I don’t have time for a recap, but this Warriors — Clippers Christmas matchup was too great not to comment on. Apologies for those who follow me on Twitter, this is more of a recap of my timeline than the game itself.
Due to Green and Griffin getting ejected more than anything else, the Warriors for the first time this season went with a Lee at center, Barnes at power forward lineup in crunchtime. A lineup I have been arguing for all season long.
And that lineup brought it home.
Wasn’t it glorious? The Curry/Lee pick and roll, with a spread floor. Elegant. Efficient.
It should be noted that mid-crunch time, Jackson attempted to return Bogut to the game. The Clippers immediately went on a run to tie the game, because their smallball lineup spread the Warriors out and got unguarded shots, and the Warriors offense naturally bogged down with Bogut destroying all possibility of pick and roll.
To his credit, Mark Jackson recognized this, and immediately brought Barnes back in for Bogut to finish the game.
Harrison Barnes: Invisible for most of the game. DOMINANT in the fourth quarter. What happened?
As simple as moving him from the three to the four.
And forcing the Clippers to try to guard him with their point guard.
Stephen Curry: Has it ever crossed Mark Jackson’s mind that when Curry is struggling against a defense determined to shut him down, he can immediately free him up and get him going with this lineup… earlier in the game?
Because Curry/Lee pick and roll with a spread floor is UNGUARDABLE.
Did you also see Jackson take Bogut off the court and run a Curry/Green pick and roll to end the second quarter? No blitz, Curry easily turned the corner, and fed Lee a dunk.
Maybe Jackson learned something from the blitz that ended the Spurs debacle.
David Lee: You probably think I’m going to rhapsodize about his offense, don’t you? Talk about his double-double streak? His double digit rebounding streak with Bogut?
Or perhaps recap the extended twitter discussion I had with Marcus Thompson over the reason Lee’s been getting his shot blocked so frequently this season, that caused me to miss most of the second quarter?
I’m going to mention the gritty and effective post defense Lee played against Blake Griffin. Anybody else notice that?
I didn’t think so.
Klay Thompson: I have been asked by a few posters recently why I have refrained from going off on Klay for his poor performances of late, for which he’s been getting roasted on the other forums.
Those posters got their answer tonight.
The reason, quite simply, is that I know the difference between a bad player, and a GREAT player who’s struggling with his shot and a crap system.
Even with his poor shooting games as of late, Thompson is still among the top 5 shooting guards in the league in terms of overall efficiency. And tonight’s performance was at an allstar level.
Shooting, playmaking, defense (in an extraordinarily difficult and draining assignment), you saw Klay’s entire game on this night. Right down to that last, game-winning block of Chris Paul.
Wake up, Warriors fans. The third-year Klay Thompson is already one of the most elite players to have ever taken the floor in Oaktown.
Or anywhere else.
The idea that Draymond Green should start at power forward: Did you happen to notice what happened to Green when he attempted to guard Griffin in the box?
He got steamrolled flat.
There’s Sleepy Freud’s answer.
Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green: For the record, I loved what they did in this game. We have not had this kind of heart and edge on the Warriors since We Believe.
I don’t know if it was part of the game-plan to get under Blake Griffin’s skin, or if Green and Bogut were simply reacting to his bullying tactics. But it’s worth pointing out that both Griffin and the Clippers around him have a history of collapsing in the playoffs as soon as it’s made clear to him that he’s not the biggest bully on the court.
One question: Why not use Bogut on Blake Griffin to start the game?
This game didn’t need to be this close. Crossmatch Bogut and Lee on Griffin and Jordan. Get a little more Iggy on Chris Paul, once he’s healthy. Play a little more smallball.
And the Warriors own this matchup.
Happy Holidays everyone!