Thursday, December 27, 2007
Golden State:105 Minnesota:101
The NBA season is notorious for teams suffering up and downs. Tonights opponents have suffered more downs then ups but because after the Warriors obtained a 50-28 lead and their minds racing towards the next game against Houston Minnesota proved that even the worst team in the Leage can make a game out of it because of all the dribble penetration by the Warriors Guards. This game wasn't pretty and in terms of good wins it's pretty likely to be low down the list. With the next stretch coming up against playoff teams it'ts time to find out are the Warriors pretenders or contenders.
The fears after tonight were legit. Once again Nelson displayed utter contempt for his bench giving the starters major minutes feeling that the bench would lose a 20 point lead against the worst in the League with a tough stretch coming up. It's not as stable or as satisfactorily as one could wish for and it remains to be seen whether this can be replicated over the 53 remaining games. Moments of clutch plays in the 4th are often tough to repeat but against teams such as San Antonio,Denver, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans and Portland half of them shoe ins to make the playoffs the Warriors game is on a test right now.
Monta: The narrowness of the score didn't do justice to how Monta played. An interesting stat actually by the SF gate showed that in every game Monta played well last season and averaged 25 points or more in a game his team were 1-6. This year when he gets 30 or more the Warriors are 3-0. Maybe a slight concidence but on the other hand Monta proved he's the go to guy when things aren't going so well. He set a career high but more then that every time he hoisted up from 16 feet, you already knew the ball was going in. Why Davis and Jackson ignored him in the 4th when the game was close was puzzling and it didn't help that once Harrington and Azbuike came off the bench they followed Jacksons lead. Only when Monta was given the chance did he step it up. He's not the most vocal player on the team so it's up to Davis and Jackson to realise when to step aside.
Jefferson In the 1st half Jwfferson could be forgiven for thinking that people like Biedrins and Mbenga were creating a lot of mismatches. On a night where he really was Minnesota's consistent scoring threat the 1st half was a positive sign of how to stop one of the boraderline All Stars. However oce Nelson expressed his desire for more scoring Jefferson becamse unstoppaable and Minnesota cut it to 2 with a minute left before Monta was clutch. Jefferson had 19 rebounds and had craig Smith done a little better then 8 points and Antoine walker had not shot 3-13 who knows how this game would have gone. The inability of the big men like Jackson or Kelenna to go to the Basket when a rebound counted the most was the scariest part.
DNP: It really does merit it's own point Patrick O'Bryant, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, Austin Croshere (injured), Troy Hudson (injured), Kosta Perovic (DLeague). The offseason it's sad to say was a major waste of time. I would be in favour of making a move for Ron Artest becuase of the toughness and hard nosed Offensive game he brings to the frontcourt. Earl Boykins despite his size and awful D would be nice to see because of the quickness but right now it's up to Mullin and Powell to look at themselves and question whether Golden State want to be along the Western Conference elite.
Standings: Stepping away from the negatives for a minute if the playoffs started tommorow the Warriors would be 7th and every Basketball fan would have the Suns-Warriors series to look forward too. After an 0-6 start what more can you ask for?
Minnesota Their future doesn't look so bleak especially when they seemingly have players off the bench who average 15 points Miko Jaric, Rashad McCants, etc. The main problem they suffer from is they don't have a go to guy in the final minutes obvious by the 100-96 deficit when they committed a shot clock violation. You can tell this is a young team and if McHale makes a few trades not in Bostons favour who knows. Minnesota's bench had 43 points while in contrast maybe one of the reasons B-Diddy and Jackson got so much PT was off the bench Barnes, Kelenna and Pietrus combined for only 7 points. The slow tempo caused by the T-Wolves and the lack of adjustment also was a worry.
Shooting and wrap up: A lot of 3's were missed tonight as expected 8-31 is slightly embarrassing however you disguise it. Granted it was obvious the starters got distracted but had it not been for the 80% Free throws this would be embarassing. They were outrebounded which is to be expected. On the other Defensively the number of swats Baron Davis (3), Monta Ellis (1), Al Harrington (1), Andris Biedrins (3), Kelenna Azubuike (1), and DJ Mbenga (1) and Steals Davis (2), Ellis (2), Harrington (2), Stephen Jackson (2), Matt Barnes (2), and Azubuike (1) were a major plus point
Felt the same way
Overall tonight was a night where there wasn't much to get excited about. The Warriors played sloppy, were unable to adjust to the slow tempo Minnesota created and missed a ton of shots. Perhaps it's the sense of expectation that during the drought the Warriors couldn't beat these teams yet during Nelsons coaching regime they should beat them comfortably. The level of expectation has gone up significantly since May and the Playoffs and seeing these type of performances don't help. Should the Warriors win 4 of the next 7 they are in the playoffs but 3 of the next 7 would go down very well. Either way this will provide a good test as to whether Golden State is a playoff caliber team or not and can they adjust unlike last night to the slow tempo that San Antonio and Houston favour