The Real Spurs: Spurs 107 Warriors 92

I wrote after the Warriors victory over the Spurs in Oracle that the team they beat wasn’t the real Spurs. And of course, I heard it from some of the diehard Warriors fans afterwards. Maybe now they know what I meant. A rested and healthy Spurs team, at home, is far different from the ghost that wafted through Oracle at the end of a February road trip.  

Are the Spurs now rested and healthy? Well, Splitter was out for this game with a calf injury. But the guys I would be worried about if I were a Spurs fan are Ginobili and Parker. Ginobili suffered a sprained ankle in March; he doesn’t look all the way back to me — not even back to his previous level of advanced decrepitude. Parker has had hamstring issues this season that completely robbed him of his game for a time, including the last time these two teams met. And to my eye, he’s not even close to his championship form. Remember the Iggy of last season? That’s what Parker looks like to me. Three-quarter speed.

But Duncan is ageless, and Kawhi Leonard is finally back from his own extended injury absence and period of rust, and in this game at least, that was all the Spurs needed.

So now the big question: Was this the real Warriors team that the Spurs just mopped the floor with?

Probably not. This time it was the Warriors who weren’t all there mentally, on a road back to back in April with absolutely nothing to play for. As Steve Kerr put it in the post-game, “They wanted this game more, and it showed.”

Nonetheless, I think this was a great game to learn things about the eventual matchup between these two teams. (These two teams will meet in the playoffs, won’t they? I think it’s virtually assured, no matter where the Spurs are seeded.) Both teams had close to their whole rosters available, so we got to see how the matchups work, how the coaches see the matchups, what kind of adjustments might be made, and what kind of adjustments almost certainly won’t be made.

Here are a few of the main themes that I think will be featured when these teams next meet, in the order they occurred to me during the game:

Kawhi Leonard vs. Harrison Barnes: I have been known to… ah… casually mention The Black Falcon’s abject mediocrity on defense from time to time. It was a theme in this game, and it will be a major theme in the playoffs. To Kawhi, Barnes is nothing more than a tasty little pigeon.

Dare Kerr stick with this matchup in the playoffs? Highly doubtful, he didn’t even stick with it in this game. And quite obviously, Kerr made a big mistake with the starting matchups. He could have opened up with Dray on Leonard, and hid Barnes on Matt Bonner (a matchup we saw work in the Warriors favor in Barnes’ rookie season).

But will Pop open the series with Duncan at center and Matt Bonner at power forward? Also doubtful, if Splitter is healthy. But maybe he’ll be forced to, if Dray is hitting his threes? Ah, the intrigue.

Barnes and Green vs. Themselves: Barnes and Green were a combined 4 for 18 and 0 of 6 from three. Worse than that, if you take away Kerr’s garbage time generosity to Barnes. Performances like this will guarantee losses in the playoffs to the Spurs.

I am of the opinion that this duo will need to average 30 points a game against the Spurs for the Warriors to win. And will have ample opportunity to do so, because as in this game, they will be completely unguarded. Pop’s chief tactic will be to take Curry and Klay out of the game with Leonard and Green. Make the Warriors beat his team with Bogut, Green and Barnes.

Bogut worked in this game, Green and Barnes didn’t.

No layups: This applied to the first quarter only, when the outcome of the game was still in doubt. Draymond was hacked twice going to the basket, and sent to the line, where both times he made only 1 of 2.

I think this will be a theme in the playoffs. The Spurs are uber-deep on the front line, and can afford to foul. And the Warriors have a lot of shaky free throw shooters in Bogut, Green, Iggy and Barnes. Their ticket to the line is going to get punched.

Parker – Duncan Pick and Pop, Pick and Roll: The Warriors have literally no defense for this if Parker is healthy. Take a look at the two-play sequence beginning around 8:30 1st Q, I believe. The immobile Bogut didn’t come out of the lane to defend this on the first play. Boom, a patented Parker midrange jumper (Or was it Duncan? Same thing, really). The second time around, Bogut did try to get closer to the play. Boom, Parker went right around him for a layup.

Bob Fitzgerald’s Special Moment: There was a time I was going to make this a regular feature of my blog, analyzing that special moment of the game when Fitz witlessly parrots the talking points handed to him by Warriors PR, but I grew weary of repeating myself. But now, with Curry locked in a highly publicized MVP battle with James Harden, Fitz has latched onto a brand new management chamber pot to dump on the unsuspecting heads of his listeners.

Stephen Curry is holding opposing point guards to 37% shooting!!!!!!!!

I’ll bet you didn’t know that. And I’ll bet you didn’t know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Curry is backed by Bogut and Green and the league’s number one defense, which smothers most opposing point guards’ layups, and that most of the time when those point guards force a switch, it’s only to come up against an athletic 6-7″ wing who takes away their jumper, and that the league’s number one offense forces them to walk the ball up after taking the ball out of the net, limiting their fast break opportunities.

That 37% has nothing to do with that. No, it’s all Stephen Curry, all-pro defender. Right?

Look, I’ve been a defender of Curry’s defense since he was a rookie, and it was a wildly unpopular stance. But this talking point is ridiculous. Not just in itself, but also in its obvious target, James Harden. You know, that guy who never plays defense?

Yes, that guy. That was last year, when playing defense was completely futile for Harden. This season, with Trevor Ariza on the other wing, his defense has improved enormously. As I predicted. The Rockets are the 6th best team in the league in defensive efficiency, without a healthy Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley for most of the season.  So just how bad could Harden’s defense be, for Pete’s sake?

It’s not bad, it’s good. And if you don’t believe that by the fact of the Rockets’ great team defense, then check this out: Harden’s patented Feltbot Defensive Snapshot (steals + blocks per 36) is a sterling 2.6. (Those who want more on FDS, see: Comment 23 and Comment 15)

Yes, I went there. Hey, this is Draymond Green’s favorite sausage stat. As he’ll tell you, steals and blocks “show effort.” And if that’s the case, Harden’s defensive effort this season — as opposed to last, when his FDS was a still decent 1.9 — is simply off the charts.

I firmly believe in Stephen Curry’s MVP candidacy. There are a number of great arguments for it. But this intelligence-insulting Bob Fitzgerald talking point is not one of them.

Second Unit Offense: Sorry for the digression, let’s get back to it. I tweeted during the game: “Kerr’s no-spacing, triangle, second unit offense is to Pop’s high PNR offense with a stretch 4 and stretch 5… as Pop Warner is to the pros.”

Let’s face it, Kerr’s second unit offense is an absolute disaster, that in my opinion would only have been made worse by Shaun Livingston’s non-shooting presence. And the worst thing about it is that it simply doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at 10:11 4th Q, which is the closest Kerr has come this season to getting David Lee a PNR with a spread floor. If the Warriors ran that 20 straight times with Lee, they’d get 20 buckets. Or at worst, several trips to the line and several perfect passes to wide open three point shooters.

It’s not going to happen, that’s obvious to all right now. Kerr intends to stick to his system, come hell or high water. Lee didn’t get another opportunity until 7:58 4th Q, a PNR out of triangle action, when Mo Speights and his man were back parked under the basket, forcing Lee to pull up early.

I keep coming back to Don Nelson’s dictum: “If you’re going to play David Lee, you darn sure better go to him…” Steve Kerr is better off benching Lee than playing him as just another cog in the triangle.

And I think that should have you worried about the Warriors second unit against the Spurs. I know I’m worried.

Kawhi vs. Iggy: Iggy didn’t look much better in this matchup than Barnes. The much bigger Kawhi simply steamrolled him.

Isn’t it obvious that the Warriors need Draymond Green on Kawhi at all times? And isn’t it obvious that the Warriors will need Draymond Green on Lebron at all times, should that matchup occur?

How will Kerr manage that when the Spurs and Cavs open up with big lineups? Will Kerr change his rotation, or will he continue to serve up Black Falcon on a platter, with fava beans and a fine chianti?

The Popovich Defense: When Curry got hot in the third quarter, Pop responded by putting a bigger defender on him. In the playoffs two years ago, that defender was Danny Green. This time it was Kawhi Leonard. And the results were unsettling.

Curry has proven vulnerable to this tactic in the past. Both in the playoffs, and earlier this season, in a game when the Thunder put Kevin Durant on him for a quarter, and completely shut him down.

We’ll see this for real in the playoffs. In fact, it will be worse, because Pop is still hiding aspects of this defense from Kerr. The part where Kawhi picks up Curry at halfcourt, and ices him away from the pick.

Kerr’s adjustment: After a few assorted turnovers and disasters, Kerr responded to Kawhi on Curry by taking out Bogut, and going to the Draymond at center lineup.

And throwing away his system in favor of real, honest to goodness NBA pick and roll with a spread floor. The first high PNR of the game occurred at 3:55 3rd Q: Draymond layup. The second occurred on the next possession: Draymond put-back.

And that was the end of it. Duncan punished Draymond for an inside bucket at the other end, and Kerr abandoned ship.

He brought in McAdoo to play center just as Popovich, reading his mail, took Duncan out for the outside shooting Baynes. But that’s another story.

To Festus, or Not to Festus: Kerr initially brought in Festus to play center on the second unit, but quickly abandoned that in favor of Speights. The reason? I think it can only be that he needed the spacing against the Spurs defense.

Will this problem get better or worse when Livingston is playing?

All Ball: Speaking of Mr. Livingston, I find it interesting that the league suspended him for an unintentional act. Either that, or they’re calling him a liar.

Not a good look.

Curry’s Charlie-Horse: Late third quarter, Curry took a nasty Kawhi knee to the thigh while running a curl under the basket, and Kerr yanked him a few plays later, conceding the game. That got me thinking. One of the ideas behind playing Curry off the ball in a passing offense is that it helps keep him from wearing down, right? We have all seen how much energy he’s expended in the past battling the blitz in PNR.

And this idea has worked. In the regular season. But I wonder if it will keep working in the playoffs… If the opponent’s strategy is to beat Curry up whenever possible — and you can bet it will be — will they get more opportunities to beat him up out on the floor in pick and roll, or running under the basket on curls?

Can Curry take a whole series of Kawhi Leonard knees and elbows?

Klay Thompson: We all know that Popiavelli’s chief strategy against the Warriors will be to take Stephen Curry out down the stretch. And it looks like this season that will involve Kawhi Leonard as well as Danny Green.

Whichever All-World defender Curry draws, Klay will draw the other. Because taking Klay out of the game is next on Popiavelli’s list.

That’s why Barnes and Green must both come up huge for the Warriors to survive. But it’s not enough. For the Warriors to survive, Klay must also find a way to come up huge, no matter who is guarding him. Klay must turn the corner in his playoff career, starting right now, with the embarrassment of this game.

Two years ago, the rookie Klay Thompson got completely taken out of the series by Kawhi Leonard. Disappeared, off the face of the earth.

In this game, same thing. That simply cannot be allowed to happen if the Warriors are to beat the champs. And it shouldn’t ever happen. Not at this point in Klay’s career.

What should Klay do? Well, it actually starts with Steve Kerr. I don’t know if you remember early in the playoffs against the Clippers last year, when Mark Jackson simply forgot that Klay Thompson was on the team, and being guarded by JJ Redick, and got him 0 shots in a half, and I think 4 total for the game? What happened in this game is somewhat similar. The Spurs simply denied Klay the ball, and denied him three point shots, and Steve. Kerr. Let. Them.

By let them, I mean this: there are times, against great teams with great defenders and a great coach when your motion offense will simply not get your best players shots. It will not even get your best players touches. They are being denied. When that occurs, you must break your system to put the ball in your best player’s hands. The way Phil Jackson broke the triangle to let Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take over, the way Don Nelson iso’d his best players when the illegal defense rules made that a slam-dunk, the way Pop has run high pick and roll for Parker and Ginobili, and McHale the same for Harden.

If you want to get Klay Thompson going against the world’s best defenders, Steve Kerr, just give him the damn ball, and set him a pick. It’s not your precious system, but it is the real world of playoff NBA basketball when you have a superstar in your pocket.

The rest is on Klay. And by that I mean that he has to get himself to the line. He cannot allow himself to coast through zero free throw performances like the one he had tonight. Blanketed by the length and physicality of Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green, he has to find a way to put the ball on the floor, drive the lane and Beard-Mode his way to the line. Over and over and over again.

If the Warriors are going to get by the Champs, Klay will have to man up, put on his big boy shoes, and fulfill his superstar promise. All game, every game.

It’s that time of year.

194 Responses to The Real Spurs: Spurs 107 Warriors 92

  1. thank you, guv. had almost the same notions as you, re. the need for scoring alternatives to curry and thompson, but my nominees were/are green and iguodala. better ball handling, another safety valve on offense who can make decisions, better defensive coverage on or off the ball with the mercenary vet rather than the prized lottery pick. but that is part of the drama whoever the playoff opponent might be, who gets the crunch time minutes at the wing other than thompson.

  2. Excellent.

  3. Art Vandelay

    Great stuff as always.

  4. feltbot wrote:

    To Kawhi, Barnes is nothing more than a tasty little pigeon.

    man i laughed so hard reading that! hilarious. wonder what lebron would think of barnes then. him posting up down low vs. barnes–do you think barnes has a prayer?

    i wished we could play the full-strength spurs (and perhaps cleveland as well) more often, so we can read your words of wisdom.

    i agree with you: barnes, green, bogut et al. had better embrace contact and attack the basket inside. i believe the champions (until dethroned) have the tools to frustrate and limit curry and thompson over a series. i know–it was a road back-to-back and the dubs had nothing to play for, and no SL…but we were shellacked. anyways, this all adds a little drama to the end of the season. cross our fingers that we avoid major injury and as kerr continues to preach, get better and better every game.

  5. Maui Nellie

    This was one time when Kerr’s pregame chat was better than his postgame.

    https://soundcloud.com/warriors/steve-kerr-pregame-4515

  6. Maui Nellie

    Remember those first 2 playoff games with the Spurs in the 2013 Playoffs? Mark Jackson played Curry 58 minutes in the 2 OT Game 1, and the Dubs (with a weary Curry) went ice cold in the 4th quarter, blowing a 16 point lead with 4 minutes left in regulation.

  7. good game to think about matchups – more interesting then stomping on the competition, right, otherwise it’s no fun – as i posted elswhere (and mainly as a derivative of feltbot’s influeneced thinking) – two simple things – do not waste the defense of green on bonner, which rather means do not guard kahwi with barnes. if you want start first two minutes as usual, but then put green on kahwi, move daid lee in, if pop is playing splitter, or move barnes against bonner (though, i think lee could do well on bonner as well). that’s one of the adjustments will need to be made (pertaining to cleveland as well, do not start guarding lebron with barnes, get green in there to not let him feel the blood, lee or barnes on love).

  8. and yes, as for offense, you can’t beat spurs at their own invented game, so i do agree, a little bit more of hero ball – as we saw for a stretch before the claw from curry, a little bit more of asking for lee to go into the paint from rolling off high/side pick, green though tried with mixed results, and klay, yes, because if he gets it going kahwi is on him, then curry will have to step up and shake green.
    i think this is the matchup where a little bit of superstar power game is needed, pop is better than kerr, so kerr has to find simpler solutions, not try to win at who’s co*k the biggest at drawing/setting motion/flex plays.

    and run run run, run for their lives.

    • the ‘simpler solutions’ hypothesis is reasonable on face value ; it puts the game more with the players than the coaching. most of the woeyr players however are unproven in advanced playoff competition pressure and we don’t know if they’ll lapse into their casual and overconfident persona, or just hesitate and have lead feet for one or two plays that shift the outcome. and if the coaches see that, do they really know the players deeply enough after less than a full season.

      even against modest competition like Ind the team has struggled against defenders committed to transition and perimeter defense. of course they’ll break out and run up some scores, but an opponent needs to slow them just enough four times in a series.

      • well, it’s true that warriors players lack experience in playoff situations, that’s where the spurs advantage is, but so is even more for our coach.
        still, i saw curry go on one of his beast mode 3 minutes to kill parker, that got kawhi on him. and were thompson to have a good game, it could have another outcome altogether.
        and that was a simple solution – let curry handle and create his shot with one or two half screens. not running around and geting banged almost to the point of injury.
        and so when he gets kawhi, thompson needs to step up. or if kawhi fails (which is not beyond curry’s abilities – to find ways to punish kawhi), spurs might have to double curry, and warriors were quite good this season in playing off curry double teams.
        and maybe do that to start the game, so you don’t get into a hole.
        plus i think it’s easier to stop enough warrior perimeter attack in one game than do that in every second game,which would be needed in series.
        yeah spurs are great.
        warriors have curry.

  9. GooseLosGatos

    Sober does of reality.

    In the big picture, this loss may well be a positive as it will make the Warriors reexamine their difficiencies before the playoffs.

    Essentially Feltbot is saying he’s not favoring the Warriors to beat the Spurs should they meet is my read on his piece.

  10. Languages are one of my relatively few passions in life Moto and your point about the Basques’ really jumped out at me. My boss is an American-born basque pureblood and over the years I’ve gotten to know his French Basque Country emigree parents. They are very unique individuals and the language factor shines some lite on this, for me. Senior has more than once talked about how the Basques are direct descendent of the StoneAge Pyrenees cave dwellers…

    I know Kawaii has been out for a period but he put on a Defensive player of the year performance last evening. He can actually defend large swaths of the floor at one time on his own. That game was sobering but Feltbot pointed out some positive mitigating factors.

    I play hoops too Hat, and in my long and illustrious career have never managed to make a play like Livs on Dirk. But I’m usually not guarding a guy 5 inched taller than myself. Regardless, if the Lacobs want to ship out Shaun becuz of moral turpitude so be it, as he is an odd fit to the Cube, 63-14 be damned

  11. great analysis Felt. I was surprised the Dre was not able to handle Kawahi, think b2b definitely one of the reason if not only reason. You also said it best and rest assured it will be come playoff time when you said this.

    “Isn’t it obvious that the Warriors need Draymond Green on Kawhi at all times?”

    I could be wrong but I think in playoffs against spurs Kerr will try to keep one of Bogut and Ezeli all the time on floor same in addition to having one of Curry and Klay on the floor most of the time. If Speights gets hot as he was in lot of games, we would have had a much closer game.

  12. On 2nd reading Felt, I’m not as optimistic.

    I think Ginobelli and Parker will miracously recover, and Kerr won’t adapt to the Spurs stymieing his motion offense.

    Curry, Bogut, Green, and Iguodala will have to take the game in hand, especially Super Star MVP Curry, which is an idea you elucidated previously. And yes, Klay has got to man-up.

  13. Thanks Feltbot. Finally we got a tournament caliber test.

    You’re asking for 30 points from two players who average 12 (Green) and 10 (Barnes), neither of whom can create well for themselves, most especially the latter. And I’m not so certain Barnes will be left dead open this time. They need other scorers.

    • Or they need to stop the other guys from scoring. Note that we didn’t even see SA at full strength. Wait until Splitter comes back.

      In my nightmares I keep seeing Pop starting big with Splitter and Duncan, and Kawhi on the wing. That matchup begs for Lee to start, Dray on Leonard, and Barnes where he belongs, on the bench. At least that way Timmy won’t get rebounds, and Dray is the Ws ONLY hope against Leonard. But Kerr won’t do that. If Green guards Kawhi, he’ll put Barnes on Duncan. Rookie coach.

      The great thing about Pop is that he constantly changes the look of his offense – big/small, slow/fast, and then throw in multipositional Diaw and run the offense through him. An opposing coach has to keep up. Who knows if Kerr will? After seeing Kerr bang his team’s head with The Triangle last night, I doubt it.

      The Ws have had a great run, but when they face the Spurs – and they will – it’s Spurs in 6.

    • Getting other scorers—here’s a game to look at, an OT win against the Spurs full strength, starters playing heavy minutes, no Bogut, little Ezeli, Biedrins starting and playing limited minutes:

      http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400278542

      Note how much Curry and Klay were shut down (11-31). Note the contributions of Lee (22 boards, 25 points) and Jack (30 points, 10 assists).

        • Maui Nellie

          rgg, that game you referenced was a regular season game from 2013. How about this 2013 game instead, Game 4 of the Dubs/Spurs Playoffs, which the Warriors won in OT @ Oracle to tie up the series at 2-2. Barnes had 26 points and 10 rebounds but Curry and Bogut were both playing on gimpy ankles, a fact that impacted that series along with the Spurs huge experience (AND coaching) edge over the very young Dubs.

          • Note Barnes’ defense on Green @ 0:10. It typifies what we see in varying degrees, his inability on defense to react quickly and anticipate moves.

            If Barnes didn’t do something once in a blue moon, we wouldn’t know who he was. I’m defending a solid player in Lee who has consistently put up double doubles his entire career against all manner of teams.

            But isolate the full Barnes highlights for that game, below. What amazes me is how weak the Spurs defense was on him. You also see him take on Parker, one of few mismatches he can exploit. You know Pops will adjust. Barnes did score well in the 5th game, a lopsided Warriors loss, and shut Barnes down in the 6th and final game. Pops managed the series all the way for a convincing win.

            He was 9-26 in that game—do they want to make him a primary scorer again? What are the odds here?

  14. The up-coming Griz contest might prove interesting.

    Will Allen start and guard Curry and will JGreen start and guard Thompson?

    • don’t expect much from the Mem visit. with their recent upset loss at home, separation between the second through sixth(SA) teams tightening, their priorities will likely be on their preceding contest, a visit to LA and the rivers gang, who’d love to displace them as the third seed.

  15. Felt, what is your prediction if warriors face off spurs in playoffs. So far,

    hat – spurs in 6
    marc – Spurs in 6
    harry – warriors in 6

  16. Maui Nellie

    Lots of NBA talk on Monday’s Grantland Podcast (“Bill Don’t Lie”) with Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/grantland/player?id=12630135

  17. bloodsweatndonuts

    It is entirely unfair to say that Fitz is being given talking points by Warriors PR staff. This is completely underrating his ++ suck-up skills. Based on his entire Bay Area body of work I can assure you that Bob Fitzgerald is a true sycophantic savant. He has perfected art of working a pseudo-logical narrative at the expense of objectivity and integrity. He is a true master of his craft and you, sir, are selling him short.

    • Abject apologies. I am duly chastised.

    • This is *not* a criticism of Bogut or a denial he is a useful player.

      What most drives me crazy about Fitz is his fawning over Bogut. I pointed it out to my son, who has the good sense not to pay attention, and he went crazy too.

      I don’t know who started it, but the argument has been made that the Warriors cannot win without Bogut. Fitz said it one game, I saw it in an ESPN online pregame (Strauss?), and the TNT announcers repeated it the other night. Their evidence? The Warriors are 9-5, now 9-6, when Bogut does not start, and so much better when he does.

      Notes:

      9-5 or 9-6 is a very good record.

      They brought in emergency substitutions of Ezeli, who is still close to being a rookie and hadn’t played much, or largely Speights, a compromise center.

      In one of the games, Curry did not play.

      Two of the losses were that disastrous Christmas week when everyone was off.

      They only lost to Chicago, then at a peak, by 2 points, split with OKC, and defeated Toronto while they were still hot, though beginning to decline.

      Another loss was to Memphis, when Lee didn’t play.

      They did very well without Bogut.

    • Fits is an institution at this point. Fortunately we have JB to counter-balance his brilliance.
      Comparing the Spurs and W’s rosters, GS has 7 swing men in the 6’6″-6’8″ range, all with speed and young(er) legs. I’m counting 2 on the Spurs- Kawaii and Green. Bellineli, Manu, Bonner, and Diaw can be run in an up-tempo game. I’m not saying they’re bad players, just that the Warriors have a real team advantage in speed, youth and depth. We can swarm them in a series and tire them. Throw in Steph, Leandro, Festivus, and have Andrew concentrate on D when he plays. If we slow to a half court crawl our goose may be cooked. And Kawaii will engulf Steph as he crosses half court, as Feltbot noted

      We just have to run and get Steph and Klay looks. dray and HB will get open looks and should shoot better than the recent one -game sample. One caveat, Stephs gonna need to play big minutes, which is why we’ve been keeping his minutes down, correct? For when it matters

      Kawaii will also log big minutes. Not sure if it’s possible to tire this guy out. He’s a real freak of nature.
      If all else fails Liv can go Dirk on Timmy!
      (Joking)
      Thnx for letting me continue to comment Feltbot

  18. The Spurs have a marginally better
    offensive system then the Warriors
    simply because they have more
    options built in to each play than
    the Warriors do.

    • The Spurs also run more P&R than the Warriors.

    • Frank, the options are irrelevant if you don’t have the personnel to execute them, which requires accurate decision making, precise passing and timing, understanding the court and positioning from all five players, and five scorers on the court who know not just when but where to take their shots. at best the woeyrs get four out of their five on the court capable of all that.

  19. What was Kerr thinking , having Curry make a tough drive with 9 sec to go?

    • Note Felts tweet — Barnes toasted again. And now I am starting to doubt his help D as well. Green talked to Barnes about fouling Davis after Green had him stopped.

    • He was adopting Mark Jackson’s coaching philosophy, in a nutshell RGG. Ride Steph and pray to the Good Lord. That was a pretty entertaining game to watch, from what I saw of it. Bogut gave Fits plenty of motivation to emote.
      I’m not sure who is a better 1st rd matchup at this point, Thun or Pcuns. Neither is real scary. NO can’t play, or shoot, any better than they did tonite, and they barely pulled it out over a disinterested GS team.

      Klay and HB have two straight bad games. I’m not worried about Klay

      Guess everybody’s Googled Hannah Stocking by now. I was using my bros iPad one nite and her pics came up when his wife accessed it the next morn. I denied it was me and got a laugh when she queried myy brother about it

    • Kerr would never in a million years think about ISOing Stephen Curry at the top of the key on the last play, ala his former teammate, Michael Jordan. Kerr believes in team basketball, and running a play, right down to the final second.

      Does he have it right?

      • btw, replay Kerr’s final timeout, and watch him regard Gentry with scorn before he whiteboards the final play.

    • It was taking the ball out of Curry’s hands, down 1, and running a play for him with 10 seconds to go I questioned. I forget who had the ball then. If he made it, NO still had plenty of time to win. If Curry were running the offense, he would have managed the clock better.

  20. Disagree Moto. Decision-making on
    What option to go to are easy to
    make. As execution of the various options
    are run over and over again at each practice.
    The Warriors run the most original, unique,
    and best plays in the NBA, except they have
    far less options than the Spurs run.

    Also, the Spurs defense disrupts and funnel
    their opponents offends inside. The Warriors
    don’t do that at all.

    Team I helped won State HS Championship. Then
    went to 6-team State tournament of Champions and
    made it to final game which they lost. Finished 29-4.
    Great year.

  21. Spurs have been playing together under the preeminent execution coach for how many years? Dubs were iso happy until this year, so they have 1 season under their belt executing, Kerr is a rookie coach, he’s not Popovich. In a vacuum, who should execute better?

    Spurs are the reigning champs, and are as battle hardened as they come. Dubs are thrilling and maddening. It’s going to be an amazing playoffs, but I don’t see this all coming together until next or the year after.

    Don’t hang up your keyboard just yet FB – we’re really going to have something to watch in 2016 and 2017.

  22. GooseLosGatos

    Best article ever written on Drymond Green on Grantland this morning – extremely thorough & well researched.

    • Maui Nellie

      “Verbal sparring runs in Green’s family, and his bravado is welcome on a team full of quiet, confident types like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala.

      “He talks shit to everybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

      “He’s talking to us, himself, the coach, the other bench,” Thompson said.

      “If you’re having a conversation about potato chips, then he’s going to make sure his opinion [is] heard,” Iguodala added.

      That attitude has made him a Golden State crowd favorite and injected the Warriors with a badly needed strain of toughness. At home games, when Green is introduced with the starting lineup, the applause for him rivals the cheers for MVP front-runner Curry.

      “I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m arrogant,” Green said. “I’m just confident. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an asshole. I just don’t take no shit. And I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m disrespectful. You’ve just got to earn my respect.”

      http://grantland.com/features/nba-golden-state-warriors-draymond-green-michigan-state-spartans/

      • Too bad the article focuses on Green’s yakking, rather than his brilliance. The guy should not be able to do what he does, but does it anyway.

        At the same time, after decades of pickup ball I can guarantee that a few well-placed words can make a world of difference.

        “You ain’t going right. Beat me going left.”
        “You ain’t getting past me. Shoot it, Slo-Mo.”
        “Go for it. See what happens.”

        As Dray says in the article, it’s not about disrespect, it’s just one of the little things that makes a difference.

        To me it seems that the article was written by someone who never played street ball. If Dray talked Streetball on an NBA court, he’d be tossed from every NBA game he ever played in.

  23. Bogut, btw, has been much more active lately than I think we’ve ever seen him. His work on Davis and the rest of NO was impressive.

    Fitz still drives me crazy. He said his being out allowed Davis to take off 3rd. quarter, when much of his scoring was from the outside.

    • GooseLosGatos

      Mark my words – Bogut will have a big playoffs.

      Bogut has a lot a lot of pride & will want to dispel the ‘Bogus’ jabs.

  24. Steve Kerr on teamwork and chemistry (Feltbot @20):

    “He believes it’s the role of the General Manager to put together the right group of people to make chemistry happen. In the NBA, Kerr says it’s crucial to get the right people in the right place, because even the most talented athletes won’t thrive or contribute to good team chemistry if their values and behaviors are not aligned with team culture.”

    http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/video/steve-kerr-fostering-team-chemistry

    • Values and behaviors – and playing style.

      Kerr won’t say “playing style,” but it applies to Livingston big-time. Livingston has been benched by Kerr several times, and now even suspended by the league. He still slows down the offense. He won’t even take a shot from the free-throw stripe, not because it’s too far, but simply because it’s not one of the two or three spots he chooses to shoot.

      I was a big Livingston booster when he was signed. No more. Now the team has to work around his Issues, and it has had numerous negative results, including making Lee an immobile Triangle Big.

      You want post work, get the rock to Lee, not Livingston. You want D, put in Holiday. He’ll even toss in a few 3s to keep opposing Ds honest.

      You want to run the 2nd team offense with one hand tied behind its back, play Livingston. He’ll stop ball movement and do his little butt-to-the-basket dance while ignoring his teammates.

  25. cosmicballoon

    Did anyone get the feeling that NO is destined to give the Ws a rough 1st round series? It has a little bit of the I believe feel to it — Warriors as the 1 seed cracking a bit toward the end of the season, and NO peaking at the right time to make the playoffs….

    Obviously the personality of the We Believe team was much different than the A-Davis led Pelicans, but they are a little bit scary. Just sayin’.

    • NO apparently had difficulty recovering from their grueling win, and met their worst loss of the season in Mem. they win the tiebreaker with OK should both finish with the same record, but at present the standings for eighth, sixth, fifth, third, and second place are all quite mutable.

      lacob won’t mind selling seats for an extra home date or two with a six or seven game series, if they survive and don’t lose one of their top five (iguodala, not barnes of course) in the first round. whether it’s NO or OK, we’ll see if kerr has been keeping new wrinkles for his offense away from the eyes of opposing scouts and coaches, and if he gets pressed to mix things up in the opening round.

  26. The BS Report featuring NBA gambler Haralabos Voulgaris talking playoffs and more with Bill Simmons.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=12656025

  27. Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:12649250

    • Funny thing, even the “advanced metrics” don’t show why Green is a max player or DPOY, but people do sort of “sense” it. The only real evidence is game flow charts, like popcornmachine. Watch the game flow tilt in the Ws favor when Green is on the court. Tom Izzo, Green’s college coach, said something along those lines too. At the end of a game when he hasn’t accrued any numbers, lo and behold, they’ve won.

  28. That was the most relaxed 45 point performance I believe I’ve seen. Curry makes it look so easy.

    The bench, however, was ragged. Iguodala looked like a wild man throwing up shots. They should have been able to score against the shortened Portland.

    The main goal last night and the remaining games may be to be sure Klay and Steph are tuned up.

    • a new addition to the staff, Bruce Fraser, has helped fine tune curry’s ability to change direction and speed handling the ball, among the most obvious improvements, creating and making the difficult touch shots inside eight feet. fraser is curry’s personal observer/assistant for individual work outs, the function he filled previously for nash.

  29. Shaun Livingston -16, worst on the team. 1-6 shooting, 0 assists, steals or blocks, 2 stupid TOs. Not an off-the-ball player, but lousy with the ball in his hands. He distorts the offense into an absolutely unworkable system. Livingston shouldn’t be playing. His thing is not working.

    I wish Holiday could sink some shots. It could keep Livingston planted on the bench. Even if Holiday can’t sink shots, his D is better than Livingston’s, and he doesn’t do Liv’s ball-hog destruction of the Ws offense. Livingston is hardly ever first to a loose ball, but Holiday often is.

    Kudos to Barnes last night for scooping up some “man-sized” rebounds, generally playing tough, and getting some smart assists. He even blocked Aldridge on a smart switch!!! Not used to seeing any of that from him. It looked like someone lit a fire under his ass. Hope it continues. Flame on!

    • I’m not a fan of Livingston’s game or the signing, as everyone knows. But he does share something with David Lee: Steve Kerr’s system is making him look a lot worse than he is.

      As mentioned many times previously, when SL is off the ball in a motion offense, he is worse than useless. He doesn’t provide real spacing, and whenever he’s used as an outlet at the three point line, he can’t take the shot. He has to swing it, or drive.

      On one such possession last night, SL did drive, and I believe either got capped or lost the ball. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s terrible with the ball in his hands — its simply not his game to make something happen off the dribble from the three point line.

      His game is posting up (barf) and pick and roll. He is not a bad pick and roll, pick and pop point guard, but Kerr only rarely uses him in that role.

      The second unit was a real disaster last night, and I continue to worry about how it will fare in the playoffs.

      • Livingston has skills, but he doesn’t play with the sense of urgency the rest of the team has. He’s like Jeff Green or Mike Dunleavy – fine players, highly skilled, but not difference makers. Clock punchers.

        I could be convinced otherwise, but not until I see Livingston dive for a ball, fight for a rebound, take a charge or do ANYTHING that says he’ll do whatever it takes to win. In an extraordinarily competitive environment, an ordinary guy.

  30. I was in attendance at last night’s Portland game with some old friends who are regular readers here, but not posters. The atmosphere was absolutely electric in the fourth quarter when Curry took over, and for once the faithful lowered their beverages long enough to get a credible MVP chant going.

    I did endure a substantial ribbing on the subject of The Black Falcon, who honored my presence with one of his best and most energetic performances. One wonders why he can’t sustain this level every game.

    But we also noticed when Barnes missed (another) rotation in the third quarter, and earned a vociferous chewing out from Draymond in the middle of the lane. Anyone else see that?

    • I didn’t notice that one, but I saw the same thing in the last game, when Green had his guy stopped, and Barnes let the guy off the hook by needlessly fouling the guy. Green was not pleased.

    • I didn’t see Green lay into Barnes, but if the sudden bonfire under Barnes’ ass is Draymond, I’m good with that. All the more reason to keep Green around. It’s another one of those “intangibles” in his favor.

  31. ESS on how Curry has developed into a “top-flight” defender:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12648764/how-stephen-curry-developed-top-flight-defender

    ESS has started to do some really good and informative work, as this is, but there’s a lot of BS in this as well. I’ve already addressed the 37% shooting of opposing pgs, in the Bob Fitzgerald section of the main post above. Curry is backed by some of the best defenders in the NBA, and that is what prevents him from getting driven relentlessly, not his improved defense. With reference to Westbrook in particular, he frequently gets triple-teamed by the Warriors. You think Curry can defend him on an island?

    As for RPM — that’s just simply absolute garbage. Airlift Curry off the Warriors, time machine him onto the Kobe-Swaggy-Boozer Lakers that started the year, and then tell me about his RPM. This kind of lazy thinking and writing literally drives me nuts.

    Curry has definitely worked hard on his defense, and it has improved. But it has greatly helped him to be given a concrete role in a very advanced scheme, with all-world defenders around him. When he gambled excessively on steals in the past, that wasn’t necessarily incorrect. It’s what clever players do when they’re surrounded by bad defenders.

    And Curry has, in my opinion, always been a sneaky good defender. I’ve been pointing out his post defense, in particular, since his ROOKIE season. As for his ability to generate steals, that was obvious from the start. He was among the league leaders as a rookie, and averaged more steals under Nellie than in any subsequent season, until this one.

    One more note: In the playoffs, I fully expect Curry to be hidden once again. The Warriors need to get length on the superstar point guards. And save their own MVP’s legs — he’ll be going 40 minutes a game against the better teams.

    • With this bench in Kerrs 2nd unit motion Princeton offense, expect Curry, Thompson, and Green to play 40+ min/game, and Iguodala close to that.

      • Bogut has said that the first unit offense, with him frequently in the high post, is Princeton.

        I don’t think the 2nd unit offense is Princeton. Pretty sure it’s triangle whenever they post up Lee or Livingston. And they play very little high post.

        • OK, thought they were the same thing.

          • I’m not an expert in either, but I do know that the Warriors second unit system doesn’t much resemble the first.

          • marc, if you want a refresher on the n.b.a. version of the princeton, look at tape from the golden age of Sac. carril was the assistant for offense there ten seasons. their most memorable team featured webber, bibby, divac, stojankovic, and christie.

        • Kerr is not a brilliant coach. That isn’t a criticism, or isn’t a damning one, as there aren’t but two or three brilliant coaches in the league. Rather, he is a technician, and a good one. Ron Adams has helped a lot here, who has helped players with technical details and probably engineered the defensive system. All players have been trained and supported well, and have shown it. This is important. Compare with last season.

          Really, there isn’t that much brilliance in the offensive system. Harass on defense, get turnovers, push the pace, and the guys take over. In other sets he has the advantage of having one of the most brilliant players ever to play the game, Curry, who can make any system work, as we have seen, along with the exceptional talents in Klay and Green.

          Where his shortcomings show up is with the subs. Whatever system he’s using, it’s had mediocre results, even this late in the season. The Portland game was especially discouraging. Yet he sticks with it I assume because he thinks its a good idea. But, while there are shortcomings among the players, it’s hard to believe he’s made best use of their talents, especially when you look at the two veterans in Lee and Iguodala.

          You can’t argue against the record, of course. It has been a well engineered season in many respects. But the real test for brilliance comes in about a week.

          • if we give curry most of the credit for his improvement, kerr still deserves some for getting more from barnes and speights. two key players have different roles this season than last : iguodala has averaged fewer minutes but has also already appeared in nine more games than all of last season, and green averages ten full minutes per game above his appearances last year.

            kerr has earned solid marks, but it’s quite possible that after ten more seasons, this season will be the most successful in his career even as he improves his coaching.

    • Yeah, all the media hoohaw about Curry suddenly playing D is simply not accurate. The biggest difference is how Kerr uses him on D v. how Jackson did.

      Kerr gets more from all his players than Jackson did, and that includes Curry.

  32. The Warriors, by beating Memphis next week, may have a chance to ensure they don’t meet the Spurs until the western finals.

  33. since this chapter started out about SA, they played in Hou tonight with third place up for grabs. harden struggled shooting all night but his three pointer cut the lead to one with six seconds left, and remarkably SA commits a turnover before it can ice the game, giving Hou the final possession at home. harden misses again at the rim. the josh smith saga continues — he’s the only hope the Hou reserves have to compete with SA’s bench and scores 20, but loses them the chance to control the game by going 12-26 from the foul line.

    • moto, I didn’t see that game. Who defended Harding? I’m assuming Green and Leonard.

      • youtube has seven minutes of highlights from the game. late in the fourth leonard was on harden, but different guys took turns up to then including green and joseph. popovich described his counter to harden after the game, intentionally fouling smith to deny harden any touches. Hou did well to make it a close contest at the end ; terry is just too slow to defend any of the SA guards and made parker look faster and quicker than he has all season.

      • After Bust a Smoove came to an end, I do believe I saw The Popovich Defense.

  34. Kerr recently seems resigned to Curry taking over the game at important junctures, such as the 4th Qtr last night, abandoning his motion sets. I think we see more of that in the playoffs, from Klay too.

  35. After the game, a hilarious tweet from the Trailblazers:

    https://twitter.com/trailblazers/status/586392325665886208/photo/1

  36. Was watching Spurs-Rockets last night. Seeing how it was a must win for both teams, I wondered why Pop let Leonard just isolate late in the 4th. I saw Leonard neglect several screens, opting to jack up a contested midrange shot instead. Why?

    • when this stretch run by SA began in Mar just as leonard fully regained his health and confidence, popovich explicitly instructed him to play his own game on offense at his discretion, defer less to teammates or preserving the system, because the team needed him to assert himself to succeed. leonard has a mismatched defender on him for most games ; those who are strong or long enough he’ll go around and past.

      popovich has consistently given each individual player different parameters on what kinds of shots from which places on court he’ll expect from them, to the exclusion of others, and leonard now has the brightest green light. leonard has made the other four on the court tougher to defend, which popovich probably anticipated.

  37. moto—

    Before we part ways, I’ve been meaning to ask. The German language often pops up in your comments. I’m curious about your connection and/or affection here. I just picked up a remastering of Karajan’s ’63 recordings of the Beethoven symphonies, what put this in mind. The recording was an event, of a sort we’ve had few in the last decades. My brother introduced me to them.

    • most of my abuse of German is multi-pronged mockery, the biggest jab at myself, having studied languages 1000’s of hours and gaining fluency in absolutely none. German was my first attempted. it somewhat relates to the orwell dissection you posted on bad writing, aimed at Brits with elite educations who thought a little latin or greek garnish in the prose was tasteful. sports bloggers bring in all sorts of extraneous crap and jargon, like to think they can just drop into MIT for that conference and fit right in, or pull in quotations from serious writers and thinkers out of context. fans and bloggers certainly understand schadenfreude, so that gave me a toehold in expanding their unfamiliarity with other expressions. kissinger of course introduced the mainstream to realpolitik, and the way we think about economics, social sciences, and history would not be the same without german thinkers.

      as for herbert von K, he could be a guy after the great lacob’s heart. the near totemic status of the recording you mention has much to do with timing the market, and that conductor’s adept assimilation of the new audio medium of stereo hi fi recordings. as it happens, my first serious full time job was retailing vinyl l.p.’s during the peak of their popularity. for my tastes, there was a better stereo Beethoven cycle from that decade, Szell conducting the Cleveland orchestra. in the mid-60s one record company owned the rights to three of the top orchestras in the u.s. (Cle, Phi, NY), g.gould, v.horowitz, dylan, miles davis, and others, now known as cbs/sony of course.

      von K.’s lifelong goal was to direct the Berlin, but back when he was still a rising star and phonographs were 78 r.p.m., he collaborated with one of my favorite pianists, Dinu Lipatti, to record one of the warhorse concertos. at the time von K was ‘merely’ one of a legion of very good conductors in central Europe but already had his obsessive, micromanaging ways, and lipatti couldn’t suit all his demands. finally the pianist retorted, why don’t you play the piano part, and allow me to conduct ?

      modern recordings give a huge sampling bias to von K connecting him to the Berlin P.O., but he could never equal the association of his predecessor Furtwaengler. in music, unlike hoops, discussing spirtuality sometimes applies, and WF gave things to the music, the musicians and audiences, stuff von K. never could. have to give credit to von K. though for giving Leontyne Price her first major opportunities in the principal opera companies in Europe — he was more color blind than the impresarios in this country.

      • So… in brief:

        I don’t speak any foreign languages, I just toss out random German words I’ve heard.

        Von Karajan sucks, get the Furwaengler.

        OK, got it.

      • You got me curious, and I may do some research. I’m tempted but not prepared to offer a rebuttal. I know that the von Karajan recordings made a deep impression on me decades ago, in the midst of American suburbia, that I prefer his interpretation to the few others I’ve heard, and that I greatly enjoyed listening to them again. Sometimes the distortions of popularity and institutional degradation come later. But sometimes I become deeply attached to the first recording of whatever I hear, not always for good reason. I must confess I was also impressed by the audio quality, superb at the time. It’s unlikely I’ll search the others anytime soon. I do know to stay away from many DG recordings of 20th. Century music, however.

        I’ve always had a strong attachment to much German culture, which I’m revisiting. The Expressionist painters, the writers Brecht, Boll, Grass, once Mann, and the Swiss German Max Frisch—all artists the Third Reich found decadent, or would have. There’s a reach and depth in their work I find lacking in much American.

        Getting back to sports, I read David Margolick’s Beyond Glory some time ago, which is good and I think I mentioned here. It’s a book about the Max Schmeling/Joe Louis fights. PBS’s American Experience: The Fight is excellent (Netflix has it). This is a fascinating study of sports and race and culture. Schmeling was championed by the Berlin artists and writers—George Grosz painted a portrait. Then, of course, he was courted by the Nazis. Schmeling had close ties with America and was quite popular here, more popular than Louis with many. That changed with the second fight and the rise of the Nazis. Schmeling was hated and Louis became an American, at least for a few rounds.

        Louis died broke; Schmeling was saved by the American Coca Cola company, who got him to stand in for their franchise in Germany.

        • not sure what you’d want to make a rebuttal about — tastes in Beethoven performances from elite musicians are personal. deutsche grammophone was technically unsurpassed in commercial recordings in the early stereo era, but musical interpretation and performance isn’t about that. would not/could not recommend a Furtwaengler recording on an audio fidelity or reproduction accuracy basis. von K. got the contracts and marketability and set out to record nearly everything in the mainstream symphonic/concerto repertoire of the 19th-early 20th centuries, and most of the operas — can someone so prolific also be the best at all of it. the musicians highest in my personal scale give me the sense that they’re attempting to channel something timeless and beyond the ego — von K. just didn’t touch me that way, but no doubt he did for others.

          • You don’t spend thousands of hours doing something you don’t enjoy, unless your a sadist. Or stuck in a crappy job. And that’s the important thing.
            That comment caused a book to flash before my eyes. I was wondering if you or rgg ever read it. It’s a fiction tale in which the protagonist, Conway, a disaffected wanderer, finds himself suddenly, seemingly by happenstance, in a mysterious place where he starts to realize true contentment. Time stands still in this locale, which is in the Valley of the Blue Moon, and whose name has become part of modern English lexicon. But he makes a rash decision to leave..
            Here’s the books excellent opening sentence:
            “Cigars had burned low, and we were beginning to sample the disillusionment that usually afflicts old school friends who have met again as men and found themselves with less in common than they had believed”

            I’d say I’m fluent in Spanish Moto, but it’s a subjective label. When someone comes at ya rapid-fire, speaking less than the Kings Spanish, your head can start spinning. I’ve also studied Mandarin for 15 years, it’s comparable to walking in quicksand, but I’m gonna stick with it. Know muchas palabras in French, Italian, and German, but when I have to string them together into coherent sentences, that’s when things get dicey. But I just enjoy it

  38. One of the more (professionally) interesting things (to me) this season is the evolution of Draymond Green’s image. He’s a sudden darling of the media who finds himself at the center of pile of microphones wherever he goes. That sort of notoriety isn’t entirely new to Green, he was the mouthpiece of his college team for years, but the sheer depth of the media scrum at the NBA level is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

    He’s suddenly “the mouth” of one of the best teams in history, and suddenly his every word is recorded and broadcast worldwide.

    No wonder he won’t answer Tolbert’s Qs about who his insults affect. No wonder he says he won’t talk trash to Duncan.

    Years ago, George Clinton, the leader and creative genius behind P/Funk, the seminal influence behind 30 years of ALL THINGS FUNK, said that he was terrified of the power his performances gave him.

    More recently, Limp Bizkit found that they were contractually committed to NOT perform their most famous tune live, Break Stuff, a powerful, violent, and universally relatable song about having a bad day.

    Dray now sounds a little freaked out about the sudden fuss over his words. That’s a very good thing. Words are power, and anything powerful should be handled with care. Draymond is a very, very smart guy. He’ll figure it out. It’s in process as we speak.

    The Internet is a hungry beast in constant search of “product,” sounds and images of wide interest. The next step in Dray’s media evolution is to choose, and say, important words.

  39. Sorry friends, but this Warriors season ends when they meet the Spurs. Yes, they have a chance, but don’t bet on it. If you think otherwise, I’d be happy to take your money.

    Now that we’ve cleared that up, what happens after that? Rush is gone this summer, just as soon as the team can pull the trigger. Probably out of the league. Personally, I want to see Livingston get moved, and regardless of Kerr’s yadayada niceynice talk about Livingston throughout the season, even Kerr knows that Livingston doesn’t fit. Not that he couldn’t fit, but he simply does not and will not.

    Mo Speights could be an absolute KILLER front line player, but he won’t work to reach that level. Even now he’s overweight and out of shape, and nothing says he might change. He doesn’t have good trade value by himself, but if the Ws need to attach Mo to a trade, he’s gone. It’s that simple. Mo is a hugely talented… slob. Other teams’ GMs can see that as well as the Ws do.

    Lee. Gosh. A GREAT ball player, but not a fit for the Ws. If the Ws found a trade for 50% of Lee’s value, they’d take it. But they probably won’t. With the salary cap flying upward at the end of next year, an expiring contract doesn’t count for much. Lee stays with the Ws throughout next season. I wonder if they’ll find a way to use the best-paid player on their team. They don’t now, but hope springs. There’s no reason why the 2nd team has to perform so badly, not with Lee there.

    The Ws need a backup Curry. I want Dragic, but he’s not moving, especially for a backup role. Somebody like that. Let’s see what Myers comes up with.

    The Ws also need a backup big. If you look at the available FAs, at the end of this season that’s surprisingly open. The only mistake Myers can make is to do nothing. That’s possible, of course.

    • It happens so be it. No better teacher than Spurs for dubs making them earn some stripes. But, I believe warriors will win because of home court.

  40. If only…

    The Cavs didn’t trade Wiggins for Love, and James was willing to start at and play the 4.

  41. Zack LeVine burying 3’s.

  42. @haralabob just tore into Fitz and Ethan Strauss on Twitter, backing my point on Curry’s defense. I retweeted some the conversation for followers, now visible in the sidebar.

    His stat comment regards RPM, which is utter bullshit. If u don’t like my analysis, take it from a guy who backs his own stats with millions every year.

      • What Strauss is not recognizing is that every single thing Curry does to pressure his man is made possible by the great defense behind him. Just take a look at the first clip here: Curry completely loses his man on the pick, and does a 360 spin move to disengage. His man is then prevented from driving by the shading of TWO other Warriors defenders, until Curry can pick him back up.

        It should be an obvious point: If the Warriors had a highly penetratable defense behind Curry, then he would look like a completely different defender. Or conversely, as Bob puts it, you could put literally any point guard in the NBA in the Warriors scheme, and he’d look good.

        This is not to take anything away from Curry’s increased defensive effort. Because the Warriors are so good defensively, players like Curry and Lee and Barnes have bought in — they are inspired to give far more effort on that end than they would on a bad team that had to win by other means.

    • To put the argument in context, remember there was once a discussion as to whether Curry was large and strong enough to play in the NBA. In this light, his development on defense is remarkable.

      I don’t think Voulgaris gives Curry enough credit for his steals, deflections, and boards, where he’s at the top among point guards, which, while not as valuable as the ability to lock down a dominant guard such as Westbrook or Lillard, still contribute to the team in vital ways, especially when you consider they often lead to fast break points, which he excels in engineering. Then consider what he adds in effort and energy on defense, which has to set an example for the others. He always hustles and always is in motion on defense, and covers a lot of court in doing so. He is still leading the team. Lesser defensive guards might be passive.

      • There’s another way to look at this. Curry’s superior offensive talents allows the team to keep limited offensive players such as Bogut and Green on the floor. And his playmaking abilities, plus the defenders he draws, makes them better offensively than they might be otherwise.

        Curious how Bob ranks #3 in the 2-5 of his tweet.

  43. btw, what was SL’s plus minus with Curry off the floor last night? I’m afk.

    • Just checked it myself, it was -6. +6 in 2nd Q, -12 in 4th Q. The fact that I only caught the second half biased me a bit, but that 4th Q stint was a disaster.

      In the previous game against Portland, he was -12 without Curry on the floor.

      Is he doing the job he was hired to do?

      Can he be used without Curry in the playoffs?

      Against San Antonio?

      • I can’t recall ever seeing another guard who always passes up a shot from the free throw line so he can shoot a baseline jumper instead.

      • Thompson and Iguodala probably have the ball in their hands more often than Livingston, when Curry is rested.

        • I can’t really quantify it, but it seems to me that Livingston’s teammates are starting to hesitate to pass the ball to him.

          • Seemed to me that Livingston and Iguodala doing well as ball handler when they have had Barbosa as secondary.

  44. rzz, thanks for that note on your language studies. for me it’s a very healthy form of mental exercise ; even stuck thinking in ingles, it feels like an altered way of thinking to analyze how the words, grammar, syntax are constructed. millions of us also practice music regularly, and we never become fluent in the sense of being able to execute advanced or even intermediate level compositions. your dedication to learning modern Chinese is quite respectable, exceeding my own failed attempts. put in enough work on literary Chinese translation to at least comprehend how many of the widely accepted translations have to compromise.

    • I really envy good translators. Besidess a mastery of 2 languages you need artistry; you’re adding your own personal touch to the saga. It’s not so easy to do well
      Mandarin, u probably know, is fun but flustering. But even the simple words like computer (electric brain ) and Panda ( bear cat) make it interesting. No verb conjugations either, yip-eee
      One thing I can say is I’m kind of a speed reader in good ol English now. I tore through Lord Jim in 2 days, and I think it’s partially due to trying to tackle new idiomas. That novel, by the way, is the greatest fictional character study I’ve ever read
      The book I mentioned earlier was Lost Horizon by JHilton. Every man seeks his own Shangri-la. Most only find a watered- down version , but that’s something.

      I’m gettin an all expenses paid trip to El Salvador as soon as the the Nba champs are crowned. Ill be he translator for my bro, whose leavin the esposa(s!) en casa. Despite nearly 20 yrs of marriage to the Salvadorena his Espanol hasn’t progressed much beyond cerveza, la playa, comida, and his “Magnus obra” – no es mi culpa. Hope we’ll be goin with the Wubs as reigning champs

      • I don’t know if you read the blog back then, but Feltbot made a sideswipe at the French last year here:

        http://feltbot.com/2014/01/18/french-warriors-97-pelicans-87/

        And got a reply from an offended Frenchman @6. Did Feltbot back down? Hell no! He fired back—in French!

        We’re going to miss this blog. . . .

        • I had to look at that. I can just see some guy in a beret, sipping his cafe au lait while waiting on a croque-madam (do they eat those in France?), his finer French sensibilities in a tizzy. Oh well. He had some good points

          What was a real coincidence was that I noticed a remark just above that, from a “markzzx”. That was the first comment I ever left here, I do believe. Before I adopted my true fake identity.

          Is that picture of your avatar you, Moto? I’m thinkin it’s a character from an old James Bond flick, Dont ask me why…

          • I can’t resist:

          • F’n great. Feel like the jokes on me, but I’m seriously gettin educated here. Even I remember Peter Lorre, but not this flick , which looks strangely fascinating.

            To make one hoops comment, I’ve been calling the Pcuns a one man team for a while, it’s a paradox how my set-in-stone pick for the 8th slot, OKC, presently looks like more of island with RWestbrook the lone shipwreck survivor, and NO with possibly the better supporting cast. The acquisition of Kanter didn’t blow my socks off at the time, and I compared Singler to MFunleavey, fellow bluDevil. Still not sure which is a better match-up, which means neither should be a first round impediment

  45. Holy Moly. I was checkin the box scores

    Russell Westbrook took 43 shots!

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Is it still set in stone OKC the #8 seed?

      • This ones for you, Manti T’eo. Straight from the Chron:
        Of the last 16 nba teams to win 65 reg season games, 13 won the title. Only one (dal) failed to make the Conference finals. So rejoice

        Steph had 45 on 23 shot atts the other night..

    • And Westbrook’s sidekick Anthony Morrow (shooting .438 from 3 this season) got only 4 shot attempts 29 minutes, while Westbrook took FIFTEEN 3-pointers (making 5).

      Westbrook is playing damn hard, but stupid.

    • cosmicballoon

      Westbrook post game said that his teammates are OK with him hoisting 40+ times. He may be playing harder than anyone else in the league, but the Thunder have crumbled because of injuries , and it now appears because of his lack of real leadership. They don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

      • he said ‘I am playing hardest in the league’. when guys referring to ‘I’ instead of ‘Us’, that right there don’t go well with teammates.

  46. cosmicballoon

    It appears the Spurs will grab the 2 seed, and thus avoid GS for as long as possible. To me this is the ideal scenario for the Warriors. The Spurs have had to play hard for the past 2 months and it’s bound to catch up with Duncan, in particular. The guy is amazing, but he’s had to play more minutes to fuel this stretch run. Last season was the opposite — his minutes we’re low heading into the playoffs. The Spurs should be tired in the conference finals….

    • They will sweep Mavs in first round and have a week off to rest.

      • WheresMyChippy

        Isn’t that what everyone thought last year? I could see Dallas pushing them to 5 or 6. They DO still have multiple people on their team capable of hitting a fade-away game winning 3 from the corner :)

        • cosmicballoon

          “Pushing them” to 5 is not much of an accomplishment. 6 games would be good, and then have to play the Clippers in the second round would be ideal for the Dubs. The flawed Clippers would certainly try to bully SA…even if it doesn’t work.

          • Bullying and whining are the two strongest parts of their game. It’s why they’re so beloved.

          • it’s still possible for Hou or LA to be matched vs. Por initially and meet GS in the second round, and either team would be more instructive (at least more effective in aggravating the lacobite bandwagon) than Mem, who won’t be healthy. the rivers gang vs. the lacobites could be epic in the second round ; they don’t have the talent, particularly at the wings or on the bench, but they have the proper attitude for extending GS to seven, when it just takes a blown call or missed foul shot or two for an upset.

        • Those shots aren’t that valuable when you’re never within 10 points. The Mavs are indescribably worse this season. On top of that, I think Monta’s either injured or worn down.

          • cosmicballoon

            The Mavs actually won 49 games last season, and they are sitting at 49 right now, so calling them indescribably worse, probably isn’t the right characterization. However, they have gotten worse as the season has progressed. They were blowing teams out in the early part of the season. After the trade that brought Rondo over, those blowouts turned to close games. In hindsight, it probably ruined their season because it took the ball out of Monta’s hands and put it in the hands of a non-shooter (Rondo)

            Additionally, Monta has looked worn down lately, and his numbers have reflected that. He hasn’t made a 3 in 7 games, while taking 17. He did miss the Indiana game on 3/29 with a calf injury that is probably still bothering him.

          • They are indescribably worse, and will be swept by the Spurs.

  47. Grizzz:

    Have 5 starters played better this season?

    Have 5 bench players played worse? Kerr has had all season to figure out how to get points out of these guys. This Princeton or whatever system does not work.

    • Well put and hard to believe Kerr don’t get it.

      • For me, and I try keeping anything analytical as simple as possible, evaluating a team’s depth (or quality of their bench) after 82 games (in this case 81 games) leads me to two sets of numbers, starter’s minutes and team record. If starter minutes are “low” and the team’s record is good it would seem that combination would indicate a team with quality depth. The Dubs starters are WAY down the minutes played list, with Curry averaging less than 33 mpg and ranking 40th on that list (highest of all Warriors). http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/minutes

        Couple that stat with the fact the Warriors are just completing one of the greatest regular seasons, statistically speaking, in NBA history, it would seem to me that their entire team, bench included, did a terrific job this season.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/sports/basketball/golden-state-warriors-rise-starts-on-bench.html?_r=0

        • How many points have the subs given away?

        • +1

          Focus on bottom line. Also, any analysis based on garbage minutes played by 3rd stringers is well would nowhere be closer to the actual. Expect atleast one of six starters(+Iguodala) remaining whole game when it is not garbage time.

    • Seems like the bigger the positive cushion, the worse the subs play. When the games are closer they play better- maybe I’m just hoping here. Not sure if I want to test this hypothesis come playoffs

  48. GooseLosGatos

    Feltbot,

    very curious to your or anybody else’s take on the Grantland NBA Awards today (my IPhone has made posting articles problematic). An extremely thorough & well written article by Zach Lowe that posted on the site this morning….

    Questions:
    1) Is Bogut a top 3 defensive player? (Love Andrew but not sure on that one)

    2) I agree that Lebron James is still the best individual player in the league with all due respect to Curry who had the more complete season (interstingly, I listed to Jerry Wests recent interview on KNBR (get it on Podcast) & if read read between the lines I felt he thinks Harden is the actual MVP or at least it wasn’t a clear cut case.

    3) For such a hyped rookie class I’m not overwhelmed by any of Zach’s Top 3 Candidates either – though I follow Dante Exum closely and mark my words – in 6 0r 7 years he may be the best of the bunch – combines smarts, with worth ethic & it’s only his first season against elite competition. Yes I know, his shooting needs to improve but like Dreymond he’ll put in the time unlike Wiggens who has a rep for not exactly being a gym rat.

    • Is Bogut a top 3 defensive player? No. He’s good but not great. Rim protection starts at the perimeter where it requires two defenders to funnel a drive towards the baseline. The wing has the greatest responsibility in not giving up middle penetration, while the big man just has to wall off the drive. Not taking away anything from Bogut as he has proven to be good at doing his part in stopping layups, but the most challenging part is not his burden. I’ll take Gobert, Chandler, and Noel (in 3 years), centers who don’t have the luxury of good wing defense but still hold their own, before I take Bogut.

    • Bogut is definitely top 3 defensive players in the league. The only take away is that he plays 24 mpg to be considered top in any thing. But, when on floor, he and Green both qualify as top defensive players.

      • Defensive Player of the Year:

        3. Andrew Bogut

        Bogut has been Leonard-level brilliant, but in 429 fewer minutes — and about 900 fewer than Green, the equivalent of almost 19 full games. Opponents have shot just 40.9 percent on shots near the rim with Bogut nearby, the third-lowest mark in the league, trailing only Rudy Gobert — one of the final cuts (along with Davis) on this ballot — and Serge Ibaka.

        Gobert is a destroyer at the rim, but he doesn’t have enough experience to match Bogut’s intellect as an all-around deterrent. Watch Bogut when he’s guarding a non-shooting big standing around the elbow. Bogut will ignore him and shift to something more productive: doubling a post-up threat to deny an entry pass, bumping a cutter, or sticking one of his giant mitts into a passing lane. Those little things wall off a team’s first and second options, drain the shot clock, and stack the odds bit by bit against an opponent getting off a good shot.

        Coach of the Year:

        3. Steve Kerr

        Kerr is probably going to win, and that would be fine. He had the guts to surround himself with the best assistants, guys worthy of his own job, and to finally bench David Lee when it became clear it was best for the franchise. Think about it: How many coaches have ever straight-up benched their highest-paid guy when that player was still in his prime and capable of putting up something like an 18-8 line if given minutes? It requires strong backing from ownership, but Kerr deserves credit for pulling the trigger and then keeping the team humming as playing time patterns changed for Lee, Marreese Speights, and others.

        Kerr knew what to leave intact from the Mark Jackson regime and what needed a teardown. He maintained the foundation of an elite defense and transformed Golden State on the other end into a beautiful motion-based scoring machine. He experimented with just about every feasible lineup to gain the deepest possible understanding of his roster.

        http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nba-awards-ballot-part-1-in-praise-of-the-individual/

        • On Kerr, keeping Lee out of rotation, agree with the author, gutsy move and calculated one too.

          • kerr will get and deserve plenty of praise this season without exaggerating his ‘guts’ on benching lee. he was pragmatic and empirical, if that is what you mean by guts. d’mond made most of the decision for him, as nearly everyone would agree. was it ‘guts’ for kerr to put through lee the kind of audition he imposed, with ill suited plays and unfamiliar personnel on the court with him. the team had already established they could dominate without lee, so was it ‘guts’ to take the path of least resistance, and leave lee marginalized rather than make his re-integration a priority. clearly they’re confident that neglecting to do so won’t adversely effect the team’s playoff performance, so there’s that form of ‘guts’.

    • I loved Lowe’s description of Draymond, “a cinder block with long arms…” He nailed it.

    • In many ways Bogut and Green are an ideal defensive partnership, each covering for the weaknesses of the other, and helping exaggerate the strengths. And one might argue that the immobile Bogut wouldn’t be among the league’s top defensive centers without Green by his side, and wonder whether a player only fit to play half the game could be considered among the league’s best defenders.

      But Bogut has been a key cog in the league’s best defense, has been healthy most of the year, and deserves a nod.

      Totally agree with Green’s selection, for the reason given: Kawhi was injured a lot.

      I thought the analysis of Curry was superficial: Was any weight given to efficiency? Leadership qualities?

      As for Lowe’s analysis of Klay, he clearly doesn’t watch enough Warriors games. Klay has never had a problem with his handle, nor in setting up others – when asked. He also runs PNR semi frequently, and is more than capable of creating his own offense, as we’ve seen many times in isolations.

      Regarding coach of the year, Lowe’s reticence in forwarding Kerr is interesting. I sense the fact that he’s a rookie, and the greatness and obvious influence of his assistants played a role here. I agree with moto’s sentiments almost completely regarding the Lee decision.

      The choice of Pop over Budenholzer is very curious. As was the lack of recognition for JKidd’s fine work: who had more challenges than he this season?

      • Felty, Ezeli looks to have promise for the future in at least the backup role at the 5, but with Bogut’s contract coming to a close (I believe he has one more year left) I would be surprised if the Warriors don’t make a play for a free agent “big” in the near future. This offseason DJordan, MGasol, and LAldridge will all be UFA. What are your thoughts on those three in regards who would “look best” in a GSW jersey?

        My thinking is that the Warriors won’t mind going well into tax territory next season (obviously Draymond will be getting paid mucho $$$) since the season after next Lee and Bogut’s contracts will be off the books and the salary cap will balloon skyward via the new TV money.

        Back to those three centers, it’s interesting to remember that DJordan actually signed that contract to join the Dubs when he was a RFA (ultimately matched by LAC), wonder how the two parties feel about each other circa 2015? Personally, would LOVE to see Aldridge on the 2015-16 Dubs. Thoughts?

        • Forget Aldridge. He refuses to play center, like Chris Webber.

        • Don’t care much for Aldridge, although it’s not his fault Stotts’ go-to choice for a mandatory bucket is a post-up. If Kerr can get LMA to stop shooting long 2’s, start rolling on PNR, and work on hitting corner 3’s then LMA is worth a gamble as he is a solid defender.

          If Jordan was on this Dubs team it would be over for the rest of the league. 20 and 10 for Jordan and Curry every night at least. Bogut’s high post passing is cute but doesn’t hold a candle to the value of a big who can and will roll.

          Gasol would be interesting and definitely wouldn’t hurt the Dubs, but I can’t help but think his talents would be better exploited on another team like the Spurs. The Grizzlies and Spurs run similar sets, such as the high-low, and counter ICE defense in the same way.

        • Doubt very much the Warriors pursue a center. Kevin Love much more likely, imo.

          Love Gasol, he’d be awesome. Wouldn’t mind DJ, for simple fact he’d destroy the Curry blitz in PNR with thunder dunks. Can’t stand LA’s game, and he doesn’t want to play center.

      • Amazed that no one even considered Brad Stevens as a possible candidate for Coach of the Year. This will probably be the only time in the NBA history where a tanking team will make the playoffs while suiting up 22 different players during the year. And their best player is Isiah Thomas? I like Thomas but you can’t expect to win many games when he is your best player.

        Strategically, Stevens has deployed sets more creative than some of Pop’s or Bud’s. Expect to see more teams utilize his Diamond Zone in the future when defending against sideline out-of-bounds plays.

        • Good point. I’ve read a lot of positive opinions of Stevens, but haven’t watched Celts enough to have an opinion. Maybe that’s everyone’s problem.

  49. I’ll let the cognoscenti dissect the differences between the systems Kerr uses for the starters and the subs, but in both cases the concept of a team passing offense is misleading and taken seriously a mistake. What he did with the subs last night was counterproductive, and possibly destructive. The outcome could have been predicted—and has been.

    The system works with the starters because they have a superior floor general in Curry and superior shooters in him and Klay. The “team” offense is built around two players and their abilities.

    They have nothing similar with the subs—no good general, no good shooters. Team passing leads to nothing but turnovers and stalled offense, which is what we saw last night and have been seeing in varying degrees all season.

    What Kerr has to do is build a system around available talent. Last night was a good chance to see if they could get Holiday going, I suppose, who was 0-3 and had an astonishing -22 in 6 minutes. And get Lee, their veteran and most consistent scorer going—we know how this is done. This might have been useful practice for the playoffs. Or he could have pushed the Livingston/Speights two-man game.

    Livingston’s plodding, limited point guard play does present problems, but there are workarounds. Kudos to Myers for his transcendent scouting of Livingston and Rush.

    The details matter if you want to make a serious run.

    Tribute to David Lee this season:

    • +1. Kerr is not Coach of the Year, because he never figured out and offense for the 2nd unit, aowing them to succeed.

      • The obvious need is to prepare Lee to fill in for Green should he get in foul trouble (or worse!), which he has done, in fact, seamlessly and effectively.

        I don’t know what the other players are being prepared for, except maybe as actors in a Mack Sennett comedy. This is the other loss, that Kerr will have the same problems next season, hasn’t learned much this season, and no one has been developed who might step up, as happens so often in San Antonio.

        Seeing Lee abused in garbage time has soured my appreciation of the season somewhat.

  50. I think something that is largely overlooked by the people freaking out over the lack of bench production and Kerr’s dogged insistence of sticking to his system with the subs: You are NEVER going to see the subs in-mass in the playoffs. They will be inserted into a shortened rotation only as needed and always with a healthy dose of starters in the mix. Assuming that context, it is obvious that you want the subs running the same system so they can competently play their roles with the starters. Who cares if, as a group, the subs don’t have the right skill-set to execute the offense? They just need to competently augment the starters for the short time they are in there.

    • You’re right, but I think the key word there is “augment.” At least Barbosa and Iggy do that. Speights does to a degree, and he adds shooting. If he weren’t fat, he’d get more minutes. If Holiday could ever sink a bucket, he “augments” too.

      Lee and Livingston play so differently from the starters that they simply don’t fit in to the rotation. Lowe makes the point that the Ws defense works because of Draymond’s unique defensive skill set. Lee doesn’t play like Green or Bogut at all. Ditto Livingston. NO ONE plays post-up offense on the Ws, it’s just not part of the playbook. But Livingston can’t do anything else.

      • cosmicballoon

        Disagree on your Livingston take that he doesn’t fit in an augmented rotation. When playing with Curry, Livingston gets dunks. He’s so much more intelligent than Barnes that he can actually be counted on to make the right play when he’s on the floor with great shooters. He could make a difference against the Spurs (guarding Green, Ginobili or even Parker on occasion). Just don’t put him in the game at the same time as Iggy and Barnes or the offense collapses, as Felt has pointed out most of the season.

      • I think the fit of the subs is unique for each and must account for the defensive fit as well as the offensive fit. Livingston, for example, while not a great individual defender is a good schematic fit with the switchable-6’7″-long-limbed-wings that the Dubs like to put out there. He also can be effective as a facilitator that takes Curry off the ball for a different look.

        Lee has shown some effectiveness playing with the starters when Draymond is in foul trouble. Barbosa and Speights are offensive mercenaries; open only when needed. Holiday can give you some spot defense and the offense is found money. Their p/t will probably go according to narrow formulas where they are executing those roles effectively or they don’t play much.

        I suspect the short leash will apply to Barnes too. If he is scoring efficiently and rebounding, he plays. If not, expect more Iguodala and Livingston.

    • Exactly, no hockey subs and atleast one starter(+Iguodala) whole game on the floor.

  51. Amick joins Lowe in picking Curry for MVP.

    The sheep won’t be far behind.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/warriors/2015/04/13/strephen-curry-warriors-steve-kerr/25685473/

  52. boss felt and maui nellie, if you missed Ostler’s short piece this past Sat on popovich (sfgate), a visit might get a nod or two. the playoffs might be one of the great nelson’s final hurrahs, in terms of public relevance. ostler’s article describes how close he has remained to popovich, and that he shared some observations with the younger coach during the last post season. nelson might get to see his favorite team go against his favorite person still in the game.

    not expecting kerr to ever acknowledge his debt to nelson, though. at least adonal foyle, among the most marginal of the lacobite front office staff, was willing to tell it like it is. should they reach the trophy ceremony in June, will they invite nelson to any of the parties. let’s not be shocked either, if they find a rationale to have the victory parade in SF and not oaktown.

  53. moto,

    On Kerr sticking with Green after Lee came back, conventional wisdom would have been to start Lee again as most coaches would have done, IMO. I heard the same from Sam Amick and now Zach Lowes and it aligns with my opinion. Though it should have been a no brainer after seeing Green against Clippers in playoffs, Lee was ahead of Green in rotation and considered much better player, again conventional wisdom. So, yes, I give credit to Kerr and ownership/front office for not forcing coach to play the highest paid player.

    • They forced him to play Harrison Barnes. He’s the player who is really taking Lee’s minutes.

      • May be but lot of theories you can put there. It seemed like it was Kerr’s decision to me to start Barnes and make him a contributor but more importantly to have a play maker off bench. Remember Livingston missed all off pre season and dubs didn’t really have any other backup and Iguodala was running the bench. A move that should have been made by Mark Jackson. Lee was also huge favorite of Lacob but Lacob okayed to put Lee and Barnes in a trade package. I don’t see any reason to play favorite to Barnes, it is not like warriors are starved off franchise level young players and need to annoint some one. Everyone wants a Ginobili off the bench and Kerr had balls to act on it without worrying about controversy(or managing the move so well that it was no controversy at all). the other reason it made sense to bring Iguodala, monitor his minutes and close the game with him. Starting and monitoring minutes means, he would have sit for long time and cool down, not good for his hamstring issues.

      • cosmicballoon

        Barnes and Lee are not comparable players. Lee cannot stay in front of anyone out on the perimeter and he cannot shoot a 3 pointer. Barnes does both of those things adequately. Neither player blocks shots for forces turnovers.

        Kerr has preferred to play the pseudo wing player over the established post player. If anything, it has opened up driving lanes for Klay and Curry. This has been at the expense of the P&R. We can continue to argue that the P&R would have been the better option this season, but the offense hasn’t had much trouble scoring this season.

        • When Kerr started Green and Barnes, he and Adams found that 4 long players, playing good and switch seamlessly working so well. You can’t back off that after seeing that.

          It was ‘gutsy’ move by Kerr to breakup the last year’s best start 5 in his rookie year and come up with even better start 5.

        • It wasn’t at the expense of PNR (can’t play that with Bogut in anyway) so much as it was at the expense of rebounding, wing defense (Green on 3s instead of 4s) and passing.

          • cosmicballoon

            Interesting that passing is something you bring up when the Ws led the league in assists and had countless games of 30+ assists, which is an astounding number. Draymond is 2x the passer Lee is, and that is saying something.

    • conventions like that invite so many exception they’re almost like rules of the road that any impatient or self centered driver conveniently forgets ; it’s a variation of ‘a starter doesn’t lose his job due to injury’, so often followed by, except when it’s impossible to take his replacement out. try another convention : “never change a winning game, but always change a losing game .” which winning streak was kerr supposed to derail, adhering to your convention, by making over the defense and offense to insert lee ?

  54. ESPN Forecast: Curry to win MVP

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12680724/espn-forecast-win-nba-mvp

    2014-15 Warriors a “masterpiece of artistry”

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:12679683

    • In the constant pressure to simply produce line inches over the MVP voting, one thing the media overlooks is the result of giving someone an MVP award. As much as anything, it’s an award for great basketball. I’d argue that that means it should be an affirmation of “We LIKE this!” not just a by-the-numbers analysis of touches and points and +/-.

      If “it works” was the only criterion, then Bill Laimbeer should have been in the conversation, back in the days of the Bad Boys Pistons.

      It’s hard for me to get excited about Harden. He’s a fine player, very important to his team, and his thing works. But who’d want to reward him for some of the ugliest, least entertaining NBA basketball we’ve seen in decades? Curry is FUN to watch. We want more people to play like Curry, and fewer like Harden, no matter how effective Harden is. We can’t give Harden the MVP award if we don’t like his game, can we? He wouldn’t get my vote any more than Bill Laimbeer did.

      My 2¢.

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