Nellieball Vanquishes Champions: Warriors 123 Heat 114

The Warriors gave up 114 points to the Heat on this night.

And won by 9.

In Miami. Becoming the only Western Conference team to beat the World Champions in their home crib since… the Warriors did it last year, playing exactly the same way.

Playing The Right Way, for this most gloriously gifted offensive team in the NBA.

Playing Nellieball.

I’m not going to recap this game, because as everyone who reads this blog knows, I have been recapping it for four long years. In my mind, and on the pages of this blog, trying my best to explain to others the players that Stephen Curry and David Lee could become, together, if surrounded with the right pieces, the right coach, and if played in the right system.

Championship Caliber Players.

Tonight, after three long years, you finally saw it not in my words, but in action on the court. I’ll leave it to my faithful readers to fill in the details.

After I get one more thing off my chest:

Joe Lacob, the time for cheapness and running the Warriors like a business is over. This Warriors team stands on the cusp of greatness. The Championship of the NBA is up for grabs this season, and this Warriors team has it in their sights. It is beyond time for you to open the purse strings and get them the help they need. For long-suffering Warriors’ fans sake, for the sake of one of the most gloriously talented cores in NBA history, for the sake of basketball history itself,


48 Responses to Nellieball Vanquishes Champions: Warriors 123 Heat 114


    Barnes for Lowry. Get it done.

    • @EvanZ- You must be joking dude. Barnes for Lowry? We could pick up Miller from Denver for just $$$$. I know you’re happy as a clam from this won tonight but seriously…take a step back

  2. The thing is, I wasn’t surprised at all by the win. Those of us who have been watching the games and reading your analysis (no one else makes the points you make) saw what Curry could do in his very first year, then the next year could do with Lee. The only real question is why the team kept getting sidetracked. Let’s hope the message—finally—has sunk in.

    I am surprised Jackson didn’t bring Bogut back in, given the way he’s been coaching. It’s shame we couldn’t run that experiment for comparison. And give Bogut credit for his performance the first Q.

    Thanks, Feltbot. I’ve been listening.

  3. My only quibble is Green didn’t come in for defense first half. But maybe Jackson was saving him because he knew he’d rack up some fouls? And he did.

    I only see one TO for Curry in the second half and don’t recall that many for the whole team then. The goal is not to protect the ball. The goal is to do something intelligent with it, and putting the offense in the hands of Lee and Curry is intelligent.

    I see in the Tweets Voulgaris has joined the rallying cry for a backup PG. It’s worth noting what he would give the team: not only would he spell Curry, he’d also be able to bring more scoring out of the subs. They suffer most from lack of floor leadership. The subs tonight dropped 7 points in a few minutes first half. Holding the lead then could have led to a big first half deficit.

    • “I see in the Tweets Voulgaris has joined the rallying cry for a backup PG.”

      Yeah, although he would rather trade Lee than Barnes. So there’s that.

      • He’s a huge fan of Bosh’s two-way abilities, and a regular Lee detractor, so this game must have shook his firmament. Lee dominated on both ends.

        • Bosh was mentioned at the time of the Lee trade. He’d have been way too soft for this team. He would have had to have been surrounded with many players they don’t have and who are hard to get. And I’m sure he would have been prominently featured in a Goldsberry chart.

  4. Woof! Woof! Woof! AW reports in the tweet pitches for Andre Miller.

    (Please. Please. Please.)

  5. In the ESPN trade machine, a straight up trade of Barnes for Miller won’t work. But add any other Warrior to the mix and it does. Bazemore or Douglas might be attractive to Denver: Bazemore doesn’t have a guaranteed contract and Douglas is an expiring. Plus they’d get something at guard that way. (I’m assuming Nedovic wouldn’t be attractive.)

  6. And here’s the story on GSW probes of Miller:–kings-intrigued-by-idea-of-acquiring-suspended-nuggets-guard-andre-miller-041556260.html

    I’m guessing that the only way this could work is that Miller puts up enough noise that they have to get rid of him.

  7. Barnes for Miller! Comon man! I know Felt likes to bash Barnes but that doesn’t mean his value has dropped to an “over the hill, flat footed, no defense, back-up point guard”. Let’s get real, it’s about improving. Who do you trade, I say either Ned or Kuz. Who can they get that could be a back-up point who could be a difference maker? I say either Livingston, Bradley, Udrih, Sessions, or Stuckey. There could be another out there but the point is, if you’re trying to get better to compete for a championship you don’t trade your sixth man who’s still only 21 years old.

  8. A good backup point guard will not come cheap. The reported offer the Knicks entertained was Shumpert, Hardaway Jr, and a 1st. round draft pick for Lowry.

    As I understand this—dimly, and I’ll refer to better minds here—the Warriors are working under hard cap rules. They don’t have much money to spend and they’ll have to offer some $3m+ in trade pieces to get Miller, for example.

    They could trade Speights, for example, but I wouldn’t go for this. With O’Neal and Ezeli out and questionable for the rest of the season, he does provide a serviceable backup center.

    The problem is, they don’t have any salaries in that range to offer. Barnes + a minor piece would work, as would O’Neal plus Douglas. But, again, we’ll have to offer something attractive.

    I still don’t understand how our trade exceptions work.

    And yes, I’d trade Barnes (plus another player) for Lowry or Miller in a heartbeat.

    • Myers probably won’t be able to find the right combination of trade partners to use the two trade exceptions, but if he does , you’ll have a case to study in detail.

      any western team that thinks they might have a chance for the post season (Den perhaps) will not be providing the lacobites useful talent. the next two weeks may bring some interesting changes, like a new address for asik. the price for a capable vet will likely be too dear for lacob and myers.

    • I don’t know if you guys noticed, but the Bulls picked up DJ Augustin off the waiver wire. A veteran who runs PNR well, runs the floor, shoots threes, and tries on defense. And immediately stepped in to run the team, in victories, when they got him. I have no idea how the Warriors let him get by them, other than they don’t have a basketball man at GM.

    • We may well see why we need a backup point guard tonight. Lacob has an investment to protect. There’s no reasonable expectation that Curry can play 40 minutes a game and be fresh for a deep run in the playoffs.

      I didn’t realize Miller was 37—and is it one more year he has on his contract? But if he’s good for a season and a half, he offers so many things. We get a vet who would fit in our system well immediately, who wouldn’t mind being backup, who wouldn’t be pushed into heavy minutes but who would get significant playing time. And he’s played with Iguodala—think they’ve been talking? And if he is good for this season and next, the Warriors will have time to bring up his replacement.

      If he’s really fed up with Shaw and Denver, he might push Denver into a deal. All that’s left is to find something attractive to Denver, and Barnes may be the most (and only) attractive piece.

      What is the value of Barnes? Any question about his being a starter with this lineup has been settled, let us hope, for the next three years. At best he will only fill a complementary, not essential role. But he can’t anchor a second unit and only has value with the starters, and when he plays with them, they have to compensate for his weaknesses on both ends of the court. By the most generous estimate, he’s two years off from being a valuable contributor, and I’ve mentioned my skepticism about his potential too many times here. But briefly, I don’t think his ceiling is that high. So the question will be what he’ll be worth when he becomes a free agent. Maybe they could keep him cheaply, but the risk, given this organization’s expectations and psychological investment in him, is that he’ll be overpaid.

      The Warriors will have to give up a few pieces in any trade most likely, and that will free roster spots. They could start bringing in D-League prospects at 3 or 4. Hard to believe they couldn’t find someone who couldn’t bring some use to the team, given how limited Barnes’ contributions are now. Think Tolliver.

    • I wouldn’t use the Knicks as a trade-value measuring stick. They are the buffoons who went out of their way to get one of the worst and most expensive bigs in the NBA, Andrea Bargnani. A back-up point guard is important but the W’s have to exercise some discipline and let things evolve as the trade deadline approaches. They should spend the money and perhaps trade an asset but they should continue to look for value. This is no time for panic buying.

      • My only point in looking at the Knicks is that a worthwhile backup point guard won’t come cheap or easy. If Toronto let Augustin go, I assume that means Lowry is out of the picture?

  9. Jim and Fitz last night mentioned the mysterious phase a few weeks ago of moving to isolation play while Iguodala was out, the effectiveness of moving the ball and pick and roll, which we saw last night. Anybody have any idea what happened? We never get explanations from the coach or FO, and it’s strange. Again, hard to believe the latter couldn’t have been used then, netting a few more wins.

  10. Re trading Barnes for Miller, I’m with J-Walk (great name!) on this. Ain’t gonna happen.

    I’ll add this: it probably shouldn’t.

    Miller would be a fine addition to the Ws, but

    * Barnes-for-Miller doesn’t work salary-wise, and Denver doesn’t need Barnes. If they lost Miller, they’d be in serious need of a replacement 1, not a 3.
    * Assuming the Ws could convince Denver to make the trade anyway, it would be a “solution” that substitutes the Ws PG shortage with a shortage at the 3. And the starting 3 is still dealing with a hamstring problem.
    * Barnes ain’t terrible, he’s only 21, and he has a high ceiling for future growth. He’s not “the answer” and is unlikely to ever be. Few are. But he does contribute right now and we haven’t seen his peak. Miller is 37, has 2 years remaining on his contract, and he cannot get better than he is today. A fine addition to this year’s team, no doubt. Next year, not so fine. After that, retired.
    * Anthony Tolliver? Please. Tolliver is 29 and topped out with stats similar to the Barnes of today. There’s a reason why Tolliver is still in the league, but there’s also a reason why his average stay with every team has been < 2 years.
    * If the team trades Barnes, Green becomes the ONLY backup for the 3. In that case, the team gives up a lot of flexibility. A multi-tool is a huge asset, not to be squandered on just one position. Losing Barnes means Green cannot put in many minutes at the 4 and 5. Which, you might have noticed, worked quite (freakin awesomely) well last night.

    If the Ws could
    a) acquire AMiller without losing Barnes, or,
    b) acquire AMiller along with a replacement for Barnes,

    that would be GREAT. Otherwise, getting Miller would not be such a clear win.

    I'd still like to see the Ws get Miller, and I think there's a slim possibility that Myers might pull it off. But Myers and Lacob aren't COMPLETE MORONS despite anyone's fixation/personality disorder to that effect.

    Barnes stays. Starting from that premise, what's realistically possible re Andre Miller?

    Not much.

    • “fixation/personality disorder”

      Hat, I’m going to speak up here and keep my distance from here on out. I have questioned your ideas, but never you personally. We saw this behavior from someone else some time ago, and I believe you raised objections.

      Nor am I going to respond in kind, tempting as it is.

      • rgg, I love ya man. I am totally sincere about that.

        A generalized statement is not personal.

        Fact: Lacob is not a moron. Myers is not a moron. Both are highly successful professionals who have proven themselves in every conceivable way throughout their entire lives. As brilliant as I would like to think I am, even I can’t say the same. They’re provably smarter than me. While I can’t be sure, I don’t think I’m an idiot and I don’t think you are either. So Lacob and Myers are probably of at least fairly normal intelligence. They’re provably not stupid.

        What I think is that I (we?) don’t comprehend HOW things add up to someone in Lacob/Myers’ positions. You and I aren’t inside the machine, we don’t see all the gears turning.

        Rather than assuming that my (uninformed) brilliance is supreme, I’ve learned over time to trust that others of (at least) equal intelligence, given more and better info, will make decisions that would make sense to even my brilliance if only I knew what they knew. That seems like the only reasonable thing for outsiders like us to assume. Anything else would not be logical. In fact, assuming otherwise would mean we’re being irrational, or even kookoo crazy.

        Kipling: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you’re a man, my son.”

        In my 20’s that made 100% sense. Looking back I’d have to say I was a fucking fool to believe in my superiority to that degree. Today I’d say:

        Hat: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then maybe you don’t understand the situation.”

        Yeah, to be brutally honest, I’d have to say that’s a bazillion% more likely than the idea that Hat has Godlike powers of perception and comprehension. A sad but important lesson. Fuck, I hate this humility shit, but there it is.

        So there it is. rgg, if you want to take random half-assed spare-moment anonymous comments from a nonentity personally, go ahead if that makes you happy. Enjoy, dude.

        If that’s not your thing, then please consider re-assessing your wall-to-wall negativity about Lacob/Myers and Barnes.

  11. My point about Tolliver is that there might be someone like him in the D-League now, not pick him up, someone who is intelligent and has a variety of skills, but lacks the size and athleticism that might make him attractive in the draft. And Tolliver is a great example. He was up and running in a week, and filled a variety of needs. I believe he even played center in that roster challenged year.

    By no stretch of any imagination is Barnes a backup for Iguodala. He lacks just about every skill that makes Iguodala valuable. We saw conclusive evidence of that a few weeks ago. What Barnes offers now and most likely will offer in the future is not critical, and can probably be offset by a variety of average players.

    • In fact one of Iguodala’s roles is to provide backup point, which Barnes can’t do, though they’re trying. All the more reason to get a backup PG, who could at least spare Iguodala minutes, if not fill in completely.

  12. If the Warriors decide Barnes is the piece they are willing to move in order to bring in a quality point guard, then they better do better than Miller. Let’s not forget during last years playoff run through Denver the Warriors repeatedly went after Miller. He can’t play D and will be as much of a liability on that end of the floor as he will be an asset on the other. It’s easy to talk down Barnes now but it’s not like the Warriors are going to be in a position to continuously bring in young blue chip talent over the next five to six years. To me, Barnes is the x factor which could vault the Dubs over the top if he can develop into that sixth man assassin. To early to discount that possibility or decide they can get that from someone else in the near future, because they won’t. A steady back-up point guard can be found for less. i.e. package Ned and a contract to Cleveland and bring back Jack. Or use him to get Ridnour, Sessions, Stuckey or Udih.

    • It was Miller’s play in the playoffs that made him attractive, that and Karl’s endorsement. He held the perimeter challenged Nuggets together and provided leadership and stability. His numbers were quite good:

      Age is a concern, though. Any of your options would work, but I’m skeptical we can draw them without sacrifice.

      Perhaps I have missed something, but I haven’t seen anything yet that suggests Barnes could be that assassin and would like to hear a more learned analysis.

  13. The Warriors didn’t win because they played Nellie ball. They went up in the first half with Bogut on the court. And would have finished the first half up by 17, not four or five points, but for the Warriors the Warriors turning the ball , I believe, 15 times. The Warriors were shooting almost 60% from the field playing tall ball.

    The Warriors extended their lead to 11 points with 7 minutes left in the third quarter with Bogut on the court. The Warriors went small with 7 minutes left in the game and finished 9 points up, indicating that the Warriors basically played even or slightly behind playing small ball.

    Playing small ball for a large part of the fourth quarter allowed Miami to shoot 51% for the game from the field. The game was won with Lee and Curry on the court and their exceptional shooting. And they did so playing with bigs and with smalls. Nellie ball did nothing that enabled the Warriors to win. One can only conclude that the Warriors held their own playing small ball. The bench provided little help as the Warriors were outscored by Miami for the game when each sub was on the court.

    The Warriors should have obtained Augustin? Not.

    I would trade Barnes for Lowry, but question trading him for Miller. Yes, the Warriors would get to foul line more which they desperately need to do, but the Warriors don’t need to get slower than they already are.

  14. Jameer Nelson?

    League sources characterize the Magic as ‘value shoppers’ in the current trade market. They have a couple of players that they would entertain moving, namely guard Jameer Nelson and forward Glen Davis but do not seem overly engaged on trying to craft a deal for either one and are turning away calls and offers on guard Arron Afflalo.

    I don’t see what we could offer to make it work, though.

    • Nelson is another guy who would fit perfectly with the Warriors. Better than old man Miller, perhaps, because a better 3 point shooter and faster up and down.

      Barnes + X for Nelson and Harkless anyone? Bear in mind the Magic’s preferred course is tanking, and as with Toronto, the Warriors could conceivably reap a bonanza on Barnes’ perceived potential.

      • The Warriors don’t even have sizable expiring contracts to offer. Everyone is guaranteed through 2015 and beyond, except:

        Bazemore about 800k, not even guaranteed this year
        Green $875k
        O’Neal $2m
        Douglas $1.6m
        (Is Armstrong officially on the roster? 100k, at any rate.)

        I’d hate to see O’Neal go, but he didn’t even make the advertised half a season and would be too much of a risk next year?

  15. Regarding the trading of Barnes generally, I have several points to raise.

    To start, one thing I’m certain will not happen is for the Warriors to sell low on Barnes. So Barnes for Miller is out of the question. Not even I, who doesn’t have the highest opinion of Barnes’ potential, would consider that deal. No matter how Barnes is playing now, he holds tremendous worth as a trade asset, because of his perceived potential, youth, and rookie deal. If the Warriors decide they can move him, I’m sure they will try to leverage that.

    Second, I think it would be a mistake to trade Barnes for a pg, without also getting a stretch four back (or having another targeted). It would simply be plugging one hole by opening another. Green is the Ws’ best stretch four, no doubt, but he’s also their best defensive SF off the bench and he’s sometimes needed there.

    Third, as we’ve seen in last years playoffs, Barnes CAN be an effective player on this team. It could be as simple as playing him exclusively in the role and system that are best for him. Thus I am by no means adamant that he be traded this season. If he can bring something extraordinary, like Lowry and A. Johnson, or the two names above, then great. Otherwise, no.

    It might not take a lot to pry a very good pg loose from tanking teams in this extraordinary draft year. Perhaps nothing more than expirings or 2nd round picks.

    • You’re right, of course, but it looks like we’re stuck, barring magic or more weirdness. The Warriors have to dump salary to pick up Nelson @ $8m, for example, and they just don’t have salary to dump. Finding a fill-in 3-4 from the D League is probably too hopeful.

    • Which leaves the professional gambler with two tough hands to assess. If I’m right, and a point guard is all they can get for Barnes plus change, which is the better hand this year? Playing without a backup pg or losing Barnes’ value in a role he isn’t playing and probably won’t?

      The only loss after that is perceived value, quite unknown.

      I do hope I’m wrong, of course. My knowledge on trade possibilities is slight.

    • concur, Mr. Barnes isn’t going to leave just to get a bench player. highly unlikely he’s dealt at all this winter, but it would take a multi-element trade [he could go for a player plus a first round pick if a separate deal also gets a useful vet for a trade exception from the same team, for example — those exceptions can’t be combined with each other or a player in a single trade]. in theory, either trade exception has greater potential $$ value than barnes or o’neal or speights or douglas. but the vets with medium-heavy deals that teams would consider unloading for a trade exception probably won’t be attractive to Myers, because they would affect his budget next season and likely further.

      bazemore’s contract becomes guaranteed in about ten days ; the trade deadline is still about seven weeks away, and teams aren’t going to make decisions until it’s much closer.

  16. Finally we see how deadly DLee can be with Bogut out of the way. Mjax to his credit is using him appropriately. Now if only we can fool a team into accepting Barnes and Bogut for a mobile Center, a bu pg and a bu SF.

  17. Where we’re left is my source of anxiety all season, how long can Curry stay on the court. He’s averaging 37.5 minutes now, 9th. in the league, but in close games he’s playing more and the team has been blessed by several blowouts to bring that number down. Come playoff time, he’ll be pushed to the max every game. Klay himself is averaging 37.8.

    And the context here is that the team has the potential to make a run in the playoffs.

    Durant, for comparison, is averaging 37.7, but he doesn’t have to work as hard to stay on the court. On defense, because of his size, he gets larger and slower opponents who don’t shoot as much. On offense, he literally just has to walk down the court and stand anywhere to draw defenders because of his threat to score from anywhere. He doesn’t handle the ball that much. Thus he can pace himself while in the game, as does Lebron.

    Curry, however, has to work much harder just to stay on the court. He’s running the offense, and even when he’s off the ball he has to run around to draw defenders. On occasion he can camp in the corner, but not often and not long. On defense, he draws smaller faster defenders and has to work very hard, without a break. And we’ve seen his hustle to get steals and boards, where he compensates for his lesser size and speed. Iguodala has done good work running point, though on a ham that concerns us. Klay hasn’t helped out as much. And next to nothing after that.

    Paul is averaging 35m a game, on a knee that has been questioned. Harden is averaging 38.5, and has already had injury issues.

    It’s frustrating. A few minor deals now, or even one, could make a difference, and not just in the playoffs but in the quality of the team the next seasons.

    But I would say protecting the roster and keeping it whole is a huge priority, and not just for the playoffs.

  18. Gentlemen, Barnes isn’t going anywhere. If the Ws want to make a trade, the pivotal Q is whether or not JON is perceived as a trade asset.

    Speights is a fine backup C, and won’t be dealt. At this time, Bazemore, Douglas and Ezeli have less trade value than team value. Nedovic and Kuzmic have zero trade value. Green is an insanely valuable player but an under-the-radar guy. A keeper.

    So any possible Ws deal for Miller hinges on whether or not Denver sees value in JON. Even-up, JON-for-Miller, no, JON can’t win more games for Denver than Miller could. But Miller is playing from the SJax book at the moment (i.e., “I’m outta here no matter what”), so Denver could trade Miller for JON anyway.

    If there’s going to be a Miller deal, that’s what it’s going to be.

  19. Bogut is nursing a strained right calf.

    Is THAT the reason he didn’t play 4th. Q half last night?


    • should we really be surprised ? even the felt boss has reconsidered some of his praise for the preacher, recognizing for example that there weren’t too many options in the first round last spring when lee dropped out. we got to see what hash this season’s coaching staff made from barnes when iguodala missed games.

  20. Sheesh. Iguodala. I’ll hold my reservations of this organization for another day.

    But if you ever needed another performance that showed why Lee is so valuable to this team, you got it. He has been battling all kinds of shortcomings and adversity his entire career, and he hasn’t let down once. Tonight, he kept the team in the game almost single-handedly.

    Of course it will get forgotten, too.

    Curry pulled one off as well, using rubber bands and glue and fumes.

  21. This one makes me dizzy, but latest Bynum trade talks involve Richard Jefferson:

    Which somehow gives me hope the Warriors might work a deal yet. There’s so much involved I don’t understand, that sometimes defies understanding.

  22. Paul out 3-5 weeks with a separated shoulder. The climb up the ladder just got another step easier.

    What baffles me is how much Memphis has fallen since Gasol went down. He is a good two-way center, but they do have Koufos for some kind of back-up. Better minds, any explanation?

  23. paul, probably the main reason LA/sterlings have a lead over the lacobites, has a separated shoulder and will miss about a month. in the next four weeks, they have 16 games, the woeyrs 14, benefitting from three breaks of 3-4 days off.