This is rant night. Bare with me.
* Down six, 29.8 seconds left, the other team’s missed 11 of 25 free throws. What do you do? Most would foul. The NBA is notorious for extending the game with intentional fouls, if for nothing other than to keep up appearances.
But tonight, Nellie was in total whatever mode. He chose not to foul, letting Wade dribble away the Warriors’ remote chance at victory. Good move? Bad move? What do you think?
Part of me feels him. It’s the end of a long road trip, Christmas eve is on the horizon (and two days off), and you know Wade is going to pull it out for Miami. He’s right, too. They weren’t going to win. Why mess around with appearances?
But while I get his logic, it’s still a bad move, IMHO. It’s such the wrong message to send to the youngsters you’re trying to teach. How are you going to tell them to close out hard on a shooter when you won’t do everything you can to win? How does it help their confidence when the coach is saying “no use, we’re going to lose anyway” (figuratively and literally). A veteran team, OK. I get you. They understand how the game goes. But a group of youngsters scrapping hard out there trying not to get embarrased, giving it all they got, and you throw in the towel for them? Ain’t there some Yogi Berra cliche you’re supposed to throw at them? Some slogan from one of those cheesy posters at the gym you’re supposed to spot.
It wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s an recurring theme. He said playoffs are out. He’s always talking about how they’re not going to win games. He pulls the starters faster than any coach in the league (and I’ve talked to players in the locker room about how soon he’s willing to throw in the towel, and they’re amazed). He just forked over part of his duties to the assistants. Now he’s giving up hope prematurely.
This gives credence to those who say he’s not the right coach for such a young team.
* Andris played like he was jealous that all the other veterans got to sit out and he had to play. I felt bad for him. That should’ve been Wright or Randolph out there instead of him, though he did have five steals.
* I know, I know. I’m crazy. But how does Marcus Williams not play this game??? The dude is a point guard who can score and pass, he can make plays on offense. I don’t care if he can’t play defense. When you’re shooting below 40 percent and have more turnovers than assists, you need a playmaker on offense. Run him out there, let him get comfortable, get his confidence up. I would much rather him with the ball in his hands trying to make something happen than Azubuike or Nelson or Morrow. It just befuddles me. OK, he doesn’t defend. What, are the Warriors suddenly the Spurs? Hello! Opponents are shooting 50 percent every night.
I’m not saying he should be starting or should be the back-up or anything like that. I’m just saying it is unreasonable to think you can’t use him. You can use Rob Kurz in certain situations. You can use DeMarcus Nelson in certain situations. Ditto for Williams. Tonight was one of those situations.
* One player the new drive-and-kick offense is hurting is Kelenna Azubuike. It is forcing him away from his strength. He is handling the ball a lot, but not in the spots/situations he’s used to. He flourishes in transition, in the post, and isolations with space. Now, the Warriors are playing half-court, motion offense. He hardly ever has room to operate. He doesn’t get to post up at all. And the Warriors’ fast break is flat-lined, so that part of his game goes unused. The result is turnovers, tough shots and a lack of a rhythm. Tonight he was 6-for-19 with 4 TOs. It’s because he’s not a playmaker yet. He’s a scorer. But, especially with the injuries, he’s being forced to be a playmaker. But I guess if he’s ever going to learn, now is the time.
* Something impressed me tonight. And it’s odd that it came up since I just asked Jackson about this. Crawford, who missed Tuesday’s game, didn’t have a blazer, which is required to sit on the bench for those not in uniform. He said he’s been living out of his trunk and before the road trip he just grabbed some gear, stuffed it in a suit case and took off. Now, he’s not hurting for money, so he could have bought a blazer. But he can hardly walk (still could’ve sent someone to purchase him a blazer) and he came to the arena hoping against hope he would be able to play tonight after treatment.
Anyway, he didn’t have a blazer so he would’ve had to sit in the locker room and watch the game. Instead, he wore CJ’s blazer. The sleeves were noticably short, as his french cuffs were hanging out. Plus, it didn’t match his brown-and-pink get-up (a small thing for us, but we are talking about millionaire athletes). Still, there he was, in an ever-so-young blazer, so he could sit on the bench with his teammates.
* Rob Kurz got a DNP-CD
* Randolph matched up with No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley a bit tonight. The Warriors’ rookie came away the victor. He finished with 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting, six rebounds, two blocks a steal and 3 TOs in 21 minutes. Beasley had 5 points on 2-for-7 shooting, two rebounds, two turnovers and a block in 13 minutes.
The highlights of their head-to-head included Randolph swatting a Beasley shot into the backboard and Randolph soaring past Beasley, who didn’t block out, for a two-hand tip dunk.