Warriors 113 Suns 107: Lee at Center

A chess match broke out at Oracle last night, and lo and behold, for once it was the Warriors coach who won it.         

I have been arguing all season long for Mark Jackson to match up small against opponent’s smallball. I believe his stubborn refusal to do so has cost the Warriors several games this season, including the recent Raptors game. And also, quite possibly, the Warriors two previous losses to the Suns. You saw why I’ve been so vociferous on the subject last night.

The Warriors smallball frontline of David Lee at center and Draymond Green simply dominated. Mark Jackson went to it in the second quarter — something I don’t think he’s done before this season — resulting in the Warriors going on an 11-4 run to get back into the game.

And Jackson returned to it early in the second half, pulling Bogut for good with only 4 minutes gone in the 3rd quarter. Resulting in the Warriors blowing the game wide open. The Lee and Green frontline was +18 for the third quarter, +24 for the second and third combined, and the game was all but over.

Things got a little complicated in the fourth quarter, as Mark Jackson started trying to milk the clock with a big lead. Playing smallball and at the same time trying to slow the pace is a tricky proposition. I remember Nellie, after the Warriors nearly blew his record tying win against the Raptors in the same way, calling it a difficult problem for coaches. It’s like prevent defense and selling naked options. It works until it doesn’t.

Jackson stated post-game that he didn’t regret slowing the pace. He felt the Warriors were still getting good looks in the offense, but that they just stopped falling. There’s some truth to that.

Hey, all’s well that ends well. I was delighted by Jackson’s game plan in this game.

Although the cynical side of me is more than a little inclined to believe it came about as a result of Bogut and O’Neal being less than 100%.

David Lee: 26 points on 11-18. Lee is completely unguardable when playing center alongside a stretch-four. And when he’s unguardable, so is Curry and the rest of the Warriors. As I’ve been saying, since… forever.

Ho hum. Warriors fans don’t care about that. Let’s talk about defense.

Mark Jackson post-game on Lee’s defense: “Rebounded… Great multiple effort plays defending the pick and roll to contain Dragic and get back to cover Channing Frye on the perimeter… He was all over the court.”

Another thing I’ve been saying forever, and Warriors fans have been laughing at forever, is that in certain smallball matchups David Lee is actually a more effective defensive center than Andrew Bogut. Ridiculous? Heresy? Well this game was a case in point. Mark Jackson used Lee’s mobility to trap Dragic on the pick and roll, and then when Dragic was stopped, recover to his own man. That is something that Bogut is completely incapable of doing, and something that has cost the Warriors severely earlier this season against the Suns, and the Nuggets, and in crunchtime against the Raptors last week, and in last year’s playoffs against Tony Parker and the Spurs, and…

Still laughing? Well laugh at this: The Warriors went to Lee at center at 7:41 of the 3rd quarter, with the score 73-71 in favor of the Suns. And ended the quarter with the score 94-78 in favor of the Warriors. With Lee at center, the Suns were held to 5 points in that 7:41. While getting the ball crammed down their throats.

Size isn’t everything. Speed and mobility are effective defensive weapons as well. More effective weapons, in point of fact, in certain matchups. Even without a shotblocker on the floor, the Warriors were able to deny the Suns penetration by trapping Dragic’s pick and roll, switching everything, and making great rotations.

Here’s something else to laugh at: With Lee at center and Green at PF this season, opponents are shooting 41.6%. The Warriors as a whole are giving up 47.5%. The league leading Pacers are giving up 45.5%.

Curry: There’s a reason the somewhat hobbled Curry came alive and took over in the third quarter. It coincided with the Warriors subbing Green for Bogut, and going with Lee at center.

With Lee setting the picks, the Suns couldn’t double Curry. Kaboom.

Break the blitz, and the Warriors explode. Simple as that.

Bogut: One rebound, zero blocks in 14 minutes. Is he dinged up (as he hinted post-game), did he simply not show up, or is this simply a matchup he’s not suited for?

Klay: It’s a little bit tougher to gauge Klay’s aggression in games like this one where his shot is falling, because in these games he doesn’t need to drive to help his team. Nevertheless, Klay did seem to me to retain his recently found aggression in this game. He made quite a few nice drives, some in service of setting up his teammates. And he performed well in the low-post against Dragic as well.

I like what I’m seeing, and what I’m seeing is Klay turning the corner into stardom.

Iggy: We saw the yin and yang of Iggy in one crunchtime sequence: The monster offensive rebound that seemed to pull the Warriors’ fat out of the fire, and then the two missed free throws that resulted.

Iggy recovered to sink his next two clutch free throws, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Iggy’s yips — and his Biedrinsesque/Bogutesque fear of going to the line at all — will cost the Warriors dearly in at least one fourth quarter in the playoffs.

Like Draymond Green earlier in the season, Iggy persistently misses his free throws long. Someone should acquaint him with Feltbot’s First Law.

O’Neal: I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear he came up lame in this game.

Blake: Like Kurt Hinrich, who’s having a great throwback season for the Bulls, it’s never going to be a whole lot of fun watching Blake play. Like Hinrich, he’s just a tough as nails, emotionless competitor who gets the job done.

I’d enjoy watching him more if I didn’t have to listen to Fitz screeching about what he means to the Warriors on every single play.

Crawford: Amid all the spin from Warriors’ mouthpieces that the Warriors’ acquisition of Steve Blake has allowed Crawford to move back to his “true” position, Crawford has all but fallen out of the rotation. He’s getting a few 2nd quarter minutes, and that’s it.

Why? Can’t shoot and can’t guard is not a winning combination in two-guards. If Crawford’s not a point, he’s not a player.

Meanwhile, the guy the Warriors should have been playing at backup two-guard all season long, Kent Bazemore, continues to impress for the Lakers. (Albeit off the bench now. Stretch-four Ryan Kelly has returned from injury, allowing the Lakers to play a bigger starting lineup.) If you didn’t see Bazemore in the 4th quarter against the Thunder yesterday, you really missed something. He literally took over the game in crunchtime, scoring three crucial buckets, a spot-up three, a foul line pull-up, and a spectacular drive and finish over Kevin Durant to seal the win.

But that wasn’t even the main reason he was in the game. D’Antoni plays him for his defense, which is fantastic.

It’s incredible to me that Mark Jackson missed so badly on Bazemore. He’s a player who could not only be winning games for the Warriors right now, but could potentially win games in the finals for a world champion. World class defensive two guards with real two-way ability don’t grow on trees. After seeing what Bazemore can do playing for a competent coach for a few weeks, I think it’s very possible he will wind up a better all-around player than Tony Allen.

Playoff seeding: As I look at the remaining schedule, I handicap as follows: The Clippers are 100% to overtake the Rockets. The Warriors are 100% to overtake the Blazers. Neither the Mavs nor the streaking Grizzlies will catch the Warriors. So the fifth seed, and a first round matchup against the Rockets looks like the Warriors most likely scenario.

But the Thunder are currently in free fall, and their remaining schedule is a bear. So things could get complicated. This is the most entertaining and wide open Western Conference since…

Nellie sent the Little General home with a spanking.

132 Responses to Warriors 113 Suns 107: Lee at Center

  1. From the ESPN Recap

    “…newly acquired Kent Bazemore helped put it away with a driving layup — two of his seven points in the final 2:02.”

  2. Klay Thompson Watch:

    22 pts on 15 shots, 4 rbds, 2 assts, 1 brilliant blocked shot.

    Another win for FB’s prediction of Klay turning-the-corner (2-0-1). As noted by FB, when the long range bombs are finding their mark it is hard to gauge aggressiveness but he looked like a completely composed assassin playing both ways and the 4 boards and 2 assists suggests good activity and awareness.

    On another note, one of the best defensive games I recall from Lee. It is good to see Jackson utilizing this roster’s versatility.

  3. Part of the 3rd quarter success came from using Green to help pressure Dragic early, then rush back to his own man on D. We’ve seen Green do that sometimes on his own all season long. Last night it was clearly an assignment.

    It was a very unconventional defensive assignment. Most PFs couldn’t pull it off. Green’s quickness allowed him to handle it, and it was effective.

    To the coach’s credit, he broke his routine to utilize an unusual ability of one of his players. A good bit of coaching.

    • Spot on !!

    • cosmicballoon

      +2

    • +3 Yes, I neglected to mention Green’s game. Picking up Dragic in the backcourt on several possessions was a very interesting move. If you take another look at my recaps in the Spurs series, you will note that Pop used Duncan and Splitter to do the same thing to Curry last season. They would turn around and pick up Curry to stop the Warriors’ break, allowing their teammates to catch up, before breaking off and hustling back to the middle. Bravo Mark Jackson.

      I also forgot to mention something else that was interesting about the chessmatch in this game: The Warriors’ pressure on Dragic was so effective that Hornacek went with Ish Smith instead of PJ Tucker down the stretch, to move Dragic off the ball.

      http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20140309&game=PHOGSW

      Exactly the kind of move I have suggested Mark Jackson make whenever teams are determined to take Curry out.

  4. Oops, it appears I accidentally published an incomplete draft last night. My apologies.

    Here’s the whole enchilada.

  5. Felt,

    “With Lee at center, the Suns were held to 5 points in that 7:41. While getting the ball crammed down their throats.”

    Think you are over emphasizing on Lee at C working and it worked but primarily because Klay was unconscious plus as Hat said above Green switching swiftly on Dragic. With Lee at C, dubs also lost 4th quarter 29-19. Coach came out with a great plan D for 2nd half even if that plan didn’t include Bogut and O’Neal. Not using Bogut and O’Neal almost misfired when Phoenix came back with a plan to start 4th quarter to work on post and attack the basket with no rim protectors there and quickly reduced the lead to 6 and kept the game close. Think coach should have put Bogut at the start of 4th quarter with Green at PF to protect the lead, could have been a blow out instead of losing 4th quarter at 29-19 and keeping Phx in the game. My 2 cents.

  6. cosmicballoon

    You alluded to Iggy’s free throw woes. Something must have been in the water last night. In the fourth quarter, while clinging to a less than 10-point lead, Klay missed a pair, followed by Iggy missing a pair and Steve Blake (of all people), missing two. That’s six points left on the table.

    One of the side-effects of slowing the pace is forcing guys who don’t get to the line much to shoot free throws. I don’t have stats to back it up, but it seems like missed free throws have cost the Warriors several games this season, and have certainly hurt the Warriors in the overall scheme of things.

  7. The Warriors struggled 4th. Q because they couldn’t score, and the problem is the lineup—Lee, Iguodala, Barnes, Green, and Blake—and even Curry later, who took his place. Blake is going to look boring with this lineup, and Curry can only do so much. There just aren’t enough scorers to open up the defense, and Blake won’t have much to do with the ball, except dribble around or pass it to Lee, who gets covered, or pass to Igoudala, who will pass it back. It becomes a two man game, Blake and Lee. Blake I suppose should launch a few more himself, but better to give him offense to work with. And I still say Speights, because of his shooting and size, his ability to move to the basket, would have helped as well.

    Barnes is the weak spot: 0-3 in eight minutes and not much else. He can’t create for himself or others.

    Maybe Jackson was trying to control the offense and sit on the lead, a bad strategy, but there’s not much else he can do with that lineup. We’ve been in this position all season.

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20140309&game=PHOGSW

    Crawford looks raw, but he’s always going to look raw. He had a good stint first half. And he offers what was missing, someone who can move the ball himself, take a shot, or drive, and add a little chaos. They have him now. They might as well put him to use.

    • No way Speights should see the floor unless garbage minutes and not when warriors have better options in Green, Jermaine O Neal and Barnes at PF or C. Speights is out of shape, inefficient shooter(42% for a big is horrible) and makes bad decisions. He just kills the flow on offense, misses his defensive assignments so hope to not see him get any meaningful minutes. Myers should have tried to trade him hard when he scored those 30 pts against 76ers.

      • The same was said about Bazemore.

        They blew the lead 4th. Q not because they played small ball, but because they had a bad lineup, as I said above.

        Speights will be another casualty of Jackson’s inefficient and tentative coaching. He is a good shooter and has done well with solid lineups. When he looked horrible, it was because he was with a horrible lineup, and he wasn’t alone. Blake could bring him out, but we won’t see that. And there was no reason, with a big lead, not to give him and Crawford a shot. I’m not making too much of his good night, but I won’t dismiss it either.

        There have been many times I would have rather seen Speights on the floor over Barnes (and adjust the lineup accordingly). He drives with a purpose and is more effective. He isn’t afraid to muscle up. I suspect their outside shooting is close. I’m also sorry we didn’t get a chance to see what he can do with the 3. Barnes makes ineffective drives that don’t have a chance. When he gets the ball, he usually passes it back.

        • On Bazemore, we don’t know what he could have given at SF or SG because he would not get chance to play there over Klay, Iggy, Barnes, Draymond and Curry(who plays SG sometimes). Bazemore is moved to bench now for Lakers, a non playoff team and Brooks got a DNP, again for a non playoff team. Mike D is a great talent evaluator and gets best when it comes to perimeter players, but think he played and gave them a chance because he had no one else he could play.

          On Speights, yesterday the players who PF and C minutes are Lee, Green, Bogut and ONeal. How can you put Speights with any of them. And, yes, Barnes has better shooting numbers than Speights even with his unsuccessful iso plays. In any case, Barnes gets minutes at SF and Speights and Barnes are not competing for minutes. Even as a stretch PF, Barnes is shooting 40% from 3PT to 30% from Speights. Speights has potential but just has been horrible all season. Unlike Bazemore, Speights have gotten lot of chances to prove himself with Warriors when one of Lee, ONeal and Bogut were out. Also, Jax is not the first and only coach for Speights. Speights carried bad reputation as black hole from other teams to warriors and then came out of shape to the camp this year.

    • The Warriors struggled in the 4th when a “non-scorer,” Green, had to leave. After that, they had MORE scoring power on the floor, not less.

      Barnes moved over to the 4 and, while he didn’t score in the 4th, for the game he totaled 6 rebounds and a steal. Some of those rebounds were pretty tough. Barnes made a contribution.

      The “problem with Barnes” in the 4th wasn’t even Barnes himself so much as the fact that Curry and Blake got him the ball in situations where Barnes always does poorly. The guy simply can’t shoot with a hand in his face. Especially in crunchtime, he shouldn’t be getting any touches except a wide-open 3 or a no-dribble slash to the hoop. Curry should know that by now. Everyone else in Warrior Land certainly does.

  8. Although Jackson has played small ball in limited minutes over the course of the season, it was not until this game that played small ball for significant minutes. If small ball had consistently played well in this game more weight could be given to your conclusions. But as Harry pointed out the Warriors got killed in the fourth quarter with the Warriors playing small ball.

    And although the Warriors did well over the last seven minutes of the third quarter, when one looks at the Suns shot selection one sees that the Suns settled for mostly jump shots instead to attacking the rim where the Warriors are vulnerable whether playing big or small ball.

    So, for me, rather than concentrate on whether the Warriors are hot when playing small ball, one has to look with shooters are hot or cold for both teams and whether our opponent are attacking the rim when the Warriors are playing small ball.

    • cosmicballoon

      Frank, we went over this after you brought it up last week. The Warriors are not allowing penetration, so other teams are forced to shoot from the outside. The Warriors generally do a good/great job playing the percentages, and thus have their best defensive team in many years.

      Secondly, the idea of a swarming small ball defense is to harass the guy with the ball, especially if he is uncomfortable dribbling. A player cannot attack the rim if he is being swarmed. The Suns, in particular, don’t have many guys who can attack the rim outside of Dragic. Bledsoe was not in the lineup and he may have changed the complexion of this game.

      Finally, there are only a handful of players who can attack the rim against Iggy, Thompson, Blake and Draymond. Other teams simply CANNOT attack the rim against this Warriors team, even when the small ball lineup is on the floor.

  9. Felt, On playoff seeding, agree that dubs will over take Portland but think dubs will get to play Clippers and Rockets will remain at #3. That will be better scenario for warriors, think will match up better against Clips than rockets. Also, think Mavs will be the team that will miss playoffs and Memphis can give fits to either of OKC or Spurs especially Spurs who they have beaten couple of years back in playoff series.

  10. EvanZ or anyone—do you have numbers as to how well Bazemore did at the 2 with Curry? I suspect there won’t be a large sample, however.

    The Warriors need a backup 2 to spell Thompson, even take his place if he falters. I’m curious how Blake would have done with Bazemore—or someone like Blake, since that pairing couldn’t have happened. That leaves us with Blake and Crawford. They have to give it a shot.

    • correct, the sample size of that combination will be too small — 82games is linked on the right. most young players and many vets for that matter will struggle if their playing opportunities are erratic, unpredictable, and limited in duration. it’s another attribute that green displayed last season, that it didn’t faze him. he’s also not out to impress anyone with his shooting and scoring ability, which is the natural temptation for young guards and wings.

    • 92 possessions:

      http://nbawowy.com/query/cw8rewpn4ld0wwmi

      Bazemore only had 10 FGA.

  11. Cosmicballoon: Disagree with you completely that the Warriors are not vulnerable at the rim. Opponents kills us when they go inside either either against our bigs (especially against our small line up) by slashing to the rim or dumping it off inside, and scoring or going to the foul line. One has to just review the fourth quarter yesterday when the Suns outscored our small line-up by 10 points. The Suns did so by scoring at the rim or by going to the foul line after drives to the rim. The suns scored only two baskets in the fourth on outside shots.

    Our interior defense with small ball has been terrible all year. Our big lineup is not that much better either. Didn’t the Suns shoot over 55% against our big line up in the first quarter.? Bogut and JON just not that good if an opponent has the players and the coaching smarts to exploit the Warriors inside.

    Except for Iggy, you way over value the Warriors players you name as overall Blake, Thompson, and Green are not effective at the rim. Glad you didn’t mention D. Lee.

    Yes, there are certain teams that don’t have slashers, but all have players who can score off of dump-offs. I stick to my point that the Warriors overall are only successfully defensively when teams settle for jump shots rather than taking it to the hoop.

    • Frank,
      “I stick to my point that the Warriors overall are only successfully defensively when teams settle for jump shots rather than taking it to the hoop.”

      All the stats point to dubs are very good at protecting the rim and defending which would be the reason to shoot more outside shots, i.e. warriors defense is forcing teams to be jump shooters more. One such stat below where warriors are #2 in pick and roll defense with Bogut and Thompson best PnR defenders combo for warriors.

      http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/03/05/pacers-defensive-success-starts-with-stopping-the-pick-and-roll/

      Also, warriors are #5 in opponent FG% < 5 feet, that is at rim. This should force teams to be more of outside shooting team.

      http://stats.nba.com/leagueTeamOppShots.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=30&sortField=FG_PCT5ft1&sortOrder=ASC

      Conclusion, warriors are damn good defensive team.

    • cosmicballoon

      Frank, guards are not supposed to be shot blockers at the rim. I will be clear — Thompson, Iggy, Blake and Green are all excellent at beating the offensive player to the spot and not allowing them to get to the rim. Being good at the rim is unnecessary if the offensive player rarely gets there. Even Curry has gotten better at position defense. He is no longer taking as many chances trying to get steals and jump the passing lanes.

      I don’t see all the dump offs you are talking about. The Warriors are 9th in the league in points in the paint allowed per game and 8th overall in points allowed per game. What’s the issue?

  12. felt boss, in re. to your tweet about o’neal getting dinged — injury information from this team is intentionally unreliable, and we might not learn whether the preacher’s surprising commitment to an extended run with lee at center was completely by his choice.

  13. Just saw an amazing stat: Curry/Lee is the second best PNR combo in the league, in PPP, at nearly 1.2. That is extraordinary efficiency, and yet the Warriors rarely run it!

    The best combo is Dragic/Frye.

    • That is indeed great stat. Can you provide the link to the stat ?

      • I think it was on Tim Roye’s twitter timeline.

        • According to the following link Curry and Lee are not even in top 10 to my surprise, hence was asking for link. May be they had much fewer PnR possessions than others.

          http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/02/28/pick-and-roll-data-likes-the-suns/

          Most points per pick-and-roll possession, tandem
          Team Ball-handler Screener Scr. P&R Poss. Team PTS PTS/Poss
          PHX Dragic Frye 425 392 510 1.30
          MIA Wade Andersen 131 124 160 1.29
          OKC Durant Collison 119 114 143 1.25
          OKC Westbrook Durant 156 148 185 1.25
          NOP Holiday Anderson 130 125 156 1.25
          SAC Thomas Gay 168 165 202 1.22
          POR Batum Lopez 183 180 220 1.22
          POR Williams Lopez 121 111 135 1.22
          IND Stephenson Hibbert 147 144 175 1.22
          OKC Durant Perkins 209 196 238 1.21

          Minimum 100 pick-and-roll possessions

  14. Harry et al. @7

    I’ll ring up your Nelson quote a few posts ago, as it is apt, and thank you:

    “You also learn to look at players and really see what players can do and use that positive against the opponent. Nellie didn’t worry about what people couldn’t do. He’d figure out what each player could do and then use that to his advantage.”

    This hasn’t happened with either Speights or Bazemore, or several others. What they both have in common is that they played with poorly led units where, aside from Green, the collective intelligence and experience on the floor—they are related—was very low. And they didn’t have playmakers to set them up, in Bazemore’s case because he was largely the point guard himself, where he was ill suited. We have Blake now. He might be able to do what Bazemore could not.

    And there were ample opportunities to get both going. What we saw so often earlier in the season is the team build a lead, only to have it lost by a hopeless combination of the subs, which meant the the starters had to rush back in. And there were blowouts. Look at the game logs and rosters.

    The only reason I argue for Speights and Bazemore is simply because we have them, or in Bazemore’s case had. A team and a coach need to take advantage of every skill they have. This hasn’t happened.

    Speights

    I can’t beat Feltbot’s review of Speights, if you missed it:

    http://feltbot.com/2014/02/11/warriors-123-76ers-80-mo-speights/

    He has a better shot than 3/4 of the roster. I’d rather see him take a midrange shot than O’Neal, who is hit and miss. Bogut’s shots are a prayer. He rolls better to the basket than Bogut, when he has an offense that can set him up. Curry has, on too rare occasions, set him up nicely. As for the 3, he gets few opportunities. He can motor and muscle up. He does rebound and block.

    Bazemore

    Has done things for the Lakers we’ll never see from anyone else on the bench, on defense or offense. When will Barnes even get the nerve to drive on Durant? His defense was not exploited at all. He is quick and long, and can wreak havoc. And if he played with a capable point guard, he could have spelled Klay more, who has played too many minutes this season, to his detriment.

    The team is still short on offense down the roster. The team couldn’t score last night 4th Q, and the lead was lost with Green in—check the game flow, posted above. But that’s not relevant because Green contributes in so many ways.

    There are all kinds of possibilities with both that were never tried. Last night for example, with a big lead they could have tried Iguodala (who was in at that time), Blake, Crawford, Green, and Speights (giving Lee a rest). This lineup would have spread the floor, allowing openings for Green and Iguodala, who can drive. Blake would have had options. Crawford would have given more, as he can shoot, drive, and pass. With Iguodala on the floor, I’m not sure they lose on defense, or lose that much. And you have excellent facilitators with Green and Blake, and even Crawford.

    But there have to be so many more possible combinations, never tried.

    Barnes, however, has seen the minutes and had every chance with every lineup and gets plenty of chances. The only way to get anything from him seems to be to build the offense around him and hope for the best.

    Fault is a muddle I don’t care to try to sort out. Whether Jackson was unable to bring out those players or the FO recruited players who had no potential with the club—it’s impossible to separate them. But roster slots and talent and salary cap have been wasted and will be wasted in the future. Players keep coming and going. Nedovic never got to the level where he could at least develop some this year with the club, and so far he looks like a wash.

    I am curious what Nelson would have done with Barnes, whether he would have had any more luck with him than he did Brandon Wright.

    • Being a real coach, I think Nelson would never have agreed to tank, so his team wouldn’t have been in position to draft Barnes.

      Being a great judge of talent, I think Nelson would have argued against drafting Barnes. If he were overridden and the team got Barnes anyway, I think Nelson would play him appropriately – less than Green.

      rgg, Nelson was not a great skills development kinda guy. He had a very short focus. He used what he had at hand to win each and every game. With Bogut, Lee and O’Neil on the team, Speights wouldn’t have gotten many more minutes with Nellie than he does with Jackson.

      • I disagree with everything in your last paragraph!

        But agree with everything in your second paragraph.

        As to your first, I partially agree. Nellie did in fact tank as a GM. But unlike Mark Jackson, he NEVER tanked as a coach. He played every game to win, with the players made available to him by himself as the GM. The distinction is extremely important in my mind. Important to personal integrity, as well as the integrity of the game.

        • Felt, I don’t feel like an argument over this topic, but it seems to me that you can’t have it both ways in those last two paragraphs. Nelson tried to win with what he had. When stuck with a player who he felt wouldn’t help the team win, he glued them to the bench. There was no “give them game experience to learn.” They delivered or they sat.

          Nelson’s first judgment about any player was about his character. He’d help winners win, but he’d simply ignore players with no heart. NO exceptions.

          Barnes under Nelson? Mostly chained to the bench, with occasional brief game-time appearances to check his development.

          • I guess I don’t understand your point. Nellie’s record of developing allstars and MVPs is unparalleled in league history. As is his record of developing solid role players out of the DLeagues.

            As for Speights, there is little doubt in my mind that Nellie would relish playing him as a three point shooting center. No one on this board, nor in Warrior land at large, seems to be able to grasp that Speights is an above average rebounder and shotblocker. Not just for reserves, but for starters. Combine that with the ability to stretch the floor with legitimate three point shooting, and Nellie would have a field day.

            The reason Speights has looked awful this season has literally everything to do with the way Mark Jackson has used him.

            Kinda like that guy named Bazemore.

          • It sounds like you think of Speights as a VladRad. Unfortunately, Speights’ career 3-pt shooting % is .246.

            Speights is also a career underachiever, and not just because coaches couldn’t figure out what to do with him. This is a guy who showed up for his best opportunity ever completely out of shape. Not ready to play.

            Sorry, Nelson found uses for all sorts of players, but he rode winners, not losers. If forced to use Speights, Nelson would use him as well as possible. Given his druthers, he’d ignore the guy.

          • Not a single one of his coaches has gone to Speights for threes. The majority of Speight’s threes on the Warriors have been last-second bailouts. 30% (which is what he’s shot in a very small sample) is pretty respectable for that.

            No doubt in my mind that if Nellie got him, he’d give him an extended tryout beyond the arc — just as he did with Bol and ZhiZhi. And Nellie’d get a much higher percentage out of him. I’ve seen Speights shoot them in practice.

      • Hat,
        Agree with everything but draft pick choice of Barnes. I think he would have picked Barnes too. He did pick Anthony Randolph and Robert Taylor(before Paul Pierce) and Barnes is much better pick than either. Also, both Barnes and Green are getting ideal minutes of late, i.e. 20+ minutes.

        • It’s fair to say Harrison Barnes and Mario Elie have comparable career stats. Interchangeable players? Not on your life.

          Nelson always seemed to operate under the assumption that you can teach skills, but not heart. Once he made a decision about a player’s character, he used him or he refused to even consider using him. End of story, no exceptions. People used to wonder why Nelson wouldn’t play Brandan Wright. That’s why.

          Winners win more than their share, others don’t win much. Nelson knows that better than anyone. As a coach he was entirely ruthless over the issue. No time for losers.

          • Agree. Only we have to put it on context. Barnes stats are for a playoff team and with experienced veterans around him making him like 3rd or 4th or 5th option offense. On a team with lesser talent and that will make him as offensive option, Barnes numbers would be much better like he would have averaged atleast 16 PPG.

          • cosmicballoon

            Barnes would take 16 shots to get his 16 points if he were a No. 2 option, for example. He is anything but an efficient scorer, and often racks up his points on uncontested threes and free throws. If he is put in the position to be a first or second option, he would stop seeing uncontested shots, and there would be more of those ugly sideways floaters he so often shoots. That sideways floater is one of the ugliest shots in the NBA, imo.

            On the Warriors as the 7th or 8th player off the bench, he is free to shoot without forcing the issue. Lately he has been focusing on some of the little things like going hard after loose balls and rebounds. It has paid dividends for the team, and he is finding ways to contribute without having the ball in his hands.

        • Harry, what Nelson looked for first in a player was intensity. Determination. He would invest zero in a player who wouldn’t dedicate themselves to winning by any means possible.

          Barnes’ complacency would be a big problem for Nelson. Nellie played that maniac Stephen Jackson! And he would have kept Jackson from the Bogut trade, instead of swapping him for R Jefferson. That would have made drafting Barnes a no-go.

        • cosmic,

          I think Barnes if takes 13-14 shots, will score 15-16 pts based on his current average of 9 shots for 10 ppg. Not very efficient but not as inefficient either. Look, he needs to improve, we all agree on that.

    • rgg,
      Every fan including Feltbot has biases. Like Feltbot’s analysis but Feltbot is wrong on Speights. I have my own bias too, i.e. think Barnes of 21 year old and less than 2 years experience has been doing well as role player and has all star potential in two years from now. Like Green too and think Green is more valuable to warriors right now but will never be an all star. Also, don’t think either of Green or Barnes warrant 30+ minutes night for they both do have some weaknesses in their game. You can like both Green and Barnes, it is not either.

      • I’ve said enough about Barnes and better not repeat myself. But if he turns out well, be sure to bring me up. I like being proved wrong.

        Yet he has had serious minutes under the spotlight, both with UNC and the tourney, and almost two full years with the Warriors. And he does have serious skill limitations. My first test is bonehead: put him on the court in any situation with any lineup and see what he can figure out himself. In the case of Barnes, not much.

        If he is a developing player, he should be treated like one, and not be made a face of the franchise and given so many minutes. Start him slow and let him prove himself and work his way in, which I suspect is what Nelson would have done. Barnes might well be better off in the long run, as would the team, as his reduced minutes would go to bringing out the other players.

        • I never get the impression that Barnes is made face of franchise (atleast not like Curry and not any more than Klay Thompson). Even if franchise made him face of franchise, it should not factor into your judgement of Barnes as a developing player. He is being treated as developing player otherwise he would be starting and average more than 9 field goal attempts per game. Barnes is like #3 or #4 option on offense on most lineups. Coach puts him in bad place like running iso plays for him but it is on coach and no fault of Barnes.

          • cosmicballoon

            I half disagree that the ISO plays are no fault of Barnes. He is a developing player and does not make quick decisions which has led to the need to isolate him to get ANYTHING out of him. Additionally, he is very fond of catching on the wing, holding the ball to wait for JON to post up, dumping the ball in and jogging away. He has not yet grasped the concept of quick ball movement and decisions to to create passing lanes and open looks for teammates.

          • yeah cosmic, I should have said Coach is as much at fault as Barnes on Barnes iso plays.

    • Kendall Marshall of the Lakers is a good example of a point guard who can bring out the abilities of other players. He does not shoot well, which may well shorten his NBA life, but his assist numbers are not a fluke.

      Both Bazemore and Crawford have a manic speed I rather like. They can penetrate a defense for openings, better than most of the team. This of course Jackson can not handle.

      I like Ryan Kelly for the Lakers, light for his size, but a versatile and intelligent PF who can shoot, even the 3.

      All low draft picks (except Marshall) and rejects, overlooked.

  15. I guess everyone has seen this piece on Ellis:

    http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/10585024/monta-ellis-dallas-mavericks-recalls-unhappy-face-golden-state-warriors

    “We love him,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s been a godsend for us. He fits what we’re doing, he fits with Dirk. He’s been extremely coachable. He’s our leading minutes guy, so in many ways you could say he’s as important as any guy we’ve got on this team.”

  16. Nellie also said Brandon Wright was best player coming out of camp before he sustained shoulder injury.

    Warriors may be 5th in league in rim protection but I don’t see that when
    We play good teams. Glad to see Speights playing time curtailed. Won’t have to watch dumb passes, travel calls, see him take ill-advised charges that result in foul calls, and his rarely trying to block shots.

  17. cosmicballoon

    Boy am I glad the Warriors didn’t consider a deal for Rudy Gay. The Raptors are 29-15 since the Gay deal while Sacramento is 16-28 during the same stretch.

    What are everyone’s thoughts on the Clippers? Are they a legitimate playoff team, or will Chris Paul-led teams continue to flame out in the playoffs?

    • Can’t blame Chris Paul. In his previous seasons he hasn’t had the team or coach to win deep into the playoffs. This season’s Clips are his strongest team ever, they are a very tough team to beat, and they play for a coach who knows winning.

  18. One last thought on what Nellie would do with today’s young Ws players: Nellie would probably not give Barnes or Green any more minutes than they get now. But he’d definitely have a lot of fun with Green, making him do all sorts of weird stuff.

    Point Center, anyone? Supersmall ball? Designated double-teamer? Maybe a 4-man zone defense plus Green as free roving ball hawk? How about all of the above in the same game? The fun thing about Nellie was that you couldn’t even imagine some of the strange shapes he’d twist the game into. This was a guy who told Manute Bol to practice up on his 3s.

  19. For fans of John Hollinger, and because everyone on this board (except rgg) is so certain of their opinion of Mo Speights:

    Warriors who have a lower PER than Speights:

    Thompson
    Iggy
    O’Neal
    Green
    Barnes
    Blake

    • fuzzy dunlop

      For fans of plus minus stats, players in the NBA with a worse RAPM than Speights:

      (FWIW, I’m not a big fan of PER)

      • For fans of RAPM, players who had an identical RAPM to Kobe Bryant while on the same team:

        Derek Fisher.

        • fuzzy dunlop

          Honestly I find that less absurd than Speights being ranked over Iguoudala by a player evaluation metric. How much more absurd? I guess that depends on which season you’re referring to.

          • If you’re like me, you will regard all sausage stat evaluation metrics as crap. I’m simply stirring the pot, trying to get the Speights haters to look a little more critically at their assumptions.

            What is it that makes Speights’ PER so high?

          • fuzzy dunlop

            Objecting to “sausage stats” as a matter of principle (as opposed to specific stats for specific reasons) seems to me to be tantamount to objecting to the synthesizing of information. How do you suggest we combine disparate pieces of date about a player’s performance on the court to gauge his overall value? Plus minus stats are one way to go, various linear weight stats are another. You seem to reject both and offer nothing but subjective observation in their place.

            Speights PER is high because he shoots a lot (25% USG) and sucks at defense in a manner that won’t show up in a box score.

          • Why do u think I do it out of principal? I’ve torn each of them apart, one at a time, with my brain.

            “Sucks at defense”

            Why do you think that? Because you’ve watched him being played out of position at the four?

            Are shot blocking and rebounding part of defense? How about having enough mobility to hedge the pick and roll?

          • fuzzy dunlop

            Because my overwhelming impression is that he has extremely poor defensive awareness and IQ. Would he be better at the 5? I doubt it, because then he’d also be undersized for his position.

        • fuzzy dunlop

          Because I’m incapable of reading minds and you’ve never actually bothered to respond with anything more than generalities.

        • http://stats-for-the-nba.appspot.com/

          I’m amazed that your readers just let you get away with saying completely untrue things without asking for proof.

          Please point out which year Kobe had an “identical RAPM” to Fisher, thanks.

          • You’ll have to ask EvanZ, I’m relying on him for this.

            But in theory, if the best player in the league and the worst player in the league play every single minute of a season together, they will finish with identical RAPM’s, correct? This indicates a fundamental flaw with the stat, as far as I’m concerned.

            As does simply perusing the list of highest RAPM’s in the league every season. It does tell you something about a player, his team, or his coach, but it never tells you what those who rely on the stat think it tells you.

  20. Regarding my convo with Hat @14 above about Mo Speights 3 pt. shooting abilities, here is some evidence to back up my point about how difficult it is to judge what he would shoot from three under a good coach who gave him confidence and a solid role:

    Channing Frye’s career arc: http://espn.go.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/2754/channing-frye

    See the difference between his 3 point shooting on the Knicks and Blazers, and then on the Suns? On the first two teams, he was playing for old-school coaches who didn’t want him to shoot the shot. Larry Brown, Isaiah Thomas, and Nate McMillan.

    Mike D’Antoni knew exactly what he wanted from Frye when he traded for him, and he got it. As did the excellent Gentry and Hornacek after him.

    It is impossible to know what Speights could shoot from three under a good coach from watching Warriors games, where every time he shoots it it’s either a bailout, or with his convention-bound coach cringing behind his back.

    • It’s fair to speculate about Speights’ ability, and Nelson would surely get the most out of him if anyone would. Except… who’s the better player, Speights or CJ Watson? Speights is that rare big man, competent in the paint but with a good shooting touch. CJ Watson is a tiny career backup guard with dime-a-dozen NBA stats for his position.

      I’d argue that Watson is better for a team overall. I think Nelson would too. So would Frank Vogel and Larry Bird. Even when the Pacers needed to add outside shooting, they hired Luis Scola over Speights. Scola fires up a 3 about once every 10 games. Indiana also hired Watson, and Vogel uses him regularly.

      Can you imagine Speights with Indiana? I can’t. The reasons don’t have much to do with measurements and stats. It has everything to do with heart. A commitment to winning.

      • Of course I can’t imagine Speights with Indiana. Indiana has a system that they want to adhere to, playing their bigs close to the basket. When they picked up Bynum, they told him they weren’t going to adjust to him, he was going to adjust to them, and he would be played just like Hibbert.

        Just as Scola is played just like David West.

        I can imagine Speights on the Warriors, Spurs, Heat and Thunder though. Each of those teams but the Warriors gives significant minutes to three point shooting centers (Diaw, Bonner, Bosh, Ibaka). Those teams also all have superstars that would FEAST on high pick and pop with Speights.

        The Warriors in particular. Stephen Curry is the most highly blitzed point guard in league history. Playing pick and pop with Mo Speights above the three point line would be PERFECT for Curry. IDEAL.

        Just as it is for Dragic and Frye, the #1 ranked PNR combo in the entire league by ppp. Despite the fact that Frye never rolls. Or I should say BECAUSE of it. It’s all because of that 3 point shooting threat.

        Now try to imagine what Iggy, Thompson, Barnes and Green could do with the opposing center pulled all the way out to the three point line. Does the word UNGUARDABLE come to mind?

        Curry would simply rip teams apart with Speights in this system, just as he does with David Lee at center, in pick and roll rather than pick and pop.

        This was the essence of Don Nelson’s system, and it is perfect for this year’s Golden State Warriors.

    • fuzzy dunlop

      I don’t think anyone would strongly object to Speights taking a few steps back and trying to shoot threes, though as you concede it’s basically impossible to tell if he’d be any good at it. That’s something that would possibly make him a more useful player. Problem is he’d still be even more useful as a DNP-CD.

      • “Problem is he’d still be even more useful as a DNP-CD.”

        Why are you so sure of that?

        Let me ask you a very significant question. If Speights actually proved to be a decent three point shooting center in pick and pop, who would make STEPHEN CURRY a better player, Speights or O’Neal?

        On the Golden State Warriors, freeing up Stephen Curry should be the number one concern on offense, shouldn’t it?

        • felt,
          Speights is a 7 footer, doesn’t matter he is playing PF or C if his offense is long range jumper or 3PT shot. He is shooting almost 30% from 3. Think you should shoot atleast shoot better than 33% from 3 to call that shot effective for even a C. How would a coach can help with Speights 3PT shooting. He did get lot of meaningful minutes and seemed like he had green light to shoot 3 and long open jumpers and seen him take lot of them completely open and miss.

        • fuzzy dunlop

          But look at what you’re saying: We’re 18 games away from the playoffs. How many shots would Speights have to take before we could determine with any certainty his value as a 3 point shooting C? You’re talking about a guy who shot 57 threes in his 6 year career. I just don’t care enough about the issue to embark on the Great Speights Experiment. Oneal has earned his minutes (and salary). Speights has earned himself a place at the end of the bench.

          • Of course it’s too late to try it now. Does that settle the question for you?

          • fuzzy dunlop

            It does if the question is “should Speights play more (or at all)?”, yes. I’d also argue that adding a 3 point shot is something to be done in the off season anyway and that it would’ve been “too late” from game 1.

    • “It is impossible to know what Speights could shoot from three under a good coach from watching Warriors games,”

      Why does Jackson let Draymond shoot 3′s and not Speights?

      It’s just random?

      • I would bet my bottom dollar that Speights can beat Draymond Green in a shooting contest from any spot on the floor.

        The answer to your question has to do with what Jackson believes is an appropriate role for a big man. He wants his centers close to the basket, making themselves available and fighting for boards.

  21. Backing up the major point I made above in my Lee at Center post, guess who is the number 1 ranked power forward in the Western Conference at pick and roll defense?

    That’s right, David Lee at .94 ppp.

    Defender Scr. Poss Opp PTS PTS/Poss Rk S FGM S FGA S FG% Rk
    LaMarcus Aldridge 734 703 826 1.17 10 75 132 56.8% 10
    Tim Duncan 849 817 854 1.05 8 42 96 43.8% 4
    Channing Frye 729 698 755 1.08 9 39 96 40.6% 2
    Blake Griffin 925 896 935 1.04 7 46 91 50.5% 7
    Serge Ibaka 733 706 687 0.97 2 32 71 45.1% 5
    Terrence Jones 584 561 560 1.00 4 30 72 41.7% 3
    David Lee 657 629 592 0.94 1 31 77 40.3% 1
    Kevin Love 638 609 593 0.97 3 38 71 53.5% 9
    Dirk Nowitzki 668 645 659 1.02 5 44 85 51.8% 8
    Zach Randolph 794 767 788 1.03 6 48 98 49.0% 6

    If you want a clearer look at this, click the link and scroll down to “Pick-and-Roll Defense, West power forwards.”

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/tag/david-lee/

  22. While we’re at it, Speights at 84% is the third best free throw shooter on the team, only a few behind Curry and Thompson at 87 (shame on you, Steph) and 86.

    Bogut 34%
    Green 63%
    Iguodala 63%
    O’Neal 74% (quite nice, actually, although he often gets 3 chances to make 2 because of lane violations)

    These points don’t matter? And he isn’t afraid to drive and draw a foul—or get to the line.

  23. Who’s defending Dirk tonight?

    • Lee.

      • cosmicballoon

        Lee did an excellent job on Dirk who can no longer take anyone off the dribble. Lee didn’t allow him to get to his favorite spots on the floor…although I am not sure why Dirk did not try to get spot up 3 looks while being guarded by Lee. Green then pestered Dirk later in the game, helping to keep the ball out of his hands.

  24. Mo (note the dunk at 1:20):

  25. fuzzy dunlop

    -Boy did Crawford pick the right time to have his first good game as a Warrior… But it’s one of those performances that seems about as meaningful as a sequence of 10 consecutive 1s produced by a random number generator.
    -Bogut and Thompson were terrific, and Iguodala had one of the most impactful 4 point performances you’ll ever see. That block-putback sequence was outstanding.
    -Curry seemed way off, not sure if continuing to play him is the right move at this point. He’s obviously had bad games before, but it definitely looks like his shot has been thrown off by the injury. Legitimately pissed me off taking that ridiculous one legged three pointer.
    -Green has been terrific these past 3 games. Did a good job defending Dirk despite the obvious size disadvantage. If he can get to the point where he can consistently hit those open threes I think he can be a starter in this league.

    • cosmicballoon

      Fuzzy, don’t freak out too much about Curry. This recent stretch is allowing Steph to heal and to rest for the playoffs. We will need him to be 100% in order to beat the Clips or the Rockets, and then deal with a second round opponent. I think MJax is starting to give him the Pop treatment after running him into the ground in the first half of the season.

      On an aside, I can certainly see why Kobe loved Steve Blake. The guy is a competitor, he distributes and he can hit the three. A great combination and he has fit in nicely on this Warriors team.

      • fuzzy dunlop

        But that’s my point, that he should perhaps be sitting out to recover as quickly as possible from that quad strain. Pop playing his (healthy, though aging) starters 30 minutes a night is a separate issue.

  26. Was Blake or Curry on the floor same time as Crawford? Or did Crawford play some “1″?

    • cosmicballoon

      Blake was on the floor for the most part with Crawford. However, Crawford did much of his damage with excellent shooting in isolation situations.

  27. Hard to see Jackson go big when he had so many other options. Once more, it was hard for Klay and Steph to find openings, and Lee was covered. 3 on 5 again, except give credit to Bogut for scoring against a fairly weak front court.

    The most important defensive player was Crawford. He was able to push the tempo and score, and the run by the subs put Dallas on their heels and threw them out of rhythm. Without the bench scoring first half, it’s quite conceivable Dallas gets back into the game.

    Yet Jackson was almost dismissive about Crawford’s scoring post game. Bucher repeated the team mantra: they are not going to depend on threes to win. But it’s one thing to launch 3s randomly. It’s another thing to set up good looks for your 3 point shooters.

    I am looking forward to seeing Bogut bang on Griffin tonight, in fact am counting on it. I’d also like to see Bogut take a sledge hammer to a Kia. I would pay to see this.

    • cosmicballoon

      I feel the same way you do rgg, but I suppose we can’t get too worked up about the bigs Jackson went with, including the double bigs for a short stretch in the 2nd quarter (Bogut and O-Neal). Packing the lane against Monta is probably the best defense because of his ability to attack the rim. There was clearly a defensive plan in place that the Warriors executed well. One of the keys to this game was keeping Monta shooting jump shots, especially in the second half.

      The difference between Monta and Curry is that Monta rarely comes off a screen to shoot a three. He’d rather attack the rim. With a big lineup in, Monta was unable to get all the way to the bucket.

      Last night, the big lineup was advantageous for stretches, and the Warrior guard did a nice job sticking with Calderon on the outside.

    • Going big? Much ado about nothing. Popcorn machine says Bogut/O’Neal played together about 2-3 minutes. They played conventionally (Bogut/Lee) a lot but they played mostly small on the second unit with O’Neal/Green and Speights/Green.

      I also thought Jackson was very complementary of Crawford post-game. He noted how Blake has gotten the attention but Crawford is always ready to go and has a gift for scoring.

      I too am fired up about tonight’s game. It is doubtful that they can catch the Clippers but a nice smack in the mouth before seeing them in the playoffs would be sweet.

  28. Steve Kerr. What say you guys?

    • What? As a backup in case Blake gets injured?

      At coach, no thank you. This roster doesn’t need another no-coaching-experience coach. The championship window for the current roster is this year, next year, and maybe one more. If Jackson isn’t the guy, bring in someone who knows how to do their thing fast and more importantly, has a thing. Others should go practice their coaching in Sacramento, Cleveland, Charlotte, etc.

    • A completely clueless GM, who after years of tutelage at Phil Jackson’s knee, figures to be an even worse coach.

    • As announcer, lame. Doesn’t do his homework, delivers only news feed hype. Compared to Barnett, an F at game-time analysis.

      As player, an awesome asset.
      As GM, so-so.
      As a possible coach, no reason to think he’d be good at it.

      What are you asking, EZ?

    • Enough with inexperienced coaches. Jax is still better than Steve Kerr, if changing the coach, let us get someone with experience and credentials.

  29. Klay Thompson Watch (since FB said he was turning the corner)

    14 pts on 10 shots, 3 rbds, 1 asst, 1 stl, 5 t/o’s, 23:50 mins

    I had to think about this one a moment. Good scoring efficiency and solid defense but 5 t/o’s in less than 24 mins? Aggressive or spastic? I’m only scoring ties for missing a game or most of a game like the other day so forcing a decision, I say FB loses this one for a record of 2-1-1. If Klay’s shot hadn’t been falling, it looked to me like he might be lost last night.

    • What you may not be taking into account: Monta Ellis has put 7 or more TO’s on Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy and even Derrick Rose.

      For a bigger player to put it on the floor against Monta is extremely dangerous, if not outright suicidal. As previous matchups between Klay and Monta have indicated as well. Mark Jackson finally took the clue, and came with a different gameplan: Mostly catch and shoot, and back to the basket post-ups for Klay.

      Great gameplan, which Klay executed pretty well.

      I would be OK giving this game a push, with the caveat that the unique matchup and resultant gameplan didn’t even allow for Klay to get a win by driving aggressively. I had your previous incomplete as a clear win in limited minutes, so I have it scored 3-0-1 at worst.

      Remember, in my mind we’re scoring for a change in mindset from passive to aggressive, as evidenced by more driving and post-ups, and less outside shooting. Right? I don’t see actual performance, such as high TO’s, as being determinative. What counts for me is whether or not he settles, or allows himself to be taken out of games.

      • cosmicballoon

        +1. Since Klay hit that game-winner, his turnaround jumper has been spot on. It’s a shot that smaller guards can’t touch. When he is shooting well, it’s a great look. I agree, 3-0-1. We’ll have to see what grade he gets in the next Warrior loss.

  30. Strange game. Popcornmachine shows that the starting 5 held up against the Mavs, but the 2nd team won it. Flat-out, no question.

    I’m pretty sure the Ws don’t want to rely on Crawford’s schoolyard scoring shtick for wins, but man, that was an impressive display! Unstoppable, baby!

    More reliably, there was Draymond, possibly the single busiest player in the entire history of the NBA: 18 minutes, 4 shots (50%), 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists, 2 TOs, 4 fouls and D that held Dirk to 1-4 shooting in the 4th quarter. Not to mention Draymond’s usual defensive mayhem, with numerous altered shots to his credit. The man knows where to be and what to do when he gets there. That’s not just my opinion. Check Barnett’s commentary.

    Any player can do stuff occasionally. Those are routine results for DG, and they don’t even reflect his total impact on the game. Amazing. Even more amazing: That guy, with that impact, is barely acknowledged postgame. On a team with this much talent, he’s only an “also wanna mention.”

    Damn. I’m a bball fan more than a Warriors fan. If Draymond quits looking ugly on offense, he immediately becomes recognized as one of the best NBA players in history, right there next to Havlicek or Don Nelson the player. But that recognition probably won’t happen for him on this team. This team has so much talent he barely gets a mention after a win he made happen even more than the big names did.

    Iggy ain’t right. He scored on a breakaway, but note that Jose Calderon caught him on his “sprint” downcourt. Calderon is a 35-year-old slowpoke. That’s not The Iggy who earned and fully deserved that big contract with the Warriors. Jackson needs to rest Iggy ASAP. We’ve got Serious Business coming up.

    • +1 Note that the post-game interview was given to Harrison Barnes.

      Not that he didn’t play well as well. He is much improved on both ends recently.

      • Yeah. Um.

        Against 37-year-old Vince Carter, Barnes only blew his defensive assignment 2 or 3 times, but not always! Alright! On O Barnes didn’t blow most of his of his gimmes! Yay!

        I’m so glad to hear Barnes’ amazing postgame insights. It makes me want to rush right out and… try to find a Draymond jersey.

        • cosmicballoon

          My two favorite moments from last night:
          a) Barnett opining for Harrison Barnes to take one dribble and attack the basket by saying he could’t remember the last time Barnes did so. It has been delightful to hear Barnett get increasingly frustrated by Barnes flashes of potential.
          b) The shocked look on Bogut’s face when he completed the alley-oop dunk over Monta. (It was an odd play, and I don’t remember seeing the replay).

          • Monta had completely sussed out that play, but couldn’t get high enough to stop it. Bogut couldn’t possibly have expected to score, but did. You’re right, Bogut’s expressions are fun to watch, especially after happy accidents like that.

    • noteworthy, that after my comment about a bizzarro version of green who’d be melanin-challenged and northern euro-gened, marketed as a cult hero, that you chose two non-black old schoolers like havlicek and nelson to compare him with. my choice from that era would be someone with an attitude on defense closer to green’s, also smart enough to coach — debusschere.

      • Gosh, moto, I didn’t even think of that. I guess I’m melanin-unaware.

        DeBusschere is a better stylistic match with Green’s game than either of the paragons I mentioned. But also melanin-challenged, right? Does it matter? That’s a sincere question. I honestly don’t have a sense for the importance of it to other people.

        • in truth, it does not matter, as ‘race’ does not exist. but many erroneous or fallacious beliefs can be sustained and maintained by our socio-cultural constructs. marketing affects pro athletes, and what they get compensated. my point earlier, non-black proficient (and how proficient is amundson, really ?) n.b.a. players probably get a premium added to their market value because teams like to project certain things in the media. when lacob considers barnes as a marketing asset, he’s considering national and international visibility ,with most of the revenue $$ coming from non-black consumers. demarcus cousins projects a very different persona on and off the court than barnes (consider his nickname, ‘boogie’), but ranadive told him he could become the most famous n.b.a. player in India.

  31. What’s at stake for the Warriors in tonight’s game: The four seed, and home court advantage in the first round.

    • Yeah, this is a big game. What’s your bet, FB?

      • The Clippers are much improved since we saw them last. The addition of Big Baby was huge, and Barnes is finally fully healthy and balling. Granger has been added as well, and played well in his last game, but I’m not sure he’s a difference maker at this point of his recovery. Big challenge for our Barnes.

        Is Curry ready to go? Iggy, Bogut?

        Will Jackson get the crossmatch right again?

        If so, I like our chances.

  32. It appears that Mike D’Antoni’s days with the Lakers are over. Kobe Bryant envisions walking the ball up court and isoing himself every play as he chases the scoring record. That is so not MDA.

    D’Antoni is the single best coach out there for the current Warriors roster. He would transform this team overnight into a consensus top three team in the league.

    • GooseLosGatos

      First off, Lakers fans aren’t always the brightest bulbs as they can’t get in through their heads that the NBA is a talent league and their coach and owner are way down on the Lakers list of problems.

      MD is a better coach than his current rep but his lack of commitment to D concerns me and I’m referring to those Phoenix teams that were exposed each & every playoffs.

      And if you think MJ is bad at altering his system to match his personnel’s strengths MD is even worse.

  33. kidd might have picked up a trick or two this season as coach, or from playing against nelson for many years (traded from Dal the season before nelson moved down from NY). Brk is 3-0 vs. Mia this season, last night starting (garnett and kirilenko out) a rookie center, three wings (6’6 to 6’9), and former all star guard williams. a second year Balkan 4 who can shoot 3′s scored 17 for them.

  34. Our starters played well The defeat all about our bench not delivering. Clippers bench much stronger. Bench main issue going forward when we play good teams.

  35. cosmicballoon

    A Clippers writer calling the Warriors offense what it is: “Mark Jackson’s propensity to take advantage of “mismatches” is maddening. It’s just an annoying way of masking inefficient shot distribution and a bit of a cop-out as opposed to establishing an actual offensive system.”

    http://www.clipsnation.com/2014/3/12/5503386/clippers-take-down-the-warriors-111-98

    • Ouch. This guy’s pretty good, btw.

      It’s worth noting the teams the Warriors are modeling themselves after are all struggling now and have always struggled for the same reason: lack of offense. They can only go so far in the playoffs, but they will make them.

      So what.

      Another offensive player would make a difference and help offset coaching constipation. You can’t count on Crawford consistently going on a tear. Blake would help if he were a better shooter.

      • “Another offensive player would make a difference and help offset coaching constipation.”

        rgg, no matter how many times you repeat that idea, I don’t see how having another scorer on the bench solves anything.

        Doc Rivers had his team running a defense designed specifically to stop the Ws simpleminded, predictable offense. Jackson followed his usual script, and did not adjust to the D. Here’s what Rivers did:

        - Bury Curry under a pile of bodies. Restrict his movement, especially at the top of the key. Deny line-of-sight for his passing.
        - Play rough. If necessary, take fouls to do it. Bad things happen to the Ws offense that way.
        - Shut down Curry/Lee PnRs, even if it means permitting others. PnRs with Bogut, JON and Green are not a worry. Most if not all of Lee’s shots last night came from solo scoring efforts, not PnRs.
        - Force poorer shooters to shoot. An Iggy 3-pt attempt is a defensive win, as is any jumper from Green, Bogut, JON or Barnes. You may have noticed that Iggy, Green and Barnes were left entirely uncovered at the 3-point line. That was not an accident, it was by design. An invitation to shoot.
        - The Ws coach likes iso’s. On iso’s, double immediately. There will be no pass out, it’s a friggin’ iso with the whole rest of the offense cleared out to the far side of the floor. No possible pass to be made.

        Things Jackson could have done on offense:
        - Avoid calling iso’s, naturally.
        - Double the PG playmakers. Play Curry+Blake, rest Iggy.
        - Playing Blake with the starters, insert Iggy with 2nd unit and reduce or eliminate Barnes minutes.
        - Open the floor. Playing Blake over Iggy is one way. Another would be to play Speights @ C in the corners and high post, not Green, then attack the rim. NOT moving D Jordan out of the paint leaves Jordan where the Clips want him.
        - Give the 2nd unit some actual pre-designed plays. Blake has done a great job of freelancing, but it has masked the fact that the 2nd unit still doesn’t have any team plays to run. J Crawford is a talented and creative scorer, but 1-on-5 isn’t an offensive scheme, and won’t be successful against good defenses.

        Jackson’s actual response to Rivers’ defense was… none of the above. Same-old same-old, like clockwork. Trust in his players to make things happen. That’s bullshit coaching, a lazy man’s “leadership.” Despite their best efforts, his players were unable to overcome Jackson’s thoughtless effort.

        Mark Jackson lost that game last night. Another scorer or two on the bench wouldn’t change Jackson’s rotations or offensive strategy in any way.

        • One example from last night:

          Danny Granger, who in effect decided the game last night off the bench.

          A good scorer will make up for coaching constipation, and he may be our best hope. But Jackson and Blake don’t have a lot to work with. Blake isn’t a great shooter and Crawford was off. If they were on last night, the Warriors win. They weren’t. O’Neal can only drive, as his outside shot is iffy. If they scored, things happen: space opens up for Green, Barnes, and O’Neal drives.

          • And with a good coach, such a lineup could run with most teams in the NBA.

            One debates what to argue from the sidelines. A good scorer is a more likely fix than a new coach, which I’m betting won’t happen in the next few years.

          • cosmicballoon

            I do wonder how the Clippers would handle a spread 5 like Speights. It would probably force Jordan out of the game because he is a non-scorer. If Lee were to be the only post player in a line-up, the P&R should be open down the lane, especially if the defense continues to blitz Curry.

            The on hold-up is that Griffin and Jordan, when they are playing hard, are beasts on the offensive glass. If the Warriors go small, they have to make sure there are shooters on the floor to outscore the Clips — a very unlikely scenario because of Jackson’s defense first mantra and philosophy.

          • Granger was a defensive challenge for Jackson, not an offensive one. On D, Jackson could/should have simply told Granger’s man not to help in the paint, but stick with the guy. Granger can barely run nowadays, he’s not going to drive past anyone.

            As for Granger being a model for how adding another scorer to the roster would help the Ws offense, well heck, Jackson already has scorers he could have swapped in, if he were willing (or smart enough) to adjust lineups to meet game conditions. Blake, for example. But Jackson didn’t make adjustments. Everyone simply rotated in per their usual timetable and played their usual role, just like always.

            If Granger played for the Ws, Jackson would trot him in with the 2nd unit. Only. He would park him at the 3-point line, only. If the opponent negated Granger’s shooting, Jackson would do nothing, just leave him in and pray.

            rgg, as a fan watching the game from hundreds of miles away, you KNOW who Jackson is going to play when, where and how. Opposing coaches know too, and a good one is able to assemble a plan to negate the efforts of our team’s superb collection of talent. Given Jackson’s predictability, opposing teams can plan and practice a defense against the Ws weeks in advance.

            Mark Jackson the coach is a sitting duck for any good opposing coach. That’s not a personnel issue.

          • cosmicballoon—

            Did you watch the youtube @24? Speights only had to play with the subs to make a difference, assuming, of course, he were developed and that strategy run.

        • Great post, spot on !!