33

Game #2: Suns 123, Warriors 101

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a member of the organization talk about how good they are on offense, I’d have that Luis Vutton leather interior in my car.
The Warriors like to point out their plethora of 20-point scorers, and how they aren’t worried about offense. But two games into the season, it is clear the Warriors aren’t so good on that side of the ball. They look disjointed, unorganized and confused.

JACKSON: “We don’t move the ball as well as we have in past years, but it’s the second game of the season, so hopefully it will get better. The chemistry we have is not even close to what we used to have. but I think it’s up to the coaches to figure out what guys to have out there and get that chemistry back.”

The Warriors like to talk about how they need to get it together on defense. But that is always the case. More troubling should be these offensive woes, which is hardly a cold shooting stretch. At best, the Warriors can hope to force sone turnovers, block some shots and get timely shots. That’s how the 2007 team did it. But they need the offensive prowess to a) stay in the game; b) capitalize off those rare occasions they play D, and c) to recapture that psychological advantage they once had.
In past Warriors-Suns clashes, GSW would give Phoenix all it wanted, occassionally outscoring the Suns. Last night, the Warriors’s offense never looked formidable. They turned the ball over 22 times, which led to 31 Suns points. The Suns turned the ball over 23 times, which led to 22 Warriors points. They had 16 assists on 36 baskets. They managed just 11 second chance points off 9 offensive rebounds. They were 20-for-37 in the paint.
And that was against the Suns, hardly a defensive juggernaut.
Why are they struggling? Largely because they are a collection of guys going for self. Monta, Jackson and Maggette are trying to single-handedly dominate, though Monta is the least to blame (as he’s the only one who can dominate game without killing the offense, because his game is higher percentage and promotes the uptempo style the Warriors want to play). Since Nellie refuses to control his vets, things just run amuck.
The players have other reasons. Steph Curry said they aren’t running the offense:

CURRY: “Not really sure. Not executing the plays very well. Transition we were fine, I think. Got the shots we wanted, just didn’t make a lot of shots. Got to the basket, didn’t get any foul calls, but that’s how its going to be sometimes. Other than that, I think it was just not being able to run the plays that we wanted to and getting the shots we wanted to. And we were kind of scrambling all night. That’s what inept means to me, I guess.”
 

“We’re all young. I guess most of us haven’t played together for more than two years. The chemistry still has to grow a little bit. I think it starts in practice, trying to get the play calls down. And even in games, I think we gotta stop, I guess in transition, in dead spots, we don’t really know what to do, always looking to the sidelines. I think a free-flowing offense should just be able to go and run itself kind of thing. So that’s just going to take time. We’re only game two. I’m not really worried about the offensive part. It’s the defensively we’ve got tostep it up a little bit next game.”

Kelenna Azubuike said they just made too many errors.

BUIKE: “We just made some mental mistakes, really. Our offense wasn’t clicking like it usually is. Lot of turnovers. We just can’t have that, unforced turnovers. … Just got to go back to the drawing board and get everything right.”

Ex-Capt’n Jack had a simpler explanation.

JACKSON: “It’s a new team, so guys have to figure out how I want the ball.”

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

Big man Ronny Turiaf tweaked his left knee a minute into the 4th quarter and never returned. Nelson said a while back that Ronny had torn cartilage in that knee, which kept him out most of the preseason. Definitely looking into this.

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

Curry got schooled by Steve Nash. No shame in that, though. Nash was at the top of his game: 18 points, 20 assists, 6 rebounds. He dragged Curry through screens, he weaved him all over the court as he toyed with the Warriors defense.

CURRY: “He’s one of the best PGs I’ve played against. 20 assists, that’s hard to do. He was always in the right position to set his teammates up. Didn’t really force anything. Made the shot when he ahd to take them. That’s how he plays. That’s why he’s one of the best point guards in the game.
 

Steph, learn anything?
 
CURRY: “Not in the moment, really. You’re focused on your own game plan and what you’re trying to do. Especially when things are going bad, you gotta try to go back to the drawing board during timeouts and try to figure out what’s going to work. But I’m definitelty going to look at this film and study how he manages the game and try to pick some things from that. But during the game it’s just trying to get yourself going.”

***********

Maggette’s is 5-for-21 from the field so far this season.

***********

C.J. Watson made his season debut, as did Mikkie Moore. Last active player left to get in is Acie Law.

***********

Didn’t get a chance to talk to Randolph after the game. He dipped out before I ask him how he feels about being jerked around in the rotation.
Friday, he played the first 7 minutes, then sat the rest of the half. He started the third quarter, played the first 5:29 and didn’t return until the start of the fourth, when the Warriors were down 19 and Nellie resigned to defeat.
He finished with 12 points on 2-for-9 shooting with 7 rebounds, a block, an assist and a turnover in 25 minutes.
Nelson said after the game he didn’t think Randolph was getting it done.
He was certainly helter skelter. He doesn’t appear to have the confidence he once seemed to have gained. He is steady looking at the bench, and he’s got that look on his face, the one from last year. Not the fired up and hungry look. That worried and frustrated look.

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

According to an NBA Fanhouse tweet, Suns coach Alvin Gentry saw the Warriors roster and said: “Speedy Claxton?! I thought he was dead!”

Sent from my iPhone

Marcus Thompson

  • TimTom

    Warriors suck. F ‘em all.

  • some guy

    AR needs to watch tape of himself when he forces things on offense – he looks like he doesn’t belong in the NBA w/ a knuckle ball jumper and just running into people when he drives. he’s lucky he doesn’t have Maggette’s stigma yet and gets calls. instead of pressing so much, he should follow Goose’s example and get his points w/in the offense.

    on defense, he needs to stop reacting to everything. he’s like a defensive player in football who is always abandoning his gap or coverage area in order to follow the ball. once in awhile it results in a great block, but it usually results in creating opportunities for opposing offenses.

    really starting to worry that he doesn’t have the acumen for the game. he definitely needs to watch film & learn the game. or he’ll be the basketball version of the track star turned wide receiver.

  • zoltan

    Ar is 20 man… hes younger than me by like 3 months… at 20 im in college playin pickup games, hes 20 playin NBA games against amare, garnett, n gasol to say the least at times… give him a break..

  • earl monroe

    Yes its early but the body language of Jackson and Ellis its not good, this team is re building so lets rebuild, like Jim Barnett said ” I would not mind seeing the ball in Curry’s hands more”
    And Marcus once again you are very accurate they are going for “self”
    But I have hope as long as Curry doesn’t go for self, because he can and that would just create a circus, or maybe the kid just needs to start shooting more.

  • Kent

    bb

  • Robo

    “Don’t whine, don’t complain, and don’t make excuses!” – John Wooden.

  • Kent

    Saw 3 games last night. (1) Jackson and Ellis playing one game passing to each other and very few to anyone else. (2) Maggete playing my ball my shot game. (3) Curry, are point guard, not handling the ball as much as he should (Nash brings the ball down floor all the time). Solution (1) Jackson and Ellis if you can’t play with Curry as point guard you are gone. (2) Maggete stop being selfish with ball. (3) Hopefully Nelson can motivate the other three players to play team and treat Curry as a point guard. Until this is done there is no way for a playoff spot.

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    Nice post, Marcus, thanks. In my opinion, the leading culprit is Monta, because when the ball’s in his hands the team is looking for him to make plays and initiate offense, not just look for his own scoring. Maggette is what he is, an isolation play scorer. He’s had a couple of stinkers, but he is what he is. He’s not a guy they’re looking to to get guys involved. He’s a finisher.

    Not sure why you’re lumping Jack in with these two either. His role has changed dramatically. The ball has not been in his hands often this season. And when it is, he still looks for his teammates.

    As for Randolph, why are you and other unnamed journalists so eager to write that Nellie’s attempt to manage Randolph’s matchups, as well as the team’s, constitutes “jerking him around.” When Phil Jackson took Bynum out in the 4th quarter last year, to Bynum’s consternation, was he “jerking” Bynum around?

    Do you have hard evidence that Nelson is not trying to develop young Randolph, that he wants him to fail? If not, why are you so intent on poisoning people’s minds?

    What I see is a 20 yr. old player trying to fight through an injury, and a pretty smart coach trying to put him in situations to succeed.

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  • JLantern

    I don’t understand what is expected from AR in terms of his bball IQ. The guy is in his second year in the league, and barely played meaningful minutes last year. What is he supposed to learn from the bench? How do you gain knowledge of how to play smart basketball when you play for a poor team and do not get in-game experience. I’m sure all that “helter-skelter” play works in practice because the team doesn’t play defense, so when he tries to use that in real games it looks bad. The young guys can only learn from getting GAME minutes against real NBA teams.

  • Yulupan

    I agree. Nellie is letting Randolph heal. Give him a few more games and he’ll be playing consistent minutes.

    As most of the players noted after the game, the problem is poor chemistry. The real problem is that everyone knows that a big trade is on the horizon so why put any effort into building chemistry. The players must be speculating on who will get packaged with Jackson and Rowell and the gang must be debating who they should include. Tell me how you build team chemistry in that environment? No chemistry will be built until we start the post-Jackson era. Why bother trying to build team chemistry when a big part of the team won’t be around much longer? I know it’s complicated but I hope it happens soon. I can’t stand watching this.

  • Kinglear3

    Coach and players blame each other. No one wants to play hard or together. A bunch of individuals playing a team sport. No light at the end of the tunnel.

    I would have liked to see how Marco Belinelli & Curry would have played together. Marco knew how to move without the ball.

  • Marques8

    Marqus,

    You are off to a good start so far. Less of that negative vibe you got into last year. Try to stay with what you are doing. TK gives you papers all the negativity it needs. You have been writing like you understand basketball is a game not a soap opera. Good work.

  • EK

    My opinion is that they need to dump Ellis and Jackson to have any chance this season, considering their games and Nelson’s attitude. These two could really impact development of Curry & MOrrow also.

    I would love to see Elton Brand in W’s uniform. Understood there is a risk b/c of his injury history and contract, but I think it would be worth risk. Maybe a 3 team trade with Utah. Utah get’s Jackson & Ellis, Philly get’s Boozer & maybe Harpring’s expiring deal & W’s get Brand. Any shot of this in real world Marcus?

  • Oregonguy

    Yulupan @#7. I think you nailed it.

  • earl monroe

    Ellis still lacks a sense of maturity, and having the ball in his hands so much makes it worst, even if he constantly drives and scores all the time, the rest of the guys are just standing around watching him, he can talk all he wants about Morrow moving, but what good would it do anyway if he can’t or won’t get it to him.

    All he has to do is take a look at how Curry plays and learn,he will always be compared and Curry will always grade out worse.

    There is hope here, it just cannot include Ellis and Jackson

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    Marcus, while you’re scoping out Rony’s knee, would you mind looking around to see if you can spot Devean George?

    I’m curious about his status. I think the team could use him on the front line given our injury woes.

  • citznkane1

    Lots of “dead” Warriors on this team besides Claxton. Simply, Nellie plays vets, trusts vets, and defers to vets, and proven performers. Look at the current rotation. Other than Curry, it’s the same core getting all the playing time: Ellis, Jackson, Magette, Beidrins, and Buke. Morrow and Randolph get jerked around. The rest are just collecting checks – Moore,Claxton, Law, Watson, and George (Is he still alive?) Not until W’s clears out Jackson, Magette, and Ellis (Maybe Buke too) will this team be a free flowing point machine. Now, it’s too much one (Jackson, Ellis, Magette, and Buke) on five basketball. Not pretty to watch with players walking up the court, one pass and a shot early in the clock. Oh yes, the’ll beat a bad team like Memphis or Sacramento in Oakland, but continue to lose regularly against better organized teams. The W’ have a lot of bad chemistry and the lack of an assertive head coaching earning which all adds up to a 4-10 record very shortly. I swear, I don’t know why I even care about this team this year. It’s a sad joke for fans to see only the bad aspects of this organization with no light of hope for a future given the current crop of players, coach and ownership. Don’t believe for a minute beating Memphis on Wednesday marks a sudden change in this team. Remember, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

  • Lufty455

    FIRE NELSON, FIRE NELSON!!!! we need Rowell fired too… Warriors needs someone who can coach and Nellie is not a coach any more… comments he made that Morrow is the best shooter he coached is totally disrespectful to Mullie.
    Mullie find a team to join and destroy the Warriors.

    Stack Jack you are right in wanting out of here.
    JAX’s got back stab by Nellie like all the other players he had that were stars.
    It is all about Nellie and his senile world of being a Czar of the NBA…

  • Harp’s Dubs

    Marcus, insider information says that Jackson and Biedrins are being packaged together. Are you hearing this as well?
    If so, how about Jackson, Biedrins, Law and Randolph to Toronto for Bosh, DeRozan and Amir Johnson?

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    My prescription for the Warriors’ early season woes is up on my blog, if you care to comment.

  • wizard

    you wrote this on your iphone? props…

  • oh whatever

    i’ve got little problem dealing Beans. Good guy and great hair but he’s peaked. I realized it vs Houston. He should have posted 25 and 12 against Landry and that undersized frontcourt, but he came up way short. I hate to say this, but he’s soft and it might be time to deal in a package for a legit 5. Another big long-term contract where there is little incentive to go above and beyond. Welcome to the NBA

  • Ws need help

    I think the problem with Bosch is that he is non-comittal if you trade for him.

  • PhilB

    Sorry Marcus, but AR looked weak trying to post up down in the paint. He needs to hit the training table for more development under someone, ANYONE other than Don Nelson.

    Oh BTW how many frickin’ passes did Corey Maggette make in his, what? 30-35 minutes?! I think that I saw ONE, JUST ONE DAMN pass!!! I thought that the guy had potential as a 6th man but like Nelly he’s beyond hope. When I saw Maggette trying to go one on one at the PF and getting his shot blocked by Louie Amundson that was it for me. This is no prescription, no fixes at all for this team with Cohan and Rowell in charge. Just another season of never-ending rants.

  • PhilB

    BTW Marcus don’t think I ever thanked you for hooking me up with Raymond Ridder last season. He sent me a Stephen Jax bobblehead doll at the end of an early season ticket promotion. He sent it for free: I wouldn’t spend a nickel on that sorry team.

  • http://kcsportsmediarant.blogspot.com Dr. Murphy

    MT2 you on twitter?

  • Squall

    The Warriors lack what is perfectly written about in “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons, and that is the secret.

  • Greek_Basketball_fan

    Why can’t you just understand that Nelson hates Randolph?Turiaf is out Wright is out yet he is benching Randolph to start Jackson at Pf…He just hates him and that’s it whether you like it or not.

  • deano

    Marcus: That is a nice review of game 2. As we get ready for game 3 tomorrow, Nellie has announced that Buike will start at 3, Jack will move to 4, Randolph will back up Biedrins at 5, and the backcourt will remain Curry at 1 and Ellis at 2. Why not? That’s my reaction, and probably Nellie’s “strategy” as well.

    I do not think that anything will really change for the Warriors unless Nellie starts Morrow at 2 instead of Ellis. However, moving Ellis to the bench would probably draw a reaction from Monta that would make Jack look compliant. It would be smoother to trade Monta than to bench him. So, I think we’re stuck with the backcourt that Monta knew wouldn’t work from the start.

  • earl monroe

    Hi Monta:

    This is how we should be speaking about you-
    (Eddie Jordan talking about Lou Williams)

    “He’s been good, man,” Jordan said. “It’s my responsibility that everything works. It’s not on him. It’s equal distribution of the ball, equal responsibility to run the offense by the guards. He’s going out there with a great attitude; I like that. He’s keeping us organized a lot more than I thought he would.”
    “I like his demeanor,” Jordan said of Williams. “I like the way he stands up for his teammates. He never complains about anything, he has great body language and great facial expressions. He’s so calm and that’s what you need from your point guard.”

    (Check yourselves against how others your age are playing and acting like)

    A minor tweak here a slight attitude adjustment there, and greatness is in you

    Regards

    Earl Monroe-a fan of your game

  • W’sorg.suck

    Here’s a funny won from the fat guy.
    “KA will get the start against Memphis, he has been doing everything well EXCEPT PASSING the ball.”
    Don you forgot to mention the other non passing ball hogs on the team (Jax, Mags, and Monta).

    Could have used the 42 points from AL the other night!

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