I thought I posted this. I guess I forgot to press the “publish” button. I know it’s kind of old now. Oh well. …
Wow. Lost in the Warriors being the pawns in the Knicks’ celebration was the fact that the Warriors still could’ve won this game. Surely, that is partly an indictment on the Knicks, but also a symbol of this team’s resilience. I know it looks bleak now, but this team fights back. They aren’t good enough for it to matter much at this point, but it is certainly something to lean on. On with the observations …
* C.J. Watson is the best player on the team right now. He is playing lights out on both ends. If he only had some help.
* The frustration is starting to manifest in gestures on the court. There is no shortage of frowns and overt gestures when teammates make a mistake. Even guys who usually show no expression are starting to exhibit their inner-most irritation. For example, Corey Maggette had a 2-on-1 with Azubuike. Corey drew the defender, but didn’t kick to an open Buike.
Maggette missed the layup and Buike sighed and ever so slightly shook his head. It was just a quick moment, but it was a rare expression of any kind of emotion from him, let along a disapproving gesture. That means, as I step into my psychology background, that it’s been building up.
*Crawford got a warm reception. There were cheers when his name was announced in the starting lineup. Then during a timeout, they had a video tribute of his big shots as a Knick which was followed by a mild standing ovation. Crawford didn’t waive at the crowd or didn’t even acknowledge the gesture. The Warriors were in a timeout and Nellie was drawing up something. I don’t know if he was really so focused he didn’t recognize, or he did but chose to act as if he was too focused to recognize. Either way, it was good judgment. I was expecting him to waive in the middle of the huddle, and he didn’t. Even when he walked onto the court, he didn’t soak up the attention.
*Belinelli started. He played five minutes, made one of his two attempts, and was yanked for poor defense. Twice he failed to close out on the shooter. You could see the irritation on Nellie’s face as he told Morrow to go sub for him. Or, Nellie could have been irritated by the Belinelli fan club right by the bench.
There were a couple of occasions where Belinelli played some Euro defense. The Knicks were on fire from 3, and Marco just waives at the guy instead of closing out. But even more of a crime, to me, is his lack of aggression on offense. He KNOWS they aren’t going to look for him. He KNOWS he only gets a few minutes here and there. Why is he not making it happen??? It is amazing how many times he pump fakes himself out of a shot and pass the ball. He needs to eat a confidence bar or something.
*Though Morrow can’t hit the side of barn right now, I love how he works through his slump. He didn’t keep jacking up 3-pointers even though his shot is off. He passed up three pointers and took dribbles in. He crashed the offensive boards, got himself to the line. That’s the sign of a smart player, someone who understands a good shot is not a shot you can make, but the shot that gives you the best chance of making it at the time.
*A funny moment that illustrated the state of the Warriors. Remember when Randolph got dunked on by Tim Thomas? Well, moments later, the Warriors were forced to call a timeout to stop a Knicks run. The bench players normally go high five the players coming off the court. This time, Jackson, who all night was one of the first off the bench to greet his teammates, took a stroll away the huddle and onto the court toward the free throw line area. He was shaking his head in disgust. Tim Thomas, walking by on his way to the bench, looked at Jackson. He clasped his hands, like he was praying, and mockingly said “I’m sorry Jack. I’m sorry Jack.” Jackson smiled and continued shaking his head as he returned to the huddle.