Yesterday the Warriors picked up where they left by losing a tight game to the Hornets 108-103. As expected the game raised more questions then answers but the reality is they went toe to toe with one of the top 3 teams in the Western Conference and almost came away with an inspired w. After the disasterous offseason everyone questioned whether this team would be competitive. After last night leadership, rotation, and big shot capability have still to be answered but it was a moral victory nonetheless
Lineup Once again it was the case of same old Nellie same old ways.The combined minutes of Bellinelli, Wright, Williams (who is in Nelsons doghouse) and Randolph was 0. Wright matching up against West or Chandler would have been ugly to watch but then it's far more useful then watching him rot on the bench. I understand how badly Nelson wants to win but sense needs to come into the equation here. Pulling DeMarcus Nelson even though he was holding his own and exhibiting the kind of confidence that no other Warriors rookie did in a long time also sends a high standards message.
There were high minutes for the starters thats for sure. Harrington even after his trade demand played a ludricious 42 minutes, Kelenna played 43 minutes, and had Biedrins not fouled out, you can bet he'd be playing around 33 minutes. Nelson forgot the lesson from last year already you cannot keep giving your starters extended minutes and expect them not to get tired. Hopefully although I really doubt it the bench plays more in the upcoming weeks
Point Guard I thought DeMarcus Nelson held his own. Considering Watson did nothing and Marcus Williams is in the doghouse it was up to Nelson to solve the Warriors problems at the point. He didn't do too bad and as I said Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli never disaplayed the self confidence Nelson had.
What screwed the Warriors up here was playing Jackson at the point. Dealing with the quick Chris Paul proved to be a difficulty and there were times when him and Azubuike couldn't deal with the frontcourt pressure by the Hornets Guards. Even on Rebounding no there was no PG looking to run meaning it was ugly watching Harrington or Jackson bring the ball up
Clutch Last year everyone in the arena knew the ball was going to Baron in the deciding few seconds. This year it's painful to watch Jackson or Magette pass up a open jumper as if there's a scared factor involved. Last year there were a a couple of times Jackson was clutch but this time it's alsmost like he didn't want to take on the responsibility. During the final few minutes of the game watching Nelson turning it over on Paul in the key when it looked like he would shoot was painful. Giving it to the more experienced Maggette or Jackson was an option ignored. Hopefully the next few weeks we find that clutch Robert Horry like guy who's not afraid to take the big shots.
Biedrins Shame Biedrins fouled out but he held his own down low . I'm still a little worried about his free throw especially since he missed two big Free Throw's in the last minute but he had a nice dunk on Tyson Chandler and looked a lot smoother and mnore agile then last year.
Turiaf He didn't score but as always is a constant source of amusment on the bench. He gets the guys on the bench up to cheer, he talks to himself on the court when the game is tight to get psyched up, and — most entertainingly — he appears to have joined Jackson’s habit of urging on the crowd. He hustles and goes after loose balls but at times had some serious Defensive lapses.
Harrington He might be going through the basketball equivalent of a midlife crisis but still he's just not that good. He's not a spotup shooter and isn't great at setting himself up in the paint but to be honest he also had problems guarding David West. He hit some nice shots and made notable cuts to the Basket but it was obvious that there's a lack of confidence somewhere.
Azubuike If Harrington is suffering from a lack of confidence then kelenna is the exact opposite. Not overly confident but the drives he got to the basket in the 4th quarter were Monta like and he played good Defense on Paul. He should get good playing time this year but had he made two jumpers in the 4th both fadeways that don't suit him it could be a different result.
Maggette One of the positives when watching Maggette is how easy he gets to the line. Peja Stojokovic and his Defense helped him but still he shouldn't be the 4th option on Offense. His finesse and foot speed is a beauty to watch. He shot ridiculously well from the field (8-11) and the line (9-10). Throw in 8 boards and a couple three's and I was impressed with how well he played. He attacked the rim and even threw his body around on some hustle plays. Compared to Baron Davis shooting 4-13 in the LA derby I think we got off better tonight.
There are moral victories in the NBA and last night goes down as one. This team is still learning to play together and don't really know each others strenghs but the chemistry and intensity was a welcome sign from last year