FOR SALE: Vintage World War II French Army rifle. Never been fired. Dropped once.
The Warriors essentially held serve on this road back-to-back, beating the team they were supposed to. And now, finally, the schedule starts turning radically in their favor. Well, after Indiana on Monday. But after that, they don’t play again until Friday, giving them some much needed practice time to get Jordan Crawford integrated into the team.
And time to get some rest, which the team clearly needs. The starters have been badly overworked so far this season, and it’s showing in all sorts of ways right now. In their defense, in their shooting, and in Andre Iguodala, who has yet to regain his early season health.
Rest, Jordan Crawford, and home cooking.
The Warriors are primed for takeoff.
Bogut: I have to lead by slapping down the absurd storyline I know we’re about to get from the media ignorati about this game, which was bleated out in advance by the egregious Bob Fitzgerald before the game had even ended. You know, that the difference between the Warriors’ performance in this game and in the prior two games against OKC and Denver, was that in this game Bogut was played down the stretch, and for a total of 34 minutes, rather than a mere 20.
Wrong. Ridiculous. Absurd.
Bogut was yanked from the OKC and Denver games because the Warriors defense was HORRIBLE with him on the court. Because, as has been noted many times before in this blog, and as was noted by Mark Jackson himself after the Denver game, Bogut is helpless against smallball teams that can spread the floor and play pick and roll. Absolutely helpless. All he can do is stand in the paint and watch.
OKC and Denver sliced and diced Bogut to pieces.
The Hornets, by stark contrast, are reduced to starting a backup point guard who is not a scorer. What’s more, now that Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday are both out injured, they can’t spread the floor. They played this game with exactly one three-point shooter on the floor in crunchtime. One.
The Hornets have only one option on offense right now, launching themselves at the basket. Which of course played right into the Warriors’ hands. The Warriors zoned up, packed the paint, and awaited the inevitable drive.
It was almost pathetic watching Tyreke Evans and A.F. Aminu helplessly suicide themselves against Bogut in the fourth quarter. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Of course Bogut got 34 minutes in this game. It was the perfect game for him.
It should also be noted that Monty Williams mysteriously never resorted to the Hack-a-Bogut that shortened Bogut’s minutes against OKC. Bogut has now missed his last 11 free throws, his last a complete airball. His free throw percentage is down to a Biedrinsesque 35%. And as Jim Barnett noted in this game, he’s back to looking like
a scared sheep Biedrins when he gets the ball near the basket: If there’s a chance of a foul, he’s passing back out. Hot potato.
Monty’s a horrible tactical coach. As has been pointed out on a nightly basis on twitter by NBA expert/bettor Haralabos Voulgaris.
Warriors fans need to understand that Andrew Bogut, while an extremely important player for the Warriors, is also an extremely limited basketball player. There are things he does great, and things that he does horribly. There are situations that are perfect for him, and situations in which he must be benched.
I happen to think that Mark Jackson has been doing a pretty good job lately of figuring this out. With the notable exception of the final minute of the Denver game. (Ugh.)
Curry: Has everyone been noticing lately how much progress the Warriors have made in beating the Curry blitz? Curry has been doing a great job of continuing his dribble to the side of the court, thereby dragging both blitzers completely out of the play, and then hitting the wide open Lee or Bogut in the key. And miracle of miracles, even Bogut has been looking to finish these pick and rolls lately.
In this game we saw something different. The blitzer, frequently Anthony Davis, was too soft in Monty’s scheme, allowing Curry to turn the corner and drive the lane.
I wasn’t sure that Curry had enough speed to do that, and I’m still not sure he does, against better teams. But it’s a fascinating development worth keeping an eye on.
Lee: Even great players have opponents that are kryptonite for them. Shaq’s kryptonite was Hakeem Olajuwon. Tim Duncan’s kryptonite was Shaq. And Dirk Nowitzki. And Amare Stoudemire.
David Lee’s kryptonite? We just saw them: Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis.
What these players have in common: A freakish combination of length and athleticism. High IQ. Ferocious defensive desire. An outside shot that must be honored.
Fortunately there’s not a whole lot of guys out there like these three. I’ll bet Lee is glad to see the back of them.
Crawford: We didn’t have to wait long to see what Crawford can bring in terms of creating his own shot, did we?
Unfortunately, we haven’t yet seen what he can do in service of his teammates. Mark Jackson inexplicably reduced him to feeding the post in isolation offense for Speights and Barnes in this game.
Seriously? PICK AND ROLL, MARK JACKSON. DRIVE AND DISH.
Let Jordan Crawford be who he is. The wonderful creator who jump-started the Celtics this season. Crawford should be allowed to TAKE OVER the second unit.
I’m guessing — hoping — that Jackson wanted to wait to get Crawford better acquainted with the system before unleashing him.
Don Nelson would have gotten him 20 and 5.
Green: Someone seriously needs to get in Green’s ear about his free throws. It is an absolute crime that he’s shooting 55% from the line this year. Because unlike Harrison Barnes, he’s got a great stroke. And, because the fix for his problem is ridiculously simple. It’s Feltbot’s First Law of Free Throw Shooting:
Free throws should never be missed LONG.
That’s it. They should never be missed long. It is far, far better to miss them short. Because then, they still have a very good chance to go in. Miss them short, they bounce soft and towards the backboard. Miss them long, they bounce hard, out and away.
There is a very obvious Corollary to this law:
When shooting free throws, your target should be THE FRONT RIM.
If you want to understand this intuitively, do the following: Set yourself up for a free throw, but only two feet from the basket. Now look up. What’s your target?
It is absolutely torture for me to watch a guy with a great stroke like Green continually miss his free throws long. And it simply amazes me how many American NBA players have never been taught this simple fundamental.
Someone help me out, please.
Barnes: Something clearly seems to be up with Barnes. I mean beyond the fact that he’s no longer being guarded much by point guards, which means his offense is going to suck, which means he’s not going to get iso’d much by Mark Jackson.
For some reason, he’s completely stopped competing. He was never much of a competitor anyway, as noted by NBA scouts about his college career, and by me about his NBA career. But this? This is a whole ‘nother level of suckitude.
Did you get a look at that perfect bagel against OKC? Not even his first, at least in the effort categories, in his last few games. This game was scarcely better — 2 rebounds, 1 assist.
I’ve been doing some speculating in previous threads about what might be up. Maybe he’s getting shopped, and it’s upsetting him. Maybe his turf toe is killing him. That seems like a decent possibility, as his first step has disappeared. And we haven’t been seeing a lot of leaping, either.
But these explanations are no excuse for the utter abjectness of Barnes’ game at the moment. Particularly on the defensive end, which no one seems to notice but me. He’s missing rotations right and left — including a couple in the Denver game that Adam Lauridsen tried to pin on David Lee. He’s getting hung up on screens like wet laundry on a line. When Draymond Green gets hung up on a screen, which is rare, someone’s ass hits the floor. Like the 255 lb. Nick Collison’s, in the last game.
Barnes is not boxing out, not even at the free throw line. Did you see that play at OKC that got him yanked? Instead of trying to box out Kendrick Perkins, Barnes grabbed his elbow and leaned into him like a high school girl on a date in a movie theater. And got whistled for a sweet little foul.
You say Barnes shouldn’t be expected to be able to box out Perkins? Nonsense. I could box out Kendrick Perkins.
Yes, me. It’s simple: All you have to do is beat him into the lane. Then plant your feet, spread your arms, and make sure the ref hears you as you fly by into the fifth row.
The simple and lamentable fact of the matter is that Barnes didn’t box out Perkins because he lacks heart. Like Chris Webber, and Brandan Wright, and countless other highly touted big men before him, he loathes contact. He hates to compete physically.
Barnes wants the dream, without the battle. He wants the brand, without the blood, sweat and tears. He wants the fame, not the game. He simply doesn’t get the NBA.
The NBA is WAR.
And Harrison Barnes is the French.