So the stage is set for a thrilling finish. Three teams, nine games, two playoff spots.
The Warriors don’t hold any head-to-head tie-breaker. The best they can do is split the season series with Dallas and Denver. Even if they do, they lose out in the second tie-breaker: conference record.
The Warriors’ only chance – other than just finishing with a better record than one of these teams – is a three-way tie. Then the second tie-breaker is record against the other teams that are tied. If the Warriors beat Dallas and Denver, they’d be 4-4 against the two teams combined. Denver would be 4-3 and Dallas would be 3-4. Dallas would be out.
But all that stuff is way too complicated. The best way is just to win more games than one of the other two teams. So let’s breakdown the remaining schedule of each team:
Mavericks Remaining Schedule
vs. New Orleans
Count roadies against Kobe and Nash as losses, especially if Dirk isn’t back yet. Both teams are playing for something. The Lakers aren’t playing that well, but they should get Pau Gasol back any day now.
If you give the Mavericks wins over their scrub opponents, that’s four victories (though at Portland isn’t as easy as it looks, especially with their desperation to finish above .500). Dallas has three other tough home games (Golden State, Utah and New Orleans). Depending on how the Mavericks do in those games will likely determine their playoff fate. Win two, they’re probably in. Lose all three (which is more than possible, especially if Dirk isn’t back or comes back at less than 90 percent), they’re done.
Nuggets Remaining Schedule
Just giving them wins over their scrub teams, for argument’s sake, they’ll win at least four (Sac, Seattle, LAC and Grizzlies) of their last nine. The remaining five are tough. They’ll probably lose at Phoenix and Utah. But at home to Houston and Phoenix and the road game against the Warriors are winnable. If they pull out two of those three, they’re 6-3 over the last nine and sitting pretty.
Warriors Remaining Schedule
They have to beat the Grizzlies, Clippers and Sonics to have any chance. So, again for argument’s sake, put those in the books. Sacramento and Denver at home will be tough games, but they desperately need to win those and should be able to. That would put them at 50-32.
If they can’t beat the three scrubs left on their schedule, and win two home games against quality opponents, they don’t need to get in anyway. That leaves roadies at San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans and Phoenix. If they can get one of those road games, in addition to the previously mention five games, that’s 6-3 over the last nine and a 51-31 record.
Posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Under: Playoffs | 5 Comments »
So, I was informed by the league office that the NBA DOES NOT voluntarily release its opinion or analysis about controversial judgment calls. The offensive foul ref Bob Delaney called on Monta Ellis is considered a judgment call. The NBA only volunteers its analysis for specific rules violations or in serious circumstances.
The league does, however, share its findings on controversial calls when a member of the media asks. So I asked. And Stu Jackson answered.
“We did review,” he said Tuesday. “The call was incorrect.”
“After looking at the play, the foul was on (Derek) Fisher and not (Monta) Ellis. It appeared that Fisher pulled Ellis down.”
There you have it.
Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008
Under: Monta Ellis | 32 Comments »
His numbers stack up among some of the best. He certainly had Hall of Fame talent. His impact on the game – changing the way we look at power forwards in this era – is rare.
But Webber is not a Hall of Famer. Sorry. He was a great player. But I find it hard to place him among that elite group. There very specific reasons he doesn’t belong.
*He never won. Never even played in an NBA Final
*He had a reputation as a diva, a coach killer. True or not, that’s how Hall of Fame voters will view him. He won’t ever pass the Hall of Fame citizenship test.
*Michigan scandal. Remember, it is the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame. His NCAA violations, which cost Michigan their Fab Five records, factor into play. That’s a stain that is too hard to hide.
Webber was an innovative player. He was a productive and special talent. But, based on his success as a player, he could almost be considered an underachiever. Someone with the tools he had should have rings, MVPs, etc. He was only a five-time All-Star. He made All-NBA once.
That’s not enough, to me. What do you think?
Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Chris Webber | 12 Comments »
To be sure, I am a huge fan of Kobe’s game. I think he is the best player in the league, and it’s not as close as most think.
That said, it seems he is always complaining to the officials. Few players gets as many calls as Kobe (he is fourth in the league at free throw attempts — behind only Dwight Howard, Allen Iverson and LeBron James). And he has become the king of drawing fouls, and he gets a lot of B.O.D. despite his reputation.
Plus, Kobe is way too big of a star to be whining so much. The league has put in all these rules to rid the complaining, because it doesn’t like that image, and the biggest star in the league is one of the biggest offenders.
I really like Kobe as a player, and I think it’s to the detriment of his legacy. People already don’t like him. As much as his game makes him hard not to watch, the complaining only gives fuel to the fire.
Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 28 Comments »
Be honest. Who would you rather have? Kevin Martin or Monta Ellis.
Both are shooting guards. Both are dynamic scorers. Both have defensive weaknesses.
After the Kings-Warriors game in Oakland, I would’ve said Monta. After Tuesday’s game at Arco, I’m not so sure.
Ellis is electrifying and has so much room for growth. Martin is a bit more versatile, especially on offense and has the size advantage.
Who would you take? I really am torn.
Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Under: Monta Ellis | 37 Comments »
At Los Angeles Clippers
With the schedule facing them down the stretch, the Warriors can’t afford another slip up against inferior teams. So what they’re on the road. They need to win these games to keep ahead of Denver, or catch the Mavericks.
This great opportunity for the Warriors to do both.
Denver’s next three games: vs. Seattle and at Detroit and at Philadelphia. They’ll likely go 2-1 (though the Philly game is the second of a back-to-back; the Sixers are playing well and you know they’ll be hyped for Iverson’s return).
Dallas’ next three games: at Miami, vs. Boston, vs. Lakers. They could very well also go 2-1.
So the Ws only way to gain ground would be to go 3-0 against these lowly teams. Winning these three games, the Warriors could head into Friday’s game vs. Houston 3.5 games ahead of Denver (or more) and a game behind Dallas (or tied if the Lakers and Celtics handle business) with one fewer loss than the Mavericks.
This is the LAST significant break in the schedule. Their next games against sub-.500 teams are all surrounded by top-tier opponents. Not to mention, they have a four-game road trip that includes the Spurs, Mavericks and Hornets.
Remember, the Warriors play four of their last five games at home — three of those games come against Sacramento, LA Clippers and Seattle. If they can head into that stretch with a cushion over Denver, or holding the No. 6 seed, their playoff fate will be in their hands. But it all starts by winning these three games.
Posted on Saturday, March 15th, 2008
Under: Playoffs | 9 Comments »
Finally got a chance to watch the Phoenix game. I was quite impressed with the Warriors performance. Yeah, I know they lost. But they didn’t get blown out. They played well for most of the game. They got less than stellar performances from key players.
And they only lost by eight, finishing off a back-to-back set on the road.
What I liked:
*Baron was unstoppable. I thought he was wearing down, but he still has some juice left, obviously. All he needs is motivation, which he’ll have down the stretch and in the playoffs, should they make it.
*The attention Ellis received. He didn’t have a good game, but he’s gotten good enough, especially against Phoenix, that they can’t just key on Baron. If Jax and Al are hitting as well, Phoenix can’t guard the Warriors
*I liked the way they played Shaq. Instead of sending a double-team, Nellie stayed with Shaq straight up. Smart move. Though Al – and anyone else on the Ws bench – are way undersized, it can work. Shaq isn’t as good as he used to be, plus the size difference is so exaggerated, there is a much better chance Shaq will drawn an offensive foul. No need to help Shaq by sending a double his way, which will open up the open looks for everyone else. Make him prove he can dominate.
It was enough to make me like the Warriors chances against Phoenix in the playoffs. They can win in Phoenix, and we know they can beat the Suns in Oakland. The Warriors would have to figure out something to do with Amare, who dominated way to easily. But they are good enough, and Phoenix has stepped back enough, that the Warriors can steal one or two in the Valley of the Sun.
Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
What was the first thing you thought when you heard Nellie’s wait-until-the-offseason response to the Warriors’ picking up the team option for next season? If you’re like me, you thought “Here we go, again.”
Maybe I’m just a hopeless cynic, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but this has hold out written all over it. He pulled out all the stops — age, wife, difficulty of the job. Sounds like Nellie has his sights set on more than $5.1 million. He’s laying the ground work for another pay-raise demand. If the Warriors make a deep playoff run, better believe Nellie’s going to want $7M instead of the $5M. The Warriors’ early announcement that they were picking up the option only suggested they need Nellie more than Nellie needs them – which is all the leverage Nellie needs.
Why would Nellie fight tooth-and-nail for a raise and for a guaranteed third year only to say “let me think about it” months later? Why should anyone believe it is really about his health when he cried health last time and it was clearly about the money?
His concerns are, on their own, legitimate. He’s up there in age, his health isn’t the greatest and coaching this team is indeed a tough job. But when has Nellie ever laid all his cards out on the table? He always has an angle, a money card stashed somewhere, a master plan in the works. Don’t be surprised.
Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Under: Don Nelson | 11 Comments »
This story should be up online at any minute, but just in case you can’t wait:
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — Whether Don Nelson returns to the Warriors bench in 2008-09 is now his decision alone.
Golden State made its feelings known Tuesday, exercising its option on Nelson’s contract for next season and locking in the coach at a base salary of $5.1 million months before a decision had to be made.
“It’s very nice of the organization,” Nelson said. “It’s always nice to be wanted, especially when you’re 67. It’s a very nice gesture on their part.”
But now the question is in Nelson’s court regarding whether he wants to return for a third consecutive season on the Warriors bench at the age of 68. Nelson wouldn’t make any commitment Tuesday, saying that he’ll take some time to ponder his status after the season.
“I’m going to have to think about that. I’m going to have time to reflect,” Nelson said. “My wife and I will have to talk about it, we’ll talk to the team about it, see how they’re feeling. . . . There is another part of life that I’d like to explore.”
Last season, Nelson led the Warriors to a 42-40 record and helped bring an end to the franchise’s 12-year playoff drought. Golden State has rebounded from an 0-6 start this season to post a 39-17 mark over the last four months.
“We’re extremely pleased with the job that Don has done this season,” team president Robert Rowell said. “He’s done a terrific job of building on last year’s success.”
Nelson said that he had an inkling the Warriors were moving forward on the extension — which did not have to be finalized until June 1 — when Rowell asked for a meeting prior to the team leaving on its road trip last week.
“I assumed with our success they probably would, but I didn’t think they would exercise this early,” Nelson said. “It’s really more how my frame of mind is, whether I want to do it again. How long can you do a job like this?”
Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Under: Don Nelson | 6 Comments »
A story today in the Chicago Sun Times has Chicago Bulls PG Chris Duhon – the one who set his career high at Oracle Arena not too long ago – said he likely won’t be back with the Bulls next season.
I have long been enamored with Duhon as the perfect back-up to Baron. He is a true point guard who defends, and his outside shot is improving. There was a concern about how a solid back-up might stunt the growth of Monta, who was penciled in as the back-up PG. However, that isn’t an issue anymore because Monta is a bonafide starter.
If I’m the Warriors, I’m picking him up this offseason. Duhon hasn’t even played since the Bulls got Larry Hughes. He skipped practice for the Duke-UNC game. You know he’s a goner. It makes you wonder if the Warriors could have gotten him for relatively nothing before the deadline.
Nonetheless, taking the moment to look ahead a bit, Duhon is the answer at back-up PG. He’s good enough for Nellie to be confident resting Baron, but not good enough to create issues about him being the starter. The Warriors can even keep C.J. Watson around as the third point guard, giving him more time to develop.
Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Under: Baron Davis, CJ Watson | 10 Comments »