By any standard, a 3-2 road trip out east is a good roadie. Per the Warriors standards, it’s even better.
No doubt, they had should-wins against Memphis and Minnesota. Sure, Cleveland is strugglig right now. But pulling those type of games off is still a feat for the Warriors, formerly a get-well visitor for struggling squads. Throw in the fact they shoulda won at New Jersey — had Monta Ellis seen the numerous STAY ON THE SHOOTERS posts, he wouldn’t have left Vince Carter all alone — and it was a really good road trip.
Want to see how much this team has grown? Check out their road resume.
They are 9-7 to date. Only Orlando (13) and Phoenix (11) have more road wins. Detroit and New Orleans also have nine road victories. Of their seven losses, they were in the game late against the Clippers, Lakers, Portland and New Jersey. Their blowout losses were at Detroit, Utah and Boston — three of the league’s best teams.
If they can just get it together at home (7-5 so far), they’d be able to get comfortably above .500
Archive for December, 2007
By any standard, a 3-2 road trip out east is a good roadie. Per the Warriors standards, it’s even better.
Quick note from The Q: While harried beat writers were trying to chronicle the last frantic minutes of the Warriors’ come-from-behind, lose-from-ahead 100-95 defeat to New Jersey on Saturday, Stephen Jackson hyperextended his right knee. Jackson said he suffered the injury trying to slide to his right while tracking New Jersey guard Richard Jefferson, taking a mis-step as he tried to get over someone else’s foot.
Although he finished the game, Jackson was hurt badly enough that his presence in uniform tonight was in question until he finished his pre-game warm-ups. He said he will play and is expected to shoulder the heavy duty of guarding Cleveland star LeBron James.
“It just feels real weak,” said Jackson, who was trying out a sleeve on his knee as the media’s pregame session in the locker room came to a close. “I just don’t want to hurt it worse than it is.”
Jackson was asked the natural follow-up: So, can it get worse if you play on it?
“They basically put it in my hands, so I’m going to give it a shot,” Jackson said.
– Geoff Lepper
Troy Hudson, in the little time I’ve dealt with him, seems like a really nice guy. Very approachable and cool. I kind of feel bad for him. After battling the ankle injury for years, now the hip. That’s a pretty bad run for him.
But the fact remains, the Warriors need a back-up PG. Neither Baron nor Monta can keep it up at this pace, and I’m not comfortable with Belinelli (or Jackson) at the point for long stretches. Here’s who I’m looking at (and not looking at) as point guard options.
Earl Boykins – He is a true shooter, which the Warriors need. He doesn’t play defense, and he’s really the world’s smallest shooting guard, but he can shoot and he brings energy. He may be cheap, considering he’s making no money at this point. I would worry about how his minutes affect Monta, and how Boykins would react to watching MOnta and Baron in the fourth quarter. All three can’t play.
John Lucas – He isn’t as good a shooter as Boykins, but he’s more of a pure PG. Lucas can get to the basket, he’s a really good playmaker and has some experience. He’s quick and fast, which fits the Warriors’ system. He’s a gamer, so he’ll come up big in big situations. He may disappear for stretches though and he’s undersized, which would be a problem on defense.
Jay Williams – He’s been at Warriors games. He’s certainly talented. I doubt he’s healthy enough to play an NBA season, otherwise another team would have him, is my guess. But if he’s healthy, I’d try him. He was a baller before the motorcycle accident.
Gary Payton – Offensively, he’s lost a few steps. But he can be a floor general. He’s a steals guy, too, so that fits the Warriors’ defensive focus. He’s a veteran presence and would be a fan favorite. He’s also cheap. I wonder if he’s in the condition for Warriors basketball. But he’s one of those guys who are always ready to go.
IF WE’RE TALKING TRADES:
Carlos Arroyo – a true point and great playmaker; he’s used to being a back-up, though he doesn’t like it, he’s been ready to move on from Orlando; he’s an expiring $4M contract, so he’ll be playing for something and, if he doesn’t work, he’ll be gone in a few months; With Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling, Orlando doesn’t NEED him.
Tyronn Lue – Atlanta has a bunch of PGs. But Joe Johnson is the star, Acie Law is the future and Anthony Johnson is the cagey vet they like. Lue is a really good 3-point shooter. He’s a veteran with playoff experience and he wouldn’t threaten Monta’s development. He’s not a true point guard, but good enough to give Baron a rest. He’s also a free-agent to be, making $3.5M
Nate Robinson – He’s a long shot, but Zeke loves Marbury and Mardy Collins. Nate is a head case, but that means he’d fit right in. Because he’s so little, he’ll be a fan favorite. Plus he’s a high energy player, exactly what the Warriors need off their bench. He’s an exciting player, so he’d fit with perhaps the NBA’s most exciting team. Not a true point guard and his 3-point shot has diminished, but he has been playing for the Knicks.
Steve Blake – A real long shot since the Blazers are battling the Ws for a playoff spot (surprisingly) and they’d rather give up Jarrett Jack. But, if and when they fade, they’ll probably get a PG in the draft. Blake is the short-term solution at PG. For the Warriors, though, he’d be perfect. He’d have to get used to not starting, which he’s done regularly the last two seasons. He can shoot, he’s a solid PG and a good leader.
Jannero Pargo – Not sure the Hornets would be willing to trade with the Warriors, being in a playoff race with them and all. But he’s struggling this season, and with the way Chris Paul is playing, they don’t really need him. He’s No. 3 behind CP3 and Bobby Jackson. Pargo is cheap, at $2M with a player option for $2M next season. This season aside, he’s a good outside shooter, a clutch 3-point shooter and he fits the Warriors style. I liked him with the Bulls, and I still like him. He would be a nice low-key acquisition.
I WOULDN’T GO AFTER:
Smush Parker – Sorry, E.J. He can’t shoot well enough. That wouldn’t be that bad, but his attitude is terrible, which is why he wasn’t re-signed in Los Angeles and he’s no longer wanted in Miami. Plus he has a player option for $2.4 million that he’s sure to pick up, so he’d be around next season, too.
Andre Miller – First off, he’s on the books for $9.4 million this season and $10 million next season. What’s more, he’s too good. He’s a starter, and that would enfringe upon Monta. You would end up wanting Miller to play in the fourth quarter with Baron. But where does that leave Ellis? Or, he would be on the bench in the fourth quarter with Monta playing with Baron? How would that impact Miller? Someone won’t be happy, and that’s not good for team chemistry.
Chris Duhon – He’s Smush Parker without the attitude. The last thing the Warriors need for its second unit is a PG who can’t shoot. He’s more of an man-to-man stifling defender than a turnover creator, which doesn’t fit the Warriors defensive scheme. He’s better in the halfcourt set. I wouldn’t be mad if they got him, because he is a pretty good player and he’s cheap (one year left, $3.25M). But I wouldn’t be excited.
A little note-gathering went a long way at the Target Center this morning. Reporters who were initially looking to grab some quotes about Troy Hudson’s return to the arena where he spent the last five seasons were told by coach Don Nelson that the 11-year veteran may have made his final NBA appearance because of recurring problems with his left hip.
Hudson, who has played in only nine games as a Warrior, is expected to miss at least a month — if not far longer.
“I think Troy’s probably done. I don’t think he’ll play again,” Nelson said. “I’m serious. It’s unfortunate, but he has a hip problem, and I haven’t heard a second opinion, but it doesn’t look good for him. . . . We’re quite concerned that he may not be able to play again. Right now, we’re talking maybe four to six weeks off, and then check again, but he has some (bone) spurs on his hip and arthritic conditions, and it’s just not a positive thing.”
Hudson initially had a flare-up of pain in his hip during the first week of the season. After sitting out 12 games for rest and treatment, he tried to play through what pain remained. That comeback lasted for seven games over two weeks before the pain grew too intense to continue.
“After you wake up day after day limping a different way, you start thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to make sure this is right before I’ll be walking funny at 35,’” Hudson said.
Hudson has not played since Dec. 12 against Portland. He will see a specialist in New York this week, and plans to see another one in Colorado in the near future, although an appointment is not set.
When Hudson had his initial consultation and MRI scan in November, doctors broached the idea of surgery to repair the hip. But that option would probably cost him 12 to 18 months — a tough prognosis for a guy on a one-year deal.
“If I did have to get a surgery, it could be a surgery where it takes a year and a half to recover,” Hudson said. “A guy who’s 31, 11 years in the league, can’t really take a year and a half off. You would basically have to say, ‘OK, my career could be over.’ Not from the standpoint that I can’t play any more, but the fact that a lot of teams wouldn’t take a chance on a guy who was 33, who had a hip surgery, who’d been out a year and a half.”
If you think the Warriors don’t play any defense, try catching a Grizzlies game. At least the Warriors force turnovers and rack up steals. Memphis doesn’t even do that.
You should’ve seen Juan Carlos Navarro and Damon Stoudamire trying to guard Baron Davis and Monta Ellis. Actually, the numbers tell you all you need to know.
Baron/Monta: 45 points, 17-for-33 shooting, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 turnovers
Damon/Juan: 25 points, 11-for-26 shooting, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers
Aside from Rudy Gay, and I guess Pau Gasol, who I’ve never been a big fan of, this team leaves a lot to be desired. I really thought they were going to contend for the eighth spot. What was I thinking?
And what were you all thinking, everyone who wanted the Warriors to sign Darko Milicic? Boy were you guys off base!
For some reason, the Warriors didn’t come to play. They were really sluggish and uninspired. They chucked jumpers on offense and reached on defense.
Check out these lines:
Baron Davis 2 points, 1-for-8 FGs, 1 assist, 3 turnovers
Monta Ellis 8 points, 2-for-5 FGs, 3 assists, 0 turnovers
Al Harrington 7 points, 3-for-7 FGs, 1 rebound, 1 assists
Stephen Jackson 13 points, 6-for-12 FGs, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 4 turnovers
Conversely, they were getting shredded on offense. Baron gave up 19 points to Billups, 11 of which came at the FT line. Prince, guarded mostly by Jackson, had 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting. McDyess outplayed Harrington, finishing with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and 11 rebounds. Hamilton schooled Monta for 13 points and six assists on 6-for-11 shooting.
Jax was upset after this one. He went on a rant as if they were in a five-game losing streak (maybe he sees something coming):
Q: One good thing was that the starters got rest, right?
“I don’t need (any) rest. We got our butt kicked. We weren’t ready to play and that’s terrible. That’s terrible to say when you start the road trip off getting blasted like this. You’ve got to be ready to play. This is definitely uncalled for. We’re a professional team and we’ve got to be ready to play. There’s no excuse for us to come out and get blown like that, to start a road trip off like that. That’s terrible.”
What’s the reason for this?
“Just not ready to play. I don’t know why. We’ve got a great job. Everybody’s healthy enough to play. I don’t know why we weren’t ready to play. I can’t answer that question.”
“As a team, some guys came ready to play, certain guys came in not ready to play, and we can’t be like that. We’ve got to be on the same page to win games. We’re not a great team. We haven’t done anything yet. We still have a lot of work to do and we’ve got to continue to keep that underdog attitude. Once we get too confident, games like this happen. That’s not the team we’ve got to be. We’ve got to be the team that continues to go out there and respect other teams and feel like we still have a lot to prove. We haven’t done anything yet, and we’ve got to go out there and continue to play like it.”
You worried about the offense?
“Offense is not our problem. We’re going to score points. It’s our defense and competing. We’re a soft team. We’re not being aggressive on defense. We’re not being a scrappy team. It’s a defensive thing. Guys not ready to play. Offensively, we’ve got so many guys who can score, I don’t guys should come in the game worrying about scoring. We need to play defense. That’s how we’re going to be the team we needed to be.”
Last time you guys were here, you all played great spirited basketball. Did you …
“We had J-Rich, too.”
Did you expect to play that same way coming here again?
“We should’ve come in here and felt like that. This is the first game of our road trip. We should’ve came in here with a little swagger, kind of how we played last year. We won by 30 points here last year. I came in here feeling good about it. It’s not about me. We’ve got to do it as a team.”
Good leadership or overreacting? What do you think?
“C’mon. I’ve seen so much, man. I’ve seen like real rivalries. This regular season stuff … this is child’s play. This is like slap boxing.” – Kobe Bryant after Friday’s loss to the Warriors
Slap bloxing? That’s cold, Kobe.
He played the Warriors for an irritating little stepbrothers. He brushed off Golden State’s emotional victory like an uncle dismisses his nephew’s lucky win in Scrabble.
It’s not hard to see how low the Lakers regard the Warriors. Even Laker fans, who were nearly as deep as Warrior fans Friday, were in Oracle with their chests out, resting their feet on the Warriors’ coffee table.
The Warriors and their fans certainly circle the Laker game on the calendar and relish any time their team can “Beat L.A.” Oracle went pretty crazy as the Warriors closed the game with a 14-4 run to steal a victory, snapping their nine-game skid to the Lakers. There was confetti. Leaping celebrations. An ovation. The crowd hasn’t been that ecstatic since the playoff series against Dallas. As a matter of fact, the crowd hasn’t been that large since the playoff series against Dallas. Friday’s attendance (20,705) set the record for largest crowd to witness a game in Cali.
To be sure, it was a big win for the Warriors. They moved to three games above .500 (13-10), which was vital heading into a five-game road trip starting Sunday. Plus, they got a win over one of their bullies, as the Lake Show has won 14 of the last 15 meeting before Friday.
Though playing the Lakers is the most anticipated game of the Warriors season, especially from the fans perspective, the Warriors don’t rate so high on the Lakers radar.
Why else would coach Phil Jackson pulled Kobe Bryant with 1:27 left in the game and the Lakers ahead 104-103? He brought him back in just over a minute later, but the Laker lead was now a four-point advantage. Jackson said it was because Bryant sustained a quad injury (some five minutes earlier). Seriously? If the Lakers were playing San Antonio or Phoenix, Bryant would finish the game with a splint trapped to his leg and no shoes.
Bryant tweaked his thigh some five minutes earlier. Jackson said he noticed Bryant was too hobbled to defend, but not for offense. So he took Kobe out.
That was a straight slap in the face to the Warriors, who Jackson thought that either a) the Lakers could win without Kobe, or b) wasn’t phased by a loss to the Warriors. Remember, Jackson held out starting small forward Luke Walton when the teams met in L.A. Sunday, so Walton can get an extra day of rest before facing San Antonio.
If Phil didn’t get the “Warriors who?” message across, Kobe did.
“(This loss) doesn’t hurt at all,” Bryant said. “Not one bit. … They played extremely well in the second half, made a lot of big shots. But we still had a lot of opportunities to win the basketball game. We feel very good about this game. This loss didn’t do anything for us.”
Gotta love how Baron injected some life into this team. He always seems to know when to make a play. If only heh can stop hackin’ and stay out of foul trouble.
Once again, the Warriors are up to their old tricks against the Lakers. They’re getting caught up in the hype and intensity and doing too much. They Warriors scored just 17 first quarter points. They were 10-for-30 with 9:21 left in the second quarter. They have already taken 11 threes, making 2. Not only are they jacking up crazy shots and not sharing the ball, they are regularly getting lost on defense.
They always play this outta control, no discipline ball against the Lakers.
Mind giving some insights on why or what aspects Belinelli is struggling? From summer league, I know he’s not ready defensively, but on offense, he looks NBA ready. How come he’s not even active for a lot of the games? – manhattanproj
First off, let me start by saying that it’s OK, probably even a good thing, that Belinelli isn’t playing yet. Matt Steinmetz, Fox Sports sideline reporter, made a good point a while ago: rookies don’t play for the league’s best teams. And it’s true. Which rookie plays any significant minutes for San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, Detroit or Utah? If you need a rookie to play, you’re not that good of a team. So it’s a good thing that the Warriors don’t need to run Marco out there.
As far as his struggles, Belinelli is simply a one-trick pony right now. He can shoot the ball. Other than that, he can’t bring anything more – at least not as much as Monta Ellis, Kelenna Azubuike or Mickael Pietrus, who play the same position.
Marco is fraile, which hurts him on defense. He’s not a good rebounder, which guards in this system need to be. He is a better passer and creator than most know, but he needs time to develop. This is just a higher level than he’s played before.