Game 6 — Warriors 100 Clippers 99: Green Day

Got the opportunity to join my buddy Micah Brown courtside for this Warriors — Clippers game 6. Micah goes back to the days of Bill Russell and the Cow Palace, is one of the Warriors’ longest season ticket holders and most loyal fans, and knows everything there is to know about the game of basketball. No one in the world I’d rather take in a game with.

Thanks, Micah!

Micah Brown

Anticipating victory.

Pace: After regressing in the last game, the Warriors once again picked up the pace in this one. They even pushed it a couple times after made baskets, Curry memorably going coast to coast after a Jordan dunk one time.

14 fastbreak points is not enough, though. If the Warriors are going to win game 7, they’ve got to get out and go.

Officiating: In Mark Jackson’s defense, it is really hard to run when a game is officiated as tightly as this one. All of the foul calls slow the game to a crawl, with the ball being inbounded, rather than rebounded.

This was a horribly officiated game, on many levels. Whatever happened to the concept of a playoff foul? Of letting the big men play in the playoffs?

It should be noted that calling the game this tightly works strongly against the Warriors’ interest. As the smaller, short-handed team, they are badly in need of leniency when wrestling around the basket. And as the team which relies on the fastbreak and the open court to free up its superstar, the endless trips to the free throw line are deadly.

Most sportswriters severely underrate the impact that officiating can have on a playoff game. Coaches and players know better, but can only mutter about it under their breaths. The style in which game 7 is officiated will go a long way towards determining its outcome.

Don’t think the league office doesn’t know this.

Turnovers and the Demise of Pick and Roll: A very big reason why the Warriors managed to win this game is that they only turned the ball over 8 times. Curry himself only had 2.

It was clear from watching him that this was a point of focus — he took far less risk, in particular in splitting the double team.

But note that Mark Jackson made a major adjustment to help Curry avoid turnovers. Less pick and roll with David Lee, meaning less pick and roll involving the extremely long DeAndre Jordan. And more pick and roll with not only Draymond Green — who sticks his picks longer than Lee, because he’s less of a roll threat — but also with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.

Curry was still blitzed, but as he mentioned post-game, he found it easier to turn the corner, and also to pass over the top.

I’m sad at the early demise of the Curry/Lee pick and roll, though, and the far less efficient offense that has resulted. Doc Rivers has been conceded this battle. Too easily? I wonder whether a different head coach might have found better adjustments. Or been able to live with the turnovers.

A coach like Mike D’Antoni, for instance.

4th Quarter Isos: I didn’t hate these last night. Context is everything, and in this particular 4th quarter, Curry/Lee pick and roll was unavailable.

Klay Thompson and Jordan Crawford were the primary targets. Klay was clutch over Redick. Crawford failed to hit his shots over Collison. But note how successfully he backed down Collison, to create 10 footers for himself. And note that, unlike Harrison Barnes, Jordan Crawford is normally extremely efficient from midrange. This is his wheelhouse, and I am all over Jackson’s decision to use him this way.

Speaking of Barnes, he got the final iso of the game, and I was all NoNoNoNoNoNo YES! And he buried those free throws. Nice job, Mr. Barnes.

The Press Conference: Did you all catch this extraordinary bit of Mark Jackson theater? “This team won’t be here next year.” “Someone’s lying.”

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a coach make a playoff game all about him in quite this fashion. Extraordinary. And it appears from this performance that Jackson is utterly certain that he’s finished on the Warriors.

I can’t wait for the game 7 performance.

(On a side note, and for what it’s worth, I was seated directly across from Joe Lacob last night, and his body language was absolutely terrible. He seemed completely morose the entire evening. I understand he’s mourning the latest collapse of his signature signing. But even so….)

Draymond Green: Because of the struggles of the headliners, Curry, Klay and Lee, it was apparent to all that this was his game. Another monster performance.

From my courtside perspective, his rebounding was spectacular. Because frequently, as the ball neared the rim, I couldn’t even see Green. My view of him was completely eclipsed by the bigger Clipper bodies in the paint. But then, as the ball came off, Green would suddenly soar into sight, and snatch the ball out of the air. It was incredibly dramatic, and the crowd around me went nuts every time.

Green doesn’t have the hops of Charles Barkley. But he has his knack of being the first off the ground.

And maybe just a little of his toughness.

David Lee:  I also got to witness at close quarters the battle royale between Lee and DeAndre Jordan in the paint. David and Goliath, indeed. Jordan got his rebounds in this game, but Lee did a terrific job of keeping him away from the offensive boards, and the alley-oops. And took a hell of a beating in the process.

He was of course denied the opportunity for payback by the shift of the Warriors offense away from him.

If you’re going to compare Lee and Green by the defense they play on Blake Griffin, you must start by recognizing that Mark Jackson helps Green with double teams, but hangs Lee out to dry in single coverage.

And why is that exactly, Mark Jackson? In particular, why did you do that in crunchtime, when Lee had 5 fouls and was a sitting duck? Griffin has not exactly been efficient in beating the Warriors’ double teams. In fact, you could say he’s been extremely inefficient. So why not double there?

It could be that Mark Jackson has been influenced by three years of watching David Lee play extremely good post defense against Griffin and Love and Aldridge.

But I don’t think the David Lee we’re seeing right now is the same guy we’re used to in the regular season. I think this David Lee is playing on one leg.

It would be nice if Mark Jackson found a way to keep him on the court.

Klay Thompson: Where did he go? I think Mark Jackson forgot to call his number last night. Jackson tried to rectify that at the start of the second half, calling an iso, and using him as Curry’s pick and roll partner. But he was already ice cold.

Thompson’s size is a big edge against the Clippers’ undersized backcourt. Jackson needs to remember that in game 7. 4 shots in the first half is not enough.

Iggy: Hit a big crunchtime shot, but the Warriors aren’t paying him $12 million to play JJ Redick even. He needs to DOMINATE this matchup, and that simply didn’t happen in this game.

And he needs to give his free throws a chance to go in. Every one of Iggy’s missed free throws last night bricked off the back rim. This has nothing to do with form. It has to do with brains, and Feltbot’s Law. Short is better than long.

Does no one on the tattered remains of Mark Jackson’s coaching staff know this? Maybe Draymond Green can whisper the law in his ear. Green has figured it out.

Mokur: 12 and 6 with a block in 12 minutes. +5. Hate on, haters.

If I were Mark Jackson, I would seriously contemplate starting Speights in game 7, to bear the brunt of Blake Griffin’s opening wrath. He’s not afraid of Griffin, and doesn’t give him an inch.

Easy boys, I’m not suggesting limiting Draymond Green’s minutes. Just adjusting where he gets them.

To keep him on the court, capisce?

As for Mokur’s shot, I must confess he’s not worthy of the name I’ve bestowed right now. I got a close up look at his shot last night, and it’s a mess. He’s squeezing at the top, aiming it. His free throws remain beautiful rainbows, but his outside shots are errant darts.

Let it go, Mokur! Let it fly!

Barnes: The injury to O’Neal forced Barnes into more minutes against the bigs. And although that’s a tall task for him, I thought he performed admirably. In general, I much prefer him defending big than defending against guards. He’s so much better as a stretch-four than as anything else.

Jermaine O’Neal: Sorry to see him go down. But it’s not like it was unexpected, going against this frontline.

He gave his heart and soul to this Warriors team this season, and far more great play than we had any right to expect. Signing him with the expectation that he could be the primary backup center, and last out the season, was extraordinarily naive on the part of Joe Lacob.

Although not nearly so naive as trading for Andrew Bogut, and re-signing him for 3 years and $36 million.

The Sixth Man: Did you happen to notice that Jordan Crawford was brought into the game to play POINT GUARD, while Steve Blake was benched? Regular readers of this blog know that I have been arguing for this move since… well, since the day the trades were made.

And did you happen to notice that the bench unit had a positive +/- for the first time since… well, since the first time?

Jordan Crawford can create off the dribble, Steve Blake cannot. Crawford can exploit mismatches. Blake cannot. Crawford can push the tempo. Blake cannot. Crawford can EXPLODE. Blake cannot.

I wrote before this series began, that if Mark Jackson wanted to give his team a realistic chance to win, he must take the reins off Jordan Crawford.


This will never be more true than in the upcoming game 7.

The Warriors have had a 6th man ever since midseason. Mark Jackson and the godawful, misbegotten, Kent Bazemore for Steve Blake trade turned the Warriors 6th man into their 9th man. Buried him.

It appears that in this, the likely next-to-last game of the season, with all his lumbering centers unavailable to him, and Nellieball the last recourse, Mark Jackson finally saw the light with regard to Jordan Crawford.

But just in case, I’ll frame one last plea to him, in terms I think he might understand: Mark Jackson,


67 Responses to Game 6 — Warriors 100 Clippers 99: Green Day

  1. Beautiful Mr. Feltbot and man do I agree, let’s hope Coach Jackson does as well.

  2. all great points, not much to add, the fight in these dude’s is in. they delivered with foul trouble, mo and barnes, since i was almost expecting a collapse when leegreen got to five and then lee out. bad freethrowing, but clutch in the end by green and barnes where i said to my father, this boy gonna miss one at least. fittingly ending with skillful fast free throw of curry to hit the rim backboard and fast out – a clutch miss.
    let’s do this!

  3. cosmicballoon

    Well, Lee is injured and so it CP3. He has shot decently from the perimeter, but his overall quickness and floor game is way down compared to previous meetings with the Warriors. He’s doing the best he can guarding Curry, but it’s definitely taken its toll on his playmaking and overall activity level. I also credit Klay’s spectacular defense. He stays in front of CP3 better than anyone I’ve seen (I don’t watch the Clips much, but I have seen many of the their nationally televised games).

    Draymond was sure a diamond in the rough. Rgg — you need to give some credit to the Warriors staff for helping Green improve his physical conditioning and his outside shot. When he was drafted, his three pointer was nonexistent and he was chunky. Now he’s a serviceable shooter and he is able to play heavy minutes and make a difference late in games. Same with his FT shooting (Actually let’s credit Feltbot for that — THE LAW OF FELTBOT).

    In regards to your law Felty — it’s important for players to get the ball above the rim and to use a consistent shooting motion every time. The proper place to look at while shooting is the back of the rim. A consistent motion, proper arc and follow through will result in many free throws going in. It is true that missing long rarely allows the ball to go in the basket, but the actual act of making a free throw is less about keeping the ball short and more about great mechanics. You should probably avoid a “law” that you have no actual evidence for except the eye test.

    • Actually, Green lost weight off season, on his own, though perhaps this was encouraged.

      It’s hard to dismiss how well the guys play together and play for the coach. There is another script that can be written: Jackson, with two successful seasons and a contract, eases up, builds confidence, and learns—and builds a staff he can work with. He also mentioned there would be more assistants, obviously.

      We have no idea about his relationship with the organization or what has transpired. But he has been in a pressure cooker, not of his own making. We also don’t know what he’s been told and what he’s been told to do. I can sympathize with him in one respect, we’re both bullheaded. Everyone told me so and everyone had advice. Only in retrospect do I realize most of the advice I was given—which I didn’t follow—wasn’t very good.

      • I should finish my thoughts—

        My point at the end being in Jackson’s case (as mine), he has to be allowed to figure things out himself. I seriously doubt he is getting good advice.

  4. Great, great, great, Feltbot.

  5. F, very insightful — but you, even you, do not value MJackson’s role in creating a defense that Clipper fans grudgingly, reluctantly, now admit is stifling — and that the rest of the NBA still doesn’t see. Defense is hard, unrelenting work. It doesn’t take a master tactician as much as players who are willing to get in the way, and staying in the way, of other players determined to blow by them, or roll over them. For this huge part of the game, it takes a motivator. Speaking as a confirmed Heathen, I can see & appreciate many other styles of motivating than the one used by the Preacher, but what he’s doing Works. Steve Kerr may have cool ideas about how to free up the Warrior’s shooters, but we will be losing something if Jackson leaves..

    • the preacher should get credit for everything his team accomplishes, partial credit in most cases including defense. keeping “motivation” as a separate factor, on the coaching side, Malone and Erman might be more responsible than jackson. iguodala playing many of j.jack’s minutes, green taking many of landry’s minutes has to result in better defense. the motivation thing differs player to player. West contends that the strong comptetitors don’t need a coach for it. bogut, iguodala, green, three of the best defenders on the team, don’t rely on a coach to motivate them. curry, a professional who clearly sets high standards for himself, wants to win for his coach but his effort is self-motivated. it’s possible that younger guys like thompson or barnes are affected positively by jackson’s urgings. to me that all adds up to partial credit to the preacher.

  6. Not sure how many saw this already, but Magic Johnson heaped some extremely heavy praise on Draymond Green the other day:

  7. Jim Barrnett did not go along with the idea Jackson is somehow indispensable, due to his motivation. To the contrary, he states the players have integrity and will give their best effort for the coach management hires.

    He also said the Warriors are playing into the Clips hands when walking the ball up court.

    • I didn’t listen—is that recent? I’m surprised Jim would say that, especially now. He’s usually supportive and neutral, at times independent. I hate to think the FO put him up to that and he gave in.

      He’s right, of course. We have also seen the guys play their hearts out under bad coaching from Jackson and lose and get thrown under the bus, post game.

      My reservation is that Lacob will start all over again, possibly with another inexperienced coach, such as Kerr, or some other lesser light—who’s out there? Or a coach who fits closely his vision of the game.

      My greatest fear is that Jackson might be fired not because of losses, but because he didn’t make Warrior Brand of basketball work—walk it up, post it up, play big—and that Lacob plans to keep trying, this is spite of all the evidence it doesn’t work and all the evidence that the alternatives suit the team. Look at the title of the previous post—”sins of the past”—Lacob’s words. He’s tried to get rid of every Nelson influence he can, or every perceived Nelson influence, especially in the roster. He fired Smart because he said he was too much of a Nelson guy—again his own words—an utterly baffling statement when you think about how Smart tried to play.

      We have no reason to think Lacob gets it. In four years, he hasn’t yet.

    • Jim, of course, may have been freely speaking about his own reservations about the coach. Any details? I’m not going to listen.

    • As a former player, Jim Barnett’s opinion about a coach’s ability to motivate players is in line with that of most NBA players I’ve heard. Nelson agreed with him too.

      People who have a tendency to goof off always find a way to do so. In a competitive environment, they’ll always get beaten out by people who are self-motivated. There is no more competitive environment than the NBA. That means rah-rah from a coach is irrelevant.

      There’s a somewhat different motivational element that is important, though: a player’s belief that his effort will be rewarded. On that score, Jackson’s track record is WORSE than most NBA coaches.

      Does anyone feel Barnes earned the right to play more than Brandon Rush, D Wright and R Jefferson? How “motivational” was that, to those players? They were all too professional to say so, but they must have all felt screwed.

      Draymond has been a force all season long and has found a way to DOMINATE in this series, but if Jackson is the coach next year, does anyone think Dray will be a starter? You have to credit Green himself – his skills, smarts, and self-motivation – for always kicking ass on the court despite Jackson’s failure to recognize his contribution.

      Speights has outplayed JON for most of the season. Bazemore is a very good player who was humiliated by Jackson’s use of him. Douglas STARTED for Miami at times this year. Think any of those guys felt they got a fair shake from Jackson?

      Really, I don’t think Mark Jackson is a good motivator at all. Quite the reverse.

  8. Meant to ask—do we get to hear from Micah? Looks like a great guy.

    • Micah’s hoops knowledge is dispensed daily across the green felt of the big no-limit games in the Bay Area.

      You’re welcome to join him there. But best to bring more than one buy-in ;)

  9. The best of Steve Kerr:

    Kerr also considers it vital for Carmelo Anthony to re-sign, so accepting the job would mean he’s convinced it will happen.

    Kerr also is excited about installing the triangle offense — which would be difficult to do in Golden State without Jackson’s help.

    Next season should be educational, hopefully in NYC.

  10. Apparently D’Antoni left the Suns because of Kerr (2008):

    The breakdown between D’Antoni and his bosses stem from well-chronicled philosophical differences. Sources say D’Antoni considers Kerr’s strategic suggestions to be meddlesome and representative of a lack of support from the front office after the Suns averaged 57 wins over the past four seasons, three of which ended with playoff losses to the execution masters from San Antonio.

    And note this:

    The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site Tuesday night that the Bulls’ interest in the defense-first Johnson is declining, which could be another indication that Chicago is focused on landing D’Antoni. New York did interview Johnson on Tuesday — with new team president Donnie Walsh flying to Houston to meet with him — and still has ESPN analyst Mark Jackson on its radar as the presumed favorite for the job if the rebuilding Knicks can’t convince D’Antoni that they have more to offer than the Bulls.

    • More on Kerr (from Widipedia):

      On Feb 6, 2008, reports surfaced that Kerr was planning to trade Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat in exchange for Shaquille O’Neal, which he did. The Suns were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

      On December 10, 2008, Kerr continued to remake the Suns roster by trading away Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and the Charlotte Bobcats 2010 Second Round draft pick.[13]

      On June 25, 2009, Kerr decided to trade the 5th all time leading scorer, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a future second-round draft pick and cash.

      The names speak for themselves—which are in the playoffs now? And the Suns descended from D’Antoni’s four 50+ seasons.

      This is Lacob & Son’s boy. We should be eternally grateful to Jackson and the Knicks. I hope.

  11. The Warriors won the extra possession battle by garnering an astounding 8 extra possessions for the Warriors ( 6 offensive rebounds plus 5 steals, less 3 turnovers). Rivers will do everything tonight to stop that and will attempt to win the extra possession battle. We can’t give Cliippers 5 or more net extra possessions and have much chance to win.

    The best thing going for the Warriors is that CP3 appears seriously hurt. CP3 taking limited number of shots and hitting a low FG percentage not likely to get it done tonight for the Clippers. But if he hot both shooting and getting assists the Warriors are in a world of hurt, unless both Barnes and Redick are off.

    Tonight’s Thompson night to show what he made off,Unless Thompson gets hot tonight doubt Warriors will shoot much above 40% from the field. Curry should do quite well tonight.

    Speights will be more effective if he takes less distance shots.

    To be frank, neither team performed very well in the 6th game.

    Crawford could be positive”x” factor, but doubt he will given his penchant for taking high degree of difficulty and contested shots.

  12. Don DeLillo:

    Longing on a large scale is what makes history. This is just a kid with a local yearning but he is part of an assembling crowd, anonymous thousands off the buses and trains, people in narrow columns tramping over the swing bridge above above the river, and even if they are not a migration or a revolution, some vast shaking of the soul, they bring with them the body heat of a great city and their own small reveries and desperations, the unseen something that haunts the day—men in fedoras and sailors on shore leave, the stray tumble of their thoughts, going to a game.

    from Underworld, opening page

    • this is a variation of how the larger brain capacity has blessed and cursed the primates who became hominids. abstraction is one of the sources of longing, angst, neuroses, ambition, greed. going off beyond the far horizon or across the water into the unknown.

      • It’s also a way to express pregame jitters.

        • DeLillo’s introductory chapter once appeared by itself in Harper’s (back when magazines published literature) under the title of “Pafko at the Wall.” It’s at the top of my list of favorite American works. The time and setting involve Bobby Thompson’s game-winning home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers that won the 1951 NL Pennant for the New York Giants. The game tonight feels like that.

  13. felt boss, when you referred to lacob watching the ‘latest collapse of his signature signing’ did you mean bogut or barnes ? barnes distinguished himself by accomplishing the least in the minutes he played in game seven. the preacher stayed true to him ’til the end.

  14. That was some stuff, too. Just not enough.

    They got their Mo-Jo working (Speights/Crawford). They had plenty of Green. But what killed them was Clipper shooting, which came back second half. They had to keep scoring, keep pushing, keep moving the ball for openings. Slowing the pace third quarter especially hurt—less ball movement, poorer shots, traps. And Lee and others kept making futile drives on a night the refs weren’t calling fouls.

  15. this is fucking painful for a sunday morning…

  16. Rivers is talking now and just said the Clippers were moving the ball so fast that they were getting good looks for shots and dunks. And they made the shots. That was their threat, not the size difference. Griffin and Jordan didn’t have monster games.

    And moving the ball is what the Warriors weren’t doing. They had to keep the pressure on.

  17. Barnett repeated his point about Lee’s outside shot. If his shooting was off—and I don’t believe it—he should have practiced it religiously and been fed a steady diet all season so he’d have had it tonight.

    I don’t think Bogut made that much difference, if any, certainly if he can’t score and he’s slower on defense.

    They won games 6 and almost won 7 because they finally got their MoJo working (why wasn’t that done sooner?). Because they went away from posting up in the paint but moving the ball around, because they didn’t pack the paint with bigs on defense but because they had a quicker and more mobile team defense. Because they didn’t play Warrior Brand of basketball.

    And Warriors Brand of basketball, I fear, is what they’re going to try again next season.

  18. Valiant effort but not much chance of winning given that the Clippers had a net plus seven in extra possessions for the game and the Warriors forced to play small ball without both Bogut, and O’Neal being limited, which allowed the Clippers to shoot 55% from the field.

    Kudos to Speights and and Crawford for shooting so well, and the bench shooting close to 50% from the field. Green was simply magnificent.

    Thompson came up short in a game he needed to come up big.

    Although I hope this was Jackson’s last game, he shouldn’t be blamed for losing game 7.

    In order to improve the roster, the Warriors should consider making major trades this off-season.

    • safe to guess, myers will be shopping for a significant change to the roster. the UT trade was set up so he could deal the first round pick of ’15 the moment this summer’s draft is done. the only other assets attractive to other teams would be green or thompson, speights is a neutral asset with the length and size of his contract. if jackson goes, one player it might affect the most is thompson. if the lacobites aren’t confident they can keep him from testing the market (where multiple teams are likely to enter the bidding), the right deal could pry him loose.

  19. I had to watch the game in a bar tonight, but was able to follow the events closely.
    Harry Barnes futile flailng beneath a DeAndre Jordan dunk , on the teams most important defensive possesion of the year..

    The team battling, ultimately running out of gas .

    I think the Clips are the class of the Western Conference , if CP3 is healthy.

    And the W’s basically lost a coin toss. This series was that close.

  20. warriorfaithful

    what I think is Lacob has such a tight hold on whoever his coach is because he wants the team to play in Lacob’s style of basketball. It will be very sad but not shocking when Mark Jackson gets fired and he spills the truths of the Warriors Front Office and then this whole team will be a mess. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Jackson is actually a decent head coach (well of course with some errors) but has been restricted to playing big man basketball because of the owner. Perhaps all the Iso post ups were Lacob’s idea of traditional basketball? Who knows. What happened during Game 7 and such a new game plan designed by Mark Jackson (but nothing new for Feltbot) may have been the final straw and act of defiance by Mark Jackson to play what is actually HIS brand of basketball. Letting Jordan Crawford loose and letting Speights play the Spread 5. We may never know.

    I’m all for conspiracy theories and what not but why does Mark Jackson emphasize “OUR brand of basketball” over and over and over. Is “OUR” referring to the organization as a whole with Lacob and Co. who want their team basketball played a certain way? Would love to hear anybody’s input on this. Or am I just crazy and drowning in the fact that my beloved team’s season is over?

    • Why didn’t Mokur and JordanC play more minutes?

      To me, their limited minutes was a mistake, especially playing HBarnes instead of Mokur during the duration rzzmark at 19 references.

      • cosmicballoon

        Limited minutes ALL SEASON LONG. Thanks you Mark Jackson for under developing your bench.

    • WF, you could be right about Lacob’s bball philosophy driving the team strategy and playing time. At one point this season Jackson said about Barnes that “some guys are going to get their playing time regardless,” which suggests that Jackson didn’t have much choice about Barnes’ minutes.

      We can’t know how much Lacob meddled on the bball side unless somebody spills the beans. Maybe Jackson will, someday. Maybe even Lacob will. If he admitted something like that it certainly wouldn’t get him fired, and he might get some benefit from the admission. For example, he could use it to justify keeping Jackson next season, and/or not making any significant roster changes. It would be sort of a way for him to say “things will be better” even if the team makes no changes in the offseason. And Myers doesn’t have a lot of latitude for roster changes this summer.

      On the other hand, I’m pretty sure Lacob couldn’t gain anything by telling Jackson to bog down the offense with a lot of iso’s, or to not give the 2nd unit any set offensive plays. Those choices are on the coach.

  21. Fabulous game, beautifully coached and played. I would love to recap, but unfortunately too much stuff going on this weekend. Perhaps in a couple of days, if further events don’t overtake us by then.

    Take it away, guys…

  22. All the Warriors players in after game interviews made the point, when asked if they were playing Game 7 for Coach Jackson, that they were playing for their team mates and for Coach Jackson. I think the players want the fans and ownership to know if Jackson goes, they want to hold the team together, play their best, and win a title here with Golden State. I also think the players know things could have been done differently during the season and in the playoffs that would have improved their results. Just my take on the interviews.

  23. “All I know is this: Once I was blind and now I can see.”

    John 9: 26

    Scorcese ends his masterpiece Raging Bull with this scripture, more ambiguously than ironically. It is appropriate and appropriately controversial to end the Warriors season with it as well.

    In the movie, we see a fighter win brilliantly and get pummeled on the ropes for no discernible reason. There is no thematic revelation, no character growth or recognition. The movie just ends. There’s a point here that makes a profound statement in literature, but sports is not literature and that understanding for it is meaningless.

    I felt at the end of the movie exactly as I do now at the end of this season, battered and blind. I can’t see a damn thing.

    And there’s no reason to believe vision will be restored next season.

    The first problem in the organization is that it did not recognize what was good about the team. And this was a very good team. Their near victory over the Clippers was hugely significant. We had every reason to think, with a few minor additions and readjustments in strategy, they could have done very, very well this season, as Feltbot predicted. We were constantly surprised by brilliant performances. Anyone watching the team closely, even and especially the year before Lacob took over but also the years after, would have realized possibilities in players and strategies that simply were ignored, perhaps because they were not even recognized.

    Talents were not brought out in the team, or the talent the team had not played to advantage. Much of the fault falls on Jackson, for all the reasons reviewed here over the season. They are obvious. But Jackson had to play with the roster he was given, players who did not come as promoted or fit with the abilities of the rest of the players, yet they got major minutes and Jackson had to build around them. We still don’t know who brought in Blake or what Jackson’s input was. We do know he was benched for the playoffs.

    But Jackson was in a tough position that would have clouded judgment and frozen him up. It looks like he is leaving, and he had that possibility in mind all season and definitely was aware of it in the playoffs. Apparently it would have taken a second round win to keep his job, but we don’t know that and maybe Jackson didn’t either. The owner was going to wait and decide. Most likely Jackson was judged by an abstract and artificial performance standard beyond which Lacob cannot see past. But Jackson may have violated other clannish practices not related to winning.

    And he wasn’t in a position to admit weakness and seek advice. It would only solidify doubts in the owner’s head. His bullheadedness plays a factor, but a head coach has to be in a position where he has support and full control, where he knows he can make mistakes. These Jackson did not have. Maybe he’s at fault for the exile of the assistants, but we still don’t know his role in selecting them or his freedom in listening to their advice. At any rate, his was the job that was on the line, not theirs.

    But what kind of advice could he have received from the FO? There is no collective intelligence in the organization that has brushed ground with the experience of managing and coaching a team in NBA play. Bracket West, because he has bracketed himself, though an argument still has to be made whether his advice is relevant. Instead, all we have received from the FO are dated, received notions about the game, along with sketchy desires that do not add up to anything coherent. There may also be some personal biases in play, not recognized. The decision to play big and defensively may reflect more on the owner’s personality than it does the realities of the game.

    Nor is it an organization that freely talks. AW noted in his tweet no one was speaking up for Jackson. But who is there? Everyone has rubber stamped everything Lacob has said. We see no evidence of free debate or constructive dissension, no airing out of opposing views that might have led to better understanding. Lacob made sure of that when he fired Nelson without even talking to him. Listening to him would have cost nothing.

    The owner wants a championship more than anything, he says. I’ve said it before: the best way to build a mediocre team is to try to make a good team great. We have every reason to fear that Lacob will tear up this team and try again, possibly pursuing some other “star” whose light has caught his attention. And he will bring in a coach who will play the way he thinks the team should play. If inexperienced, we will have to wait years for anything to develop. And he will probably be put on a short leash as well.

    I hope I’m wrong, of course. Perhaps Lacob has learned something and needs to be cut some slack. And many of his difficulties must have come from Jackson. But we haven’t seen anything to give us hope here, certainly not when we consider his choices for the next coach. And there don’t look to be many good options.

    Meanwhile, four years have passed, and it looks like they’ll bring four coaches.

    There are reasons why we are so attached to the players, to the game, to the team. It’s why we watch so many games night after night, why we are so critical, because our expectations are high, and why we are let down when they lose. Our moods, our hopes, our sense of reality, of life and its possibilities, are in play for six months, and when something is done well, we see possibilities opening up. Most we want to think we matter, that our efforts matter, that our talents will be developed and recognized and put together in meaningful form. Sports give us an alternate picture to the tedium of our world, and, unlike the phony ads and PR we get from the organization, they are authentic.

    All of that Lacob has put aside so he can stare at a trophy.

    • I should deal with an irony here. I said the assistants’ jobs were not on the line, that Jackson’s was. But there’s good reason to suspect he had a significant hand in getting Erman fired and Scalabrine relocated. Their jobs probably weren’t at risk from the organization’s point of view, perhaps rightly so. Jackson is awfully proud, and we know what that goes before. Did he feel threatened or did he overreact? However, he might have been in too tight a spot to loosen up.

      Likely, we’ll never know.

    • Nothing new here, rgg, though I noticed you left out one of your recurring fears, the one about Myers’ lack of options for upgrading the roster. It must have slipped your mind.

      Completely disagree with your assertion that “the best way to build a mediocre team is to try to make a good team great.” If that were true, attempting to perfect a team would be pointless. And the continuing effort to achieve perfection is the whole point to sports, isn’t it?

      As with everything, the devil is in the details. There are lots of pitfalls, and no single path to success, and sometime the right strategies don’t work out.

      Years ago, a recently-retired CEO (I think he was from GE) admitted that he was right only about half the time. He required a disciplined, thoughtful planning methodology, but was realistic enough not to expect plans to always work out. That’s life. There are lots of ways for a basketball team to improve, and sometimes a combination of marginal improvements is the best path forward. I think the Warriors are in that position. If they made no roster changes this summer but improved team play (especially among the 2nd unit), they’d do better. Better enough to win a championship? Maybe not. But maybe.

      The fact that we Warriors customers don’t hear clear statements about the team’s vision doesn’t mean they don’t have a vision, just that they don’t see any corporate advantage in discussing it publicly.

      It’s fair to speculate about the inner workings of the organization. It’s quite possibly as dysfunctional as you fear. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that we have no actual facts at our disposal, just rumors and supposition. Here’s the way of it: press releases are only released to achieve specific business purposes. Anything else purportedly emanating from anonymous “sources” allegedly with inner knowledge of the team is “rumor.” Neither is “fact” in any reliable sense. The only portion of the “news” that is really meaningful is the agenda that it might represent. On that basis, Feltbot’s guess about Jackson’s imminent departure is probably correct. Lots of people pushing an anti-Jackson agenda is trouble for Jackson.

      I probably owe you an apology, rgg, for the snotty tone of some of my responses to your posts. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed your missives this season, and absolutely do respect your intelligence and insights. I find I’m suffering from a little basketball fatigue at this point, and sometimes the repetitive nature of our discussions feels tedious. I’ll revert to perky and sunshiny again next year, I promise.


  24. Thanks, Feltbot, for all your time and insight this season. It helped me get through and made it meaningful.

    And thanks for teaching us patience in this series. I gave up on them early. I also was not surprised they did as well as they did. Such is the life of a Warrior fan.

  25. Surprised so many players stepped up offensively last night but we still lost because we couldn’t defend inside. We needed to shoot more 3’s last night. Warriors needed more from Thompson. Regressed from
    last year’s playoffs. Shot 44 percent shooting two’s. Not good.
    Draft pick this year not good.

    Really have to add players who can get to foul line and can get extra possessions. And a coach who has team run.

    Crawford shot poorly in playoffs.

    Iggy had great playoff series.

    Given that we lost Jack and Landry and adding Iggy, and some fillers, our winning a few more games this year seems reasonable.

  26. TK’s latest release:

    “But Jackson is extremely sensitive to questions about his or Pete Myers’ X-and-O acumen and probably would not enjoy a conversation along these lines.

    “Why? Because Jackson believes Michael Malone, the Warriors’ No. 1 assistant before leaving last off-season, received too much credit for the Warriors’ game plans.

    “The Warriors executives have been contemplating this for about a year now, once extension talks with Jackson broke down last off-season.

    “Which is what led to the reports of Jackson’s shaky status and the general atmosphere of instability and intrigue (and two dismissed assistant coaches) over the last year.”

    I didn’t know that contract extension talks broke down last year, but I don’t keep up that much. The organization has used TK for news releases before, though it’s hard to tell what is TK’s interpretation, what he has been told, and what is actually true. I smell some truth here, however, and it doesn’t speak well for Jackson.

    Curry’s closeness to Jackson just isn’t right, and Curry will have influence. Both need to keep distance. Curry would have witnessed locker room turmoil, and his vote here may not be in anyone’s best interest.

  27. Feltbot just tweeted this Amick piece on religion in the locker room:

    Which puts the issue in context, though really doesn’t confirm suspicions. Doc Rivers speaks his mind.

    • cosmicballoon

      We don’t know a lot related to Jackson’s use of religion in the locker room. Do the Warriors hold a team prayer at the beginning of games? I don’t know. He has been revealing with the media about his religious beliefs…does he push it on his players, or have the Warriors assembled a team of players with common beliefs? I don’t know.

      We will probably find out in a couple of years…most likely when Bogut retires or moves on to another job. He oa the guy who will talk candidly. Also, I would like to hear Steve Blake’s perspective. He will certainly be moving on.

      • if you read tolbert’s observations about his attempts to talk to the players before the games, it’s pretty clear that most of them are in the chapel or prayer assemblies at those times. bogut is conspicuously absent out of the top eight (starting five, green, barnes, o’neal) from the preacher’s prayer circle ; jackson’s congregation is described as non denominational, but that is often a euphemistic term for ‘all purpose’ protestantism, new testament based. bogut’s parents emigrated from Croatia, predominantly catholic, and he can sometimes be observed crossing himself in that manner, in contrast to the pious, heavenward gaze of the preacher’s flock like curry.

        • cosmicballoon

          We still don’t actua know much. And then there is the unequivocal support from his top players… I just think the religion thing has been played up by the media. As far as we know, no one, not even the assistant coaches have complained, and Lacob has continued to allow it. Clearly it is not the problem.

          The problem lies with his offensive philosophy and inability to utilize bench players. What we saw this year was not good…notably not even coming close to maximizing this team’s offensive potential and relying on isolation with two or three of the top passers at their position on the floor.

          But back to the religious stuff. It’s rare to have players come out in such vocal support of a coach and Jackson has clearly earned that. Curry and Igoudala are anything but stupid and they have both come out saying that they like Jackson’s coaching style and that he should be back. They are inside the building. We and the pundits are not, so that makes me think the media have missed big time related to this story.

        • moto, the simple fact that we’re having this discussion about players’ religious beliefs is precisely what’s wrong here.

  28. As a business owner, I guarantee that Jackson’s religiosity is a concern for Lacob, an issue he feels he must monitor at several levels.

    Among other things, Lacob would have to be concerned about any appearance of favoritism based on religion. I wasn’t the first to notice that the players who went to Jackson’s Easter church services were all among his most-used players. You can bet that Lacob was the first to notice it.

    I am not saying Jackson favors his flock. I am saying that the appearance of favoritism is something professional managers (like Lacob or Doc Rivers) take steps to avoid.

    I’ll also say that coaches and other middle managers who do not follow their boss’s lead on touchy issues like the appearance of favoritism tend to have short careers with those bosses.

  29. Why has no one asked Harrison Barnes his opinion of Mark Jackson? Perhaps he has declined comment?

    • Perhaps no one cares what Harrison Barnes thinks.

      Perhaps Barnes is considered more Problem than Solution, making his opinion suspect.

      Perhaps asking someone to critique their boss returns only meaningless rahrah answers. Curry and JON volunteered their opinions.

    • Your question about Barnes is answered here, Feltbot:

      “He doesn’t discuss his Christianity or political opinions—not because they’re personal, but because they could turn off potential fans and consumers.”

      Also note:

      “Barnes arrives to his interview with Jason Zengerle in a conservative suit and gold tie.”

      “Barnes says that athletes ‘gain a lot of capital,’ as if they were startups seeking funding. . . .”

      And Freeman’s observation:

      “While star athletes increasingly consider their personal brand to be a major part of their careers, most seem to realize that it’s not the thing itself—that the sport comes first and that the brand should reflect a person’s interests and beliefs as often as possible. Barnes, on the other hand, almost seems to wish to erase his personal life entirely to make himself so bland that no corporation could ever turn him down.”

      Barnes seems to have found another cult to follow. Is there any doubt why Lacob fell in love with him? In both cases, however, basketball seems to have been left behind.

      • Eric Freeman is the author, btw—we see him at Yahoo.

      • It is interesting how much Barnes’ views align with Lacob’s:

        “He at one point elaborates that, in Zengerle’s paraphrase, ‘players are akin to pieces of inventory that, if they don’t produce, get replaced by other pieces that do.’ Some teams, like the Spurs, have established roles that don’t change across eras, but Barnes is likely the first prospective pro to refer to the league’s complete roster as a set of interchangeable parts.”

        Although I would argue, following the old school business model I grew up with, that the Spurs are better businessmen. They make more efficient use of their resources to produce a superior product. Lacob has been lavishly wasteful in his expenditures to acquire players for image—

        —such as Barnes. Count in the cost the year of the tank, all the unproductive minutes Barnes has played, then add the value the team might have received had they traded him at a propitious time. Lotta red here.

    • It should be noted, however, that Barnes has had close ties to Christianity:

      “Basketball hasn’t made Harrison Barnes famous. The top high school recruit in the country believes, in his heart, that his gifts are from God.
      ‘Faith is the basis of [our lives],’ said Barnes’ mother Shirley. ‘One of my proudest moments was when [Barnes] was in third grade, he was the only person in our church to go to Sunday school 52 weeks consecutively and he got an award for that. I think that is the only time any person has ever done that.’”

      “It’s who I am and who I want to be defined as,” Barnes said. “When people look at me, I don’t want them to just say, ‘There is a good basketball player.’ I’d rather them say, ‘He’s a good Christian.’”

      He struggled early with separation of church and state, however.

      “As a freshman in high school, Barnes came up with the idea to start a Bible study group. Shirley was wary of the idea. ‘I was like, Harrison, you know, you’re a freshman. We’ve got to separate church and state,’ Shirley said.”

      Yet he persisted and tried to get converts.

  30. Curry is really stepping up his defense of Jackson:

    And again, I can’t help wondering he’s losing critical distance.

    When Nelson was fired, I think Curry gave a “what the—” reaction. His defense of Smart was polite and measured—and hardly whole hearted, not surprising when you consider how Smart treated him.