13

Don’t Stop Believin’?

I was trying to find some way in my gamer to compare the “WE BELIEVE” signs to the end of the Sopranos finale, where Journey’s playing over the jukebox and then, in that jarring instant, everything goes to black. When it aired, some people speculated it was supposed to represent a bullet to Tony’s head.

No speculation here: For the Warriors, that’s what Thursday’s loss to Denver was.

Sure, the body will keep moving through the final three games, and if the Nuggets somehow manage to get swept in their back-to-back against Utah and Houston over the weekend, there will be talk of new life. But even if Denver gags both those games, one of two other things would need to happen for Golden State to actually make the postseason.

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Either: A) the Warriors will need to win in Phoenix — a place where they’re 5 for their last 46 — against a Suns team that may still be fighting for as many as two rounds of home-court advantage.

Or: B) the Nuggets will have to kick away a third straight game, against a Memphis team that will have less than nothing to play for, the only goal being to avoid injury before the final buzzer sounds and the last plane flight of the season takes off.

The chances of either seem about as remote as a reunion for Tony, Carmela, Meadow and A.J.

– Geoff

Geoff Lepper

Geoff Lepper has covered the Warriors since 2005 for the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Before that, he covered baseball and college sports for the Marin Independent Journal.

  • Derek

    The Warriors should have never stop attacking the basket.

    Getting caught-up shooting 3′s and jumpers have killed them toward the end of the season. It’s hard to beat them when they attack the basket. It gets alot easier once they get jumper happy, esecially when the jumpers aren’t falling like tonight.

    Terrible decision making.

  • Le

    I can’t believe after a full season, we still can’t figure out the “zone” defense.

    I still “believe” though!

  • kevin murphy

    well after missing the first 7 games of the season, looks like s.jackson also missed the last 7 games that counted as well. he was a no show and that hurt w’s big time.

  • manhattanproj

    jackson needs to take better care of his body. he plays less games than baron and ellis, yet he’s fading faster than both at the end of the season. last year at the end of season, w’s had j-rich to be another scoring option. this year, we dont and when jackson isnt scoring, there is really no one to pick up the slack. the fact that barnes is a one year wonder also didnt help. guess he wont be back next season.

  • JustPuked

    It would have been nice if Barnes was able to be as good as he was last season, if Kelenna hadn’t gotten hurt and been able to be as productive as he was to start the season, if Croshere hadn’t been injured so often all season long, if Wright hadn’t been injured and missed all of summer league and most of training camp and had been a realistic option at the start of the year, if Belinelli had been ready when he got all those minutes at the start of the season and if Pietrus had pulled his head out before the trade deadline passed and not gotten injured at the end.

    But it happened the way it happened. Everyone is quick to blame Nellie for the lack of a bench and yes it is partially his fault but the bench didn’t show up consistently all year long. Watson was a nice spark that slowly grew into the role. Azubuike has too much upside to let go. Croshere has value *IF* he’s not injured. Pietrus is probably too expensive to keep; Barnes…is he tapped out? I know the situation with his mother affected his play, not sure of the whole deal there. Obviously Wright and Belinelli are signed. So much up in the air this off season and that’s just the bench, which wasn’t exactly doing near enough to carry the load.

  • EJ

    Nellie’s plan was to push his starters as far as they could go this season and hope they could squeeze into the playoffs. I guess the Nuggets game was the tipping point. It was a gamble, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to pay off.

  • chippy

    Geoff,

    Tim Kawakami posted a blog @ mercurynews.com about upcoming changes that he “probably/possibly” see’s coming in terms of the makeup of the team for the next season.

    He voices his opinion that Kelenna Azubuike and Matt Barnes are most likely on their way out if there are other bidders. How probable do you think it is that the Warriors keep Kelenna? #5 (JustPuked) wrote, “Azubuike has too much upside to let go.” I also feel the same way. The kid can play (Yes, he’s got a lot to work on, but he’s got a lot of potential). I’d love for him to be able to make a name for himself as a Warrior.

  • manhattanproj

    but you also have belinelli who is signed to a longer and more lucrative contract. and also ellis who plays the same position. kelenna can only be kept if the price is right. can’t spend too much in just 1 position.

    if the w’s can somehow get brandon rush in the 2nd round, he could replace the role that pietrus plays.

    i think marcus should start a new post about who will help w’s the most in the #14 spot. i’m thinking kevin love could help some. he can be that inside presence and he can certainly start the break with his outlet pass.

  • Bob

    THERE is a chance that when we play the Suns that game will be meaningless for them. They are practically locked into the 6th seed at the moment. So if they decide to rest, we have a better shot, a GOOD shot to win out.

    Also, Houston looks really good, they just manhandled Phoenix. Denver will be on a back-to-back that game they play them.

    Anyways, we ain’t dead just yet.

  • Geoff Lepper

    Chippy: At the end of February, I wrote up a chart guessing at the percentage chances of seeing each player back with the W’s next year. I pegged Barnes at 35 percent and Azubuike at 25.

    Barnes’ play was clearly (and understandably) diminished as he grieved after the tragic loss of his mother in November. But he also yo-yoed in terms of playing time, which didn’t help his cause at all — or the Warriors’, as it turned out. From what I hear, his well-known desire to come back to Oakland last summer may have dissuaded some other possible suitors from getting involved in the bidding. I don’t think that’ll be the case this time.

    As for Azubuike, it’s very much a question of playing time. I think there were certainly be interest from other organizations, and if a team can offer him a chance to play 25-plus minutes a night, it’ll be quite tempting. After all, even if the Warriors and Don Nelson get more serious about resting Baron/Jack/Monta, Kelenna probably still won’t find that kind of PT here.

    – Geoff

  • creepy ross

    if pietrus is on his way out as we all expect, i think kelenna fills that role. he’s unquestionably more skilled than pietrus and has a much higher basketball IQ (a doorstop has a higher hoops IQ than pietrus). at this point, i think pietrus brings a bit more on defense and on the boards, but i think kelenna can reach the same level in both areas.

  • JustPuked

    #10 Geoff- Do the Warriors have Bird rights on Kelenna?

  • chippy

    Thanks Geoff. I appreciate your reply.