Sorry these are late. I had to go to sleep. Early flight. Consider these the Post-postgame Tidbits. …
* After the game, Nellie had a good line. I asked him if he expected fight from his team after the last game. He said that his players fought last game, the few players he had.
“Did you miss my line? We were in a gun fight with a knife.”
So, tonight you had your guns?
“Well (pause, smile) we had two knives.”
* Belinelli is not the best shooter on the team. He’s too streaky, and he drives me crazy every time he pump fakes himself out of a shot and dribbles into trouble. That being said, his shot-making ability is sometimes jaw-dropping. In the Bulls game, he hit this shot from about 22 feet out and he was fading to his right. Such a difficult shot, and he drilled it like it was a lay-up. That shot he hit at the end of the third quarter last night — dribbling to his right, fading away from the basket, hand in his face, 25-feet out — was ridiculous.
Maybe because I’ve tried those shots so many times and failed miserably (trying to imitate Reggie Miller) that I sincerely appreciate the difficulty of those shots and the ease with which he makes them.
* Nelson went to Jermareo Davidson in the third quarter, and he gave Nellie exactly what the Warriors needed – energy and rebounding. Davidson’s length and bounce came in handy as the Warriors pounded the glass well enough to stay close. He had six rebounds in 10 minutes, two offensive. That tied him for the team lead through three quarters (Randolph had 6 rebeounds in 18 minutes). The Warriors held a 33-31 rebounding advantage after three quarters.
The Warriors, once again, may have found a nice little pick up in Davidson. At first I was like, “Why let Hendrix go to pick up Davidson?” But Davidson can bring something in spot minutes. He can be a good third center. He’s got legitimate size and length, and his offensive game is more advanced than Hendrix’s. He doesn’t seem to be as good protecting the rim as Turiaf or Randolph, so he probably won’t be getting too many minutes. But the last game was perfect – 10 minutes, bring some energy, establish a presence, sit back down. Do that a couple times a game, consistently, he might’ve been worth keeping around for the whole season.
* Why I like CJ Watson: I went up to him after he played seven minutes and asked him why he thinks he isn’t playing much lately.
Watson: “I’m not playing too well. I wouldn’t put me in either.”
* In the fourth quarter, the Warriors were down 114-111 after a Richard Jefferson lay-up. The inbounder, I think Turiaf, passed the ball in to Jackson. Jax started dribbling the ball up court. Crawford started screaming for the ball from Jackson, who at the time had 42 minutes and seven turnovers under his belt. At about half court, Jackson heard Crawford and gave up the ball.
One glaring intangible lost with Baron Davis was the confidence the team had in the fourth quarter. You can live with bad shots, though you don’t prefer them. But nothing is as debilitating down the stretch as turnovers. You knew Davis wasn’t going to turn the ball over. Most times, he would get the shot he wanted (though it wasn’t always high percentage). The Warriors need that bad.
If Crawford is going to be the point guard (since I don’t think he’s opting out and walking away from $20 million), he needs to control the game down the stretch. He needs to facilitate who gets the ball and when. Put all those handles to use. Jax DOES NOT need to be bringing the ball up down the stretch of a tight game. Neither does Maggette. The Warriors need a point guard to run the show, make the decisions down the stretch.
They won’t all be good decisions. But that’s what you work on in March of a lost season. So next year, that role is defined and not on a game-by-game basis.
Crawford, of course, gets the ball from Jax and seconds later throws up a heat-check of a 3-pointer. A terrible shot and a costly miss, as the Bucks followed with five straight points to take a 119-111 lead. He also had two untimely turnovers in the fourth quarter.
But he’s got to learn. If he’s going to be here, if he’s going to be the point guard, he’s got to learn. To his defense, he’s never played point guard before. He’s always been a two guard who can run the point, but never a point guard. This is the time he needs to work on that. None of that meek, submissive stuff. Demand the ball. Make sure everybody is in the right position. Make sure the right guy has the ball in the best position for him to succeed. Make sure mismatches are exploited. Manage the clock properly. That’s what the Warriors need.
The reality is, Crawford is the closest thing the Warriors have got to that. He has the dribbling ability, he has the shot-making ability, he has the experience and unselfishness that his teammates can respect. The last part of the season should be to see if he can be that guy.
Crawford: “I’mma be more vocal. A lot of people who say they miss certain guys (read: Baron), they were emotional leaders. At first, I didn’t want to step on any toes. But I’ve been here for four months.”
* The word “spoiler” was dropped a couple times in the Warriors’ locker room on Saturday night.
* Some teams around the league still give media a courtside seat. Milwaukee is one of them. I was on the front row baseline, right next to the Warriors’ bench. There was this little boy, had to be like 7 or something, who was just shy of harrassing Turiaf. He asked for his shoes, and Turiaf said he would give them to him. The boy kept asking. There was still time left on the clock. Eventually, Ronny said, politely, “I can’t give them to you now. I may have to go back in the game.”
After the final horn sounded, Turiaf immediately unlaced his shoes, took them off, gave them to the boy, and walked to the locker room in his socks.