Bobcats 115 Warriors 111: Jackson Spanked

“We’re a defensive team. 115 points is not acceptable.”

“We were a step slow on defense.”

“We need to play our brand of basketball.”

“We need to be true to our identity.”

“We’re going to stay true to the process.”

That was Mark Jackson’s take on the reasons why the Warriors lost to the Bobcats.

Here’s my take: Mark Jackson stuffed this loss down his team’s throat. His rigid inflexibility of mind and refusal to match up with his opponent was the single biggest reason why the Warriors lost this game. (And it’s something of a tradition for him against the Bobcats in Charlotte.)

The Matchup Problem: Jackson hid Stephen Curry on the stretch-four Anthony Tolliver, who had been pressed into service at small forward due to injuries. This was a good decision: Tolliver is a floor-spreader who did not make it tough on Curry.

The problem was at the other two positions: Klay Thompson on Kemba Walker, and Harrison Barnes on Gerald Henderson. Both Thompson and Barnes got absolutely torched in this game. Thompson can guard some point guards, but not those like Walker who can both shoot the three and get to the hoop. He had no prayer in this matchup.

Just as Barnes had no prayer of guarding the smaller and quicker Henderson. “A step slow?” No kidding, Coach Jackson. If you put Andrew Bogut on Monta Ellis, he’d be a step slow too. Get the concept?

The Warriors problems were exacerbated by the fact that David Lee was forced by Jackson to guard a stretch-four — Josh McRoberts — out at the three point line. Opening up the court even further to the drives of Walker and Henderson.

And forcing Bogut and O’Neal into foul trouble. When the floor is spread and you can’t guard the perimeter, your bigs are simply dead meat.

The Warriors were a step slow because Mark Jackson allowed his opponent to make them a step slow. Because he refused to make an adjustment.

The Solution: It’s really quite simple. In the NBA, when you’re getting beat by quickness, you play smaller.

Play a two point guard backcourt. Bring in the trio of Douglas, Nedovich, and Bazemore to pressure Kemba Walker. Leave Curry on Tolliver. But guard Henderson with the better defender Thompson. Move Barnes to the power forward, on Josh McRoberts. Move Lee to center, on Al Jefferson. And ship Bogut to the bench.

Now who has the quicker team? Now who has trouble guarding who?

Now who has more talent on the floor?

Can Al Jefferson defend the Curry/Lee pick and roll with a completely spread floor? Can Josh McRoberts defend Harrison Barnes at the three point line, with the ball and a live dribble? Can Jefferson and McRoberts run up and down with this Warriors team? Can the Bobcats find Curry and Thompson in the open court, in a wide open game?

I know what you’re thinking, David Lee can’t guard Al Jefferson, blah blah blah. And Harrison Barnes can’t rebound at the four, blah blah blah.

Barnes rebounded just fine in the playoffs last year playing power forward, thank you. While destroying the likes of Anthony Randolph and Matt Bonner when they tried to guard him.

And contrary to what resident genius Bob Fitzgerald seems to think, David Lee HAS matched up against Al Jefferson before, in the years that he played center on the Knicks for Mike D’Antoni.

In 2010, in Lee’s last year on the Knicks, he played Jefferson (then on the TWolves) twice. Here are the results:

  • In New York: Lee 28 and 10, Jefferson 4 and 10.
  • In Minnesota: Lee 16 and 11, Jefferson 22 and 11.

See any problem with that? Here’s some more food for thought: Lee’s frontcourt mate in those games was 6-7″ small forward Wilson Chandler, playing out of position at power forward. Jefferson’s frontcourt mate was Kevin Love. (Go ahead, look it up.)

Now, don’t go thinking the way some do, that I’m suggesting that the Warriors play small all game every game. I don’t believe in that.  I don’t believe that David Lee and Harrison Barnes are strong enough to play big all game long. And I do believe that there is a use for Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal.

What I am suggesting, quite simply, is that the Warriors play small exactly the same amount of time that all of the other great coaches in the league would, if they were blessed with one of the best, if not THE best, smallball teams in the entire league.

What amount of time is that, exactly?

Enough to win the damn game.

37 Responses to Bobcats 115 Warriors 111: Jackson Spanked

  1. Thank you.

    Last 3 paragraphs = Gold

  2. I’ve always wondered about Jacksons ability as a coach. The fact that I’m still wondering after 2+ years is concerning. The W’s have some unique talent, but it needs to be focused correctly..

    Like Feltbot I had the warriors as an elite team preseason. Steph is undeniably a top 5 NBA player. That in itself will take you far.
    I also do not believe that Harrison Barnes has the intangibles to be be a great NBA player. His strengths are the stop and pop jumper, speed, and slashing. His handle is inefficient and even unnecessary on this team. Andrew Bogut , for all his positive attributes, frequently slows the team down, even disappearing for long stretches of games. Mr. Barnett had a valid observation on Klay when he noted that he lacked consistency.

    Bottom line, the league is full of mediocre teams. Warriors, with Curry, Iggy and supporting cast, could gel and win it all. Thats what makes these losses so frustrating to watch. How much of it is on the coach is debatable , but I hope the front office, whomever that is, is astute enough to gauge the situation.
    Go W’s!

  3. warriorsablaze

    Nothing really to argue with here… definite frustration in Warriorsland. The only thing hold the casual fan’s loyalty is the Iggy is injured excuse… but they shouldn’t need Iggy to win most games with this roster… especially against the Bobcats.

    Another key is that Barnes played 40 and Lee 44 minutes… Green played 18. Green should be cutting into both Lee and Barnes’ minutes at the 3 and 4… substantially. It seems Green gets a bit of the Udoh treatment… his counting stats are meh and the intangibles are apparently too intangible for MJ to put full faith in. I’d like to see Lee at 30-35, Green at 25-30, and Barnes at 20-25.

  4. the Rev. Jackson likes the phrase ‘no excuse’, but his other rhetorical stand-byes, ‘our brand of b-ball’/’who we really are’ et cetera actually are excuses for his staff’s failure to prepare. he might use those catch phrases if his team was supremely polished and powerful that it could always dictate its game regardless of the opposition, and surely he can’t believe that. Cha has shown minimum aptitude in shooting and scoring all season, so it’s difficult to comprehend how the coaching staff would not learn something from video review about containing them as a team and individually. they should have adjustments already prepared to contain opponents.

    apparently, lee’s lengthy stints at center last season came because the preacher’s main option after ezeli was biedrins, but it has now become a distant third option when bogut and o’neal are ambulatory. the Reverend might be resistant in general to the present day liquefaction of conventional position roles, which were never adhered to by the best coaches. that might be a factor in his limited utilization of green. iguodala of course played the most minutes of all with similar versatility, but in many ways he resembles the old school 2-guards, perimeter players who could defend three positions and shift between either the secondary or primary playmaker.

  5. When Jackson speaks about “who we are,” it’s a statement of his intentions, not the facts at hand.

    Jackson apparently doesn’t deal in facts. If he did, he’d make defensive adjustments that acknowledged reality.

    Look what happened when Green was benched in the 4th Q:

    • warriorfaithful

      draymond sprained his ankle thats why he left the game

      • Thanks for the info. I only saw the last 5 min. of the game. Nice to know there was some rationale for benching Green.

        Still, FB’s point about defending a quick Walker with a quick guard doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Bazemore or Douglas wouldn’t have shot worse than Green (1-5), they’re both great on D, and their quickness makes both better matchups against Walker. DG is a fine player, but he’s not the only defensive tool in the box.

        Besides, unlike Green, Bazemore and Douglas are both good at attacking the rim. Against Al Jefferson, that’s a real plus.

        • Good point about other defensive tools, Hat.

          I like the guy, but Bazemore is not “good” at attacking the rim. He tries to attack the rim and often throws up wild layups, or turns the ball over with a high dribble. Bazemore has a lot to learn about NBA offense, and I think he can learn. It will take some time, tho.

          Also, Douglas is not a rim-attacker. The only slashers the Warriors have are Iggy, Barnes, Curry and Thompson. Of those, only Iggy and Barnes play above the rim.

          This team must pass the ball well to be able to dominate. Barnes, IMO, has stagnated the offense to the point where the passing prowess they showed at the beginning of the season is now just above average.

  6. Mavericks and Warriors both coming off “should-have-won” losses heading into tomorrow’s game. It’s going to be fun one.

  7. Had a twitter discussion on the subject of David Lee’s defense with legendary coach Clarence Gaines. He has been hating on Lee’s game lately, and supports TK’s recent analysis. Needless to say, I disagree.

    • I totally agree with you that Lee is not the problem. If anything, the Warriors should lean more on Lee in the first quarter and second quarters, and thus avoid the slow starts they have experienced.

  8. MJ: “We need to be true to our identity.”

    Amazing that a team could go through so many identity crises in just a few weeks. What we’re seeing is exactly what we should expect, given the lineups and strategy.

    It’s not just Jackson, however. It’s the organization, its plan and decisions. There is no way Lacob would let Jackson not start Bogut or not have him play extended minutes. And we have every reason to believe whatever roster changes made now and in the future will be more of the same, based on the same principles.

    It’s the culture.

    • What blows my mind is that there is almost nothing Jackson/Lacob could do to slow this team down, except what they are doing. Jackson is stuck in the mud as a strategist. He’s not thinking outside the box with his matchup choices, most of the time. Then, when he does get the matchups right, he thinks the only way to exploit them is to play post up, isolation basketball. It’s simplistic, lower-level scheming and as Feltbot has started to point out on a regular basis, it’s costing the Warriors victories.

      Come playoff time, we’ll see if the Warriors talent trumps everything else. But at the current pace, there is no getting out of the first round for this team.

  9. Felt +1

    If San Antonio can sit down a still-formidable Tim Duncan to play matchups for key parts of a game, what makes Golden State so special? I almost don’t care who plays small-ball center, it would still be better than DLee chasing a stretch-four. I think Jackson has grudgingly started to use Draymond more for this but there needs to be a steady (if not necessarily large) diet of Draymond/Barnes at the 4 for other teams to deal with.

    • popovich and buford in SA put years into careful roster construction, combined with a specific program of player development, imitated by many teams, but not the lacobites. the limited evidence we have indicates that roster construction and player development are controlled by lacob and son.

    • Possibly. The NBA players association would definitely have something to say about it.

      On the other hand, the NCAA has always treated student athletes like meat, so players’ DNA analyses might precede their application to the pros.

  10. With Green in for a 10.5 min span for over half Q3 and 3 minutes of Q4 before he was injured (and no Bogut, but O’Neal was in for a good portion of that Q3 portion), W’s were +10. Once Green left with the injured ankle and for the remaining 9 minutes of Q4 with Bogut and Lee in, W’s were -2 or -4, depending on how you count those two Curry fts when Green left. The W’s did look quicker and crisper, with better matchups, when Green was in with Lee early Q3. Jackson’s response to put Bogut in with Lee helped lose the game. I would have gone small with Bogut on Jeff and Lee out but either way we probably would have matched up better.

    As you point out, with Walker, Henderson and Tolliver in the game, it gave the W’s an opportunity, even with Green out hurt, to go smaller with Douglas, Bazemore or NN, and not be hurt on D/rebounding.

  11. Note to Mark Jackson,

    In trying to figure out the Warriors friggin’ identity, start here:

    Stephen Curry is an alien.

  12. Dunno about Nedovic or TD playing this game but you are on point about shipping Bogut to the bench. The offense is more fluid with Lee at center. George Karl said you go big against 30% of teams…I concur.

    • I’m not sure about those two in this game either, but Jackson needed to find one of the trio who could faceguard Walker, if he wanted to shift the matchups in the Warriors favor.

      Do you have a link to that Karl quote?

  13. It’s very easy to speculate what would have happened if the Warriors had the right match-ups, but such is dealing in fantasy land since it did not occur.

    Let’s look at what did happen. With Barnes on Henderson, Henderson who had a hot night made less than half his shots as he went 11-23. Yet, with Henderson on the floor the Bobcats were still outscored as they were a minus 6 with Henderson on the court. Do you really think it would made a difference and he would have missed his 2 point jump shots with Thompson guarding him as you suggest. I think not. Henderson in fact may have made a plus contribution, not a negative one.

    And Walker shot 10-18 from the field, and made 9-11 foul shots, and even with these great numbers the Bobcats were only a plus 3 when Walker played. And you really think that Douglas, Bazemore and Nedovic would have slowed down his Walker’s hot shooting. Would Walker not have gone to the foul-line more with all three guarding him as all are foul prone? And would the Warriors not scored less baskets with those guys taking more shots?

    And you want to put Lee on Jefferson. Bogut and JON held Jefferson to 5-16 shooting. You put Lee on Jefferson and remove both Bogut and JON from the court, the Bobcats would have had a field day at the rim.

    Sitting Bogut and playing JON more makes sense. Sitting Bogut altogether makes no sense. And if Green had played more the Warriors would have done fine. As Our Team correctly points out with JON and Green on the court together in the 3rd the Warriors were a plus 10.

    The issue for the Warriors is not playing small ball, but rather the fact that the Warriors have a really weak roster with Iggy out, Douglas just coming back, and the fact that Lee last night shot but 5-14 from the field missing wide open sets shots from outside that he ordinarily hits. And the roster is still weak with Speights, Nedovic, and Bazemore, and Kuzmic, on the roster, and there being an open slot.

    Felty, it seems to me you’re sincere in your analysis but continuing to opine over the Warriors not playing small ball some, but such deflects attention away from the most serious flaw-the fact that the Warriors roster has major holes, a fact that you continue to studiously ignore. Neither Bogut nor JON have been particularly effective defending inside against drives to the basket and dish offs. And the Warriors don’t have a PG other than Curry who penetrate and dish. Iggy is a band aid at PG. In the recent past you’e been pushing Speights even though he’s garbage, and is only effective when plays are not run for him.

    • Before the perfect storm of injuries to Curry, Iggy and Douglas, the Warriors were either 1 or 2 in point differential. It was very hard to argue at that point that there were holes in the roster. Even championship rosters have identifiable weaknesses.

      To be honest, I haven’t made up my mind yet about the Warriors roster, except that I know the starting unit is among the best in the league. It looks like we have significant weakness at backup point, but we lost our #2 and #3 ballhandlers at the same time. It looks like Speights is a weakness, only he’s only been played out of position. It looks like Barnes is a weakness, only he’s only been played out of position. It looks like the Bogut/Lee frontline is poisoning the offense, only they don’t need to played together as often as they are… and so on.

      Is the roster the problem?

  14. The starting line-up could be better especially if JON was starting over
    Bogut or at least given more playing time that Bogut, for a defense has to then account for the center being an offensive threat. Last night’s loss was in part based on the fact that Bogut played 28 minutes and JON only 16 minutes. Bogut was a minus six, and JON was plus three. And just imagine what Bogut’s minus would have been if Bogut had not made all four shots that he took. These plus/minus hints that that the team plays better on both ends of the court with JON on the court over Bogut.

    The Warriors also don’t have a true back-up SG unless Douglas and Curry are on the court together.

    I’m going to go out on limb and say that the Kings vastly improved their roster by acquiring Gay. Not that I’m a big Gay fan, actually I’m not, but with Cousins getting the ball out quickly, and Thomas leading the fast break, with Gay on the wing, the Kings will be a force to reckon with if Malone has the team running and I think he will.

    One won’t see Gay shooting 38% on two’s as he did for the Raptors this year, nor even 44% as he did last year for Memphis. I fully expect him to exceed the later percentage and become an overall 50 percent if not higher field goal shooter.

    And now, McCollub, who I think has an excellent chance to be a darn good point guard, with hopefully be given a a chance to shine as Thomas back-up point guard.

    The Warriors will now have a even harder time beating the Kings.

    • Frank…I think JON should be starting ahead of Bogut too. With bogut starting we are always at a disadvantage to start games. One of the main reasons why we have slow starts. Gotto feel sorry fir Mjax though. How can he sit a guy who was just given an extension for a 38 yeat old vet. What will that say about Myers and his cohorts.

  15. Oh God, Warriors bringing up Hilton Armstrong, in case they weren’t playing big often enough.

    Nellie used to delight in running Armstrong off the court.

    • Bringing up Armstrong from the D league isn’t exactly a long-term commitment. They could look him over in practice and send him back to Santa Cruz next week. The thing is, the guy is 29. He already is everything he’s going to be. What’s to learn? It’s all there on tape. So maybe there’s more to it.

      The Ws are uniquely close-mouthed about injuries, more than any pro team I’ve ever followed. So we can only guess why they’re adding a proven-to-be-barely-NBA-quality C right now. It could be a sign that JON has decided to get his wrist surgery, or perhaps Bogut or Lee are hurting. Maybe even all of the above.

      It also hints that Jackson is NOT planning to run Lee or Speights as a C, so smallball is not in the works.

      My guess? JON is going to get his wrist surgery sooner rather than later.

    • My favorite quote from Iggy:

      “I can be Tony Allen, but at the same time I can be Scottie Pippen on the offensive end,” he said. “I could get 14 assists one night, or 25 points. I always talked about the hockey assist in Philly. The pass that leads to the pass that leads to the score is sometimes more important. I know if I hit Steph, Klay’s man’s going to have to rotate off the down pick because the big is on me. So there’s 4-on-3 on the other side. I know if I swing it to Steph, somebody’s going to have to cover him, and Klay’s going to be wide open. Before the play is even set up, I know to go this way, so the defense has to shift a certain way. Swing, swing, you get a score every time. I learned this from Andre Miller.”

  16. The only way bringing Armstrong up is if the Warriors want to make a trade, yet I don’t think that’s their intent. I would rather have seen the Warriors bring up Cameron Jones. Perfect back-up off guard.

    There only players with some trade value that the Warriors should consider trading are Douglas, Green, JON, or Barnes. And one can just tell the Warriors are too stubborn in trading Barnes who has the most value. So, the Warriors apparently will sit on their hands, while the Kings move forward.

    They really need a guy like Kyle Lowry. The also could also use Udoh who the other nights provided his team with 7 additional possessions in only 23 minutes of play-4 offensive rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and no turnovers. In order to make an impact trade they would have to include Barnes.

    The Warriors will prosper with the return of Iggy.

    But they have to cut down on turnovers. 4 each by Bogut and JON killed the Warriors chance to beat the Raptors. Has anyone noticed that Bogut’s ability to move has declined since the beginning of the season. He never fights through a block out to get the offensive boards.

    • Frank,

      The Ws have only $3M to play with under the salary cap. Unless they trade, they’re not adding a Udoh or Lowry, because they’re not going over the cap for a backup player.

      I don’t understand it, but the team does seem committed to Barnes. Green is too all-around useful to give up. The team just extended Bogut’s contract, he’s not going anywhere. JON is 35 and requires surgery. In short, there won’t be any meaningful trades anytime soon.

      It does seem that Bogut is moving with more difficulty recently. That and JON’s wrist injury are probably the reason for the Armstrong call-up. It’s hard to know because the Ws are so secretive about injuries, but that’s a scenario that makes sense.

      Adding Armstrong does not preclude other possible signings. If the team finds a good inexpensive experienced backup guard and needs Armstrong’s salary $ to get him, there’s no doubt they’ll send Armstrong back to Santa Cruz.

      • bogut has had serious back problems in his past, and the inconsistency observed in his movement and quickness are consistent with flare ups of back stiffness and soreness. of course we’ll never learn the details of any ailments restricting him.

        the team has budget $$ accessible with their trade exceptions that exceeds the remaining space under the lux tax limit, but finding the right player available on a team able to take the exception will be difficult. myers has probably scrutinized the possible teams who could accept a trade exception, but the kind of player he wants and the market demand for those players is another matter.

        the team could be headed to where Por was stuck last season — sticking around .500 on the fringe of the top eight but limited by its lack of reserves. and curry will not be playing the minutes lillard put in last season.

        • With Iggy in the lineup, the Warriors are probably the 4th or 5th seed in the west. Barnes will be sent back to 6th man and order will be restored on this roster.

          As Douglas heals and gets back up to speed, we’ll start seeing this team come together with a true 8-man rotation. Additionally, they have had a road-heavy schedule so far. A stint at home with a healthy team should cure many of the ailments we’ve seen.

          Why do you think the team keeps adding centers to the roster? Because they know that Bogut and O’Neil are likely to both miss significant time.