That was absolutely humiliating. Popovich spanking Mark Jackson on a road back-to-back with his big three sitting on the bench. Kind of puts the lie to the Warriors’ injury problems doesn’t it?
Andrew Bogut: How do you get your head around the fact that Bogut put up a line for the ages last night — 18 rebounds, perfect from the field and the line, assists, steals, blocks — and yet was one of the least effective players on the floor, with the worst plus/minus for the game? I know that many Warriors writers, let alone fans, struggle mightily with reconciling these opposing facts in their head.
Here it is: There are two giant holes in Bogut’s game, and they were on full display last night. The first is of course on offense, where his inability to finish the pick and roll triggers intense blitzes of Curry’s high pick and roll game. Absolutely killing what should be the most efficient source of Warriors offense. We see this virtually every game to start the first and third quarter. Another slow start, that Mark Jackson inexplicably attributes to effort on the defensive end.
(Memo to Mark Jackson: When you are routinely sitting on 10 points after the first 8 minutes of a quarter, the problem is not on defense.)
We also saw it on the last inbounds play of last night’s game. Bogut attempted to screen Curry’s man, resulting in a blitz. Bogut’s man simply pounced on Curry, creating a smothering double team that prevented a good look at the basket. Bogut didn’t even think of rolling. He didn’t want the ball, and the inbounder Iggy didn’t even look at him. Bogut hadn’t even set foot in the paint by the time the ball was inbounded.
Why was Bogut even in the game for that final play? Don’t you want five dangerous shooters out there, to completely spread the floor?
Of course you do. That playcall was sheer incompetence. Inconceivable incompetence. Has Jackson learned nothing after having witnessed Curry get blitzed off of Bogut screens for a season and a half, including playoffs?
But I digress. The second giant hole in Bogut’s game is on defense. Yes, that’s right. Defense.
Bogut simply doesn’t defend the pick and roll. He CAN’T defend it. He is simply too slow to venture out of the lane to hedge. And teams like the Spurs simply pick this apart.
Do you see the 28 points from Marco Belinelli and 20 points from Patty Mills in last night’s game? Most of that scoring is due to the fact that when they came off the high screen they were virtually unguarded. Wide open.
Bogut was just parked in the lane. A helpless spectator, hoping for a miss and an uncontested rebound.
And in fact, whenever a point guard goes off on the Warriors, this is usually the reason. Pick and roll is Andrew Bogut’s Achilles heel on defense.
Bogut on Twitter: After the game, I spotted this tweet from Bogut: “I don’t usually tweet after games, but there was no excuse for that, period.”
We shouldn’t be surprised that Bogut doesn’t view himself as part of the problem.
But it might have been a good idea to swallow these feelings right after whiffing that crucial rebound at the end of the game. What happened on that play? Bogut had perfect position, the ball bounced right to him…
And he fell on his back.
Not good. Bogut HAS to make that play. What else is he in for?
David Lee at Center: I’m sure you all noticed that glorious run of Nellieball to open the fourth quarter. Lee at center, Draymond Green at power forward. A +7 run to get the Warriors back in the game.
The sublime David Lee pick and roll, that the Spurs were helpless to stop.
But what I really would like you to notice is the DEFENSE that this unit played. The pressure on the ballhandlers that getting another small defender like Toney Douglas into the game caused. The turnovers it created.
And David Lee guarding the high pick and roll at the three point line. Picking up Marco Belinelli coming off the screen, forcing the turnover.
(You may remember me in the last recap arguing that Lee didn’t belong at the three point line guarding pick and roll. That is when he’s at power forward guarding a stretch-four. That’s an impossible assignment. But when he’s at center and his man is a non-shooter, he is extremely good at hedging against the ball handler. As we saw last night.)
There is a lot of confusion about how effective lineups with David Lee at center can be on the defensive end. About how they can possibly generate point-differential. You were given a 4 minute clinic in this in the 4th quarter last night. (Not to mention all last season in the fourth quarter, while Bogut was out. Were you watching? Do you understand the reason why Lee led the Warriors in plus/minus last season?)
After 4 minutes of rampant Warriors success and joy in the Oracle, Mark Jackson had seen enough. Andrew Bogut was brought back in to win the game the “right way.”
Was that the right time to pull the plug on the lineup that finished so many games with wins last season? That beat the Heat in Miami?
David Lee was phenomenal last night, and wound up +3 for the game. Kent Bazemore was by contrast absolutely wretched in his short stint, yet wound up +4.
They were both plus for the night because for a brief shining moment they were played together in the right system, at the right time.
Harrison Barnes: Barnes averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds against the Spurs in the playoffs last season. Last night, he put up 0 and 4 in 19 completely invisible minutes. What happened?
The reason is very simple, and it’s something I predicted would occur — to a hot reaction — before the season even began. Barnes was played at power forward in the playoffs. Last night he was played exclusively at small forward. As he has been all season.
Barnes is a below average NBA small forward. He simply doesn’t have the necessary tools, particularly on the defensive end. You’re seeing that play out now on a nightly basis.
Like Stephen Curry and David Lee, Barnes is stuck in the wrong system, playing for the wrong coach.
He’s a stretch-four.
Kelvin Sampson recently said this about stretch-four Omri Casspi: “When you play him at the three, you see all the things he can’t do. When you play him at the four, you see all the things he can do.”
Shaq on David Lee: I was rather startled to hear Shaq call David Lee a “bonafide superstar” at half-time last night. I thought I was alone in the world with my positive opinion of Lee — and even I wouldn’t dare go that far.
I can only imagine the reaction, when they heard that, of Ethan Strauss, Adam Lauridsen, Sleepy Freud and the “majority of Warriors fans” that Strauss knows personally, who all want Lee traded or benched.
There’s a pretty big gap between the idea that Lee is a superstar, and the belief that he should be traded or benched, isn’t there?
You could drive a diesel through it.
More TNT: Why is it that we have to wait to learn important things about our Warriors from TNT, and not the Warriors media? Perhaps it’s because “journalists” like Ric Bucher and Rusty Simmons are busy working Warriors promotions on Twitter. Joe Lacob is undeniably skillful at turning journalists into hired PR staff, without letting the public in on the joke.
So, yes, the injury that Harrison Barnes suffered from to start the season was indeed “turf toe.” Dr. Felt — and no one else — made the diagnosis and informed you of that fact at the time it happened, and now it’s been confirmed.
We also learned that David Lee attributes his struggles so far this season to having to learn a new role. Last season he was heavily featured in the offense, particularly in pick and roll. This season he’s had to fight for scraps, in a system that doesn’t fit his talents.
Pretty sure I’m the only one who’s been telling you that as well. Everyone else has been busy thinking up reasons to trade Lee.
And we learned Mark Jackson’s response to Lee’s discomfort: “Give me more hustle.” That’s coach-speak for: “Shut the fuck up and play.”
Mark Jackson, your slip is showing.
The Hot Seat: I have been pretty loud in my criticisms of Mark Jackson so far this year, but I haven’t yet called for his head. I remember the job he did last year when Bogut got injured in the regular season, and when Lee got injured in the playoffs. It has been hard for me to get my head around the idea that he could completely dismiss the lessons last year should have taught him about what playing with a stretch-four, spreading the floor, and pushing the tempo could do for this wonderfully talented Warriors team. I go into every game expecting him to snap out of it.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if I turned out to be the most patient of the Warriors writers?
The knives are coming out for Jackson. Matt Steinmetz tweeted some interesting information this morning: That after losing Malone, there was an internal disagreement among Warriors management over bringing in another top level assistant to replace him. Jackson opposed this idea, and Jackson prevailed. Leaving the Warriors bench “very inexperienced.”
There is an implication here that Mike Malone was a very big reason for the Warriors success last year. And more importantly, that the job is too big for Mark Jackson, and that he is failing.
A new post on GSoM is a little more direct: “Fire Mark Jackson” is the headline. I don’t agree with a lot of what is written in that post, but that’s not the point. The point is that it was written at all.
Is Mark Jackson’s seat getting warm? Is there a danger that he could be fired if things continue to go south?
I have a hard time believing that. First of all, because there’s always a hope of redemption in the playoffs, and I still have little doubt that the Warriors will make the postseason despite their current struggles.
Second, because I have the sense that the things Mark Jackson is doing to kill this team are precisely the things that Joe Lacob wants from him. When asked about the possibility of Harrison Barnes at the four and smallball before the season, Lacob spokesmodel Bob Myers replied that he hoped that the Warriors would play big this year. It was Lacob who signed a natural backup center (Speights), to play power forward behind Lee. It is Lacob, I am certain, who wants 30+ minutes a game from his signature signing Bogut, including crunch time. Despite the destruction that wreaks on Curry’s high pick game, and the Warriors offense in general. It is Lacob who wants potentially the best Nellieball team in history to turn its back on its identity and concentrate wholly on the defensive end. Lacob who believes that becoming “a combination of the Perkins-Garnett Celtics and the Showtime Lakers,” as he once said, makes some sort of sense in the real world.
And third, because there is simply no one on the bench to replace Jackson, even on an interim basis.
Perhaps that’s how he wanted it.