Can't say I was too impressed with allowing the Royless Blazers a 14 point lead in the 1st quarter but the main thing is the job was done and the Warriors recorded a needed easy victory before two huge games against Denver or Dallas. Once Nellie gave them a chewing the team came together and played 36 minutes of average ball allowing the bench to get some extended minutes and actually giving time to Marco Belinelli against Portlands scrubs. The strategy worked but here's hoping that this doesn't happen against Denver or dallas.
Hey Monta no one said it would be that easy!
Outscoring: Nellie once he took that timeout must have said lit some fire in the huddle because the Warriors proceeded to outscore the Blazers 69-42 in the second and third quarters once they fell behind by 8 at the end of the 1st.
Joey Przybilla The 7'1 Center gathered 6 boards in the first quarter but once coach Nate Millan ommitted him from the game that was it. As I said in the preview he was a major factor for Portland first two victories but once he was taken out a large part of the problem was solved.
Davis Because of the flu he only played 27 minutes. Large credit for bench players like Matt Barnes or Azubuike for making sure he didn't play big minutes and it ended up a close game.
Croshere's slam Anyone see it?. Mortell Webster's one on Wright (More of that later) was nothing compared to Croshere's. A baseline turnaround reverse slam.
Barnes Tonight Barnes looked like the player of March and April 2007. Never mind the three 3 pointers he hit there was a sign of energy that has been lacking in his game throughout the season and a relative lack of mistakes. On Defense he threw his body around, grabbed boards at both ends, and pushed the tempo. You could see his urge to try and make a spectacular play with an alley opp but he played it safe most of the time and no doubt earned Nelsons trust for future encounters.
Kelenna Azubuike: Right now in the space of a few games Kelenna is playing like the guard most fans hoped would be an adequate replacement to J-Rich. He was always a decent scoring option and could rebound but only now is he showing signs of his defensive game. His job on Kobe in the Laker back to back was excellent and tonight he seemd to know the Blazers offensive options very well . Above all, Azubuike doesn’t seem to be forcing anything and is taking care of the dirty work (defense, rebounding). If he can do both consistently expect to see extended minutes during this stretch.
Don Nelson We have our Hall of Fame coach to thank for this position. Nellie has weathered the storm of Monta's early struggles, the Stephen Jackson suspension, Baron Davis' offnights here and there, overall poor seasons from Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes, Andris Biedrins' appendectomy and poor recent play, Kelenna Azubuike's poor defense, lack of contribution from Marco Belinelli, Patrick O'Bryant, and Kosta Perovic, and the loss of Jason Richardson and at the same time earned a ton of critiscm for not playing Wright enough. Even though Nelson can get wildly uncharestic it's worth noting this isn't a Mike Montgomery version of the Warriors.
Wright Face it I don't think Mullin, our scouts or any of the backroom staff when making the J-Rich trade anticpated Wright struggling in the minutes he received. Whether it was Webster dunking on him or Channing Frye stuffing him Wright looked lost. He can defintely help the Warriors in select situations but ther are times when I wonder when his skininess will hold him up. His wingspan is incredible and he will be a starting Forward with an incredible Shot blocking ability but considering we lost a SG who averages 25.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.9 steals, and 0.7 swats in the month of March and the thin depth we have this has the potential to become a Ritchmond for Billy owens move. Why didn't the Warriors acquire Ron Artest, Drew Gooden or Kurt Thomas at the trade deadline with their 10 million excpetion to provide a much needed big body. If the Warriors miss the playoffs the players don't need to issue a Richardson like apology. This time it's on Mullin and management.
Out of depth
Steve Blake Boy was he good. He averages only 8 PPG against any other game but last night with Monta Ellis playing Steve Nash like Defense he put up 22 points. For the season he put up 15.5 ppg against the Dubs
LaMarcus Aldridge Aldridge actually looked like he'd go off for 40 points looking like a giant when matching up against Biedrins or Wright using his his smooth short and mid range jumpers. Once Oden comes back I can't wait to see how these two play together. It's a gurantee the Blazers will be hot next year so the Warriors need a serious roster upgrade if they want to cement their postion as Western 8th seed contenders.
Even with all the positives and negatives notable after this game the Warriors now have two more big stakes games. If they win they pretty much control their own destiny playoff wise. If they lose they’ll have no one to blame for their slide from the playoffs but themselves (and Derek Fisher).