It’s a little late, but let’s empty out the notebook from Tuesday’s exhibition victory…
Seattle SuperSonics guard Earl Watson was jawing with fellow UCLA products Matt Barnes and Baron Davis in the visitors’ locker room at KeyArena on Tuesday — “You ran into my hand,” Watson insisted about the bloody, 2-inch scratch just below Barnes’ neck — when the subject of Warriors rookie forward Brandan Wright came up.
“He’s a young Chris Bosh,” Barnes crowed to Watson. “I tried to tell you.”
While it still counts for nothing in the standings — “Oh, I don’t think you should make any judgments on a preseason game,” coach Don Nelson sighed during his postgame media session — Wright’s performance in the latter stages of Tuesday’s 126-122 overtime exhibition victory was still impressive: seven points (3-for-4 floor), six rebounds and a steal in less than 14 minutes.
A quarter of an hour in October does not make you an All-Star and Team USA member, as Bosh is. But the night was all the more astounding because Nelson had basically written Wright off for the evening, if not longer. The coach has said in the past that he expects Wright to join fellow rookie Kosta Perovic in the NBA Development League, and admitted “I wasn’t even going to play him.
“He hasn’t had an outstanding practice or outstanding game,” Nelson explained. “I just finally said, ‘You know what? I ought to stick him in there, see how he does in a pressure game.’ And he really played well. He definitely got my attention. I have to do a double-take on him now. Both he and (Stephane) Lasme did very well.”
Wright and Lasme surpringsly won the battle in OT against Seattle veterans Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox. The highlight was a 19-foot jumper from the top of the key for Wright that gave the Warriors a 118-113 lead with 3:46 to go.
“That’s something I really worked on in preparation for this season,” Wright said of his perimeter J. “You’ve definitely got to add to your game coming to the NBA. You’ve got to add something every year, and that’s one of the things I definitely worked on over the fall, just getting more comfortable stepping out.”
** Barnes said he “finally caught a rhythm for the first time all preseason” in going off for a team-high 16 points — 3-for-5 from 3-point land — with 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“Better late than never,” he said. “I’ve just got to build on that.”
While Barnes said it made no difference where he played on the court, it was interesting to note that when he was in at the 4 (he started the second half in place of the ineffective Mickael Pietrus), he went 0-for-3 with a foul and a turnover. Nelson yanked Barnes after 4:03 in favor of Lasme. When Barnes came back, he was played the 3 for the remainder of the night.
** It didn’t quite match the intensity of Monday’s battle between the Knicks and Celtics, but the Warriors and Sonics went fairly hard at each other Tuesday. Most teams are ready for the regular-season to start already.
** Injury-wise, there were some scares. Al Harrington crashed to the ground twice in the space of a couple of minutes in the second quarter, and came up grimacing at the pain in his tailbone.
[Funny aside: After the first fall, Nelson started growling at the kid working mop-up detail under the basket to clean up the wet spot left by Harrington. Sitting on the bench next to Nelson, the trio of Stephen Jackson, Stephen Silas and Keith Smart all had bemused smiles on their faces, as if they’d heard that tone before.]
Less amusingly, Baron Davis — who had played the entire game to that point — went down hard with 5:36 left in the third quarter after embarking on a wild foray through the lane. He lay on the ground while Monta Ellis fouled Kevin Durant on the other end of the floor, then got to his feet and reached at his right calf, as if to stretch it out. He waved off Warriors athletic trainer Tom Abdenour, but walked slowly to the bench — so slowly, in fact, that he walked right through the middle of the Seattle dance team, which was performing during the break in the action.
Both players looked OK after the game, but there was no official update Wednesday from the team.
** The Sonics tried to zone up the Warriors on a couple of occasions in the first half with a 1-2-2 scheme, but Golden State outflanked that maneuver by letting Davis float in the open area at the free throw line, where he quickly dissected the defense. It’ll be interesting to see who’s the key to how the Warriors attack that situation when Davis is on the bench.
** Reporters and scouts are seated on the baseline at KeyArena, and Sonics forward Damien Wilkins practically landed in our laps at one point, coming to rest on the padded lip along the top of the table after pursuing a loose ball. Somehow he managed to partially crumple a paper coffee cup, but didn’t spill a drop.