Raja Bell stunned everybody when he checked into the game on Wednesday. Even Nellie had no idea until he asked Nellie if he could play. He had 11 points and 3 assists in 23 minutes.
Yes, he’s still having surgery.
Yes, he still could be out for the year.
No, we won’t know until he has surgery.
BELL: “That wasn’t done for any other reason than I wanted to try and help and see what my hand was going to do one last time before I made a decision. I came into the league with a lot of vets. You played through an injury if you could. (Wednesday night), I felt like I had a responsibility to try to help.”
Wednesday, Bell decided to hit the court one more time. Not only did he want to help out the team, which was finishing out a back-to-back with a depleted roster, he also wanted to test out his wrist one more time. The last time he played was Saturday vs. Portland, after he which he told the Bobcats trainers that it wasn’t working out (him playing through the injury) and that he thought he would have to have surgery.
Of course, since then, he was traded to the Warriors and he had three days of rest and thinking.
BELL: “First, it’s hard to sit there and watch when you know a team is as undermanned as we are. Secondly, I was hoping to get out there and [the injury] would be okay. Part of me in the back of my mind had a lot of high hopes for it.”
After the game, Bell sat with a huge bag of ice on his left wrist. It was obvious to him he still needed the surgery. Shooting wasn’t a problem. Bell was 4-for-6 from the field. He knocked down all three of this 3-pointers, all from the corner with ease.
But there were too many other things he couldn’t do. He couldn’t stick his hand in the mix to go for steals or strips. He couldn’t use his left forearm for leverage while playing defense or to steer his man the way he wanted to go. He couldn’t rebound like he wanted to (once he went up with his right hand, his left hand he kept down, strapped to his hip).
Still, his teammates were impressed.
MORROW: “That meant a lot for me. That shows a lot right now. He wanted to be with his teammates. It’s a reflection of the kind of person he is, a ride or die kind of guy. We definitely need that. Everybody kind of needs to rally around each other and play hard for each other, show a lot of heart, a lot of courage, lot of character. I appreciated that.”
RANDOLPH: “He’s a real team player. He’s been cheering us on, and just to be able to come out there and play knowing we need extra bodies out there and not sit there on the bench even though you have an excuse, that shows a lot of character. To have a guy who just got here to show that he wants to be that much of a teammate, that means a lot.”
Even Monta, who said he didn’t know about Raja when he heard the Warriors had acquired him.
ELLIS: “That surprised the mess out of me. I saw him sitting down. Then to see him take his uniform off and go in the game, it was like, ‘Heeeey.’ He went out and did a great job actually. He knocked down a couple shots. Rebounded. Defended well. For him to go out and do that, that says a lot. That’s a great vet. Once he gets going and gets healthy, ain’t no telling what we can do.”
Talked with Ray Allen before the game about Anthony Morrow, the league’s latest hot young shooter. Nelson said before the game that he compares Morrow to Ray Allen.
NELLIE: “He doesn’t have Ray’s other attributes yet, but he’s working hard at them. I’d like to see them shoot a game of HORSE or 21 or something.”
Safe to say Shuttlesworth wasn’t impress. He made some good points. I’m sure he’s heard it all about shooters who come into the league and being compared to him. He took a wait and see approach.
RAY ALLEN: “It’s hard to really put the stamp down on any body (as the real deal) in this league. Even myself. Comparisons are always done based on how well you’ve done it and how long you’ve done it. Because there is a lot of talent in the league. But when you see somebody doing it every day, night in and night out, that’s when the stamp of approval is given.”
“People used to always tell me when I was young, ‘Stay healthy. Take care of yourself.’ I think that’s the true understanding of whether somebody’s going to be really legitimate.”
I asked Ray if he thought it was impressive that a rookie finished the season with the best 3-point percentage. He said, after a long pause, not really.
What is impressive to Ray is a shooter who can keep it up. He said percentages are often dictated by outside things like how your team plays (or whether you’re a rookie no one knows who gets a lot of open shots because defenses leave you alone). In other words, Morrow can’t be in the conversation until he shows how he handles adversity.
Already, Morrow is finding it harder to get off his shot. Partly because opposing defenses know who he is and are closing out on him or not leaving him. As a result, Morrow is pump-faking a lot because he isn’t getting the looks he once did (and also because he’s eager to show that he’s improved that area of his game).
Allen said that is the mark of a true shooter. How he handles being on the NBA scouting report.
ALLEN: “That’s a moment everybody has. When the league figures you out and you have to find a counter move, they start talkinga bout your weaknesses. When you’re young, you don’t have a weakness because you don’t have a strength. Once they know know who you are, they take away things and you’ve got to find something else to be effective. Getting to the basket. Scoring in transition. Simple plays. Scoring sometimes without your play getting called.”
“Most of the best shooters I’ve seen became effective shooting the ball in a tight space, shooting the ball with a hand in your face. You’re more likely to have a hand in your face than not. So most of the best shooters in the league shoot great with somebody in their face and the open shots, the ones where you have too much time, those are the ones that seem to throw you off. That’s what end up having to learn to adjust to.”
Here’s the part you may find most encouraging. I told Morrow what Ray Allen said. He pretty much agreed with Allen, who is Morrow’s basketball idol. In no way does Morrow think he’s arrived. He was almost happy to hear Ray Allen’s perspective.
You may have noticed rookie guard Stephen Curry with his right wrist bandaged. He said he hurt it in Tuesday’s game. It was still sore Wednesday, so he had it taped.
He said it wasn’t the reason for his game-high six turnovers. That he credited to Boston’s length and activeness on defense. He did say it was bothering his shot, which is why he took it off to start the third quarter.
Curry finished 4 of 10 for 13 points. He made 1 of 4 from 3-point range.
Radmanovic had a whirlwind last two games. He fits right in with the Warriors. He likes to shoot, he doesn’t play much defense (see how easy KG scored on him) and he’s prone to turnovers.
Vlad played 63 minutes over two games. He was 9-for-20 from the field (and that is after knocking down his first three shots as a Warrior), including 2-for-9 from 3-poing range. He also had 10 rebounds and seven turnovers.
It figures he’ll be better when he gets some practice time under his belt, which won’t get until after Friday’s game vs. Portland. He fills one of Nellie’s two needs: he can shoot, which spreads the floor; and he’s big, which means he can at least get in the way inside.
Not sure I am convinced he should be starting over Anthony Randolph, but I’ll wait and see first. If he can knock down shots and not turn the ball over, that would be enough at this point.
Forgot about this gem of contradiction.
NELLIE: “I can forgive my young guys for making some turnovers. You know, they’re going to have to learn and they’re going to make some errors. I understand that. The veteran turnovers, the unforced turnovers – that, I have a hard time with – certainly not a rookie or second year guy making a turnover.”
Also forgot to mention the third quarter sputter. The Warriors got outplayed in the third again. This time, they were outscored 31-19.
In the Warriors eight losses, they have been outscored 248-172 in the third quarter, an average of 31-21.5.
NELL: “We’ve been terrible all year. Very few games do we come out in the third quarter like we do at the beginning of the game. And I don’t have an answer for you why. But we’ve got to get better in the third quarter. We were right there the whole game if we just play in the third quarter.”