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Exhibition #6: Ws at Kings

Swingman Stephen Jackson has been willing to share his true feelings with whoever asks — starting with a DJ at a summer block party in New York.
Now, Jackson is ready to ease off the gas a bit. With the season approaching, and him seemingly realizing he isn’t helping his trade prospects, Jackson told reporters at practice Saturday that he’s going to tone down the rhetoric.

JACKSON: “Me saying something isn’t helping anything, and you all asking me questions isn’t helping anything. It’s time to be quiet and see what happens.”


Of course, the cease-fire didn’t start until after he left the practice court. Because after he said this, he had a one-on-one with my man Marc Spears of Yahoo!Sports on Friday after practice and revealed he has been “scarred” and he thinks the differences between he and the Warriors are irreconcilable.

Saturday, his spirits seemed to be up. He actually smiled on the court, and encouraged his teammates, instead of walking around looking as if he were chewing brussell sprout gum. Before the game, he got off some trash talk to forward Corey Maggette in a 3-point shooting competition. He followed by chatting with a few media members, myself included (which he almost never does), talking about his new, low haircut. Just before the third quarter began, he and Monta Ellis and center Andris Biedrins were laughing about something.

JACKSON: “I wasn’t born last night. I was born at night. I’m not as dumb as people think. I’m a smart guy. Sometimes I might say some things that people don’t expect because it was on my mind. But I know what’s right and wrong. I know what I need to do to continue to build my reputation in this league as a player and as a man. I think by keeping my composure, it’s going to help me and not take away from me being a great basketball player.”

Jack had a test in the third quarter. Pesky Kings SF Omri Casspi got under his skin. Jack wasn’t gettng the calls he thought he should’ve gotten and did quite a bit of conversing with the refs. Though he missed eight of his final nine shots, he won the emotional battle.
He took some decent uncalled fouls gong to the basket, and didn’t vent on the refs. He argued with them, and had a couple of spaz moments. But overall he maintained his composure.
He got into a battle with Kings SF Omri Casspi in the third. Jackson was convinced the refs were letting Casspi get away with slapping his arm away. Jackson did all he could to complain to the refs without losing his cool. It’s funny to see him getting ready to scream, then pausing, taking a deep breath, and talking all calmly. How long will he be able to keep that up?

JACKSON: “It’s something I’ve got to work on. I’ve got to concentrate on playing well through the whole game and not letting stuff the referees do, or something not going my way, get me out my game. It’s going to be a process because I’m a fiery guy and I don’t take no mess from nobody, even when I feel like I’m getting screwed. But I think I did a good job tonight. Hopefully I can continue to build on that and not go back to my old Jack ways.”

If he has indeed turned the page, that would be a huge relief for the franchise. More than anything, they need to end the drama and focus on the court. If the young players are to maximize their potential, they need an optimal learning environment.

They also clearly need Jackson on the court (IMHO). This team is going to struggle anyway. Without Jackson, they will have a much harder time.
Nelson played Jackson the entire game, since Jax has totaled 9:20 in the last three games. Nelson said overall he thought Jax “had a strong performance.” He 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, a turnover and a block.

JACKSON: “I think I’m in better shape than they thought I was. Hopefully I don’t have to do that a lot. Hopefully we can get more guys to contribute and I don’t have to play 40. But it felt good. It felt good to be back on the court. Another chance for me to work on my composure with the refs and just try to stay into my game. So I think I got an A+ tonight.”

***************

Got bad info about Ronny Turiaf. He’s not even in Sacramento tonight. My bad.

*************

I heard from a few people that when Steph Curry came to Sacramento for predraft workouts, Tyreke gave him the business. It’s no surprise, either, as Tyreke is a beast. It’s a bad match-up for Curry, no doubt. Evans is 6-foot-6, 220 (which, btw, is the same size as Corey Maggette, minus five pounds) and super athletic. Curry is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds.
Evans was getting anywhere on the floor he wanted. The Warriors had to put Jax on him at one point. Curry wound up guarding Kevin Martin instead (so did Monta Ellis to start the game, by the way; Morrow guarded Evans). Curry had fouls in 13 first-half minutes. Defending KMart is a tough task for a rookie point guard.

NELSON: “It was kind of hard match-up for a rookie point guard. He had a nightmare out there. … There are teams like that, that are going to take advantage of post-ups and try to punish our small-guard lineup. And we understand that.”

I will say one thing about Curry: he competes. He’s not afraid to throw his body in the way. You can definitely see the effort. That’s more than what you can say about some of the Warriors players.

*************

Monta Ellis is struggling putting the ball in the hole. He missed 8 of his first 9 shots and finished 4-for-17 from the field with 8 points. He said he got the looks he wanted, they just didn’t go down. He said he’s not worried. Just preseason.

NELSON: “He’s still got 10 days.”

***************

Jason Thompson clearly looked like the best young PF on the floor Saturday. Yes, Anthony Randolph played.
Thompson used his girth and strength well. He kept plays alive, cleaned up well and finished strong. Meanwhile, Randolph struggled to get anything going and was often outnumbered as he crashed the boards.
Thompson finished with 20 points, 20 rebounds (8 off.), 5 assists and 2 blocks in 42 minutes.
Randolph finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2blocks in 30 minutes.

***************

Early in the fourth, the Warriors ran a play that put Curry at the high post and got him the ball. Jackson, who passed the ball to Curry, cut off Curry’s hip and went to the post. Maggette, who was in the left corner, followed by cutting off Curry’s hip. It set up Jackson in the low post and Curry at the high post.
Casspi fronted Jackson on the left side of the basket. Curry, at the left elbow, slipped a pass through the key, past the defenders. The angle he used pulled Jackson directly under the basket, setting him up for an easy lay-up on he right side of the basket.
It was a simple, understated pass. But that was more because Curry made it look that way and not because it was simple. It was a great example of how he sees the floor, the kind of touch he has when passing and his understanding of the game.

JACKSON: “That was a dime. That was a good pass. He’s got those. He can pass.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Duke

    MT2,

    AR has put up some ordinary numbers lately. Is he still hurt or are teams figuring him out?

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    It’s a shame this game wasn’t televised anywhere…

  • Blake

    I saw you writing this. i was sitting right behind you at the game tonight

  • sd

    I think Jackson meant “I was born at night-but not last night” maybe he is as dumb as people think he is.

  • Oregonguy

    Nice reporting.

  • Wrigged

    Thank you MTII for the excellent recap.

  • Tony Hicks

    Good stuff Marcus – thanks.

  • GSWFan24

    Monta Ellis didnt look too good, he got abused by Kevin Martin…Tyreke Evans was a huge problem as no Warrior could stay in front on him(Morrow/Watson were overmatched)…Anthony Randolph was posted up several times by Spencer Hawes and taken to school. Jackson and Morrow do not play well together…Azubuike should start at the 2

    The bigger concern is Monta Ellis and how he responds to playing both ends of the floor, being just a scorer will not make this team better…if his scoring is all he’ll bring to the table then they should seek a trade and start Curry at PG Prediction- 35 games

  • feltbot

    Nice report Marcus, thanks.

    Also nice piece on Chocolate Rain: http://www.contracostatimes.com/warriors/ci_13587721

    Framing the real issue regarding the young man’s PT. You’ve become my favorite source for Warriors reporting.

  • John Starks

    Please, oh please, don’t have a sucky season. I’m not talking about guaranteed playoffs. All I’m asking is for the Warriors not to implode on the themselves. Even if we lose every night, I just want to see competitive games. It’s one thing to lose a close game, it’s another to get blown out by the first quarter.

  • jsl

    Terrible, terible game. It was just Nelson back to last year’s stultifying (non)rotations.

    Play the old guys, watch the game slow waaaay down, concede no defense will be played, cheer for no rebounds (What? 38 to Sacto’s 56?), be happy with 18 assists (Really! 18!), and — of course — lose to one of the worst teams in the league.

    The secret? Play Jack 40+ — or in this case, 48. Let Jack, Mags, and Monta take — and miss (except for Mags) all the shots. Keep the kids — and the talent — off the floor. Enjoy flat-out lethargy on the court.

    Then, rinse and repeat — again and again. (How can a season be lost so soon?)

    Looks like Nelson’s plummet into the world of the brain dead is only getting worse and worse every year.

    And we have to be there for it. Ugh!

  • jsl

    P.S. Also, make sure to limit your best shooter — Morrow — to five shots. Yeah, Nelson, that’s the ticket!

    Is there a bigger dunderhead in the NBA that the Fat Man? And how DID he become so stupid so fast? Must be dementia or alcohol poisoning or just, simply, over-bloat.

  • petaluman

    This is the preseason, right?

  • Earl Monroe

    You make a couple of good points Marcus, wanting to compete, especially defensively is the big issue, has been for a while, secondarily Thompson will always be the better power forward because Randolph doesn’t play like a power forward his skill set is more of a 3 spot, a shame Wright got hurt, his game is more like a power forward the front line of the future for the Warriors should be Wright, Randolph and Biedrins. From what I can see Curry brings the right things to the table, effort, passing and decision making, the defense will get better.
    Please just don’t give Watson the kids minutes, Watson doesn’t even want to be here, not sure why the Warriors forced the issue with him.

  • Perry

    Yeah, you know I don’t know who died and made Don Nelson a “match up genius”…..like so many so called “analysts” who have no first hand knowledge of his destructive habits, frequently say.

    So what? Big deal he defeated a 60 win team in 2007 with his “match-ups”…….Guys like Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich and Chuck Daley defeat 60 win teams like they’re walking to school.

    All I see is Don Nelson getting burned on every match up he tries to exploit, oustide of the 2007 1st round Dallas series. That 2nd round series against Utah was a perfect example.

    Whereas, in the 1st round, supposedly, Nelson made A. Johnson adjust to his philosophy, it was vice versa with Sloan and Nelson in that 2nd round. No clever coahing, no adjustments, no nothing……

    Had you ever seen Nelson put a guy like Marco Belinelli in the game on the last possession, down by 1, just to have another shooter who can distribute the ball, manage the offense or control an in-bound play? No, Never.

    You never know what could have come out of Belinelli…….all I saw in Belinelli was a clever, savvy, confident facilitator who excelled when given more than 16 minutes, as long as he wasn’t afraid of losing minutes.

    Have you ever seen an athletic, big line-up like Wright, Biedrins and Randolph on the floor together for more than a 2:00 span? No, Never.

    Yes, Nelson won a lot of games with his philosophy; but he HAS been a part of some terrible Warrior products……..

    3 seasons running and we can’t figure out how to even compete with Denver, let alone beat them. They beat us at every position…..especially on the front line with Carmello, Nene and the Martin/Andersen combination….

    Here again, you saw a difficulty with a bigger, more imposing front line that rebounds the ball….Hawes and Thompson inhale rebounds for dinner. Hawes’ low block moves are far and away better than Randolph or Biedrins…….

    Same thing with Portland, Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers…..Aldridge, Oden, Okur, Boozer, Gasol, Bynum…….these are all front lines that will still eat this Golden State team alive…….

    I didn’t even mention Minnesota with Jefferson/Love….

    Even the Clippers with Kaman, Thornton and Griffin…..

    New Orleans with West and Okafor……

    Just a bad sign all around……the Sacramento loss is a bad loss even if pre-season…..

    You get the feeling that this squad still has not figured out a way to beat the teams they SHOULD beat……that’s where you start…..then you develop into a winning home team….then eventually a winning record on the road, then a deep playoff team, then a World Champion…….

    I don’t see that progression here……we were a decent home team over the past 3 seasons, but we are a terrible road team and we lose to the teams we SHOULD beat……….that’s why I’m glad I got League Pass because this season looks like another throw away…..

    My question to Nelson is, “What do you have to lose?”

    Why not let some of that young talent that we’ve had over the past 3 seasons, develop and mature appropriately rather than giving them ultimatums and emotionally abusing them?

    Nelson wasted the growth of Randolph, Wright and Belinelli…….he completely disowned Patrick O’Bryant……Biedrins and Ellis were lucky to ingratiate themselves with Nelson.

    Not to mention the way he treated proven NBA starters like Al Harrington and Jason Richardson….and in his first stint with Tyrone Hill…..

    Troy Murphy is still good for a double-double a night and still shoots a high percentage from 3 and is top 5 in rebounds…..but Nelson couldn’t find any use for him……..

    Not saying these guys are Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, don’t get me wrong……..but you never know what could have happened had Nelson given everyone a legitimate chance to succeed here.