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Postgame Tidbits (at San Antonio)

* 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.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Kyle

    If it’s true you’re the only local beat writer travelling with the team it would make sense. Your insights are deeper than that of other writers who I feel are just watching the games on TV like I am. Good stuff.

  • Trade Jackson

    nice post marcus

  • DW

    Great read today. I personally can’t believe they didn’t get the ball to Morrow in that 23.8 possession!

  • Pat Burke

    Finally, some discussions that do not totally center around playing time. What a relief.

    In Nellie’s defense, I remember him talking during one of his radio shows this year that the main thing different about using so many young players is that he has to keep everything super simple, including offenses. Barnett and co. agreed with the decision to wait out the clock with 28.8 seconds left, but I agree with Marcus.

  • Joaq

    Great post. It’ll be interesting to see what the younger guys can do if Jax goes on the shelf, it’s a good opportunity for the younger players to make more crunch time decisions. Also, I don’t mind 12-26 from Monta, one make away from 50%, I’d just like to see him get more points per shot.

  • Petaluman

    I have to go with Don Nelson on holding for the last shot. Of course, like Marcus, I’m not really a coach. I just can’t stand the “whole intentional foul charade”. It’s ugly basketball, and rarely makes a difference past the high school level.

    I can’t fault him for leaving it all up to Monta, either. We didn’t need to win this game. It’s enough that we were competitive against an elte NBA team. If Monta is to be our PG of the future, he’s going to have to take charge in these situations.

  • gmoney

    Nellie made the same call he made when he had Baron on the squad. He gave Monta the respect and credit to put the ball in his hands with 5.5 seconds and let him make something of it. People get on Nellie for not coaching, but really he trusts his players sooooooo much and constantly puts the ball in their hands to make things happen. Baron was great at it, Monta will get there. Next year I guarantee you Monta takes it to the rim. Growing pains folks. And MT, thank you for talking hoops exclusively, so refreshing. I can only take so many soap opera dramas during the course of a day.

  • Sleepy

    Hey Petaluman if Monta is our PG of the future how about he actually passes the ball and creates some opportunities for others and actually tries and become a leader on this squad instead of taking 26 shot attempts .

    Since when is Montas ability to shoot the ball in question ? We all know he can do that but he is making effort to actually be a setup man.

    We are screwed …

  • Lufty455

    Lack of coaching to be desired once again from Nellie.
    Overall the team played a well but I think we needed a closer on that one. Wasn’t there someone from the bench that scored 50 for the Dubs this year that won a couple games by taking the last shot. Oh yeah, that is the person that the Nellie pissed off and he wants to get rid of. Just like Webber, Richmond and so on… Hey Nellie might as well suit up next time since you are the best player and coach that ever existed.

  • JimPunkrockford

    fine, fine, wait for the last shot, but if that was the play they drew up in the timeout, someone should be fired. people talking about how Baron used to end games in this “all or nothing” fashion, dude?? Tim Hardaway anyone??? this is squarely on the coaches. this is embarrassing. I’m sorry but a change must be made. people need to be held accountable for failure. this team is the definition on FAIL.

    http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/8/25/2064866/warriors1.jpg

  • jaz0ne

    Marcus,
    I know I’m not the first person to ask, but when are you going to get rid of Al Harrington’s picture?

  • http://cctimes ECJ

    Couldn’t agree more about Nellie’s lack of a game plan coming out of that final time out. You really notice the difference in coaching watching the Warriors match up with a team like the Spurs.. They set 3 or 4 picks each possession to get the shooter an open look. They run PLAYS.. That shot by Rodger Mason to regain the lead was a play designed by the Spurs COACHING STAFF.

    On the other hand, the Warriors call a full timeout with 23 seconds left.. and they come out of it with Ellis not knowing whether to hold it or shoot it, Turiaf thinking they’re going early, and a single pick set for the shooter. Is that what they’re paying Nelson 5 mil a year for? Wow. I have a lot of respect for Nelson, but he seems to have really packed it in this year.

    ECJ

  • Scotty

    There’s definitely no excuse for everyone not to be on the same page after the timeout. What were the coaches talking about in the huddle? You’d think item #1 would be within what time frame they’d like for Monta to get a shot up.

    MT2, you would call Parker the best finishing little man in the league? Monta had the best field goal percentage of any player inside the key last season. Not to mention that he has the hop to go up and crush on someone every now and then.

    I like no timeout on that last play. Like Barnett said on TV, they got a little unlucky with the way the rebound came off the rim. Took a couple seconds just to get things moving. There’s actually a great picture on espn of the ball coming out of Monta’s hand with the clock reading 1.2 in the background. Probably could of got off another dribble or two.

  • haastheman

    I think it’s clear that Nellie stopped coaching a long time ago this season. He may try to put his best five out, but he’s not actually doing any in game coaching. The only reasonable explanation i have is that he decided long ago to go after the best draft pick possible. If that’s the case, I’m ok with it. However, I don’t really like any one in the draft, for our team at least, except Blake. As much as i like our bigs, none are as dynameic as Blake. I’d trade our first rounder and anybody else on the team for the #1 pick. This kid is that good. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to have a person that plays one position exceptionally then to have a person that plays a few different positions pretty good. That’s what the warriors have. Players who don’t play any one position exceptionally well, but play a lot of positions pretty well. Not good enough.

  • DEANO

    Marcus, thanks for another great post. Since we do not know what Nellie told Monta in the timeout, it’s speculative to blame Nellie for the faliure of the Warriors’ last two possessions. In my mind, a more likely candidate is Monta.

    Monta lacks the ball-handling and vision of a point guard; otherwise, he would have done a better job of penetrating on both occasions and the Warriors would have had more options for scoring. Unless and until we get a quality point guard to run this team, and play some defense, all that young talent we see and you write about will be largely wasted.

    Still, I am excited and encouraged by the development of Monta, Morrow, Randolph, Buke, Biedrins, Wright and Turiaf. It’s the front office that worries me; specifically, their ability to get a good point guard.

  • 4th Quarter is where you win games

    I have never been a fan of holding out for a # 1 draft pick or hoping to get that “gem” in the draft.

    I guess because as an organization, the Golden State Warriors have never had much success in that department. I am not a big college basketball fan, I don’t like the 35 second shot clock, the slower pace and the boring style of play.

    I always liked the pro game more.

    But rookies are always such a big question mark.

    The only rookies that have immediate impacts on their teams usually come out of high school……..# 24, K.G., LeBron, D. Howard, T-Mac….on and on.

    That being said, I think we need a legitimate “prime time” veteran star player. I don’t mean a mediocre or good veteran player like Maggette or Crawford, I mean a legitimate difference maker.

    When you look around the league at the recent transactions over the last 2 years…….the moves that have made the most impacts for their teams have been the veteran, established, star players.

    Pau Gasol, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams to some extent and Roger Mason.

    While I only think Pau and Chauncey are really the stars of that bunch, all of those players are established, veteran players.

    Again, we need to strive for something great.

    Great teams are being led by players who have been in the league for a while.

    #24 is 31 years old and he can still take Monta and Stephen together, to the basket. D-Wade, now 5th or so year in the league, doing his best to lead his team. LeBron, same year as D-Wade, J. Terry and D. Nowtitki in Dallas, C. Boozer in Utah is no spring chicken any more and Chauncey Billups in Denver.

    My point is, I’m not a big Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio, Patrick Mills and Stephen Curry guy…….I am more like a proven, star player guy.

    And I agree with “Lufty455,” to win games like last night on the road, we need closers, established, confident, great NBA players.

    Monta couldn’t manage a shot clock if his life depended on it, he looked completely confused and out of his element there.

  • jb

    Marcus, I heard you on sports phone a couple night ago when you called in with Damon on the air. =)

    Anyhow, your insights are greatly appreciated and I enjoy your blog very much. Keep up the good work.

  • James Worthy

    I agree with you Marcus on Tony Parker being the best finishing small guard in the league…….he always gets in the paint, just like Monta, and always is among the league leaders in FG%.

    And “Scotty”….you’re right, in the 2nd half of the 2007-2008 season, Monta led all guards in FGP%, that’s why he’s the second best finishing small guard in the NBA, behind Tony Parker. Tony Parker is a Champio and a winner who has led some great teams to Championships. I was never a big fan, I thought he was a little soft when he came in the league, but last night…..30 points and 10 assists………guys, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

    I think when it’s all said and done, Patrick Mills of Saint Mary’s will find himself in that group in a few years.

    Notable names to mention, Allen Iverson…..can finsih on both sides of the basket, but he doesn’t have as good a left hand finish as Monta, Aaron Brooks of Houston isn’t bad, he can get in the paint, but I don’t know if he can finish with both hands from both sides of the basket (left side and right side) like Monta and Tony.

  • Jim

    Baron…. Against the Clippers…. 18 painful seconds. Then he dribbled the ball off his foot and the clock ran out. Montgomery wanted to kill him.

    But at least now we know why Sterling was interested in him!

  • James Worthy

    I remember that game “Jim”…..I was at the game…..what a disspointment…..as I recall, I think one Corey Maggette lit us up that night…….we were down big, then made it a game in the 4th only to lose on the BD turnover.

    Also guys, remember last year’s MLK day home loss to the T-Wolves when Al Harrington missed the take to the basket and BD missed the follow up for one of our most dissapointing losses on 2008-2009?

    But then I remember the Celtics game at the beginning of the 2007-2008 season with the game winning Baron 3, then the game winning 3 against the Lakers at Oracle by BD in 2007-2008.

    There is no question that Baron is much more poised to manage a shot clock on the road at the end of the game against a great team..every player makes mistakes once in a while……but finishing the game like that is not Monta Ellis’s role……..Baron is a much better handler of the shot clock, distributor and PG and he is more confident and a better player.

  • James Worthy

    Correction on my last post……..the MLK day loss against the T-Wolves was last year, in 2007-2008 not 2008-2009, like I wrote.

  • A’s in 2009

    Jack should have called timeout. Jack getting pinned after the rebound threw a wrench in the whole thing. He was unable to get the ball to Monta quickly, it made Monta think there was less time on the clock than it really was.

  • Gizzm

    The Warriors have the best two shooters as far as 3 pt % goes. Marrow 48%, Azu 46%, yet they are in the middle of pack pct. wise because Jackson, Crawford and Maggette all take many more threes than our top two guys.

    Also, can anyone pass Marrow the ball, other than Ronny?

    A lasting image of this year is seeing our “vets” going 1-on-4, while Marrow is left to flap his arms wildly, while is he open in the corner for an easy 3. (for him.)

    Just guys going out to get their numbers, that’s what the Warriors are. No teamwork, sharing the glory.

  • the Seer

    What does it matter who loses the game at the end, we just continue to lose close games, which is a sure sign of a young team..I just wish we had a coach who was suited for the team that we have..

  • Gerald

    In case people were wondering, here are some of Harrington’s numbers since he joined the Knicks, proving he’s selfish and not a winning player (not that Crawford is either)

    Overall the Knicks are 22-38 with him,

    He takes the most shots on the team, over 2 more than Nate Robinson, though he is far from the top in FG%

    When he scores 25 pts: 7 wins, 12 losses

    When he scores 20: 10 wins 20 losses

    When he reaches his average of 17 FGAs: 10 wins, 26 losses!

    But wait the Warriors are like 20-40 with Crawford

    What a dumb trade. Maybe it’ll make some W’s fans feel a little better though, hahaha

  • Scotty

    “James Worthy”, I think you’re confusing what I meant. I’m talking about finishing at the rim. He led the league last year in field goal percentage inside the key. I’m not talking about overall field goal percentage or ability to win championships or anything like that. IMHO, and admittedly I’m totally biased, when he’s full healthy, Monta finishes at the rim better than any other little guard.

  • James Worthy

    Yeah…..that’s the problem “Scotty”……Warrior fans never talk about Championships……

    We’re so happy with the bare minimum………..a couple of young, talented players, 1 playoff appearance and 2 winning seasons in a decade….

    Give me Tony Parker’s resume any day of the week, I’ll take that instead.

    But I understand what you mean.