By Marcus Thompson
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 8:32 pm in Uncategorized.
* This Crawford-Nellie story takes another odd twist. New Orleans media members kept asking me why he wasn’t playing. Each person I told had this look on heir face like I just tried to explain to why compound interest works the way it does.
So, Crawford sat out Sunday’s game though his Nellie-imposed vacation was done. He’s saying he needs to practice, which is the reason he sat out Friday’s game. The Warriors’ only practices are Monday and Thursday. So, as it turns out, Crawford won’t play until after that second practice, which puts him back in the lineup for Saturday. He’ll have three practices then, because the Warriors have two off days between Wednesday at Dallas and Saturday at Denver.
Whose buying the practice line? Not me.
Everybody knows the NBA is not a practice league. Even when they do practice, they rarely REALLY practice. Maybe guys who are coming off of injury NEED a couple of practices. But the guy is healthy. He can get his legs under him in the first quarter.
I think he’s sticking it back to Nellie. I think this is his way of taking control back, letting Nellie know he can’t just yo-yo with him like that.
* The Warriors went with the lineup of Ellis, Jackson, Azubuike, Wright and Turiaf. The only difference between this lineup and the one Nelson says he wants to use next season is Andris Biedrins starting in place of Turiaf. Nelson said this lineup is better because the Warriors have a better chance of holding their position instead of going small and being exposed to mismatches.
So that makes the defensive assignments odd: Ellis guarded Rasual Butler and Jackson guarded Chris Paul. If Ellis is the point guard of the future, should he defend Paul? How will he ever be able to defend his position if everyone else does it for him. I say put him on Paul and if he gets abused, he gets abused. It would be good experience, anyway, as he should be learning from his mistakes, watching film, working to get better.
UPDATE: I forgot to change this part of the post before I published it. My bad. After the game, I asked Keith Smart why Ellis wasn’t on Paul. The reason Ellis was guarding Rasual Butler was not because the Warriors were keeping him from being abused by Paul. The Hornets like to run a pick-and-roll with Paul and David West. They put Jackson on Paul so when the screen comes — and the Warriors’ defensive style is to switch — Monta won’t be stuck trying to guard David West. By starting with Jackson on Paul, at worst the Warriors end up with Jackson on West and the PF, which could be Brandan Wright or Kelenna Azubuike, on Paul. Smart said if the Warriors were playing straight up, meaning no switching, or the Hornets didn’t rely so heavily on the P&R, then Ellis would no doubt be matched up with Paul.
* You see the piece in the Boston Globe. My man Marc Spears wrote that the Clippers are considering ousting Mike Dunleavy Sr. as GM. Guess whose name is coming up as a replacement? Jerry West. If he is available, should the Warriors be putting in a call?
* The Warriors’ need for a point guard was never more present than in the final minute on Sunday. They had the lead down to nine, had a 3-on-1 break the other way. But the ball wound up in Jackson’s hands and he, of course, pulled up for 3 from the left wing. Missed it. I don’t begrudge Jax for taking that shot. While it’s a bad shot, and he knows it’s a bad shot, his strength is not that part of the game. No use asking him to go beyond his capabilities or create new ones at age 30.
But a point guard, a good point guard, would’ve known not to give him the ball in that situation. It was so predictable that’s what he was going to do. A good point guard would know Jax’s M.O., would understand the clock and situation, would have noticed a better shooter open on he right side in Morrow. A 3-pointer in that situation, while it would’ve been huge, only cuts the lead to 6. The risk significantly outweighed the reward in that situation. A lay-up would have done the same damage – put more fear into the Hornets, gave the Warriors more confidence and momentum – and was the higher percentage option.
At the very least, a good point guard would gave Jax some words after he takes a shot like that, killing the Warriors’ slimmest chance of stealing a win. As it turned out, only Keith Smart said something. He winced and gestured for Jax to drive to the basket.
Again, if the Warriors’ are waiting for Jackson to get that type of understanding down, they are wasting their team. He’s a scorer with a killer instinct. He is ALWAYS going to go for the dagger. That’s fine. You just need a point guard to manage the game, understand the characters on the floor and know the situation.
* Monta Ellis flashed some of that crazy athleticism of his. Jackson threw a lob in the third quarter. It was high and wide, but Monta snatched it out of the air and threw it down with one hand. The pass was actually for Maggette, which is why it was high and wide. It was probably the highest Ellis has jumped since returning from his ankle injury.
Ellis said with a smile: “That was a showcase, let y’all know I ain’t lost nothing.”
Jax chimed in: “That was off the bad ankle, too.”
Then Crawford: “What bad ankle?”
* One night after scoring a career-high 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting, Brandan Wright had four points on 2 of 6 shooting in 26 minutes. He had 15 first-half minutes and didn’t come back in the game until early in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors down 80-60.