* The Warriors could win their fourth straight game on Wednesday vs. Minnesota. Then if they could win two of the last four (vs. Houston, at Utah on a back-to-back, vs. San Antonio, at Phoenix), that would make them 6-2 over the final eight games. That’s just good enough for the franchise to manufacture hope heading into next season. If that happens, be prepared to hear “we won 6 of 8 down the stretch” a million times this offseason.
* C.J. Watson is such a good teammate. He missed a break-away dunk on Friday just so rookie Anthony Randolph wouldn’t be alone.
Watson: “I wanted to give everyone a laugh at the arena.”
Friday vs. New Orleans, Randolph missed an open dunk late in the game. He said the defender who ran by him made brushed against his foot.
Randolph on Friday: “They should’ve called a foul. He threw my whole equilibrium off.”
Sunday, there was no one in sight for Watson’s dunk attempt. With just over six minutes left in the second quarter, he picked up a loose ball and headed the other way. He was all alone. He took off and cocked it waaaaaaay back for a tomahawk dunk with the right hand. But it came banked off the back rim and sailed to halfcourt.
Watson, with a beaming smile: “I was up high enough. I just tried to dunk it too hard.”
* Check out this quote from Kings coach Kenny Nat. Hilarious.
“Well, needless to say, we came out with no energy and no effort — so did they.”
* So, the backcourt for next year, according to Nellie, is Ellis and Jackson. The reason Crawford needs to go, according to Nellie, is that both Ellis and Jackson are big-minute guys and Crawford is too good and too expensive to play behind them. OK. I get that.
But after the last two games, I’m not so much worried about Crawford as I am about Anthony Morrow. This dude has to get consistent minutes next year. He’s just too good a shooter (and OK enough in other areas) to sit on the bench. If Crawford is gone, that means Morrow backs up Jax. Can Nellie be counted on to keep Jax’s minutes down to 30-35 to free up minutes for Morrow? Or will Morrow wind up being the odd man out as we question why he isn’t playing?
* Another point made abundantly clear of late: Randolph is a PF. None of that next-Billy Owens stuff. The Warriors are set at SF (Azubuike and Maggette, and inevitably Jax). Plus Randolph is better at PF, now and, I say, in the future. The advantage he gets from being tall and handling the ball on the perimeter is smaller than the advantage you get from having his length and defensive tenacity inside.
He was 4-for-14 on Sunday, but he had 13 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. That’s what the Warriors need from the PF position. If he ends up developing a low-post game, he’d be the ideal PF. For now, they need to be happy with the presence he brings on defense. Who else is going to commit the hard foul? sell out to protect the rim? mix it up against bigger defenders? dunk on someone and scowl at them as he walks down court?
That’s what the Warriors need, not another big man running the offense and taking 20-footers.
*The Warriors had seven players available for the second consecutive game. And, once again, one of those seven played while under the weather. Friday, it was Jamal Crawford. Sunday, it was Ronny Turiaf. He wound up playing 27 minutes, totaling seven points, four rebounds and three blocks.
About midway through the first quarter he tugged his jersey while walking to the offensive end, a gesture to the bench that he needed a breather. C.J. Watson checked into the scorer’s table – but came in for Morrow.
He didn’t come out until 1:15 left in the first. He sat out the entire second quarter. The Warriors were uncertain if Turiaf would be able to go the second half. But he gutted out all 12 minutes of the third quarter and the three-and-a-half minutes down the stretch.
Nellie: “Ronny Turiaf was ill and we did not know if he could play the second half. I told him to give it a try and see how he felt. I thought he was doing really well not being 100 percent. So I left him in almost the whole quarter and kind of tricked him.”