I was talking to Boozer after the game, and I asked him if they were going to give Andrei Kirilenko a hard time for his role in Baron’s dunk of the season. Boozer said they wouldn’t, because it’s the playoffs and Kirilenko needed support more than ribbing. He said they needed to keep Kirilenko’s confidence up.
But before I walked away, he added a strong eye roll and blew a gust of air through his cheeks.
“That was an amazing play,” Boozer said.
That was B. Diddy’s best dunk since taking off with a one-hand tomahawk over Chris Andersen when New Orleans came to town last season. That was his best dunk since banging on Jermaine O’Neal in the playoffs, back when Baron played for Charlotte.
Adding insult to injury, he bust Andrei in the chops on his way to embarrassing the 6-foot-9 shot-blocking specialist — and Kirilenko got the foul!
Here’s some quotage from Baron’s highlight: Baron Davis
“I shocked myself on that dunk. Knowing we were up, I just tried my luck.” Jason Richardson
“It was the greatest dunk I have ever seen with my eyes in person.” Al Harrington
“Man, that was incredible. That was old B-Diddy, when he was in Charlotte. That was incredible.”
So, what was you’re impression? Where does that rank?
I wanted to write this before the game, and before Nellie acknowledged such, but I was too busy. Anyway, I thought Nellie HAD to play Monta at least 20 minutes. Not only is that the only way Monta was going to snap out of his funk, but the Warriors could not win with him getting five minutes or so. If Monta isn’t at least eating minutes, that means Baron is on the court for 46 minutes. As hard as he’s playing on both ends of the floor, he can’t possibly have enough left to carry the team down the stretch. That’s partially why they lost in Games 1 & 2.
Of course, when I got to the Oracle for pre-game interviews, Nellie was saying exactly what I was thinking (which shows he knows what he’s talking about!).
Monta was still very shaky: 3-for-8 FGs, 2 TOs (though I would’ve guessed it was like 5). But he did enough good things for him to build on. He defended much better, drawing a charge to go with two steals and a block. Now that some of the pressures off of him, and he doesn’t have to answer questions about his slump, he should be much more comfortable for Game 4. He’s due for a 20-pointer.
How could I ever doubt this team? I have watched them totally dismantle teams over the last two-plus months. Yet, I still bought into the skepticism. The rebound disadvantage, and the being down in the series for the first time, and the struggles of Monta, and the fatigue of Baron, planted a seed of doubt in me. What’s wrong with me, right?
It’s partially you guys fault. Your undying belief, your blind loyalty, your Warriors logic — you pushed me to the doubting side of the line. Or maybe I was using reverse psychology, since I am ALWAYS wrong with my predictions.
Once I walked into the Arena and heard the crowd, I kind of knew I was way off base. The fact is, if the Warriors win Sunday, they very well can win four in a row. They will have all of the momentum heading into Game 5, where the Jazz can’t possibly be so confident after nearly losing twice. If Game 6 is a clincher in Oakland, no way the Warriors lose.
The only way the Warriors lose this series is if they don’t manage to pull one out in Utah, which means at the very least, it’s going seven.
So here’s a public admission of my wrongness. I guess I am still in disbelief, expecting this magical run to come to a screeching hault in old-Warriors fashion. I won’t lie. I actually thought the Warriors might lose Friday. I sincerely considered it possible the Jazz would come in, pound the boards and put the series away. But, like I said, I’m an idiot.
I came to the realization this morning, sitting in the Salt Lake City airport, that this series is over. I know you don’t want to hear that, but I can’t see how it’s not.
OK, assuming the Jazz would win a Game 7m the Warriors would have to win in Game 6. That means they have to win four straight. Not only would they have to sweep at home, but they would have to win Game 5 in Utah and clinch Game 6 at home.
Seriously, do you see that happening?
* Jason Richardson took advantage of Utah’s lack of a quality shooting guard. But he needs to be more efficient. He rushed a lot of 3-pointers though he was effective posting up and getting to the basket. He, more than anyone else, needs to slow down and take his time, be precise. When he’s moving to fast, it only worsens his dribbling struggles and forces him into bad shots and turnovers.
* The Warriors are going to have to shut down one of three players: Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, or Mehmet Okur. Those three are averaging 69.5 points in Games 1 & 2. Boozer and Okur have combined 62 rebounds. The Warriors have totaled 68 rebounds in both games. Deron Williams is averaging 11 assists. All three can’t be allowed big games if the Warriors have any chance.
*Good to see the Warriors start throwing pumpfakes on Kirilenko. He’s got 13 blocks in two games. You know he’s coming. Throw him a head fake, draw the contact, and get him out of the game. They aren’t calling most fouls, just the hard ones, so get him in the air and let him fall on you.
* Baron Davis is getting butchered. I don’t know how he’s managing the energy to battle through and carry the team on both ends.
*The Warriors are creating turnovers, but they need to score more off of them. 29 points of 23 turnovers is not that good. Forcing that many turnovers, it would be nice to come away with 35 points, especially considering they are getting pummeled on the boards.
* Monta Ellis has issues. He needs to snap out of it — and fast.
* The Warriors crowd is being hailed as the best in the league. But this Jazz crowd is pretty amazing. You literally can’t hear a thing. They turn the simplest plays into momentum with their yelling. Every little misstep by the Warriors, and every positive play by the Jazz, is blown totally out of proportion. And it rattles the Warriors.
Of all the strides the Warriors have made this year, isn’t it funny they are done in by free throw shooting. Say what you want about being outrebounded, and not getting calls, and jacking up threes. The Warriors lost Game 2 because they missed three of their final four free throws.
Free throws! Wherever he was, you just know Mike Montgomery got a chuckle out of that.
If Mickael Pietrus makes one of two with 16 seconds left, the Warriors go up by four and the game is over. If Baron makes the second of his pair with 6.2 seconds left, the Jazz need a 3-pointer instead of a wide-open pull-up 12-footer.
The Warriors missed 11 free throws Wednesday, which really isn’t that bad. They’ll be OK with 70.3 percent. The problem is they were 9-for-15 in the fourth quarter.
The real irony, though, is that the team’s worst free throw shooter, Andris Biedrins, knocked down two huge free throws with 1:31 left. Go figure.