The news of the day is obviously the Stephen Jackson suspension. The Warriors aren’t saying much about what Jackson did or what it means to his status with the Warriors. Of course, silence is just as well of an indicator.
Here is what I’ve heard:
Nellie pulled Jackson from the game after he picked up his fifth foul Friday in the first quarter. Jackson was clearly upset/frustrated/emotional. He was in a mano-y-mano with Kobe and he wasn’t happy with the way the refs were calling it.
Jackson’s tirade continued on the bench. Eventually, Nelson sent Jackson to the locker room to “cool off” one team source told me. Jack never came out for the second half. Not sure if that was Nellie’s decision or Jackson’s decision. I also heard he got into with an assistant coach. That rumor was disputed.
I don’t know what happened once he left the bench, as Nelson isn’t talking and Jackson isn’t available. But it must’ve been serious because it forced Nelson into a first.
NELLIE: “I will say that in my 30, whatever it is I’ve been coaching, 30 some-odd years, I have never suspended a player before,” Nelson said. “Maybe I should have a couple of times, but I never have. I try to stay away from doing anything that will cost the players a lot of money. I hate to take big money from guys.”
My man Geoff Lepper, and his diligent research, discovered Nelson was at least mistaken when he said he’s never suspended a player.
I asked Riley if this situation forced him to ramp up the efforts to move Jackson.
RILEY: “I’m not going to comment on that.”
Stephen Curry got hiss first start tonight. He matched up against Steve Nash while Monta Ellis matched up against former Warrior Jason Richardson. Azubuike started at small forward.
He overcame some struggles — forced some things on offense and forgot to get back on defense a couple times — to have a solid night: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 turnovers.
Curry said he wasn’t too worried about shooting outside. An avid golfer, he was already analyzing the wind like he was plotting a tee shot. He said he feels like his jumper is coming around. He did shoot an airball though.
CURRY (with smile): “Wind gust.”
Monta Ellis was allowed, for this game only, to wear a long-sleeve shirt under his uniform. Ditto for Anthony Morrow and Corey Maggette.
Morrow is clearly not impacted by the outside conditions. He was 6-for-10 from the field at the half. A few of his 3-pointers were of the net-didn’t-move variety.
He caught fire in the fourth quarter. He scored 13. He was creating his own shot off the dribble. His pull-up, mid-range looked good. The dude can shoot like nobody’s business.
He finished 11-for-21 with 30 points to go with six rebounds. Everyone else shot 39.7 percent from the field.
CURRY: “Anytime he gets any kind of open look, you expect it to go in.”
MORROW: “You can’t really tell you’re outside. Such great weather. It’s warm. Not a lot of wind. … I work on my game every day. Not just catch and shoot.”
Randolph v. Stoudemire: advantage Randolph.
Amare looked and sounded like he was getting frustrated with that pesky, skinny dude he’s matched up against.
Randolph gave Stoudemire fits with his length and endless hustle. And you could see Randolph’s confidence growing. Too much on some occasions.
Here are the stat lines:
Randolph 15 points on 3-for-9 shooting with 13 rebounds, 1 block and 2 TOs in 27 minutes
Amare S. 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting with 5 rebounds, 0 blocks and 3 TOs in 29 minutes
Channing Frye got the best of center Andris Biedrins, though. Frye, who starts at center for Phoenix, lives on the perimeter and he was stroking it on Saturday. Well, for a big man, anyway.
Biedrins seemed to have little impact on the game (though that doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t play well as Biedrins is often a quiet workhorse). With that said, Biedrins still seemed to be in preseason form. He’s not getting touches, for sure. But he’s also not making things happen the way he’s known to (as I type, he came out of nowhere to tip-in a missed Morrow lay-up). He missed a lay-up on a beautiful entry bounce pass from Speedy Claxton. Remember Biedrins practically never missed?
Frye, on the other hand, was hurting the Warriors inside and out. They are two different type of players, no doubt. but that’s a match-up Biedrins didn’t like. It’s something to look out for. Biedrins, for all his strengths, have a hard time guarding players who pull him away from the basket, like Frye. Brian Cook from the Lakers used to hurt the Warriors in the same way. That’s why Mikki Moore started the second half instead of Biedrins.
Biedrins wound up getting his, finishing with 8 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks. He had a big fourth quarter, grabbing 9 rebounds and converted a critical dunk off a screen-and-roll from Curry. But all of that was with Frye on the bench, which allowed Biedrins to stay in his habitat.
It’s not a big enough deal to worry about as few teams have a center who can hurt the Ws from the perimeter like that. Of the ones that do, few have a PF Biedrins has a hard-time guarding. (Otherwise, Nelson could just put Randolph on the perimeter-oriented big man and put Biedrins on the low-post dwelling PF.) Just one of those match-up things.
Last season, the first of the outdoor games featuring Phoenix and Denver, drew a sell-out crowd of 16,236. The attendance for Saturday: 14,979.