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Game #10 (3-7): Cavaliers 114, Warriors 108

The Warriors clawed and scrapped and executed well enough for 45 minutes to have a chance to win. Considering they had just seven players, one new to the team, is that encouraging? Or does the fact they choked down the stretch, turning the ball over three times to kill their chances, override the fact that they were in the game?

Oddly enough, or not, it was Maggette, the 11-year veteran, who made two of the crucial turnovers. The other was a dribbling oops by Steph Curry, which led to a jump ball with LeBron James.

In the Warriors locker room, though, most of the focus was on the fact that they were in the game at all, which seemed to come as a surprise to the Warriors. They gave a spirited effort against a Cavs team that was sleep-walking and without Shaq.

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Tonight, they have to do the same thing at Boston. But the Celtics have lost two straight and should be hungry.

“Did you have to remind me of that,” Monta Ellis said jokingly.

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

There was quite a bit of scuttle before the game about Monta Ellis wanting to leave, about the Warriors shopping him, about a meeting this week between Ellis’ agent and Warriors’ brass.

Here is the Warriors’ response to all of the reports:

About the meeting …

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* It has not been set, Riley said. There is no guarantee it will even happen. The way it was described to me, Jeff Fried (Monta’s agent) called Larry Riley and said he was in town and wanted to meet. Fried is a co-promoter for Andre Ward and the Warriors are helping out with the PR. So Fried is in town and Riley accepted the meeting because he said it is routine to meet with his players’ agents when they’re in town. He met with Steph Curry’s agent recently (which if I am correct is his father, Dell  Jeff Austin). He met with Bill Duffy, Anthony Randolph’s agent. It is protocol.

It goes without saying that these meetings aren’t just about catching up, as perhaps is implied. Certainly, Randolph and his people are unhappy with his role and his minutes. (To be sure, some members of the organization are a little befuddled that he’s been reduced to the fourth-string center)

I’m told the Warriors are expecting some concerns to be raised by Fried, and they wouldn’t be surprised if he asked them to trade Monta. This Ellis kid is most-certainly an issue.

ELLIS: “That was the first time I heard it, before the game. … I don’t know what the meetings about.”

“Like I said, I play for the Warriors. I just heard that tonight. That’s my first time hearing it. Whatever they meeting about, they meeting about. I don’t know what it is. It’s a possibility we could be trying to move somebody in. Y’all think it’s moving somebody out. I don’t know what it is.”

“I realize people gone talk. That’s freedom of speech. They can say what they want to say. Like I said, I don’t read the players so I won’t let it get to me. I’m not feeding into it. If they talk, they talk.”

About the shopping of Ellis …

* I am convinced, thanks to a few insiders, that the Warriors dangled Monta Ellis in trade talks. He is certainly not untouchable. But I’m told it’s not because they want to get rid of Ellis specifically. He just happens to be perhaps their best asset. So in their quest to land a difference maker, he’s on the table.

Now, a few in the organization are telling me that Monta needs to get his act together or he could be shipped. They certainly don’t want him to become the next Stephen Jackson.

RILEY: “We’re business as usual. Is Monta unhappy right now.? We’re 3-6. So he’s not a happy guy. There are a lot of guys in there that aren’t. We’ve got a chance to resurrect things here and to push things in the right direction and that’s got to be our focus. Would we trade somebody? Hell yes. We’re 3-6 and I’d be stupid not to look at improving this team. Are we going to have a fire sale on somebody? No. We’re not doing that. Are we always going to be looking at our roster? I sure am.”

Ellis did say he has “no problems” with Nellie.

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

LeBron James gave Stephen Curry a longer-than-usual talk after the game. It was clear from James’ hand gestures that he was telling Curry to have tunnel vision. As one of the game’s premier passers, safe to assume he wasn’t talking about on the court.

CURRY: “He told me to just stay focused and keep getting better every day. Just block out whatever’s going on outside of what I can control.”

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

Of everyone who saw action, Anthony Randolph got the fewest minutes. Fewer than Vladimir Radmanovic. Fewer than Mikki Moore. Something is just simply wrong with that.

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

Morrow had a chance to tie the game at 109 with a 3-pointer with 2:20 left. He got a good look certainly. He had just made one less than a minute earlier, too.

With that, it still is somewhat befuddling the lack of shots he gets. He made 5 of 7 in the first half and was 6-for-10 in 35 minutes. Only Mikki Moore took fewer shots (5-for-6). Vlad had 12 shots in 34 minutes. Randolph had 11 in 25. Maggette had 16 in 32. Monta was 9-for-23 in 46 minutes.

It is no doubt partly Morrow’s fault. He fakes himself out of so many shots. Part of it is because defenses knows who he is and are closing out hard. Part of it is because he’s been working on creating off the dribble and that’s the mode he’s in often. But part of it, I think, is because he knows he’s only getting a few looks, so he’s got to make them, which means he needs to have an optimum look. I guess that’s good for a Warriors squad who doesn’t know what a bad shot looks like.

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

Raja Bell is having surgery. They won’t know how long he’s out until they go in and see. If the tear of his ligament is slight, they will repair it and he will be out 4 or 5 weeks. If it is severely torn, they will repair it and he will have to be out 4 or 5 months.

The Warriors knew this. They would’ve done the trade even if they knew he was out.

RILEY: “I’m happy with the trade. I know what I went through. I know what the market was. And I like Raja Bell. If he can play, it’s a plus for us. We will determine in the next few days what is going to happen with him.”

Raja said he decided to have the surgery before he was traded. He said after playing Saturday against Portland, his fifth game playing with the torn ligament in his left wrist, he said he knew he couldn’t go full bore, especially on defense, so he had told the trainers he was going to have the surgery. He will meet with an hand specialist in Charlotte area on Monday to schedule his surgery.

Being an expiring contract, Bell needs to play. It will be much tougher for him to earn a deal if he misses the entire season. So, certainly, he didn’t take the decision lightly. I don’t think he decided to have the surgery because he’s on a bad team and doesn’t want to be with the Warriors. But, I hardly know the guy so I could be wrong.

BELL:  “My game requires me to be able to grab and push, the unsavory thing. “Those are the things that I think make teams want me. So it was weight heavy on my mind.”

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

Word out of Cleveland is that the Cavs were not happy Jackson went to Charlotte. They wanted him pretty bad. But they wanted too much.

The Cavs were offering Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, who is a free agent and would’ve had to be signed and traded. Neither would’ve played. The Warriors do not want Delonte West and would have told him to stay home. They don’t want to get rid of Jack and bring in another potential headache. And Szczerbiak isn’t even healthy right now. Plus, the Cavaliers wanted a first-round pick, though they probably would’ve backed off if the Warriors pressed.

Problem is, the Warriors didn’t need to press because of Charlotte’s offer.

Marcus Thompson

  • Swopa

    Though I understand it might be awkward for you to write about, Marcus, readers should be reminded that there’s a history with Tim Kawakami reporting trade demands by Monta Ellis.

    Specifically, during Monta’s ankle rehab/suspension last year — just before a similar meeting between Fried and the W’s front office — “sources close to Ellis” told Tim that Monta/his agent felt he had “leverage” and would use it by demanding a trade BEFORE coming back from injury. Which, of course, didn’t happen.

    When it didn’t happen, Tim said, well, it must be because the W’s gave in and promised not to void Monta’s contract, no matter what. Except we found out later that hadn’t happened either.

    What DID happen is that Jeff Fried floated the story to Kawakami as an attempt to put pressure on Rowell et al. before their meeting. So what if it was false? The only result is that Kawakami was hung out to dry & humiliated, and no one cares about that (apparently including Tim K.).

    And so Fried’s doing the same thing again, and Tim K. is typing up his spin again, unfiltered, like he was Fried’s private secretary.

    All of which doesn’t mean that Monta’s happy — he obviously sees Curry as GS drafting his replacement — but like I said, the role of agent propaganda here (and supposedly objective journalists being enthusiastic allies in spreading it) should be mentioned.

  • OliverStone

    Is this the new wave of Client-Agent relationships? First Jackson says he had nothing to do with his paid representative going off on Nellie, now Monta has no idea what his agent is meeting with his bosses about.

    Weird or bullcrap?

  • OliverStone

    and Swopa, your day job is?

  • jm95054

    why are we not complaining about Nellie’s lack of desire to attempt to win the game? Why the heck didnt he ask them to foul at the end? NBATV guys certainly thought that Nelson didnt care.

  • Swopa

    My day job is something that pays very well and has nothing to do with basketball, Oliver, thanks for asking. ;-)

    If I worked for the W’s, I wouldn’t have posted a long comment so early in the morning — I would have waited until I got into the office.

  • taffy

    I was reading through some ESPN articles, and came across this story about Oguchi Onyewu(a soccer player) who suffered the same injury as Azubuike.

    It says that Onyewu ruptured the tendon whereas reports from Warriors land say that Kelenna has a tear in the patellar tendon…

    If anyone is interested here’s the link

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=696506&cc=5901

    Wishing Azubuike a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

  • Deftoned40oz

    yea what the hell is nellie doing not telling the team to foul at the end? the players should have done it anyway, that would have been the smart thing to do. you extend the game as much as possible, everyone knows that. i agree with #4, why is no one mentioning this? probably would have lost anyway but with morrow’s and curry’s shooting, you never know…i don’t like keith smart as a long term solution at head coach, but i want nellie out so bad, i’d let smart finish out the year…at least he’d put a conventional lineup out there and get randolph the time he needs to progress.

  • some guy

    Steph Curry’s agent is Jeff Austin of Octagon.

  • JIm

    With respect, what about some comments re: Vlad’s play?

  • 808SPacific

    Nellie’s not opting to foul the Cav’s is a mystery.
    Cannot figure it out.

    On one hand you think Nellie has no trust in the team to win. The other is with his ego and 23 or 24 more wins to tie Lenny Wilkens, you figure he would foul and go for the win. Go fgiure!

    Again this Randolph thing is Nellie’s fault. He rather play Mikki Moore, and Mag’s than AR.

    Shit! Develop Randolph NOW! It’s obvious were not going to the playoffs. I rather see him log more minutes than Moore and that idiot Mag’s combined, and give him more experience.

    Sure didn’t look like Morrow worked on any defensive and ball handling skills this past Summer.

    With Morrow, Monta, and Mags logging minutes, you wonder why we give up so many points per game. I hope that at least two out of the three would be gone.

  • deano

    The Warriors had to know that everyone who cares anything about GSW was watching them last night to see how they would respond to the Jackson trade and to the deluge of injuries. Their response was to play hard, share the ball and never give up.

    This is good. This is positive. This is the bottom-line story of last night’s game: the Jackson trade has given the players a boost. So let’s not rush to judgment, after 10 games, that the franchise has lost the interest of Ellis and/or Randolph and/or Biedrins.

  • earl monroe

    I felt the ice from Monta to Curry melting last night, even if some of those are set plays, Nelson is trying hard to melt the ice with sets.
    First Monta hands off to Curry for a layup then Curry throws a lob to Ellis on a low block lock.

    Keep playing nice Monta

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    “With respect, what about some comments re: Vlad’s play?”

    He looked like a guy that hasn’t played too much lately, but was told to jack up as many shots as he wanted.

    I thought he did ok. He was lost a few times on defense, but that’s mostly because he just got here. I don’t really buy the “He’s tired from traveling” that they tried to throw out there as an excuse when he started missing all his open looks. Players travel all the time… Historically Vlad has never really been an efficient scorer anyway.

  • sartre

    Thanks Marcus for the explanations re Morrow’s low number of shots – even in a game where the dubs shared the ball more. I generally only listen to the radio commentary so it isn’t easy to get a handle on the issue, though Tim Roye mentions the pump-fakes and Morrow’s hesitation causing him to lose the opportunity to shoot.

    Great comment Swopa on Tim (the Sid Hudgens of sport) Kawakami. I think he’s happy to be used as a pawn by agents – all grist for the endlessly re-packaged sensationistic fodder. O, and I’m about as far away from being a Warriors employee (live in New Zealand) as one can get so the crazed-eyed paranoids/conspiracy theorists shouldn’t work themselves into delirium.

  • Bleep

    If Morrow keeps up those headfakes he’ll turn into a second Jason Kapono!!

  • Perry

    It’s good to be back.

    A couple of quick items:

    As a young team, in my opinion, you still need young “difference makers”, legitimate 4th quarter “go to” options, to be a winning team.

    I look to teams like Chicago and Portland as models. With key young players at or around the same age as some of our young players…..it’s an excellent comparison.

    Where those teams differ from us is the fact that they have “difference maker” young players that can take over in the 4th quarter or at any other critical junctures in the game (Rose; Roy)……..also, both teams have younger, energetic coaches who are no more than 10 years removed from their playing days in Del Negro and McMillan respectively, both with team defense philosophies.

    Derrick Rose and Brandon Roy: difference makers

    Monta Ellis: a good NBA player, not a difference maker

    LaMArcus Aldridge: a proven 2nd option, a double-double big minute guy, a good free throw shooter

    Anthony Randolph: lots of talent, but who doesn’t have talent in the NBA? How many times have we seen guys like Randolph come and go? If Hakim Warrick and Jermario Moon had a son, it would be Anthony Randolph.

    Travis Outlaw/N. Batum/M. Webster/T. Gibson/J. Noah……excellent role players that know their own games.

    Wright/Morrow – often injured and/or inconsistent or with glaring gaps in their game and their abilities.

    I’m only naming off the younger players on each squad to further illustrate my point that young teams can only be successful in this league if they have at least 1 difference maker 4th quarter option like Portland and Chicago do. Both teams are over .500.

    Stephen Curry, I like his game, I think it was a great pick, it’s nice to see Brandon Jennings turn into an NBA scorer, but I think we did fine with Curry as well….Curry will eventually learn how to look for his own offense just enough, while still balancing the delicate duties of being an offensive facilitator…..he MAY become a difference maker if given the appropriate opportunity to develop.

    On another note, Atlanta, what a fantastic, deep and talented squad.

    They got talent coming out of their ears with J. Smith, Horford, J. Johnson, Marvin Williams…….a good young coach in Woodson who they remained patient with through all the alleged dissention with Josh Smith and the Josh Childress fiasco…….and now, they are one of the best teams in the league.

    We should take heed of teams like I just mentioned….

    Nelson and Riley have become Nelson and Nelson of the mid 90′s. Nelson was GM and coach during his first tenure with Golden State. He was single handedly involved with the bitter departures of players like Tyrone Hill and Chris Webber. Later, with Al Harrington, Jason Richardson, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus and Baron Davis.

    The only difference between Nelson’s first tenure and now is that the team he had in the mid 90′s was far and away better than this squad, so they could still squeak out 50 wins even with all the problems.

    Why?

    Because they had great players in Hardaway and Mullin and 1st class role players in Mario Elie, Sarunas Marcuilones, Tyrone Hill, Keith Jennings, Rod Higgins, Vincent Askew, Winston Garland, Avery Johnson, etc…

    That’s the difference between then and now…

    We can’t survive the storm and squeak out 50 wins now, we can barely squeak out 30 wins ………but we could back then…….team was better back then.

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    “Of everyone who saw action, Anthony Randolph got the fewest minutes. Fewer than Vladimir Radmanovic. Fewer than Mikki Moore. Something is just simply wrong with that. is just simply wrong with that.”

    Could it have something to do with how JJ Hickson ate him alive in the first three quarters?

    Could it have something to do with him having the worst +/- of any Warrior?

    I’m just asking. Of course, these are not the kind of questions that sell newspapers.

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  • haastheman

    I think it’s been bothering me for a while. The warriors are horrible on Defense. Yes, everyone knows that, but i think what bothers me the most about it is that nobody seems to question Keith Smart. Smart is in charge of the defense, he’s the on mapping out the rotations and assignments. The warriors look lost on Defense. Where’s the accountablity? It would be one thing if we were getting beat man on man. But we’re not. Everytime you see the warriors on defense they’re always scrambling, trying to figure out who to guard, and where they are supposed to be. That’s smarts job. What is he doing. I think his job must be keeping the ice cold in nelson’s scotch.

  • roadrunner650

    Good note on Morrow. He’s trying to be more than a spot up shooter. But he passed on a few open looks and doesn’t seem to have his hands ready to shoot when the ball finally gets to him. He looks really slow though and can’t really take anyone off the dribble. He needs to work on a ball fake and slide over for a 2 point jumper (just watch Curry). He also needs to work on getting open without the ball. He just stands around the 3 point line. He doesn’t have to stay there. When there is an open spot on the floor he needs to go to that spot. He doesn’t cut to the hoop or move to the free throw area. He basically disappears behind his defender or gets overlooked because no one really sees him across the court.

    He needs to make his defender work and move without the ball by giving the SG or PF a screen and then leak out for a jump shot. Make his defender react to another player running around a screen.

    I saw too many W’s flopping. It’s really bad when C. Mag does it. They shouldn’t be flopping. None of the great teams (Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, etc) flop. Makes the W’s look like wimps.

    Randolph needs to work on a go to post up move. His only moves are a mid range jump shot and a driving spin move. The guy is 7 foot and needs to work on a baby hook (He needs to talk to B Wright). As a Left hander he’d dominate. Also his screens are not set that well. He moves before the PG’s man is picked. He’s gotten a few moving picks already.

  • Gunner

    Can we just fire Nelson and hire Byron Scott? Maybe he can help Monta become a real alpha dog type of player, instead of a “na uh i ain’t gonna put more on my back” type of player.

    Monta definitely isn’t listening to Nelson. Maybe Scott is a guy who he can look up to and be his mentor.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Feltbot,

    I am sure you think its better to allow Mikki Moore to get eaten up by JJ Hickson than to let Randolph learn and play through his mistakes. lol. I’m sure you like playing journeymen over the alleged young core this team is supposed to be building around.

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    Marcus, Don Nelson is holding Anthony Randolph accountable for his play, just like every other coach worth his salt in the NBA does with their young players.

    The number of mistakes Randolph is making on the court right now is mind-numbing. Starting with his silly fouls in the backcourt. How many more minutes could he actually have played with 5 fouls?

    Anthony Randolph is 20 years old, with one year of college ball and one year of pros under his belt. He needs to learn how to play the game, as Jim Barnett has been emphasizing on his broadcasts. Nelson is trying to teach him in the traditional way of all great coaches. Why is that earning him abuse from everyone staffing newspapers in the bay area?

  • sartre

    I get Nellie not playing Randolph when the level of misfiring is hurting his team in a competitive game. What I have never understood with Nellie is why he’ll bench Randolph when that is not the case, as he sometimes does. Even if to some extent you have different standards for young players compared to veterans (which is not unreasonable), at least be consistent in your handling of the individual player – reward good play, give them some leeway to play through the mistakes so long as they’re doing well on balance and giving effort. Not rewarding good play defeats the value of punishing poor play – the player feels helpless to influence playing time through the only thing they have control over. This is psych 101, how hard can it be for coach to understand this?

    I don’t regard Nellie as the prince of darkness like some commenters feltbot, he does some things very well, I just think that he can handle certain players in a way that unnecessarily undermines their development and morale.

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    Players who are not stars need to understand that Nellie will only play them in spots where he feels they have positive matchups (hence moving Randolph against backup 5s). And even then, he will only continue playing them when they play well.

    This is not mind games. It is the same process that many good players have gone through with other coaches.

    Just ask Joakim Noah,Tyrus Thomas,Trevor Ariza and a host of others.

    If you want to ask a question, ask why Don Nelson gets blamed for this exclusively among all the coaches of the NBA, when he has such a superlative record in developing all-star players.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Feltbot,

    Noah started 31 games as a rookie (all after Ben Wallace was traded to Cleveland), 55 his second-year. By his third season, this season, he’s an every day starter and major contributor. Trevor Ariza was hardly a lottery pick. He was taken No. 44 overall and had to earn a spot, earn a contract, etc. Tyrus Thomas, as a rookie, played behind P.J. Brown on a team that went to the 2nd round of the playoffs. In his second year, he saw more action, starting 27 games, as he split time with Joe Smith.
    But you show me a situation in which a young player who was a lottery pick is on a non-playoff team with no established veteran in front of him at his position and riding the bench, and I will show you a coach that is getting criticized.
    What’s more, the Warriors have dedicated this season to developing their young players. So Nellie stashes Randolph behind two established players who aren’t going anywhere at position he won’t play in the furture. And at the position Randolph actually plays, he runs with a 9th year (Vlad) and 11th year (Maggette) vet who won’t be part of the Warriors future if they can help it.
    And you think that makes sense?
    If he is so bad that he can’t play PF for a team that is admittedly going nowhere, then why not package him? Who wouldn’t trade their third-string center if another team wanted him?

  • Yulupan

    Marcus,

    Thank you for your balanced reporting – we need it now more than ever. I’m not sure I agree with your comment that Bell has to play this year to get a contract this summer. Look at it from a different angle. What if he guts it out and plays. I’m not sure it would be to his advantage to have surgery after the season. That would put him in the position of asking teams to take a chance that he’ll be the same player afterward. At least if he has the surgery now he might have a chance to come back and play the last month of the season. Wouldn’t that make him more attractive and remove the question mark over his head? Maybe you’re right. He would have all summer to recover but he’s 33 and an older player headed to surgery would make a lot of teams cautious, I think. I don’t blame Raja for doing what’s best for him.

  • Swopa

    Marcus, it isn’t that Randolph is “so bad” that he can’t play PF, it’s that he has a lot to learn. There have been numerous reports this year about Randolph having trouble knowing the plays — Monta Ellis yelled at him on the court about it during the Clippers loss, I seem to recall Jax saying something about it after Nellie tried Randolph at SF (and decided to move him back to PF), and you reported it happening during the Knicks game.

    Is it too much to ask that the Golden Boy *learn the plays* before he becomes a permanent starter? Doesn’t it send a corrosive message to the team if that isn’t an obstacle? Heck, doesn’t it send a corrosive message to Randolph himself?

    In my experience watching the NBA, giving a rookie 35-40 minutes a game no matter how many mistakes he makes seems like the best way to ensure that those mistakes become permanent bad habits.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Swopa,

    If knowing the plays is a prerequisite for starting, how did Vlad start two games fresh off a plan from Charlotte. Do the Warriors even run plays half the time?
    I am not saying he shouldn’t have to get better in these areas. I am saying real development happens on the court. You don’t think part of his turnover problem and scatter-brain type of play is a result of knowing he will get yanked if he messes up? Who else on the team plays under the same scrutiny?
    And meanwhile, he brings athleticism, effort on defense, running the floor and rebounding. He is not going to get better sitting on the bench. And the Warriors aren’t going to get better by playing journeymen instead of their young talent.
    He is as close to untouchable as the Warriors have on their roster, and he can only play against Sheldon Williams??? I agree that he makes a lot of mistakes. Still, HE IS BETTER than Vlad. He is better than Corey Maggette as a PF. Even with his mistakes.
    Did you see Vlad guarding KG and Randolph guarding KG? It was night and day. KG actually had to work. Do you remember last year when Randolph challenged Garnett in the Garden? You don’t get better playing against other team’s second and third-string players.

  • Yulupan

    Marcus,

    Your points about Randolph are undeniable. I am trying so hard to remain a fan after 30 years and give Nellie the benefit of the doubt. I keep telling myself that there must be something that we’re not seeing that is driving Nellie not to play Randolph more. I’m now at a point where I don’t really care what it is – just play him. Because, as you point out, even with all of his flaws he’s still the best PF we have – BY FAR! In the old days, players were expected to take the treatment their coach dished out. Those days are long gone. Even if Randolph does have maturity issues, and can’t remember all of the plays, he still needs to be on the court. Players’ psyches are too fragile these days to deal with an old school coach. I think Nellie is missing the bigger issue that, while Randolph might not be ready for prime time, he is destroying him mentally. Randolph isn’t going to wake up some morning and thank Nellie for holding him accountable and making him earn his minutes. I think Randolph said all of the right things last summer. He was respectful, worked hard, and improved his game. Nellie had better reward that behavior or risk losing this monster talent for the long run.

  • kobe24

    Fire Nelson period.

    The guy is senile and a lush.