Starting this post off on a light note …
Archive for October, 2009
The Warriors practice was intense. Columnists and TV reporters and cameramen showed up. Jackson was as defiant as ever. Nelson was hardly spewing the faux calm he tends to employ. The Warriors players were fairly tight-lipped, rushing past the throng of media so they could avoid talking about the Jax Saga.
Jackson, easy to spot in his red shoes, looked like he was trying unsuccessfully to practice hard. His body language didn’t suggest he was fully committed, at least from my balcony view of the end of practice.
One thing was clear: this ain’t over.
“I’ve got no choice but to go out there. I’m just going to do my job. I don’t want to be fake. I’m just going to go and play basketball and handle my business.” – Stephen Jackson
Jackson broke his silence finally. He sounds like he is ready to at least play the role. He was no doubt upset about being hit with two game checks. So he will likely keep under control to save his money.
But, clearly, he is still unhappy, perhaps more unhappy. The Warriors are determined to try to make it work. They don’t want to give him away, they don’t want the season to be too disastrous (in terms of wins and losses), but they certainly don’t want him causing drama all season.
Reasonably, what do you think they should do? Send him home with pay? Take the best offer they can get and ship him? Or hope against hope that he will come around?
In mind, the first two options are way too dangerous. But the third option is a fantasy. Will he compete? Sure. But I don’t think it is possible to give your everything when you really don’t want to be around. But winning in the league goes beyond competing on the court. It’s practice. Chemistry. Sacrifice. Team work. And every other cliche you’ve seen on a poster. Will Jack do that like he did the last couple years? I don’t think he can given ha feelings.
However, I think that is the lesser of the evils.
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.
The Warriors have suspended Stephen Jackson for two games following his outburst on the bench in Friday’s win over the Lakers at the Forum.
Jackson picked up five fouls and tech in 9:20 seconds of action. His frustration spilled onto the bench, prompting Nellie to tell Jackson to cool off. Jackson wound up in the locker room (no word yet on if he was banished to the locker room or left on his own). Jackson did not play the second half. He was not with the team in Indian Wells.
It is kind of weird being at the Forum. This iconic place, that I used to watch so much on TV, with all its glitz and glamor and history, is a straight-up dump! It’s like running into that girl you used to have a crush on in high school, then you see her later and she’s … not the girl you remember from high school.
One rumor I’ve heard lately is that the Warriors have talked with Cleveland about acquiring Zydrunas Ilgauskas from the Cavaliers.
Monta practiced full bore today. He is probable for Friday’s game. He showed no signs of that ankle sprain that forced him out of action last night. No limping. No favoring. On one play, he got into the lane dribbling to his left and, with a defender on his hip, pulled up and nailed a floater fading to his left. Moments later, going right, he stuck a fade-away jumper from deep. Neither were plays you’d expect to see from a guy with a bad ankle.
This could be one of those seasons.
The Warriors lose Brandan Wright on a re-injury. Now, as if Murphy’s Law is kicking in, Monta Ellis gets hurt. Yes, it’s his ankle. Yes, his left ankle.
Baron, with the mini ‘fro and sweat dripping from the rugged beard beneath his mean mug, walked over to C.J. Watson and leaned in with fists balled. He faked a few body blows as C.J. curled up on the bench smiling, trying to block and dodge Baron’s air punches.
Davis wound up sitting down next to Watson and getting an update on the Warriors happenings.