Could have been a win, should have been a win, I don’t really care about that at this point in the season. The Warriors are virtually assured of having a top seed. I was just grateful for the opportunity to finally see a great, competitive game. And to see the Warriors under pressure. We need games like this, against teams like this great Bulls team, to get a glimpse at some of the issues the Warriors will face in the playoffs.
Curry: It was reported that Curry made two trips to the locker room last night, and given how gassed he looked in the second half, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that he had the same thing Bogut had.
That doesn’t excuse that crunch-time turnover though. That was terrible. Curry’s mom should charge him double for that one.
But wasn’t that turnover also on the Warriors’ rookie coach? Curry was trapped right in front of the Warriors bench, and I didn’t see anyone yelling for a timeout.
Kerr made another huge mistake at the end of regulation. That elevator doors play for Klay, which the superbly coached Bulls had no problem disrupting. Leaving the ball exactly where it shouldn’t be at the end of a game, in Iggy’s hands behind the arc. This was a play-call worthy of a high school coach. Right out of Hoosiers.
This is the NBA, Steve Kerr. In the NBA, when you have a superstar, you give him the ball.
Stephen Curry is one of the greatest closers the game has ever seen. Or should I say, NEVER seen? It has been absolutely remarkable how difficult it has been for Curry to get his rookie NBA coaches to give him the ball. Keith Smart’s closer was Monta Ellis. Mark Jackson tried all sorts of stuff before finally realizing that Curry, isolated up top, was the best shot he could get. The best shot anyone in the league could get.
Steve Kerr wants the ball in Klay Thompson’s hands. Wants to run a complicated play for a catch and shoot against a defense that knows what’s coming. He’s done it at least twice now.
I have an intuition about what is going on here. Steve Kerr played with Michael Jordan, and got sick of watching Jordan go one on three at the end of games, and bogart all the game-winning opportunities, while he was standing on the wings wide open waiting for the pass that never came. Or almost never came. It’s infected his thought process. At the end of the game, Kerr wants picks and cuts and reads and sacrifice and decoys and hit the open man and…
Wrong. Dead wrong. You have a superstar who can get his shot off against anyone, from anywhere on the floor. Out to 28 feet. The greatest off the dribble shooter in NBA history. And potentially the greatest closer in NBA history.
Four flat on the baseline. Stephen Curry isolated up top. There is nothing the Warriors could possibly run that is as difficult to defend as Curry all alone with the ball in his hands 30 feet out.
There was a close-up of Curry’s face as he was inbounding the ball for this last play. Rewind the tape, and take another look at it. He hated the play-call just as much as I did. It’s all over his face.
Curry is simply too nice a guy. Too much the good teammate. Jordan or Kobe would get right in Steve Kerr’s grill and tell him just give me the damn ball and get out the damn way.
It’s Swaggy C time.
Klay: I didn’t write a word about Klay’s record setting performance because what could I add? He’s now reached the point that Curry reached with me a long time ago, where the best thing I can do is sit back and enjoy, along with everyone else.
One of the more outlandish statements I made regarding Klay before the season, was that I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 25 points a game , up from 18 last year. He’s now at 23 for the season. In a mere 33 minutes a game.
But he’s averaging 26.4 for the last month. In less than 31 minutes.
One of the last things to pick on with Klay is his rebounding. It’s a pet topic of Gary St. Jean and others. I’ve never gotten that, as when I’ve watched Klay I’ve always seen a very talented rebounder. I have said in the past that when he plays small forward, he can rebound with anyone. He’s got the knack, it’s just something the Warriors rarely ask from him. His role has been to defend on the perimeter, and leak out when the ball goes up.
Well, with Bogut out last night against the huge Bulls front line, the Warriors asked Klay Thompson to stay back and rebound. And he delivered.
Derrick Rose: One of my least favorite players in the league. I just think he’s a terrible point guard, no vision, no instincts, no touch on his passes. Did you see him fire those 100 mph bullets off Pau’s hands?
Rose is the Colin Kaepernick of the NBA.
David Lee: There was a very interesting difference between this game and the last. Steve Kerr went away from the triangle, and started getting Lee the ball on the move. Quite a bit of pick and roll — with glorious results — but also some clever play calling that got him open in the lane.
Unfortunately, in crunch time the Warriors went away from Lee altogether, which perplexed me. Weren’t the towering, lumbering Bulls the perfect target for Curry-Lee pick and roll with a spread floor?
Lee sat in overtime, which was also perplexing. Perhaps Kerr thought he was gassed, and didn’t want to risk injury?
The Warriors crunch-time execution fell apart last night. A pity, and a missed opportunity.
Green: Fantastic against Gasol in the post. Less effective when Thibs started getting Gasol the ball on the move. If I were Thibs, I would simply try to get Gasol face-up shots from the free throw line against Green. The adjustment that LaMarcus Aldridge made.
Noah paid Green a big compliment after the game: “Draymond’s a hell of a competitor.” Coming from Noah, that means something.
Barnes: I thought he was pretty solid last night. He is a much, much better defender when matched up against power forwards.
Iggy: When the Warriors first signed Iggy, I predicted that he would cost them games in the fourth quarter with his poor free throw shooting. This was such a game.
It wasn’t just the two he missed. It was the two he was afraid to take. That’s what happened on the play that Steve Kerr complained to the refs about. It wasn’t on the refs, it was on Iggy. When he saw that his opponent had left his feet and he was about to get fouled, Iggy took a crab dribble under the basket to escape the contact. A high school player would have known how to go up strong and take the foul. It wasn’t about that. It was about FEAR.
We saw the same thing earlier in the game, when Iggy passed up a fast break opportunity to fling the ball back out. We’ve seen it throughout this season, in fact. Jim Barnett has remarked upon it, though never directly mentioning Iggy’s problem, of course.
If Iggy is going to play scared, then he has to sit. Simple as that.
Livingston: 10 inconsequential minutes.
The Warriors are going to need a real backup point guard in the playoffs.
Is management going to address this problem, or are they too ego-invested?