Wow. That Was Kind of Amazing

On his way to the shower, Stephen Jackson started chirping to the media.
“Y’all had y’all loss stories ready, huh? Don’t lie. Y’all was ready to write about a loss.”
To be honest, I wasn’t. Nor was my colleague, S.F. Chronicle’s Janny Hu. We both were talking about how we expected the Warriors to pull it out and had already started writing. Even the scout next to me predicted the Warriors would win. Partly because the way the Warriors were playing, partly because Houston looked awful.
With that said, I was still blown away with how they won. I figured they would start making shots, Houston would make mistakes and Baron Davis would come up with the necessary plays.
But it was unbelievable how they just dominated. Jackson missed like 10 straight shots. All of a sudden he was on fire. BD, again, just decided to take over and there was no one who could stop him. He had 10 points and four assists in the fourth quarter (he had 10 points and three assists in the final period Sunday in Denver). He would’ve had six or seven assists Monday if the NBA did the hockey assist.
They were playing as if they knew it was a matter of time. Someone would take a 3-pointer, and two or three other players would hold their hand in the air, expecting it to fall. It was like three minutes left, and they were celebrating like the game was over. And it was.
They outrebounded Houston by 13. All but Andris Biedrins had at least two assists. The Warriors had 26 second-chance points of 15 offensive rebounds.
These stats show grit, team chemistry, resolve. It was impressive.


More Denver Stuff

Some observations from the Warriors huge road win:
* Allen Iverson wasn’t nearly as productive. After getting 39 on 12-for-21 shooting on Friday, he had just 13 points on 2-for-12 shooting Sunday with 5 assists. The reason? Baron Davis guarded him for the majority of the time, getting well-executed help from the big man when Denver tried its pick-and-rolls. Even when Monta was on AI, he did a much better job staying in front of Iverson.
The Answer still took 12 free throws, making nine (he was 13-for-15 Friday). But he was hardly the dominant player Warriors fans witnessed Friday, when he created time and again off the dribble.
With BD on AI, Stephen Jackson moved over to Carmelo, which is a much better match-up for Jackson. Quickness is Jackson’s kryptonite on the defensive end. Anthony is quick, but not AI quick. But Melo went with his power game Sunday, trying to back Jackson down, which kind of played into Jax hands. Anthony finished with 26 points on 8-for-17 shooting and 10 rebounds. But seven turnovers dimmed his performance.
BD: “We made a conscience effort to keep them on the perimeter as much as possible and they were not hitting a lot of their outside shots. And that’s what we wanted to do – and get the rebonds.”

* Monta doesn’t like playing against Denver. IMHO, Ellis is not as productive against players as quick or nearly as quick as him, especially a veteran like AI, who guarded Ellis a lot the last two games. Iverson figured out that Ellis’ handle isn’t so secure, so he played just a step off of him – not pressing, but close enough to contest Ellis’ midrange jumper. That forced Ellis to have to take Iverson off the dribble, which Ellis couldn’t seem to do. His numbers in the two games: 25 points on 10-for-30 shooting, 11 assists and six turnovers.

* George Karl made a huge mistake down the stretch Sunday. He left Anthony Carter all alone trying to defend Baron. Poor Carter. Davis blew by him so easily, breaking down the Nuggets defense at the most critical moments. Why not try a JR Smith or AI on Baron, some one who will at least make it somewhat tough for Baron to get by? Carter just didn’t have the quickness. There was a better chance BD would’ve been lured into trying to shoot over the smaller AI. But he knew he could take Carter.

*Matt Barnes finally got some significant minutes again. His 26 minutes Sunday was the most he’d played since 30 minutes at Memphis on Dec. 17. He answered the bell by making a lot of the intangible plays the Warriors need on the road. He finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers and 5 fouls. He made two great outlets to Monta Ellis for timely fast break dunks. Five of his seven rebounds came in the fourth quarter as the Warriors held Denver to one-and-out.


What Happened to Andris?

Remember he used to catch the ball with consistency, even bad passes? Remember when he finished everything? Am I seeing things or does it seem like he drops mre passes and misses more layups than ever before?
Baron set him up nicely on the Warriors first offensive possession. What should’ve been a three-point play turned into a fruitless possession because Biedrins missed a layup he used to make.
He still has the best hands on the team. He’s shooting 62.9 percent from the floor, so he’s obviously still a good finisher. It just seems like he’s regressed in those departments.


Ellis Giving it a Go

Monta Ellis was initially going to sit out because of his sprained left ring finger. But, about an hour and a half before game time, he decided he would give it a go.
He is in the starting lineup tonight. You’ll know if his finger is hurting too much when you see Azubuike check i super early


Ellis day-to-day with sprained finger

Just got an update from the Warriors: Monta Ellis underwent an MRI exam Saturday — when veterans were not made available to the media because there was no official practice — on his the ring finger of his left hand. We’re told he caught the finger in an opponent’s jersey late in Friday’s game against the Nuggets.

While the MRI showed no break, there is some pain there and the team is calling it a sprain. (It sounds similar to what Matt Barnes has been playing through. He’s got a fracture in a similar spot on one hand and a sprained finger on the other.)

In any case, Ellis is being listed as a day-to-day proposition and his status for tonight’s game in Denver is questionable. Privately, the Nuggets were not terribly impressed with Ellis’ performance on Friday, so I’m sure he’d like to go tonight in search of some revenge.

— Geoff


Baron: Best PG in NBA?

Show me a point guard who, in the fourth quarter, would put the team on his back on the offensive end, then go to the defensive end and guard Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony on consecutive possessions.
Maybe Chauncey Billups is doing that. Jason Kidd can handle the defense end of that bargain, but isn’t as capable offensively. Nash is not doing it. Nor is Deron Willions or Chris Paul. Definitelt not Tony Parker.

Before I can press publish, Baron shows why he may not be the best PG in the game. Down 2 with 20 seconds left, he drives all the way to the hole and:
a. scores a layup
b. draws a foul and hits the free throws
c. kicks it out for a 3-pointer.
You guessed it. C. Warriors lose.


Blog Question

Continuing the Monta Ellis theme …

“Do you think monta is a high first round pick had he come out after 1 or 2 years in college? I still think he would be, at best, a late first round or early 2nd round pick. Because he is an undersized sg trying to convert to a pg. and scouts dont like tweeners unless you are AI. Looking at the past 2 drafts, is monta a better pg prospect than kyle lowry, jordan farmer, rondo, javaris crittenton, randy foye, mike conley, etc? I dont he is. I think monta is quick, speedy, good college 3 point shooter, and a fantastic college scorer. But he doesnt have the vision, ball handling, and poise to be considered a top flight pg prospect. And this year, he would have to compete with derrick rose (good point but can’t shoot, jason kidd-ish) and oj mayo, etc. So would college have helped Monta? Interesting to see what you and others have to say on this.” – manhattanproj

Sorry, man, I was meaning to answer this because it was a good question. I wanted to make sure I had time to invest in the answer. Then I just forgot about it. My bad.

If you were re-drafting the 2005 draft, Monta would probably be a lottery pick. He wouldn’t be up there with Deron, CP3 and Felton. But he’s better than Yaroslav Korlev, who went No. 11 to the Clippers, or even Rashad McCants, who went 14 to Minnesota. He might’ve even gone No. 9 to the Warriors instead of Ike Diogu, if you consider Bynum would go No. 1.
Now, if Ellis had gone to Mississippi State for two years and then come out, that’s a different story. First off, I don’t think he’d be a better point guard than he is now. I have no faith in Mississippi State’s PG development (or, for that matter, the college game’s overall ability to develop and prepare players for the NBA). They would’ve let Monta do whatever he needed to do to score 40 and get their school to the tourney. Because of the talent in the draft and because of where he would’ve gone, I don’t think he would’ve gone much higher. The highest I see him going is No. 11, where Atlanta took Acie Law. In a perfect world, he could’ve gone where Mike Conley went, No. 4 to Memphis. But that’s if a team don’t need a true PG and if they’re looking for the most talented guard. Maybe Chicago, a team that needs scoring, or Sacramento, a team that loves scorers, would’ve taken him instead of who they drafted at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively. Ellis certainly would’ve been a dominant scorer at Mississippi State, but I don’t think teams pass up size for him.