Down Goes Dwight: Warriors 110 Rockets 106

6 minutes. That’s how long this series lasted. 

That’s how long Dwight Howard was healthy. At the 6:00 mark of the first quarter, Josh Smith rolled into Howard’s right knee. After immediately leaving the game, Howard did return to try to make a go of it, but from that moment on he was playing on one leg, unable to jump, unable to move. Couldn’t defend. Couldn’t offend. The Rockets turned it over on several attempted lobs to him under the basket, that he just couldn’t get to. Didn’t even try to get to.

In his first 6 minutes, despite several failed catches, Howard was 2-2 from the field, and had already gone to the line twice. He fed Bogut his first foul less than a minute in. And looked ready, as soon as he settled down to start catching the ball, to give Bogut a whole lot more. And dominate the paint.

Despite playing on one leg for 20 of his 26 minutes, Howard finished with 7 points, 13 rebounds, and a block. Bogut lasted 16 foul-plagued minutes, finishing with 0 points, 4 rebounds, and 0 blocks.

We’ll never know for sure now, but I think I got this matchup right.

For six minutes, this was a series.

Wake me up when it’s over. Warriors in four.

244 Responses to Down Goes Dwight: Warriors 110 Rockets 106

  1. Bogut also had 5 costly turnovers.

  2. the partisans black balled me from the homer’s society (familiarity with the Iliad, Odyssey, Joyce don’t matter to them) after my challenge back in ’13 that bogut would find it extremely tough to give three seasons on his GS contract extension as productive as biedrins’ three season peak. can only hope that some of them at least gained a measure of respect for harden, usually one of their favorite ‘villains’.

    • Harden played very well today, unselfish and setting up his teammates, not a normal game for him.

  3. Barnes started out cold then finished 6 of 12 for 14 points, though only 1 rebound in 33 minutes, and that was an offensive board, a muscled up put back. Only 2 for 6 on 3’s. The 2 makes were later in the game, so maybe his cold spell is over. His ISO attempts were failures. Kerr should stay away from those.

    Livingston played very well and was mostly utilized as a Wing, playing alongside Curry and Klay. Bravo Shaun.

    I still think something is wrong with Bogut. He moves real stiff, like he’s 65. And can’t get off the ground. With Howard out, Kerr might play Bogut very little.

  4. Your post is close being pathetic in order
    to justify your off the mark contentions
    regarding Howard. You didn’t even tell
    your readers that he had 5 turnover. The
    Howard-Bogut match-up was and is a non-
    issue. The simple facts is Houston plays
    better without him. Your ego simply has
    no boundaries.

    Houston maxed out last night. The Warriors
    did not. That does not mean Houston will win
    no games. You should not make such prediction
    for no other reason given the fact there is always
    an injury factor.

    • Yikes, Frank.

      Did you watch the same game we did? When he had two wheels, Howard totally spanked Bogut.

      Re Howard’s turnovers, the Ws did as I predicted, doubling him and digging for the ball. He’s very hesitant to pass so it was a good strategy, but it doesn’t change the fact that he dominated Bogut one-on-one.

      I do agree with your view that Houston maxed out last night. With KlayF-up on court (1-7 on 3s, 6-18 overall) it was almost enough. But if Houston can only be competitive if Klay is mental, this series is already over. Klay’s confidence will take a boost from this win.

  5. Kerr made as many foolish
    mistakes as McHale did. Playing
    Lee at center is one. Looks like
    he followed your advice. Houston
    scouted the Warriors well.

  6. This ones a real glass half full-er. Is this really all about Dwight? He was up to his old bond-headed tricks from what I saw. The Rockets played better with him off the floor.

    I know you said it’s your mission to point out what’s wrong with the Dubs, but give em some credit too. They overcame a sizeable deficit. Again. Despite a few turnovers, Liv was the catalyst to our half time lead

    Klay was fumble-fingered and had a couple Klay-ups

    • Apologies Feltbot. Didn’t wanna insult you

      This ones a real glass half-empty, I meant to say. It’s 7 :00 am and I haven’t had any coffee yet

  7. The discussions of the game remind of the tale about the blind men trying to describe an elephant. Except there isn’t an elephant.

    Really, it was a schizophrenic game, which should be expected in the first game of the finals from two teams who still aren’t clear about their identity against top caliber teams—or rather against each other, as they are the last two teams standing in the West. Two chaotic bursts, one for the Rockets, one for the Warriors, and otherwise they played about dead even. My main concern was that the Warriors couldn’t close out the game better, but then Harden did put on the kind of show he’s capable of.

    They have to get off to good starts and didn’t again, though it may not matter now against Houston. Bogut looked moribund. He always looks pained and hunched over, but looked much more so last night. His back may be the best guess. He got few boards, couldn’t handle Howard, and couldn’t get in position for boards. He was worthless on offense. Barnes was nearly invisible most of the first half, almost no boards and nothing on offense. He only stood out with two turnovers, fumbles that broke possible plays. He just can’t operate in closed spaces. And with Barnes and Bogut ineffective, there just aren’t many options left for the offense. You can’t have motion offense in half court sets with a cripple and a ghost.

    Not sure why Lee is taking the rap for the Rocket spurt in all of four minutes, anymore than the Rockets should take the rap for Livingston’s run. The coaches were jittery, the players were jittery, and all were trying out something new in a tense situation. Give Livingston all the credit in the world, however, for taking advantage of the opportunities presented. It’s what the Warriors need, someone else who can take advantage of openings in the event they appear, as long as they aren’t open shots from distance. No one else on the bench can do that very well.

    I guess we’ll find out about Howard today. Someone who averaged 14 boards and 18 points—and just over one turnover—against the Clippers and their front court is a considerable asset.

    • …hey Captain Obvious, always like to learn from your sterling posts. From this one one I learned ‘Showcase Barnes’ only played the first half…

      • My pleasure, Cap’n Crunch. Your insights and thorough analysis are always a delight.

        Barnes did perform better second half and has been given credit. He offers more when he is moved to 4 and guards larger, slower players and has more open court for offense. Which leaves us wondering about his value at 3, as has been done here all season.

      • And since you’ve entered the conversation, perhaps you can explain his stellar rebounding. 1 friggin rebound the entire game. He was outrebounded by just about everyone else on the floor, both teams. In a tense playoff game, with Bogut struggling or when they go small, boards are crucial.

        1

        • …right & he was only 6 for friggin twelve…& made some friggin key baskets that they wouldn’t have won the game without…& some are callin’ his friggin put back of Curry’s miss the friggin play of the game…and one friggin rebound when he’s averaging 4.8 friggin rebounds…

          ~frig~

          • That Barnes put back, I have to rewind, pause and see, it was too quick to observe. He was way, way up there.

          • If Barnes didn’t step up on occasion and produce when circumstances are right for him, which everyone is counting on, he would be absolutely worthless.

            The best way to understand Barnes’ limitations is to read the praise by his idolators and the excuses they make for his shortcomings. Thanks again.

            1

        • Thought boards are not important for swing players, I heard it somewhere.

          Barnes lack of boards perhaps because of who he is guarding on defense. Warriors out rebounded by 3, so his lack of rebounding didn’t impact the game and may be helping his teammates pick the boards.

        • 1 of the reasons for starting Barnes over Iguodala is to help Green on the boards, since Barnes is taller, bigger, and stronger than Iguodala.

    • Richard Anderson does a nice breakdown of Lee’s four minutes at the other blog.

      • I thought so too.

        I thought David and Iggy failed to communicate defending P&R. David is not the best help defender and has to make his shots to stay on the floor. He wasn’t.

        Given more minutes he would improve. Too late for that. The Warriors can’t afford him those minutes right now.

  8. It would be nice for Felty to point out
    That Livingston great addition and that
    Thompson sucked. But can’t bring
    himself to do so. Rather talk about
    what Howard could have done if not
    injured while ignoring his misses at
    foul line and turnovers while playing.

    • I think Livingston is a very good addition, but not as a B/U PG. Is he worth the $16 M 3 year salary? I think he is, if the Warriors win the Championship this season.

  9. With Curry combing the three
    Point line with step backs., much like
    Harden is doing shooting two’s, there
    Is no one in the NBA who can alter nor
    block that shot. So all commentary on
    a guy being a good defender should
    cease at least with regard to that
    ever growing popular move.

    • Just like there are good offenders, there are also good defenders

      Next game Harden just as likely to miss 5 in a row. That won’t stop him from shooting, though. He likes Hero ball, to a fault, and I think he’ll demonstrate that at some point in this series
      I just enjoy the competition and of course, the Dubs winning. Not gonna wring my hands over other teams woes

  10. Praise should be given to the Houston players, especially Ariza, and it is done here:

    http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/5/20/8628605/rockets-fight-lose-warriors-western-conference-finals-nba-playoffs-2015-no-dwight-howard

    “There was a moment in the second quarter of first game of the Western Conference Finals, when Corey Brewer took a pass from James Harden and took it solo for a ridiculous fast break layup. It’s a play we’ve seen countless times this season, an energy play that comes from the Rockets’ pace and feel for each other, the game and the moment. It put the Rockets up 49-33 with 7:05 left in the second quarter, and it was a moment that felt surreal, yet another in a week of astonishing, surprising, wondrous Rockets basketball.”

    The supporting cast is good, and they can play together. We saw it in the Hardenless comeback against the Clippers and we saw it last night. One question in the series may be how well the supporting cast of the Warriors can match.

    • I love this line from the article:

      “This group has quit for the last time. ”

      Ahem. The Ws NEVER quit, and as a result have dug out several “impossible” wins this season. Houston? Not so much. Sometimes they quit.

  11. Green on Howard, and Howard’s limitations at post:

    In fact, Green spoke to Howard’s predictability when recounting his head-to-head victory defending him in that second quarter.

    “If you hold your ground, he gets to trying to back you down so hard that it’s hard for him to spin off of you,” Green said. “And once he spins off of you, it’s kind of slow because he’s imposed all of his power already.”

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2470554-missing-in-more-ways-than-one-dwight-howards-absence-is-old-news-for-rockets

    • or, to put howard’s limitations another way, his lower body doesn’t have the power and burst it did ten years ago, and he hasn’t learned more variations or options for his scoring moves.

    • Curious, was Howard playing on one leg or two when the Rockets posted him up against Draymond?

      Asking for a friend.

    • Dwight Howard a very fit 275 lb.

      Draymond Green 230 lb. Maybe.

      “Hold your ground,” Draymond? Really? With what, a crowbar?

      Howard wasn’t right.

  12. Howard has been an overrated player and his days were with Magic long time back. Rockets ball movement is actually better with Howard on bench and not turning over the ball or taking up too much space there. If Howard were like Zach Randolph from post, different story. Howard, even when healthy is not scaring anyone even with his D either.

    Rockets offense needs tune up and more Josh Smith touches the ball, advantage warriors.

    • I thought that the 20 year old Swede Cappela played much better than Howard. Hes got a real feel for the game.

      Although he looks almost embarrased to be out on the floor, very sheepish expression. Doesnt play like it, though.

      • Just checkin the box. He Swiss. Those Scandinavians all look alike.

      • I am impressed with Cappela. Good move by Kerr to hack him, that should have shaken him a bit, being rookie and all. But, great find by Rockets.

    • More on Howard from Strauss:

      “This wasn’t a run. It was a conflagration. Howard, later benched with knee trouble, was swallowed up whole. Under the intense team defensive pressure, Howard coughed up three turnovers in the last six minutes of the second quarter, fueling the furious Warriors’ pace. Once the Warriors are out and running with Green at center, they’re difficult to stop. Every guy on the court can run the break, and the “center” can make plays out of the extra spacing.

      “When you try to keep a big in against our small lineup, it’s rough,” Green said in the locker room. “Because we go into a pick-and-roll with myself and Steph [Curry], and if they trap or stay high, try to get in the pocket and make plays out of it. They struggled a bit with the small lineup when they were big with Dwight. That’s what kind of changed the game for us.””

      http://espn.go.com/blog/golden-state-warriors/post/_/id/610/green-makes-big-difference-in-small-lineup

      • Curious, was Howard playing on one leg or two when the Warriors went on their run and “swallowed him up whole”?

        This is just so much inanity.

  13. Hilarious how many in the media, and here, are attempting to analyze the Warriors’ performance without reference to Howard’s injury. And attempting to rate Howard’s performance based on how he played on a painfully sprained knee. It’s laughable.

    Nobody on the Warriors or the Rockets plays the same way if Howard doesn’t get injured after 6 minutes. Nobody.

    Jeff van Gundy spells it out: http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_28154182/espns-jeff-van-gundy-calls-warriors-bogut-just?cid=dlvr.it

    • Maybe they’re just focusing on the action on the court- Game 1 of the WC. That’s what sportswriters get paid to do. Bloggers get to do all the other fun stuff, like theoretical trades, lamentations over dumb luck, and ad-hominem attacks (that ones from Longtimer).

      Maybe the Rockets play better with Dwight, maybe his flaws cause them to play worse. Because he has some real flaws. FT shooting is one. But you’re assuming they will play better with him on the court. Thats not something that should be taken for granted
      .
      Anyway, you’ve already said Dwight is a moron. Thats generally not a helpful trait to suceed in any endeavour.

      • He’s one of my least favorite players ever. But Van Gundy has it right, he’s a Hall of Famer. And he was healthy for the first time in at least three years, getting healthier and fitter by the game, and just got done dominating against one of the most fearsome front lines in basketball. The idea that the Rockets could possibly be better without a HEALTHY Howard on the floor is simply too ridiculous to contemplate. His defensive impact, when healthy, is off the charts.

        • Obviously its a loss for Hou. I get the sense Dwight may be more than happy to sit on the bench with an ice-pack, thinking about resuming his pre-game X-box and Fruity Pebbles-fest, where some other tougher players would be in there. But maybe not.

          One more thought, the Warriors really arent a post-centric offense, so Howards impact is lessened, even exploited by wily smallball attacks, and as hes not a good passer, hes all or nothing on O. Then you have the FS%- and he shoots a lot more FGs than Bogut, hence more fouls shot attempts.

          Capela hedged the screen very nicely a couple time against Steph But hes just a kid, no experience.

    • Van Gundy has it right.

      Until/unless Bogut can contribute more than no-contest dunks and chickenshit floaters on offense, he’s just another guy.

      Or maybe not even a guy.

      • Just another guy, 2nd team all defense and starter of 76 wins team is not so bad, don’t you think. Bogut is not HOFer for sure but how does it matter what number he puts or how much scores so long as he is fulfilling his first duties as defender and rim protector. For other positions, it can be fatal if you don’t score even if you left open like Tony Allen. But, for C position, can survive aka Ben Wallace with Pistons. Bogut also helps with passes and setting the picks on offense. So, in short, it is not ideal that he doesn’t score but that shouldn’t matter so long as team is overcoming that. In ideal world, you want every starter to outscore opponent, but haven’t seen that ever happen.

    • A couple of reasons:
      1. Howard is a often injured players in the last 3-4 seasons. So being injured is not a low percentage event.
      2. It is Houston’s fault if they don’t have a solution of Howard’s injury, given the expectation.
      3. Warriors can only deal with the opponent on hand. We have no way to know whether or not the warriors coaches can come up an in-game solution for healthy Howard.
      4. In 10 minutes after Howard’s injury, Houston’s lead did not shrink but increased. So Howard’s effect may or may not be that big.

  14. I’m puzzled why so many people believe that Howard’s injury changed the game. That if he had not sustained his injury the outcome of the game might have been different. But that’s not the story the game logs tell. According to the game logs Howard injured his knee roughly 1/2 way through the 1st quarter and the score was 12-11 in favor of the Rockets. Immediately after the injury the Warriors took the rebound and got the ball to Steph who hit a 3 to put the Warriors up 14-12. Howard came back into the game with 1:25 to go in the 1st quarter with the Warriors down 27-22 so the Rockets actually gained 7 points on the Warriors with Howard out of the line-up.

    Howard played most of the 2nd quarter, leaving the game with 3:12 to go and the Warriors down just 51-47. So the Rockets actually built their 16 point lead and then lost it with post-injury Howard playing most of those minutes. So what’s the big deal? Howard was a -2 before he suffered the injury and he was a -2 after. This indicates to me that he was not that much of a factor in the game, injury or not. I saw a TV analyst say that the injury affected him because he started fumbling the ball and he wasn’t quite the same afterwards but he committed 2 of his 5 to’s in the 6 minutes before he was injured. I’m just not convinced, healthy or not, that Howard has that much of an impact on the game.

    • um, lol. Could his offensive rebounding have slowed the Warriors fast break? Could his presence in the middle have helped the Rockets’ defense? He was at one time the Defensive Player of the Year. Not much of an impact? Look at what happened to the Clippers scoring in the last 3 games of that series — the Clips were the leading offense in the league since the All-Star break.

      Did Howard have a chance to wear down the Warriors bigs? To get them in foul trouble? I seem to remember Draymond sitting on the bench with foul trouble for quite a few minutes in the Grizzlies series. What happens if that occurs against this Rockets team? What happens to Draymond’s legs in Games 5 and 6 if he’s the chief line of defense against Howard in the first four games?

      All those questions are moot now. I’ll be watching the competitive series in the other conference.

      • So is it Warriors fault that Howard is injured? What do you want Warriors to do? Playing with one hand tied to the back? Last playoff, Bogut was hurt, and the year before David Lee was hurt. The warriors reacted to the failure not by wishful thinking but by changing coach staff. This year, David Lee was hurt most of the season. Last night, Bogut did not look healthy either. Neither of these event prevented warriors from winning this year.

        • Did I say it was the Warriors fault? All I’ve said is that the series might have been interesting, but now that Howard is injured, it’s over.

          Am I wrong?

      • His offensive rebounding last night didn’t make much of an impact. His defensive presence certainly has value even though he’s no longer as intimidating as he was several years ago. But to me whatever the Rockets gain on the defensive side of the game they lose on the offensive side with Howard in the line-up. He is just not a skilled offensive player. He has no moves at all. Gasol and Randolph are much more of a threat because they are so skilled at scoring the ball. And Gasol is such a good passer you double-team him at your own risk. And the 2 Memphis post guys can both shoot free throws. Howard can’t do any of those things. You can, and the Warriors did, double-team him and rattle him and make him cough up the ball.

        To me this series will hinge on the match-up between Klay and Ariza. If Ariza can sustain his offensive output from last night (I don’t think that he can) and simultaneously shut down Klay on the other end of the court this will be a very close series although I still expect the Warriors to win. To be fair Klay’s offense was probably impacted by chasing and defending Harden. But he and Green were a combined 1-10 from the 3 point line last night. They hit a couple more of those and it wouldn’t have been a close game.

        Make no mistake, the Warriors were not at their best last night. Nobody played over their heads including SL. SL simply hit shots that he would normally make given the opportunity to do so. Contrast that with the Rockets who had Ariza going 4-5 on 3’s and 7-10 overall and Harden hitting step back jumpers with Klay draped all over him. Despite their incredible efforts, which are not sustainable over the course of the entire series, the Warriors won. In other words, the Rockets played much closer to their peak than the Warriors did last night and still lost. This bodes well for the rest of this series.

    • “Howard played most of the 2nd quarter, leaving the game with 3:12 to go and the Warriors down just 51-47.”

      Exactly, Howard was not helping Rockets case with warriors cutting the lead by large due to Howard’s TOs. Rockets played better without Howard and it is not like Warriors wouldn’t have known how to contain Howard.

  15. Howard’s bruised knee is indeed a sprain—MRI results just in. Thursday questionable.

    • He’s done for the series. Even if he plays.

      • The mighty Oz has spoken.

        The WC crown can go be a recorded with an asterisk. Partisans and all will be happy.

        Unless we lose.

    • From SI:

      These developments raised an unavoidable question: How will Houston keep up if Harden is ever less than excellent? Howard, given his ability to provide offensive balance and serve as a rim-punishing threat, stands as Houston’s best answer to that question.

      Indeed, the Rockets’ hopes in this series are now totally reliant upon Howard’s health. Already stretched by injuries to Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas, Houston just isn’t in position to cope with another major loss at this stage of the postseason, even if it was able to make due without Howard for long stretches of the regular season. His absence was felt everywhere: offense, defense, and on the glass.​

      http://www.si.com/nba/2015/05/19/dwight-howard-knee-injury-rockets-warriors-game-1-western-conference-finals-2015-playoffs

      • Stating the obvious. Or perhaps not so obvious, to the commenters here.

        In the place of their Hall of Fame and Defensive Player of the Year center the Rockets will be playing a 20 yr old D-Leaguer.

        Or as the posters here have it, the Rockets have greatly improved!

        I’ll be watching Cavs/Hawks. Frank, Harry and Rzzmark can recap for you guys.

        • At the very least, but only the very least, the Rockets now have to account for 30+ minutes in the front court down the roster and contend with whatever strain that puts on the team. The good news is that the Warriors don’t have a front court scorer to take advantage, not one they’ll use.

          The only suspense in the series is that the Warriors not suffer the embarrassment of losing.

        • Thanks for making me part of that trilogy.

          The whole post just seemed to be about convincing people you’re right about “HoF’r” Dwight. Not one word of praise for da Dubs. Of course, that’s not obligatory.

          Its a shame if hes hobbled from here on out, only his performance could squash this little bone of contention. If he steps up and dominates the Warriors, I”ll be the first to say I was wrong.

          I thought my comments on Dwight were fairly impartial. But the Oz comment was just some innocent good ol’ fashioned all-American trollin :(

          • There’s a not so little troll in me too!

            You act as if you’ve never seen Howard dominate the Warriors. It wasn’t so long ago. But even if you had no memory, and missed the Clippers series, watching the first 6 minutes should have been enough for you. Bogut isn’t in his league, he dwarfs Dray, and when healthy is even more athletic.

          • They’re saying on the other blog Bogut had a bad cold last night.

        • Some future HOF players are calling Howard ‘soft’ according to Damon Bruce.

          • Maybe so, but he’s not the one who made sure the media knew he had a cold after getting his fanny spanked.

            Did Michael Jordan ever play with a cold?

  16. The Warriors lucky streak continues. Amazing. I fully expect LeBron to get injured in the next two weeks.

    • No need to wait for Lebron to get injured to make your point. Love and Varajaeo are out and Irving is not 100%. If Atlanta makes it, Thabo is already out.

      • True enough.

        • Would Spurs have won if they were going against healthy Wade last year ? Would Cavs have won if Rose were playing last three years ? Lot more instances like that and in warriors case they are favorite to win even with Howard not hurt. At least first game Rockets played better without Howard.

      • And now Carroll?

  17. The Rox have a way better chance with a healthy Howard.

    I doubt Howard will play, and even if he does, will be ineffective.

    McHale will either have to start Capela or go small with TJones.

    Even with a healthy Howard and Beverly, I think the Warriors would win, though in 7, not 4.

    • you stated this a bit differently on the other blog Marc, and my response was an attempt to put a humorous twist on it, no offense intended. the phrase you used in the other place that pushed me down the alternate universe path was ‘in any case’.

      • Not at all moto. Those guys don’t want to realize Howard was playing injured after the opening 6 minutes.

    • those media folks who voted really know their stuff. made first time selections in d’mond and leonard, such bold picks. d.carroll received zero points, w.matthews (Por) barely registered. confirmation bias isn’t in their official job descriptions, but the gents and ladies (who did ann killion vote for?) seem to take it pretty seriously.

    • cosmicballoon

      The laugher is that two Clippers made first team. DJ and CP3 are nice defenders, but CP3 in particular doesn’t deserve those kind of kudos this season. He’s just very good at grabbing people and then complaining.

  18. Felty, Houston was outscored with
    Howard . He was not a force when he
    was healthy. He missed foul shots. If
    His large number of turnovers were not
    related to his injury. Kobe Bryant
    knows he sucks. Can’t understand why
    you don’t.

    • Yeah Felty. Straight from the horses mouth. So take off your blinders and acknowledge the blinding truth. This whole blog is subterfuge for your nefarious self-promotion. You dont give a damn about the Warriors and even Kobe knows this. How does his ass taste?

      Im actually thinkin this site is subsidized by the bottomless pockets of Joe Lacob. To start backlash to gain him sympathy. I could be wrong

  19. Howard’s sprain has been diagnosed as mild. That he could continue playing the other night suggests as much and that his return, if not tonight, is likely.

    The Rockets said they were able to cope without Howard all season, but I can’t find a game against serious competition in which they also weren’t missing Motiejūnas. Such is the NBA now. And in those games they often won because Harden went on a tear—51 against Sacramento.

    At least they don’t have a scoring big to worry about from the Warriors. Still, they won’t be able to compete in small ball, unless the Warriors supporting cast stumbles. Look for more Harden hero ball, and if the Houston supporting players step up, it could still be a competition. And also look for—

    Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it—

    Joey Dorsey!

    “This is actually a series where Kevin McHale could safely insert Joey Dorsey (and his 20-something percent free throw percentage) in spurts and not have to worry about being a victim of the ‘Hack-a’ strategy, since Steve Kerr generally likes to keep the pace quick, so Dorsey could be part of the solution.”

    http://www.houstonpress.com/news/dwight-howard-diagnosed-with-sprained-left-knee-questionable-for-game-2-7450160

    • “Howard’s sprain has been diagnosed as mild.”

      mild sprain and didn’t want to come back, confirms ‘soft’ label famously given by Kobe.

      • Your excursions, harry, are a never ending source of wonder and delight.

      • Howard has had multiple serious knee injuries. He’s right to be cautious. That’s not “soft,” that’s common sense. He’d like to be able to walk without a cane when he’s 40.

        The alternative is to play when injured for the entertainment of fans who only care about the laundry he’s wearing. That’s just stupid.

    • Goldsberry again! You sure can pick ’em, harry.

      All this article shows is how well the rest of the team sets him up for safe shots, where he hits at fairly good percentage. Goldsberry as much concedes the point. What it doesn’t show is how little Barnes helps in any other situation, how he can’t put pressure on defenses with more aggressive shots.

      I was especially intrigued with his “breakout” defensive effort against Randolph. What I recall is that this was a co-ordinated effort by the whole team, involving double teams in most cases. Again, it’s a way to maximize his minimal abilities.

      • Barnes, incidentally, is ranked 73rd in post season 3 point %.

        • Maui Nellie

          My opinion of Barnes, to this day, has always centered around one number, and in nine days that number becomes 23 (birthday is May 30). When Barnes NBA career began he was still as good as a teenager. The point being for me is that whenever my thoughts would turn negative (on Barnes) after any particular in-game sequence or series of games I would remind myself of his extremely young age.

          I had doubts about his shooting from the start but he’s definitely worked on his shot to where now I don’t consider that a weakness yet an area that needs to (and I feel will) improve even more.

          Just the fact he’s so young means he’ll continue to get stronger as he adds muscle and weight in the coming years, and according to coaches his strength even now would fool many outside observers.

          Those same coaches also talk of his work ethic. This fact alone (assuming it continues, and I believe it will since imo this kid wants to be considered one of the better players in the league some day) almost guarantees that the Harrison Barnes we see 5 years from now (at the ripe old age of 28) will be at least a somewhat impressive and improved edition of the Harrison Barnes we see today.

          In my final analysis of Barnes today vs the Barnes of “tomorrow” I don’t believe that including Harrison in the Warriors core (Curry, Thompson, Green) to build around going forward is such a bad idea.

          • Exactly, no one sees Barnes as future MVP or even a future all star. He has been proven time and again as solid contributor for best team in the league, enough for me.

          • Harry has just kept this one alive.

            What I don’t understand is why some are so ardent in supporting a player with such a limited role and such limited abilities. The other question, related, is why the Warriors don’t reach higher.

            What no one can point to in Barnes is talent. All they could point to was sensational dunks against high school kids and they kept saying what if. Barnes lacks skills kids show in grade school—ball handling, etc. Even if he does improve these somewhat, he won’t have a lifetime of development to support him in confidence and muscle memory. He does not see the court and is slow to react. He often fumbles. He cannot read defenses, only follow assigned roles. Only wishful thinking says this can change. These are inherent, though perhaps can be marginally improved. He shows almost no initiative or improvisation or leadership capabilities. He is a passive follower.

            I just answered my question above.

            I don’t doubt his desire, but his increasing strength only points to his being funneled into a more limited role at 4 and not providing the team the flexibility it could use, certainly with the second unit. He may be able to cover many other 4s with this added strength, a definite improvement this year, but not the exceptionally athletic he might meet in playoff competition.

            And it makes him less useful to the team. He is slow at the 3, and the only way he gets away with this is with the support of Klay on the perimeter and Green and Bogut up front. Getting stronger may well reduce his effectiveness.

            And after 3 years in the NBA, he should be able to drive and draw a foul. He seldom finds an opening and he’s still an average free throw shooter.

            The real loss is he is what he theoretically might have been, but only theoretically, with his size and athleticism—a quick, versatile defender who can cover many positions and confidently play 3 or 4, and show aggressiveness on offense in a variety of situations, with a variety of threats. He only knows how to play tee ball.

            Give Barnes all the credit in the world, however, as I have done, for playing adequately with what he has been given. This is not a sure thing in the NBA. But has any other player been more supported?

        • Why do you think he is still getting minutes ? Because he is not just a 3PT shooter and helping team in other ways. BTW, if you are nit picking, Barnes made more 3PTs than Lebron. Here from feltbot from previous which sure you have ignored like how you are ignoring the facts in front of you.

          “But what has impressed me more has been his defense on Gasol and Randolph. The best part of his game in this series, if you ask me, and a key part of making the Warriors’ Nellieball lineups work.”

          If you are never going to change your mind when the facts change, you can keep your stubborn stance but ignore the posts.

      • Keep the hate on everyone including Felt here saw Barnes D on Zach Randolph. Not bad for a player who is not even supposed to be called NBA player. Must have been difficult for you to be proven wrong again and again on Barnes.

        • Happy harry strikes again!

          • …and why are you not happy ? I only linked an article about a warriors player in good light.

          • gee, rgg, an extremely good role player is a fine thing.

            He’s damn good at some things, within his carefully-defined role on the team. That makes him OK.

            No one sez Barnes is the next MJ. You’re boxing against shadows, arguing against… no one at all. Let it go, friend.

    • What struck me is not so much the improvement, though quite notable, but the starting level that improvement implies.

      I still think Harrison did not receive very good coaching in high school, college, nor under MJax his 1st 2 pro seasons.

      Finishing lay-ups, choosing where to drive, shooting accuracy, defensive recognition will all improve in time.

      What still worries me, and what I still see on the court, is a slow first step or slow reaction, reported in the pre-draft scouting. I’m hoping this is not physical, only mental, and should come with more experience. He’s only 22.

    • harry, I’m starting to see HB more as a Stretch-4, who can provide some Wing minutes.

  20. Thanks for that link Hat, excellent piece. However, Chris Paul will be limited by his lack of height in the sense that he can’t switch against a bigger SG. So, in my opinion, a bigger guard like Butler or Klay should have been selected over him.

  21. Maui Nellie

    One of the bright young coaching minds in the NBA is Brad Stevens of the Celtics. I recommend listening to this ESPN podcast from this morning where the topics were analytics and Warriors/Curry.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=12925996&s=espn

  22. Kent Bazemore played real well yesterday. He can D, shoot, and get to the rim. Wish he was still with the Warriors.

    • Baze shot 4-5 last night, including a fantastic slam in traffic. Atlanta is lucky to have him.

      He might be next up against LeBron, which is probably not going to work out well, but whutcha gonna do?

      I wonder how Bazemore would do one-on-one against Justin Holiday.

      • Baze is more powerful than Holiday, looks bigger, must have been hitting the weights. And he has confidence now, which is what Holiday needs.

        Yeah, very strong dunk in traffic, and a very athletic shot moving across the lane on a perfect cut and feed.

      • I will take Justin Holiday, just smarter player, longer and just better all around player, more natural fit at SF.

    • He did go up against Lebron at least once—I saw a few minutes of the game.

      • We’ll see what Baze can do, what with Thebo and now Carroll out. That’s a pretty good 3rd string guy the Hawks got and for what? $2M for 2 years?

        Bazemore defended The King recently and did pretty good, considering how The King can Kong, but now it’s the play-offs.

        • Yeah, the King can Kong! Baze will do fine until LBJ backs him down in the paint. Then it’s time for Millsap to step in.

  23. Howard’s getting a bad rap here. He never insisted on pussy footing around on the perimeter like Webber, Aldridge, Bosch, and Garnett, although I hold it against him he wouldn’t play P&R with Nash. But even that he mitigated with P&R to beat the Clips.

  24. Hardly a rout. In fact a bona fide playoff game. Everything Harden and Howard are capable of we saw. I believe we were alerted to this possibility earlier this week. Howard won the matchup over Bogut, but Bogut had a very fine game and finally got the points the team absolutely needed.

    And winning the second game of a series is a big, big deal.

    Some of the defensive slip-ups by Houston were just incomprehensible. Two easy inbound plays, so many others. Plus the open looks Curry got first half. Scary to think what Beverly would have added.

    All anyone could talk about second half, notably Kerr, was the turnovers. There were bad passes, but if you analyzed the positions you’d see there just wasn’t anything there, especially not being able to attack the lane. Not having good options to take the pressure off Curry will take its toll (as I’ve been saying all seasons). What was really key the first quarter was Curry came out firing—and wasn’t guarded as closely as he should have been.

    But the last 8 minutes of so of the second quarter, when Houston went on a 23-6 run and tied the score, there were only 4 turnovers, 1 by Curry, 3, uncharacteristically, by Green, one of which I think needs being qualified. Turnovers weren’t the problem at all. They just didn’t have the options on offense. I believe they also got outrebounded during that stretch—I haven’t checked.

    • Sorry—all anyone could talk about halftime, not second half. I.e. it was the discussion during the halftime show of the first half performance. And my point is they protected the ball much better second quarter, but couldn’t do anything with it and got blown out. It’s the offense and their front court shortcomings. Kerr sounds like an efficiency expert, which is getting tedious. I’m starting to miss the preacher.

      The last few weeks might be the closest Houston has been to a full team for a long time. Think where they’d be with Beverly and a better coach.

      • And a fully healthy Howard. (And Daniels and the big Eastern European.). Howard looked maybe a bit better than 50% to me.

        • with the teams as they are with one exception, players in their present condition, what if d’mond and smith just exchanged places. would mchale still be the markedly inferior coach, or the woeyrs the prohibitive favorite ? d’mond is expending every ounce on both ends ; some of the possessions he looked ragged and spent.

          • Right. TJones sure does look good.

          • For anyone looking ahead, or even to next week, the heavy load on Green has to be considered. If you want a comparison, Howard averaged some 36 minutes a game for 8 seasons with Orlando.

  25. Take it away, trolls.

    I’ll let my preview stand as my recap.

    I’ll just add one thing: hard to put a number on it, but I’d estimate Howard was 60-70% in this game. Certainly nowhere near where he was in the Clippers series.

    With his injury, that number is as likely to go down as up as the series progresses.

    • He was still pretty good even at 60 or 70%.

      And bogut’s probably about 80% so I guess 80% bogut’s roughly equal to a 60-70% Howard.

      I liked Draymond on Harden. I saw it twice and I don’t think harden scored on him. Also somehow the blur was tough on Harden, only two possessions but he anticipated well & got to the spot harden wanted to get to first.

      • Curry said after the game Bogut was still sick. Never seen a guy get so many colds and flus.

    • Felt, I discovered your blog a few months ago and in general I really love your fresh take on all things Warriors. I agree with you more often than not and even when I don’t agree with your take I can appreciate your perspective. But with Howard we seem to be stuck in entirely opposite camps. My take on Howard is that his numbers always look pretty good. But I find that every time I watch one of his games I discover that his impact is always less than what the numbers would suggest. It’s the same in this game. 16 points and 17 rebounds looks pretty good on paper but I really felt that Bogut had a much bigger impact on the game with his 14 points and 5 blocked shots than Howard. You say that Howard was probably 60-70% in this game but how would you know that? I thought that he was probably closer to 90% if not more and Howard himself is quoted as saying that he wouldn’t go unless he felt he was able to give at least 90%.

      • Maui Nellie

        In the Clipper series Howard was 100% healthy and the Rockets defense was blitzed to the tune of 252 points combined in Games 3 & 4, and gave up 90 points with still over 2 minutes left in quarter 3 of Game 6. The Clippers never showed up in Game 7 rendering any Game 7 analysis meaningless. Or in other words, Howard will forever be one of those players that observers can praise or criticize and never be wrong.

        The bottom line between these two teams is this, the Warriors have beaten the Rockets all 6 times they’ve played them this season. They’ve beaten them with a healthy Howard, a less than 100% Howard, and with no Howard at all.

        They’ve beaten them with Beverly tenaciously guarding whomever, and without Beverly.

        They’ve beaten them in “meaningless” regular season games and pressure packed postseason games.

        They’ve beaten them in Oakland and they’ve beaten them in Houston.

        They’ve beaten them in blowouts and in close games.

        These are all things that happen when one team is just better than the other.

    • From what I saw, Dwight played really well, better that most games he was 100 % healthy. Warriors ball movement kind of neutralizes Howard’s defensive presence.

  26. I’m pretty happy with playoffs Livingston and Barnes BTW.

    • Me too, except Barnes really needs to make that lay-up.

      • That was a really tough shot for anyone. And generally I think he has horrible hands.

      • He almost made it but no excuses, he should have made that. That could have been a game lost if not for the defensive stop.

  27. Haralabob tweeted this tonite:

    Klay Thompson has no idea how to guard James Harden. Needs to watch film of JJ. Redick (not something i thought i’d ever say)

    • cosmicballoon

      Haralabob might be wrong this time. Doc’s defensive game plan was to get the ball out of Harden’s hands. That left Ariza, etc, open at the three point line most of the series. If Klay got the kind of help Reddick was getting, Harden would probably be at 20ppg.

      So this one is on Kerr. Thus far he’s let Klay take on Harden 1 on 1 much of the series. Harden has gone off several times, but the Warriors have won. Should Kerr make a change, or continue to let Klay expand a ton of energy on defense?

    • He advocated for giving Harden MORE space. I think Klay played him okay within the gameplan for the most part.

      Klay makes a few boneheaded plays on offense a game, then he’ll recover nicely on a defensive possession and I forget why I was frustrated with him. Illustrates my feelings toward Socal quite nicely actually.

    • Is it me, or was James Harden forced into taking mostly mid-range jumpers? How is that considered bad defense?

      ESS tweeted that Harden has hit almost 70% of his mid-range shots in this series. That is absurd and not sustainable.

    • warriorsablaze

      While I fully appreciate the effort and that key block near the end, I really wish Klay wouldn’t be guarding Harden near-exclusively. Despite Klay’s efforts, Harden has had two monster offensive games. Klay, on the other hand, has been near-useless — in game one largely detrimental — on offense.

      If Harden is still gonna drop 38 with a near triple double, is it really worth losing Klay’s offense by having him chase Harden around? Curry is bound to have a off night, Klay can’t be throwing up bricks and aggressively turning it over when that happens.

      • cosmicballoon

        I agree with this. Why aren’t the Warriors putting up 120 every night against the Rockets? Because Klay’s offense is down.

  28. http://streamable.com/vao4

    Looking back at Harden’s fumble, I noticed a few things. I think Harden passed to Howard only because he thought his trailing teammate was a shooter. Upon realizing his mistake he immediately called for the ball back and the trap was sprung. But with around 4 seconds left in the game, you will see Jones waltz right down the lane for a potentially easy bucket. Thankfully, Harden had his blinders on.

    • I think Harden passed to Howard, because he had a brain fart. He could have continued driving to his left for an easy shot. It was Barnett or someone said the same thing.

  29. Felty, you have no skin in the
    game. As Howard is hurt, is basically
    a 2 point shooter, and has difficulty
    at the foul line.plus Bogut played well.

    Turnovers and lack of offense by
    Thompson are making games close.
    Warriors need a second scorer.
    Thankfully Livingston made almost
    Thompson much fewer shots and
    Being on the court less than half the
    time that Thompson was on the court
    Thompson shooting 33 percent in
    the first two games is horrid. He takes
    contested drives and has no option to
    dish off.

    There is no player or defense that can
    stop a step. Back. Nothing Thompson
    nor Kerr can do.

  30. Warriors plus 8 with Bogut on the
    court, Houston only a plus 4 with
    Howard on the court.

    Warriors bench hit over 50 precent
    of their shots.

    • They’re using the chess Elo rating system. But in chess, grandmasters play each other over the decades, or one might defeat a player who defeated another earlier, etc. This doesn’t happen in the NBA. I wonder how many games the Jordan Bulls would have won this year.

  31. Maui Nellie @29

    The only reference game we have is the blowout of Houston with all healthy:

    http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20150117&game=GSWHOU

    Which leads to the question why the Warrior offense was performing at high level. Klay had a somewhat better game then, but that may be related to the major factor, the Warriors scoring bigs, 18 for Lee, 15 for Speights, 33 total. Curry and Lee were together at the end of the 3rd. quarter when they put the game away. They would have taxed the defense and opened up the court for others. And it’s what they don’t have now.

    • Maui Nellie

      rgg, there’s a name I haven’t seen mentioned much lately in regards the Dubs, Mo Speights. He was such a big contributor this season (unlike Lee) and figured to play a meaningful role in the postseason. Yes, even the Warriors have had to make some injury related adjustments as the games move on. Mo Buckets would be a welcome addition in this series.

  32. Regarding Bogut’s flu, I thought Jeff van Gundy was hilarious on the subject last night. Don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like: “Dunk on one end, get back to take the charge on the other, I am astonished Bogut could make those plays while battling the flu!”

    The best in the business.

    • Ya, I heard that. But, how about Howard giving what he could with his knee sprain. Was he really that hurt to begin with ?

      • Yes, he was really hurt and still is.

        • Yes Marc, but when we question certain players like Bogut yesterday, Kobe and MJ before for flu, Howard seemed to be healthy enough to play and contribute at all NBA level. He is definitely hurt but he is not ‘super man’ to do all that if he is that hurt.

          • I’m not questioning Bogut — he was sick yesterday, though not as much as during Game 1. Hopefully, he’s well by game time tomorrow.

            As rgg points out to me, I really need to get off what isn’t. Its just a shame to see a guy injured, whether out or playing significantly impaired.

  33. I mentioned only watch the other teams when they play the Warriors. And after watching the Rox for two games I have to say Hardens MVP-like and I slandered him by denying it. He gets the benefit of a few calls launching himself into others, but he’s a terror. As someone else asked, is his level of play sustainable?
    Also said his penchant for Hero ball would hurt them. While he kept them in the game with a fab performance, his gaffe at the end was major for a playoff contest. No shot on goal, no chance to win..

    Still wouldn’t trade him for Klay. Just because I believe in Klay

    Howard’s a top 10 center. Think his HoF cred is a thing of the past, however

    • No question about Harden and Howard. Harden needs certain team to be surrounded around him and with just some minimal adjustments in his game like not dominating ball too much, he could be Lebron like player. Right now though, he helps more than hurt the team but he still hurts the team by going hero ball.

      About Howard, he is definitely top 5 center but forever be remembered as an underachiever. He still has few years left where he can change how his legacy will be remembered.

    • Where Harden appeared the ball hog was all those games Howard was out. But Harden, in fact, leads both playoff games in assists, 9 each. And he and Curry have taken about the same number of shots, actually 2 more for Curry.

      Curry talked about the need to get off to a good start last night, and he made sure they did. I don’t think the first quarter turnovers were significant, as they had trouble getting anything going in either game without Curry.

      We are getting hero ball. The team has been utterly dependent on Curry so far.

      • Warriors 31 assists on 41 FGs
        Rockets 20 assists on 39 FGs.

        Warriors are not getting hero ball.

  34. GooseLosGatos

    Sam Amick from USA Today just wrote an interesting article on how Harrison Barnes spent a week at Jerry West’s home this summer working on his game & has been providing mentorship
    throughout the season… I don’t have the link
    but it’s worth the read….

      • Wonder if the many people here still think Barnes don’t have any trade value ? He always have had trade value and going to be the articles by national media, it just confirms that Barnes is a very much desired young player in the league. I, for one, very much like him to be part of the core of Curry, Green, Klay and Barnes. The game is gonna slow down further for those 4 young players and keep warriors in contention for long time. Hopefully Ezeli develops next year to join the core.

        • lacob himself expressed his conviction in keeping those players they drafted and control with the team. mr.barnes’ trade value is moot, and lacob will be loathe to part with him, until he becomes infatuated with another object of his desire anyway. only then, when lacob covets another player more and barnes is part of a ransom, will we know what the trade value might be. he’s in the final year of his rookie deal, so his value relative to price for another season is favorable and part of why lacob and myers won’t shop him unless the venture capitalist chases one of his ‘transformational’ acquisitions.

          • +1. Durant?

          • Marc, when durant enters free agency the lacobites can’t trade for him. they could in theory cut loose the players they have ‘bird rights’ on [barnes and lee next July], giving them more budget flexibility in making an offer. if d’mond re-signs with them this summer, both he and thompson will be in heavy post-rookie contracts next year. to set a foundation for a bid on durant would take serious excavation, and lacob would have to be confident in the successful completion before cutting his prized project barnes.

          • So, translating, you are saying Lacob will keep Barnes unless they can get someone who is better than Barnes. Isn’t that how it should be ?

          • If LaCoub disengages HB and DLee, could he pull off signing Durant?

        • harry your first question refers to the publicity, hype, perceived value in a player. some of the stuff lacob has said about his players has been demonstrated to be marketing rhetoric. he included thompson in his model of keeping their draft picks a month or two after he conceded to the opposition in his council (a.k.a. west giving notice) to the love trade. but then you came back with ‘someone better than barnes’. a better player might not be the one and same body as a player lacob covets more highly than barnes. d.carroll is a better player than barnes and he’s been available for a free agent minimum contract twice in his career after getting waived (not counting his re-entry to free agency post-UT, or this summer), but free agents like him aren’t valued by the lacobites. they love ‘name brands’ and have invested effort into mr.barnes to make him into one associated with theirs of course. last summer, love had a much bigger brand name than thompson. doesn’t make him, nor mr.barnes, a ‘better player’ than others with lower profile brands.

          • I meant better fit. Liked your Matt Carroll comparison. Where Barnes triumphs over him and many other SFs is his D against PFs and how he is complement to Green as forward duo.

            If Lacob and co can get a star, they will not hesitate to trade Barnes but outside of stars, it makes sense to stay home with Barnes. They shouldn’t even look for stars now.

          • harry, don’t understand how you brought Matt Carroll into this discussion. he was a 2-guard who was around for 11 seasons, mostly with Cha. d.carroll on Atl would complement d’mond just fine. he’s had to earn his place in the n.b.a. and his minutes everywhere he’s been.

            another example of the name brand chase being distinct from finding a good player, they passed on gobert to draft NN, whom they immediately tried to market as the euro d. rose.

  35. The view from the other side:

    http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015-houston-rockets-playoffs/2015/5/22/8642297/rockets-breakdown-comeback-falls-shorts-rockets-fall-in-0-2-hole-2015-NBA-playoffs

    He’s critical of Houston defense:

    “The Rockets in general had no idea what they were doing on defense. Harden unnecessarily helped while he was one man away and the lack of good communication and switching led to another Curry open look. Look at how the off-ball defenders lose their man. Here, Brewer gets caught snoozing and allows Shaun Livingston to cut to the basket for a dunk.”

    And questions their opening strategy and offense in general:

    “On offense the Rockets also employed a very dangerous strategy. They fed Josh Smith early and often. I know Houston needs their role players to have a chance against Golden State, but this was just irresponsible. Smith took seven of the Rockets first 13 shots while managing to make just two of them. Meanwhile, Harden was running up and down the floor getting in some light cardio. Not like Harden is an elite scorer or anything.

    “The Rockets offense gets easier for everyone else when Harden is the focal point, not when he is standing around doing nothing. Harden was 2-4 from the field and 3-3 from the line in the first quarter but could have had so much more had it not been for Smith. The Warriors switched every pick and roll that Harden was in except ones that Andew Bogut was involved in. With a hobbled Howard, it makes it tough to run this over and over, but Bogut dropping into the lane allows more room for Harden to operate. A healthy Dwight and healthy dose of Dwight/Beard pick and rolls could keep the Rockets from falling behind in Game 3.”

    Which suggests adjustments for Game 3, especially first quarter. Look for Harden to come out firing.

    • +1. And Harden-Howard P&R, if Howard’s knee is up to it.

    • “Smith took seven of the Rockets first 13 shots while managing to make just two of them.”

      Smith was facing Draymond. It’s funny, everyone acknowledges that Green is a good defender, but they don’t seem to get that he screws up opponents’ shots. Harden missed both of his takes against Green too.

      “A healthy Dwight and healthy dose of Dwight/Beard pick and rolls could keep the Rockets from falling behind in Game 3.”

      That starting premise, a healthy Dwight? Not happening. Double-bonus extra credit to Howard for finding ways to make a contribution last night, but mobility/agility was not part of the package, and it probably won’t be anytime soon. If that’s the best suggestion that writer can come up with, then I doubt McHale is listening.

      • +1

        Rockets need a PG to win the series and they don’t have anyone. Someone who can handle the ball, try to setup someone else before giving up the ball to Harden. Kind of how MJ took the ball off Curry which was a bad decision for warriors but might be a good one for Rockets. May be they can try Terry. When the whole world knows Harden is going to take the shot, it is much easier to defend(see how Klay stayed with Harden even after Harden passed the ball to Howard) and with defense even more focused over last minutes of 4th quarter.

        Just a thought but still might not be good enough.

        • they’d only ‘try terry’ in desperation. he can’t defend anyone. he’s part of the reason they picked up prigoni, who is about equivalent on defense. consider how livingston and barbosa are both doing well against this no.2 playoff seed, in contrast to their inconsistency much of the season.

  36. warriorsablaze

    This has happened several times over the past few seasons, and it drives me crazy every time… why doesn’t Steph ever call a timeout when he gets in trouble?

    I was yelling at the screen as that trap followed by an 8-second violation was developing, but I knew that no timeout would be called. He never does. Why?

    Pride? Fear of a Chris Webber fail? Has cost us games in the past and nearly did last night.

    • It was a VERY well-executed trap, at precisely the right time and place. It came quickly, and Steph was already in danger of losing the ball before he could figure out how to free up a hand to signal for a timeout.

  37. Barnes gave the Warriors
    four net scoring opportunities
    by garnering 4 offensive rebounds
    and two steals, and not turning
    The ball over. Job well done.

    While Green does many great
    things for the Warriors, he
    really hurts the Warriors
    when he turns the ball over 4
    Times mostly by making bad
    passes, and ill-advised fouls on
    Harden late in the game.

    • Foul calls work both ways. Harden fouled Green (loose ball foul, a push in the back) before grabbing the rebound for his last possession. If the refs had called the foul on Harden, that last possession wouldn’t even have happened.

    • BTW, Barnes missed a friggin layup that would have sealed the game. Don’t talk to me about Barnes.

  38. A Rocket fan posted on Reddit saying he caught a glimpse of the Warriors coming off the buses and going to a club in Houston. Apparently Bogut could barely walk as he was limping the whole way.

    • Bogut’s injuries reviewed, up through last season:

      http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2014/12/22/7428269/golden-state-warriors-andrew-bogut-injury-history

      Note the bone edema and chondromalacia in his knee—swelling, inflammation, and cartilage softening—for which he had that treatment. He still doesn’t know how his elbow will work when he shoots. He’s also had back problems, not surprising given his size and injuries, but we won’t hear about them unless they keep him out. Seems to me I heard he didn’t travel well, and the plane was held up a long time on their flight to Houston.

      There is something heroic in the way Bogut has managed and endured all his injuries over the years.

      But—

      • stoic, not heroic. he’s a mercenary performer whose sacrifices in pain endurance help no greater cause than a commercial entertainment industry. he might be involved in some socially beneficial organizations, but he also collects muscle cars for his own indulgence, which is his prerogative but not particularly heroic.

        • Noted, and I stand corrected.

          • Also I was trying to be polite and respectful. You know how well that works with me. It’s the but— I care about.

        • Does the definition of stoic encompass complaining to the media of a cold after getting your fanny spanked by a one-legged player?

  39. Hat: You have a very myopic and emotional
    reaction to Barnes play. Yes, he missed the
    a lay-up at the end of the game. But what
    you ignore is that he had two steals that
    led to four points being placed in the Warriors
    column making his missed shot virtually
    irrelevant. And one can argue he created a
    six pont swing as Houston likely would
    have scored two points if they had not
    losses those two possessions. Also, the
    Warriors were a plus three with Barnes
    on the court. So, you should praising
    Barnes as he helped place the Warriors
    in a positon to win. Without those 2
    steals the Warriors would have lost
    game 2.

    Lowe thinks that Harden might
    cool off. Not likely, given that Harden
    is the master of the step-back that
    Lowe does not mention.

    • Harden cooling off? The crew on Lauridsens blog advocates him cooling off as well. I don’t think so.

      • As hat points out, probably won’t continue at 70%. Over 50% though still makes him tuff if he’s distributing.

    • Frank, re Harden check Dr. EZ @ 31. Players’ shooting tend to regress toward the mean. 70% is far off anyone’s mean.

      re Barnes, I appreciate his contribution but a layup is the easiest shot in the entire basketball universe. He makes that shot, it’s game over. He misses, it’s still game on.

      Barnes missed the easiest shot in the world. Don’t talk to me about Barnes. He does many fine things, his shooting is great, he does many fine things and he’s probably an excellent fellow too – but if he doesn’t make gimme’s he not a winner.

      • Would rather have seen Barnes either pump fake first on that layup attempt or go up strong jumping out towards where Howard was coming from than try that difficult up-and-under. Not just Barnes but the W’s as a group instinctively try to avoid contact on those types of plays. Just one reason they don’t shoot as many free throws as some other NBA teams. But this is hindsight and since things turned out well for the W’s I’m not going to complain.

        • +1. he should have slammed it, hard, got fouled at least. But he doesn’t like people in his way. overall he seems a *little* more aggressive lately though.

      • cosmicballoon

        I have seen the replay a zillion times now…Barnes probably should have committed to something. I believe he was thinking slam, but Howard made a strong defensive adjustment and took away the rim. Barnes then had to duck under and try the reverse…a shot he’s not comfortable with and clearly doesn’t practice much.

  40. Howard says he knee feels better going into game 3.

    • his knee

      • I still think a healthy Bogut is more of a key. Bogut at 100% will mostly neutralize Howard at 100%. 100% Howard will get more points and rebounds than 100% Bogut but Bogut will provide greater value to both the W’s offense and defense and have a bigger impact overall on the outcome of the game.

  41. SonnyParker

    Recently returned from an extended stay abroad and sorry to hear that Feltbot is hanging up the blog pen after this season. I’ve enjoyed following this blog.

    Some quick comments:

    I think it’s quite clear that Klay is not in Harden’s class as a 2 guard, even if we grant that he is a superior defender. Harden is a level or more above him as a scorer, play maker, and rebounder. That being said, I expect that their scoring numbers will start to even out.

    I don’t see this series as being a snoozer like Feltbot. If the Warriors bring their A game they likely will win and be in an overwhelmingly strong position. If not, they will likely lose (unless Houston lays an egg) and we will be headed to a very important game on Monday.

    • Sonny, nice to hear a new voice even in these closing days of Feltbot.

      Yeah, you’re right, no one had Thompson in the running for MVP. Harden is a great, great player. Thompson may or may not show up on offense in the rest of this series. He’s putting a lot of effort into guarding Harden, and on O he’s being guarded by a tough defender. Harden can’t keep shooting midrange J’s at 70%, though. At some point he’ll probably come back to earth.

      Also agree that the series is not a snoozer. The Ws have won 2 games by just a couple of points. At home. With an injured Howard. And now they’re in Houston.

  42. Steph hit the driving range during the flight delay.

  43. Hat: too bad you don’t recognize
    that a reverse lay-up is a somewhat
    difficult shot as Kyl points out and
    especially sinew Howard denied the
    Other side of the rim. Regardless,
    without the Warriors scoring
    off both of Barnes two steals, the
    Warriors lose.

    • Frank, a reverse layup is as easy as a slam. Barnes is INCHES from that rim, he’s practiced that shot forever, and the only reason to miss that shot in that situation is fear of success.

      Besides, say Barnes goes in for a slam instead. Isn’t that a foul on Howard? A second winning move Barnes did not make.

    • A guys got to slam that ball, especially against a 1-legged defender. Bazemore did in Game 1 against the Cavs, thru 3 able bodied guys. At the least, HB draws a foul, if he goes straight to the rim.

  44. What a game for the partisans. Drays a more vital player than Klay for GS right now. But I still wouldn’t trade Klay for Harden

    Andrews a smart player. This is just commercial entertainment, but his play could be labeled “heroic”, in context. Festus is having a great game.

    I’ll beat Feltbot to the punch:

    Howard’s “only 67.3 %”.

    The series would be completely different if Beverly and Mojunietas were available

    Who’s the MVP?!?!

    Also feltbot, noticed you’ve given shout outs to the Astros. I’ll give one to my Giants. 8 in a row so I’m bandwagoning. Like I’ve been doin for 40 years

    • Howard looked healthy, and Bogut fouled out in 20 minutes. Festus played great, but also needed five fouls.

      Quite obviously that wasn’t the story. The story was on the perimeter, and on the benches.

    • Wanted to be clear if I was gonna launch an ad-hominem

      “The series would be completely different if Beverly and Mojunietas were available” – I was attributing this to feltbot, tho I don’t believe he said this yet

      Seriously tho, harden regressed to the mean tonite, while Steph was Steph. What a player. He doesn’t have to play hero ball. He’s just himself, and peaking

    • Art Vandelay

      Per 36 stat lines for the series after three games:
      Bogut: 13.9 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 2.7 apg, 1.3 t/opg, 60% fg, 66% ft.
      Howard: 14.5 ppg, 16 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 1.1 apg, 3.3 t/opg, 61% fg, 32% ft.

      • The classic error of comparing short minute players with full time players, and that’s just the start. Allow me to flesh out your analysis a bit:

        Bogut 2 knees.

        Howard 1 knee. (Does this matter at all?)

        Bogut 20 min. per game.

        Howard 30 min per game.

        Bogut: 1 20 min. foul out.

        Howard: 0 foul outs.

        Bogut: 1 16 min. complete and utter annihilation (flu).

        Howard: 0 quits. Even when unable to move.

        Bogut: 1 Festus Ezeli tag team to prop him up, and mop up his messes.

        Howard: 0 Festus Ezeli tag teams.

        Bogut: 1 superstar power forward helping him on the boards.

        Howard: An old guy getting owned.

        Bogut: A great defensive team completely shutting off penetration and making his job easy.

        Howard: An overmatched defensive team getting overrun like the marines at Khe Sanh.

        Bogut: A genius coaching staff on the bench, game planning both sides of the ball.

        Howard: A confused old man on the bench, game planning his firing.

        OK, carry on Art. Your stat makes sense to me now.

  45. Great game, with a lot of interesting things to discuss. Partying tonight, will recap tomorrow if hangover allows.

  46. Has there ever been a worse NBA playoff game, at least after the first round? Everyone’s talking about how the Warriors protected the ball and didn’t turn it over. Nonsense. Houston couldn’t put any pressure on the ball, or change for the adjustment they made for Klay. Also the Warriors weren’t shooting well. And I can’t believe they couldn’t have found ways to get Harden off the ball and the other players going. After all, they made up a 20 point deficit against the Clippers without him on the court at all.

    McHale, on the mike in a huddle, sounded lost, tired, and defeated.

    The only suspense was how many points the second unit of Livingston, Barnes, Bogut, and Barbosa would give up 2nd. half, which brought back bad memories.

    Question: Who was able to box Howard out for a rebound, as well as draw 2 fouls on him?

    Hint: He scored 40 points.

    More Ezeli! And he has more to offer against Cleveland.

    I almost wish they drop the 4th. game so they can get fired up and ready for the finals, rather than sit on this for over a week.

    • The answer to my first question:

      1973 Western Conference finals: Los Angeles Lakers 126, Golden State Warriors 70. 56 points

    • Your use of “worse” is subjective Rgg. This was one of my best. Personally I like to watch an excellent team (especially my predilect) whip another team.
      Steph is Pelé like. Good entertainment whatever the score

      • Go to the fridge. Take out a stick of butter. Take knife and cut through it. This is not exciting. This was a horribly coached game by a team who has not been brought together. Best that the Warriors put it completely out of mind—they didn’t learn anything useful from it.

        • I hope you never have cause to find out how short life is. Geez.

          • 62 and still at it, Liv. My life won’t get longer by seeing professional athletes embarrassed on a national stage, before their home fans, no less.

          • You know you can also choose to view the game through lens of how good the victorious team’s execution was and how strong their will to win. Sometimes a team’s bad performance is dictated by the play of the other team too.

          • Liv, give up.

            “they…” (true meaning: “I”) “…didn’t learn anything useful.”

            A true statement if you substitute the lead to that sentence.

            rgg seeks absolutes, unassailable universal truths. Love the guy, that’s his shtick, a wonderful goal, more power to him, all the best, but not achievable by tiny little meat sacks like human beings.

            rgg needs to achieve satsayana, go out and fuck the nearest fuckable, overeat, get blind drunk, take a huge marvelous shit and go waste a day playing like a child to get in touch with his personal reality: the human condition.

            He won’t.

            Give up, Liv.

  47. The story of this game is that the
    Warriors only had a one turnover.
    Add that to Curry’s shooting and the
    Warriors put the game away in the
    first half.

    Also ti was good to see that Warriors
    play mostly tall ball with Bogut and
    Ezeli. Both were very good.

    McKale has no clue to how to set
    a defense. He doesn’t assign a man stop
    a big or a small receiving a pass near the
    hoop coming from above or
    the foul or from the foul line for easy dunks
    or lay-ups..

    But more telling is his letting the Warriors
    run their offense with no disruption on
    the perimeter. A non-defense to say nothing
    of leaving Curry unguarded.

    Howard a joke with missed free throws, virtually
    never being in the right place on defense, unable
    to keep Warriors off he offensive boards, dumb
    turnovers and stupid fouls to say nothing of being
    out rebounded by Curry.And getting a technical
    at the foul line while Harden was at the foul line
    ShaqN Fool champion hands down.

    Bogut and Ezeli schooled.Howard. One of your
    worse calls Felty.

    • Frank, teams without good perimeter and transition defenders can’t compete with your guys, hope this has become obvious by now. parker and ginobili were far below what they were last season, and the best test for GS in the west disappeared.

    • Yeah, they schooled an injured, impaired Howard. How impaired? Don’t know.

      Ezeli looked very good. Van Gundy keep remarking Ezeli could be a starter on several NBA teams. He also said problem with Ezeli is health. He was out a year in college and a year in the pros with leg injuries.

  48. Barnett confirmed what Feltbot tweeted — Adams/Kerr trapping Harden with double teams, disallowing penetration and making his step back shots more defensible.

    To me, that was the key to the game.

    • I don’t buy it. You don’t think Harden wasn’t double-teamed all those games when Howard was down and Harden went on tears? And by better defenders than Barnes?

      I think, rather, he got caught up in McHale’s confused game plan. McHale said, postgame, that his first priority was winning the battle in the paint. This is a mistake. Howard got his points, but it was otherwise easy to defend. Rather he should have gotten his other players going, especially from the perimeter. It’s what has sustained them all season. Then, once they are established, come back to Harden and Howard.

      • I thought McHale’s mistake was trying to force the ball into the paint to Howard. McHale felt that the Rockets needed to dominate the paint in order to beat the Warriors. He may be right but Howard is not the guy to do that. Howard is a physical specimen but he’s not a basketball player. The guy has *NO* basketball skills. NONE. He can’t dribble, he can’t pass, he can’t shoot. All he can do is run and jump. Anybody who’s ever played basketball knows that you can neutralize guys who can jump by putting a body on them. Just look at what Steph did to him. Against a guy like that all you have to do when he has the ball is double him or foul him since he can’t pass and he can’t shoot free throws. By trying to force the ball down to Howard early in the game they took the ball out of Harden’s hands and he never could get into a rhythm. Game, set, match!

        • I saw it the other way around. After Harden was trapped and denied, the Rox had to toss it inside to the post.

  49. Mount Everest:

    http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20150523&game=GSWHOU

    Popcorn has enhanced the gameflow. Move the cursor over a stint and you see what a player did and when.

  50. Haralabos Voulgaris @haralabob · 3h 3 hours ago
    Some of the weaknesses @Andre is he’s a step slower off the ball and can get hung up a bit on screens. But he’s ++ on every other aspect

    According to this blog though Iguodala isn’t able to guard a chair at this point in his career.

    • One more:

      Haralabos Voulgaris @haralabob · 3h 3 hours ago
      Those step backs that Harden has lived on vs GSW just seem so much tougher with @andre

    • Harden missed most (all?) of his shots against Draymond too. Like Green, Iggy has a wider wingspan than Thompson. That helps.

      The biggest change in the coverage against Harden last night was that the Ws started big on him, with Barnes.

  51. a u fkn kdng me, smds cmplng that da vinci did not create cubism or that braque (u knw rght?) did not create mna lsa

    that was a masterpiece of game by warriors like rothko chapel (all in blue and yellow) or escher etchings (whichever way you climb you go back to the same place – warriors are a better team, by far)

    like my cousin from lndn says, FKN A!

  52. So Steph Curry is an all-time great up there with Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, John Havlichek, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James?

  53. Moto, while I agtee with you
    Houston lacks perimeter defenders,
    Houston failed to extend it’s
    perimeter defense further out
    To disrupt the Warriors offense and
    force longer passes the Warriors are
    not use to throwing leading to
    interceptions and turnovers, as well
    as throw the timing of plays off.

    It seemed to me last night that Harden
    Still created separation on his jump
    shots but simply was off shooting the
    ball. Although it’s easy to trah Harden
    On a bad shooting night, he’s not a
    MVP pretender as Felty claims.
    Very disrepectgul to a terrific player and
    As cheap shot as well.

    But it really didn’t matter if he scored 15
    more points as the Warriors committed
    only one turnover in the first half and
    dominTed the offensive boards thus
    leading to so many more scoring
    opportunities. Warriors simply dominated
    on both sides of the ball.

  54. The game drove the Houston blog into stream of conscious. He made this observation:

    “I have been more impressed by the Warriors’ defense in this series than I thought possible. Draymond Green switched onto Harden multiple times in Game 3 and had shockingly little trouble containing his dribble penetration. When he was guarding Josh Smith, Green ignored him on the outside to clog the paint, and while Smoove shot 3-5 from three in the game, he also had 4 turnovers and missed multiple layups on drives.”

    http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/5/24/8652349/rockets-warriors-game-3-recap-western-conference-finals-2015-nba-playoffs

    If you have to boil it down to one point, it’s the sheer intelligence the team brings on defense, for which Green deserves a mountain of credit.

    • As I mentioned previously, Josh Smith averages <5 points/game shooting 3s, and the Ws can easily accept that. So Dray ignores him at the 3-pt. line and helps on Harden and in the paint instead. Not a huge adjustment, a small but very effective one.

      So I wonder if McHale has any answers besides "play harder." At the press conference after the game, poor Kevin looked like they dug him out of an avalanche and walked him to a firing squad.

  55. Curry loves that corner. Houston better load it up with nasty fans, because the team alone can’t stop him.

    https://twitter.com/SynergySST

  56. “This is a deep, talented, athletic, skilled and nasty group that brings napalm to knifefights…”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/stephen-curry-s-mvp-performance-keys-game-3-blowout–puts-rockets-on-brink-054138573.html

    • The Rockets might have psyched themselves out. They were so sold on the story that they could hang with the Warriors they came out too confident and didn’t play with enough passion and energy. In their minds the Warriors were lucky to win the first 2 games and the breaks would even out now that they’re on their home court playing in front of their fans. It never occurred to them that the Warriors were beating them with their “C” game while the Rockets were playing close to their peak level. They now see what the Warriors “A” game looks like. The scary thing about this Warriors team is that, despite their excellent first half, they probably still have another level they can reach. After all they scored 62 points while shooting only 4 of 15 from 3 point range in the first half.

  57. Dwight Howard takes a lot of heat for being the dickhead that is Dwight Howard:

    http://thebiglead.com/2015/05/12/dwight-howard-sucks/

    But he was the only Rocket who showed up last night.

    McHale has a problem. Howard is a dickhead. Harden is a mutant alien, anything but a leader. How do you get stars like that to lead a team?

  58. Harden was right, Adams had something up his sleeve to defend him. This has to discourage the Rox, knowing they are out coached.