The surprising Phoenix Suns present a nightmare matchup problem for the Warriors. I have no idea how the Warriors win this game if Mark Jackson refuses to match up small, as he did in Charlotte. Continue reading
I’ve figured out how to recap Warriors games going forward: Ignore the coaching, and focus on the players. There’s just so much teeth gnashing I’m willing to do, and, I assume, you’re willing to read. It is completely clear by now that Jackson is committed to playing big all game every game. Even if it means denying his core of supernaturally talented offensive players the system they were born to play in. Even if it means feeding the best-shooting team in the league 16 point first quarters and 22 point third quarters, regardless of opponent, from now until eternity. Even if it means reaching for an NBA reject big man in his first game up from the D-League, without an ounce of experience in his system, to match up with a 6-7″ center on defense, and plug up the middle on offense, in crunchtime.
Mark Jackson is committed, as Adam Lauridsen would ecstatically put it, to playing “the right way.” It’s pointless to argue differently. It’s time for me, as the adage has it, to “lay back and think of England.”
And Thank Jesus for Stephen Curry.
Oops, reading over that, I see a little recap of the coaching leaked out.
On to the players: Continue reading
“We’re a defensive team. 115 points is not acceptable.”
“We were a step slow on defense.”
“We need to play our brand of basketball.”
“We need to be true to our identity.”
“We’re going to stay true to the process.”
That was Mark Jackson’s take on the reasons why the Warriors lost to the Bobcats.
Here’s my take: Mark Jackson stuffed this loss down his team’s throat. His rigid inflexibility of mind and refusal to match up with his opponent was the single biggest reason why the Warriors lost this game. (And it’s something of a tradition for him against the Bobcats in Charlotte.) Continue reading
David Lee took it to Zach Randolph! 23 points 11 rebounds versus a measly 15 and 6!
Is that the storyline, or is it that Mark Jackson finally got the matchups right? That he crossmatched Bogut on Randolph all game long, giving Zebo absolutely nothing inside? Continue reading
Mark Jackson joked in the post-game that his role in this nearly historic Warriors comeback victory against the Raptors was nothing more than “spiritual advisor.” And the players and media pundits I heard credited the victory to the Warriors simply coming out in the second half with more fire in their belly, and playing hard.
I think we all know that’s not true. Mark Jackson’s decision-making was central to the outcome of this game. Jackson was instrumental in digging the Warriors a 27 point deficit, and he was equally instrumental in allowing his best players to dig their way out. Continue reading
The Warriors played too well against the Thunder last night to get screwed by Mark Jackson’s decision-making down the stretch. And yet that’s nearly what happened. Continue reading
Not going to recap this Warriors loss to the Grizzlies, as I found it to be a relatively uninteresting game. All those who are feeling pangs over these last two losses should bear in mind that they were practically pre-ordained to be losses — even before Curry got injured. First of all, I consider the Spurs and the Grizzlies to be the cream of the Warriors opponents in the West this season — the second and third best teams in the conference. Tough veteran teams that already know exactly what they want to do when they take the court. They have a huge edge this early in the season against teams that are working in new players and new systems. And that’s what the Warriors are, in spades. The Warriors are working in two new players in the first unit — Iggy and a healthy Bogut, who still has played fewer than 50 games in a Warriors uniform, and only 7 of those “healthy.” The second unit is of course brand spanking new. As is, to my eye, much of the offense the Warriors have installed to accommodate their new players. Continue reading
As measuring stick games go, this Warriors road win against the Timberwolves was pretty intriguing. The Warriors not only beat a well-coached and extremely talented upcoming young team on their home floor, but they did it in convincing fashion. This might prove surprising to some pundits, particularly those at ESPN, but the Warriors are a far superior team to the TWolves, and will remain so for the forseeable future.
I can think of quite a few reasons for this, but the two most important are these: Continue reading
There’s nothing like a Jermaine O’Neal injury to make Mark Jackson a better coach, is there? The Warriors played big virtually every minute of the first two games. But in this game against the Kings, Jackson was forced to give major minutes to Speights and Lee at center, and to Draymond Green at power forward in the second and fourth quarters.
Accidentally causing the Warriors to explode. Oops!
I have nothing against the Warriors playing big, particularly in the first and third quarters. Those are the quarters to meet size with size, force with force. And to save the bodies of your most gifted players for crunch time, and the playoffs.
And — in principle — I have nothing against the Warriors playing big with their second units, and in crunch time, either. Just so long as by doing so they are putting their BEST team on the floor.
As this game indicated, those big teams need to be pretty darn good if Jackson prefers them. Because the Warriors smallball units of Lee or Speights at center, Green or Barnes at stretch-four, Iggy at free safety, the Splash Brothers, and a sprinkling of Toney Douglas on top, are going to be absolutely extraordinary.
As good a smallball squad as exists in the league. Continue reading
Before this game even started, the Clippers put a halt to the joint chapel session that last year the Warriors and Clippers players attended together. Separate chapel sessions were scheduled instead. If that’s not a declaration of open hostilities, I don’t know what is.
The bad feelings carried over into the game, quite obviously. DeAndre Jordan took exception to a Bogut hard foul. Blake Griffin intentionally stood on Mark Jackson’s foot while taking the ball out (ever seen that before?). Matt Barnes got into it with the Warriors bench while shooting free throws. And newcomer Jared Dudley leveled Curry on a three point shot.
There was bad blood between these two teams already, that began with the Warriors dominating the matchup, and celebrating that domination, last season. But now that hard-nosed Lakers-banner-covering chapel-hating Doc Rivers has taken the reins of the Clippers, and both teams are expected to contend for the Western Conference crown, the hostility between the two teams has exploded.
This is WAR. Continue reading