There was a certain buzz in the Warriors locker room. You can tell it’s that time of year when the TV people come out.
“Now they want to talk to us,” Harrington said through a laugh.
* Surprisingly, the Tennessee-Stanford women’s game was on, not another NBA telecast. And some of the players were watching, too. Monta got a kick out of the way one of the Cardinal shot free throws.
“That’s how I’mma start shooting my free throws,” he said, mimmicking the two-hand toss.
Al said he thought Tennessee would win the national title, but “Wiggins is cold-blooded, though.”
*Mickael Pietrus is playing. He had his game shorts on. When asked if he was going to make it, he pointed to the jersey hanging in his locker room. He didn’t sound too sure about how he would feel out there, having missed nine games.
*Nelson’s pre-game was dominated by the topic of Monta Ellis’ defense. Here’s the rundown of that Q&A.
What can you do about Monta’s defense?
“Do more drills, defensive drills. We’ll do some more slides tomorrow. I don’t think in a practice situation you’re going to make people better at what they do. They can concentrate harder, they can get a little better. But you’re going to have to give Monta help throughout his NBA career. That’s what coaching’s all about.”
He gets screened a lot. Will his getting stronger help?
“Well, he’s small and he’s skinny. … The other guys in his stature haven’t improved all that much in guarading the screen and roll. It kind of is an area that is effective against small guards, the screen and roll.”
Can you switch then instead of having Monta fight through the screen?
“Well, he’s not a very good defender in the box. With Baron, you can get away with it. Jack certainly is a pretty good defender in the box. There’s more of a size factor the closer you get to the basket.”
Doesn’t Phoenix switch with Steve Nash?
“Nash is not a good defender. He has a same problem.”
Does he want to be a good defender?
He wants to be a great player. That’s part of it. Players always see offense first and defense second. I think he really wants to be a great player.
Does Monta leak out too much?
“That’s not a defensive problem. He’s quick enough to do that anyway and still guard his guy. The problem that we have is that our guard are penetrators. That’s the way our offense is geared, and often times when they penetrate, somebody makes a mistake and doesn’t come back on the defensive rotations. So we’re vulnerable some from people running against us. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just an individual thing. They’ve got to know when they’re back and know who’s position it is. But, I don’t know, Monta is a small two guard at this point, and there are problems defensively with small two guards in this league.”