* Nellie’s decision to not call a timeout got all the attention after last night’s game. I didn’t have a problem with it. He wanted to push it and catch the Spurs off guard. OK. I would’ve called a timeout, nonetheless, but I understand why he did it. Monta pulled up with nearly two seconds on the clock. If he takes a couple more dribbles, he probably would’ve gotten a better shot and the decision would’ve looked better.
Nellie: “If you’re wondering why I didn’t take a time out there at the end with just 5 seconds left it’s because I thought we could forced them to keep their big center in the game. But then I thought we shot the ball a little quickly for that situation. With five seconds left I thought we could at least try and get a little penetration and a higher percentage shot, but that is what he decided to do in that situation.”
But I do have to knocks on Nellie from last night:
1. After Mason’s shot, there was 23.8 seconds remaining and the Warriors trailed by one. The Warriors called a timeout and the mastermind went to work. They came out of the timeout, inbounded the ball and … MONTA DRIBBLED AWAY 10 SECONDS!
Why is he letting seconds tick off and they are losing? That reminded me of Baron a few years ago with Monty at the helm. Remember, against the Clippers at home. The Warriors were down, but Baron dribbled out the clock, trying to get the dramatic game-winner. He wound up dribbling the ball of his foot and the Warriors ended up with some ridiculous attempt at the buzzer. The lesson there was clear: WHEN YOU’RE DOWN, YOU DON’T WAIT.
There is no way Monta should’ve waited. And once the Warriors saw him killing time at the top, they should’ve been screaming for him to go. They weren’t. Not only did Monta waste time, he passed up an open attempt with 11 seconds left.
Ellis: “I really thought we were going to go for the last shot. Then he came and set the screen so early. I was wide open when I went off the screen, but I thought we were waiting for the last shot.”
The fact that Monta did not understand what was going on falls on the lap of the coaches. They know he’s a young point guard in training. They have to spell it out. And they certainly shouldn’t have told him to wait.
Monta eventually pulls up a 21-footer under pressure. The Spurs get the rebound and the foul is committed with 5.5 seconds left. Now, imagine if Monta didn’t wait and missed. Now they whole intentional foul charade begins with 18 seconds left, not 5.
The only time you let the seconds tick off is if the game is tied or you’re up and need one more basket to put the game away. That’s it.
2. The other problem I had was with the play. Seriously, all they could muster was a pick-and-roll? I admit, that was better than isolating Jackson on Bruce Bowen at the top of the key. But this is the Spurs. You don’t think they can defend a pick-and-roll with the game on the line?
There was the opportunity for Nellie to earn his money, pull out some of that creativity he’s known for. How about let someone else handle, run Monta off a couple of screens and get him the ball that way, use movement to create an opening. Run a back pick off the ball to free up Morrow. Do something other than the most predictable play you’ve got.
* Anthony Randolph is a beast. Tony Parker is the best finishing small guard in the league. He’s made a career off embarrassing would-be shot blockers. Randolph pinned him to the glass twice.
He went at Duncan, he mixed it up with Mason, he dunked on Ime Udoka — all with a tender groin.
* Morrow is separating/has separated himself from Belinelli, I think. Poor Marco. Because he’s injured, he’s slowly fading into forgotten status. Morrow is getting better on both ends, and he is money when he takes smart shots. He hit some big buckets last night. It’s amazing he only got four shots. Especially in games when people are struggling to score — Jackson 7-17, Maggette 1-8, Randolph 5-12, even Ellis’ 12-26 wasn’t great — why don’t they look more for the best shooter on the team?
* Azubuike is in the conversation, too. He hit some clutch shots last night, and has done so quite a bit this season. He isn’t a closer, but he spreads the floor and he can create his own shot. Now if he can just get better at creating for others and get less predictable with his moves, he’ll be a pretty good threat down the stretch
* Nellie on Ellis’ ankle: “I don’t even think about it. I used to always worry about it. Now I’m completely confident that he’s over it.”