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Crawford Joins Warriors

Jamal Crawford passed his physical Monday and is practicing with the team in DC right now. He will be wearing No. 6 for the Warriors. He was originally going to wear No. 11, but was allowed to switch to 6 because he hasn’t played a game yet.
More after practice

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Final: 76ers 89, Warriors 81

The final results were ugly overall.
They tied the game at 76, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Anthony Morrow, but that was all the offense the Warriors could muster.
Their defense played well enough to win, holding Philadelphia to 39.8 percent shooting. Elton Brand had 0 points and 0 rebounds in the fourth quarter. Iguodala had just three points.
But the Warriors couldn’t score. Kelenna Azubuike led the offense with 16 points, perhaps the quietest 16 points he’s ever gotten. Even when they got close, they were doomed by bad shot selection and turnovers. It was just an ugly (yet fitting) way to finish the game,

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3 Qtr: 76ers 72, Ws 62

The Warriors showed some fight in the third, trimming the Sixers 22-point lead to 10 entering the fourth quarter. The Warriors did knock down a couple of 3-pointers, but mostly they came back with a pesky defense and by getting out in transition.
Watson, Jackson and Maggette finally started to knocked down some shots to give the Warriors’ offense some sliver of life. The Warriors made just 42 percent of their shots, but outscored the 76ers 23-15 thanks to their defense.
Philly made just 7 of 20 shots (35 percent), and the Warriors held them to two offensive rebounds. They also forced 7 TOs.

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2 Qtr: 76ers 57, Ws 39

So the Warriors went big in the second quarter, after getting killed on the boards, so the 76ers went perimeter on them. With the Warriors sucked into the paint (at point point, the Warriors had Biedrins, Wright and Randolph in at the same time), the Sixers had plenty open looks from the perimeter.
Iguodala got warm, and Thad Young got into a groove from the perimeter, and Brand’s mid-range was working.
Meanwhile, the Warriors continued to struggle from the field. They managed 22 points in the quarter, thanks to Azubuike, Watsob and Biedrins (they combined to make 7-for-8 from the field in the second quarter). Unfortunately for the Warriors, they didn’t take the bulk of the shots. Jackson and Maggette finished the half 2-for-12. Randolph came in and got two dunks, then missed his next four shots.
Overall, the Warriors’ offense look about as mediocre as it did in the fourth quarter against Chicago. With Jackson and Maggette off, they had no where to go for high-percentage shots, at least not consistently.

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1 Qtr: Sixers 27, Ws 17

The Warriors came out chucking away. But they were ice cold. The Warriors shot 35 percent in the opening period.

Jax made his first J and thought he was hot, because he took three more ill-advised shots, the last a pull-up three in transition that clanked off the front rim. Maggette missed all five of his attempts.

Oddly enough, Morrow played eight minutes and didn’t get a shot. So why is he in the starting lineup? Oh yeah, his defense.

Meanwhile, Philly wasn’t great, but they didn’t need to be. Elton Brand, matched up with Maggette, had nine points on six shots in the first quarter. Dalembert had 11 rebounds in the first 12 minutes of action (the Sixers outrebounded the Warriors 19-8 in the first half)

That prompted Nellie to chuck small and go big for a spell, playing Anris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf together.

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Azubuike’s Back

After sitting out Friday’s game vs. Chicago, swingman Kelenna Azubuike returned to the lineup. Apparently his mildly sprained left knee is better. Here is the starting lineup (Sixers starters):

C Biedrins (Samuel Dalembert)
PF Maggette (Elton Brand)
SF Azubuike (Thaddeous Young)
SG Morrow (Andre Iguodala)
PG Jackson (Andre Miller)

This may be the last time you see this lineup as Jamal Crawford is expected to join the team tomorrow. He will take his physical Monday in D.C. and play Tuesday. Nellie could bring him off the bench to start, but don’t be surprised if Crawford walks through the door the starting point guard.

Since this is not a TV game, I will keep the updates coming.

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Crawford to Warriors

After all the hoopla this morning, I finally got confirmation. It is official, according to Al Harrington. The Warriors have completed the trade him to the New York Knicks for Jamal Crawford.
Harrington is making $9.23M this season and has a player option for next season, which if he picks it up will pay him $10.03M. The initial reports had the Warriors taking back Malik Rose, who has one year left for more than $7 million, which would have also fit.
Before I ask you what you think of this move, here is what I’m thinking:


The Positives

* The Warriors get a veteran guard who can play both guard positions. He’s 6-5, 200 pounds and has become a reliable scorer. He’s averaging 19.6 so far this season after averaging 20.6 last season. He’s feeling it from three so far this year, currently at 45.5 percent, but for his career he’s around 32-35 percent. He also has a reputation for being clutch.
He can dribble well, he can shoot (though he’s streaky) and he can create. He’s experienced. You can trust him to inbound the ball (I hope). Not sure about his defense, but he did play for the Knicks, so chances are he hasn’t played much.

*The Warriors get to put the Harrington situation behind them. That relationship was a wrap and it was only going to become more of a distraction. Nellie can’t stop bringing up how Al ruined it by going public. It was best for both parties to get this chapter over.

* Crawford is the perfect guy to play next to Monta Ellis, when he returns. Crawford can play both positions, so Ellis can be the point guard and still take advantage of Crawford’s skills.
If the Warriors decide the Ellis-at-point experiment is not working, they can play Crawford at the point and let Ellis be simply a scorer. Plus Crawford has the size and athleticism that allows Nellie to play point but defend shooting guards, which allows Ellis to play shooting guard and defend point guards.
If the Warriors were going to go out and get a point guard, this is the type of player they needed. He’s probably too good in that he’ll make Monta’s growing pains harder to swallow (knowing there is a capable option). We all know about Nellie’s impatience with mistakes. Having Crawford as the ready Plan B might make him pull the plug on Ellis-at-point much quicker than if CJ is the Plan B.
But he now has the option to be move Monta off the point without losing that much production.

The Concerns
* Crawford is making $8.64 million this season. He has an Early Termination Option that would allow him to walk away from his contract after this season. If he declines to use that ETO, the Warriors would be on the hook for 2009-10 ($9.36M) and 2010-11 ($10.08M).
If Crawford opts out after this season, the Warriors get the bonus of shedding future salary along with moving their disgruntled forward. But if Crawford decides not to opt out, the Warriors are adding $10 million in future salary. For a team that has sought to avoid the luxury tax, that is an interesting risk to take considering the recent contract extension of Stephen Jackson and the previous big contracts giving to Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Corey Maggette. The Warriors could have four players making double-digit salaries in 2010-11, with Jackson just shy of $10M.

* Don’t the Warriors have enough guards? Adding one more to the mix is going to make for some interesting minutes-juggling by Nellie. Assuming Crawford doesn’t come here and ride the bench, is he going to play point guard? If he does, that means Stephen Jackson is back at shooting guard. Where does that leave Anthony Morrow?
OK, maybe Jax goes to small forward so Morrow can get a bunch of minutes at shooting guard. He has to be on the court, right? So then where does that leave Azubuike? Corey Maggette? How is everyone going to handles getting 25-30 minutes yanked from the guard pot by Crawford?
Either the Warriors have another move in the works or there is going to be some serious adjusting on the perimeter. I haven’t even mentioned C.J. Watson, and the former starting point guard who is now in Bakersfield.

* Crawford is a gunner. In five of his eight seasons, he finished with more three-point attempts than assists (not counting the one season he had eight fewer three-point attempts than assists). This season, he ahs taken 77 3s and has 44 assists.
Do the Warriors need another player to jack up shots relentlessly. Jackson, Azubuike, Maggette and now Crawford. The Warriors better order a new shipment of Spaldings. Will there be any shots left for the team’s best shooter, Anthony Morrow?

OK, so what do you think?