson is doing. It seems he favors control over tempo, control in the sense that he wants to slow the pace and movement and put the onus on individual players in post-up plays. It’s good for heroes and Christian soldiers, I guess.

  20. Marcus TII mentioned in his summary and analysis that curry had his first 30/10 game since his rookie year. will we get to see him play for an elite level coach again ?

    • warriorsablaze

      Seems unlikely. I think we have enough talent to win in spite of MJ’s shortcomings… he’s not gonna get fired if we get back to the playoffs and especially if we can manage another first round win. Of course, with how stacked the west is this season, a first round win could prove to be tough.

      It is a bummer that Jackson, not the roster, could end up being the ceiling for this team.

  21. Some fairly typical numbers last night: Green +11, highest on the team. Barnes lowest at -7.

    It has never been hard to explain Barnes’ poor +- numbers: a result of his generally poor D and the relatively unproductive iso offense Jackson always runs to get Barnes involved. Used to his strengths on O, Barnes could be more effective. Iso’s are stupid.

    Green looks too clumsy and out-of-control to get results. He even looks a little panicked on offense. But it’s rare when he doesn’t affect the game more positively than Barnes.

    I can imagine Barnes tipping in a game-winner, but he never does. I can’t understand how Green managed to do it last night. But at this point it’s not surprising.

    It’s weird. Barnes looks like he should be the better player.

  22. I’m not sure of this analogy going forward because of the black falcon’s athleticism and reported work ethic, but:

    Barnes = fool’s gold
    Green = real gold caked with dirt

  23. We really got to give this win to Boogie and his moods. Bogut fought with him well many plays, but he still muscled up and made it to the basket when he was of a mind. And he settled for outside shots most of the time—but hit them. 10-13, 24 points in 21 minutes, +19, and Isaiah Thomas was 15 points away at next best, +4.

    Anything to add, Feltbot?

  24. Jackson is killing the starters by overplaying them. No wonder they fade late in games. If he game them more breathers they and the team would perform better in the second half.

    Bogut and Lee are terrific defensive rebounders when opponents don’t crash the offensive boards which I would estimate is 80 percent of the time. But when opponents do both are just fair defensive rebounders. This was evident against Dallas when Blair schooled both of them for 7 offensive rebounds.

    What defense? Didn’t Sacramento shoot 53 percent last night. Only reason they lost is because of stupid turnovers and their starting PG not being good.

    Green gave the Warriors three extra possessions via 2 offensive rebounds and 1 steal. That plus his shooting explains why he had the highest plus for the Warriors.

    Speights should not be taking 4 shots in his 11 minutes of play.

    We want Dedmon!

    • Without Iggy and Douglas, the Ws effective bench crew – the only guys who won’t immediately hurt the Ws – consists only of Green and JON.

      Speights and Nedovic can contribute too, but they have to be used selectively. Speights is a serviceable big body, Nedovic an OK ballhandler. Preferably, neither would be outside shooters. Other than that, they can make contributions.

      Dedmon and Bazemore have good energy, but neither has the skills/experience/poise to keep from being an immediate game-time liability. They’re both still learning the basics. Coach Jackson gets a lot of stuff wrong, but he’s not wrong about not playing those two.

      C’mon, Frank. We have yet to see Dedmon do the job well enough to earn any minutes. He’s barely hanging on with the team as a maybe-someday development project.

  25. WaB—

    Here is where I go with analytics. The Warriors have those cameras installed, and soon all teams will have them? The coaches could easily ring up every Lee play, comparing what Lee has done in the past with what he’s doing now with the recent changes. And I’m certain what they’ll find is that Jackson’s “system” is horribly inefficient, not making use of the 2nd or 3rd best scorer on the team, and its primary inside scorer.

    The point here is to use stats to reinforce strategy, not define it. Someone could look at Lee’s recent play to decide “he’s lost it,” and in fact this has been done in questionable discussions.

    • warriorsablaze

      I don’t disagree. People are misusing the growing analytics data all over the place…

      What’s the functional difference between reinforcing and defining strategy, really? Stats need human input to measure, so they are always reinforcing (or maligning) strategies. They also need human interpretation to be put in to practice in the real world. Strategies don’t come out of a stat vacuum.

      Yes, simple and the more basic advanced stats may view Lee’s play as declining… but stats are becoming far more holistic, with SportsVu being the first step in that direction for the league. And again, humans have to interpret them.

      My point being, if random internet posters are recognizing that Lee’s role has changed to the detriment of his play, I can assure you the guys whose job it is to reconcile the video and data, and the coaching staff, aren’t just looking at Lee’s numbers being down and determining he’s playing poorly. IMO, they’ve made a conscious decision to adjust the offense… not to purposefully hurt Lee, but to enhance Curry. Whether or not it’s a good strategy remains to be seen. It’s easy to see that it marginalizes Lee, but Curry and Klay are both playing better than they were at this point last season… so is it better for the team overall? Will it ultimately lead to more wins? That’s all that matters. I don’t think we know the answer yet… particularly with Iguodala down.

      • Someone could look at raw stats and make the wrong decision. The highest percentage shots happen in the red zone, under the bucket, the basis of Goldsberry’s study. A team could conclude that the best way to win is to load up with bigs, have them pound, and encourage the guards to drive and at least get free throws.
        I’m not sure that isn’t what GSW is doing.

        The problem is you get diminishing returns. Offenses become predictable, the red zone becomes a war zone, where percentages decline.

        And the Warriors don’t have these types of players anyway. Such strategy only neutralizes the skills they have.

        I can’t think of any way the strategy opens up Curry and Klay. The pick and roll, pick and pop plays keep the defense guessing and puts them off guard, opening up space and possibilities for the other players. Both Klay and Curry need an active offense, as we’ve seen time and time again. Other teams, better than Sacramento, will be more effective at shutting down the perimeter, as we’ve also seen so often. All the more reason to push the tempo and move the ball.

        • warriorsablaze

          Coaching/analytics staffs are certainly not infallible, but to assume they just blindly look at raw stats without context is silly. They know far more about what’s going on than any of us do.

          A couple things happen when you use the center as the high screener. First, the opposing center is generally not able to show as aggressively on the switch/double… giving Curry more space. We saw it a few times last night even with Cousins, a very athletic center. Curry simply shot over him because he couldn’t close out. Most PF’s in the league can get out there. Whether you believe my assertion that Lee isn’t a good screener or not, it’s a fact that Bogut IS a good screener. He’s more likely to force a switch by taking the guard out of the play. If Lee screens, the guard can usually stay with Curry and all Lee’s man has to do is hedge a bit to allow the guard to catch up. Even though Bogut isn’t much of a threat to score on the roll, he is a threat to immediately dish out to Klay or Harrison on the wings. I wouldn’t say this offense is less active, short of the segments of time we seem to want to post up and iso. The offense looked similarly stalled last season whenever Jack was at the helm.

  26. From an ESPN article about Chris Bosh’s recent struggles (until last night):

    “Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before Sunday’s game his faith in Bosh hadn’t wavered, but that Miami also isn’t the kind of team that would script several consecutive plays at the start of the game to get a struggling player into rhythm.
    “We’re not hunting to get people involved,” Spoelstra said. “He just has to stay the course with it. Chris will be fine.”

    Perhaps this is what makes Spoelstra a championship coach, building a strong offensive and defensive system that does not rely on getting players involved with early touches. Mark Jackson finally dropped the idea that running offensive sets to get Bogut touches in the early going is important for the overall success of the team. However, he still seems to be doing that for Harrison Barnes.

    • Maybe iso’s are the only way Jackson can get anything from Barnes.

      Barnes doesn’t have good court vision, which means he’s not up for coordinated team play. He doesn’t box out, fight for rebounds, or have a “nose for the ball,” all of which makes him a weak 4. Despite his recent (outstanding) performance against Durant, he’s a poor defender against quick players – most 3s, in other words. So that leaves only using Barnes as “rest break” for the rest of his team. Spoon feed him the ball, let everyone else take a breather. In a short-handed team, that might be helpful.

      OK, I’m reaching here, stretching to figure out why Barnes gets iso’s. There must be some reason, right?

      • warriorsablaze

        I would say you’re more or less correct. His role in the second unit has to be the scorer… who else can score? Unfortunately, there also aren’t really any playmakers. To me, that should mean an even more structured offense with lots of ball movement and screening in order to create good shots… but for some reason, to Jackson it means ISO’s all day for Barnes and JON.

        • I’m with you, WAB. More structure, not less, especially for the 2nd team.

          Hero ball (aka “Kobe time” to some people) is not a substitute for offensive plays. It takes a super-special player to create scoring opportunities all by themselves with any degree of efficiency. At any given time, there are only a half-dozen or so in the NBA who can do it. Even Kobe isn’t one of those players today, if he ever was.

          As a game strategy, planning a series of clearout/isolation attacks just seems like planning to lose. Heroics are for broken plays, not a substitute for plays.

  27. @23,

    Cousins is a coach’s dilemma. He does so much so well you need to play him. But he’s such an ass he’ll lose a lot games for you.

    Joey Crawford once said that his favorite player was Charles Barkley, because Charles never disputed calls. Good or bad, fair or not, Barkley just quietly walked away.

    If that’s what refs like, they must despise Cousins. I wonder how many games the Kings have lost for just that reason.

    • Cousins is probably the most talented big man scorer in the NBA. His size combined with a soft touch make him a load when he gets deep position. His problem, as you both alluded to, is his inability to keep his emotions in check during the game. Last night he blew up when the referees simply went to go check to see if the elbow to Bogut’s head was a flagrant foul. Obviously Cousins knew it wasn’t, but instead of being able to let it go, he flipped out. You could see his rage. It’s a big problem for Malone. I do see Boogie making progress, but by the time he gets his issues fully under control, he will almost certainly be past his prime. It’s sad in a way.

      • cousins is only 22 years old. young men in our society including those who grew up with their father in the household (which he did not) often take longer to mature emotionally and mentally. the great ellis didn’t grow up until he married a cop and became a father. cousins grew up relatively sheltered by his family (his mother one of the superhero single moms) and didn’t take up hoops until middle school, 6’6 at age 14. once he acquired skills his opponents could only defend by physically beating on him. malone and ranadive seem very confident in their franchise player, and if they can add the right veteran or two, the lacobites might get more competition in the division.

    • warriorsablaze

      It’s also probably the reason David Lee doesn’t get much ref love. He may not lose his cool like Cousins, but he is CONSTANTLY talking and complaining to the refs.

      Which is more annoying? The toddler who throws the occasional explosive tantrum? Or the toddler who whines “why can’t I have that toy?!?!?!” incessantly?

      Tough call.

      • cosmicballoon

        Why bring David Lee into this conversation, WaB? Lee’s problem is that he literally gets blocked over and over again at the rim by players who are taller and jump higher than he does. Additionally, he does not use a pump fake, nor does he use his body correctly to draw fouls.

        I am not ripping Lee, though. He is an anomaly. A quick power forward with a deft touch around the rim (maybe the best at his size in the NBA) and a decent jumper out to 17 feet. His entire game is based on speed and angles, which he is masterful at. Those times he has to go head to head at the rim, he almost always loses.

        To me, its important that Jackson starts utilizing his strengths correctly (passing, short jumper) and stops trying to force a square peg through a round hole in the low post.

  28. rgg: The Warriors are being outscored with Speights on the court each and every night, except for last night when the Warriors had a plus three with him on the court even though Speights shot 1-4 from the field. Clearly, other players carried him last night. Do you really doubt that the Warriors would do worse with him on the court? He did have a good game in D- League play the other night.I know the D-league is not the NBA. Doubt that Speights would have a good night in the D league.

    • warriorsablaze

      The gap between the D-League and the NBA is huge… especially for big men. Speights would dominate the majority of D-league games. Jeremy Tyler did.

      I’d like to see Dedmon get some experience, but he has no business being in a close game at this point…maybe a few minutes in the second quarter would be OK… as dumb as Speights is, Dedmon would be completely lost in close game execution situations.

  29. warriorfaithful

    news about iguodala and his return. not exactly a timetable but the usual mark jackson antics:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2013/12/2/5166058/andre-iguodala-injury-hamstring-update-warriors