Gotta tip your cap to Anthony Randolph.
He played just over 20 minutes and put together a solid line: 11 points, 4-for-7 shooting, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 0 turnovers.
Considering he was fresh off a family emergency, that Keith Smart said he’s steal dealing with emotionally, it wasn’t a bad performance. Hadn’t been with the team since the end of the OKC game. He stayed back to fly to Arkansas on Tuesday morning. He flew back to New Jersey on Wednesday. But he didn’t meet up with the team until pre-game. While the team had shootaround and hung out in NYC before heading to the IZOD Center, Randolph rested in a New Jersey hotel.
He played under control. He avoided mistakes. He banged down low. Got abused by Brook Lopez, but he’s not a center (though Nellie is determined to make him one). Randolph seemed dialed down emotionally, which probably was a product of the emergency he had to deal with (and it probably helped him stay under control).
SMART: “I thought he was good. He had good energy in the first half. I thought he came back and put together a solid game defensively. He rebounded the basketball. He was kind of a little bit off. I think he traveled in today, so that kind of caught up with him in the second half. But overall I though he played well, with good intensity – the kind of intensity you need for a guy who’s coming off the bench or if he’s going to be a good player in our league.”
Randolph had a much better impact on the game than guard Anthony Morrow, who was in his first game back since returning from a family funeral, which led to him missing two games.
Morrow had 6 points on 2-for-7 shooting with two rebounds and five turnovers in 41 minutes. He did have a block and two steals. But his contribution was primarily the intangible of having a reputed shooter in the game.
SMART: “The lanes open up because he’s on the floor. He’s not shooting it well. He’s been away from the team. And a guy like him, who’s a rhythm shooter and a rhythm player, when he gets out of rhythm for a couple of days, he’s going to struggle a little bit. Hopefully, after a couple days back, he’ll get back into a rhythm. But the fact that he’s on the floor, it opens up so many other things for our guys to make plays.”
Through most of 3 quarters, rookie Stephen Curry had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 turnovers in 29 minutes.
But with 2:44 left in the third quarter, Curry dished one of his nonchalant passes – which are becoming fairly common — that was picked off. The Warriors got a stop, so it didn’t hurt them too bad. But some 30 seconds later, he was taken out of the game. He didn’t check back in until 16.6 seconds left in the game, to get Ellis off the court.
Curry was aggressive most of the game, which forced the Nets to have to guard him, and that helps the Warriors offense. But down the stretch, Smart is going with C.J. Watson instead of Curry. Part of the reason is Curry’s propensity for making what looks like the wrong kind of pass at an inopportune time.
He’s good for the one-hand-off-the-dribble pass or the sneaky tap pass or a no-look. But those things are getting deflected and picked off way too much for comfort. Only problem is, when it works, it’s fairly jaw-dropping. That touch pass on the two-man fast break with Watson was nothing short of pretty.
Until he figures out how to cut out those bad passes, I don’t think he’ll get many fourth-quarter minutes in a tight game, especially when the full roster is back. But right now, they feel safer with C.J. Watson even though Curry is a better passer (which is why, if anything, you’ll see he and Watson together with Ellis at SF).
Curry will continue to start, I think, especially because they need him to promote the ball movement they want.
C.J. finished with 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting with two assists in 30 minutes off the bench. That gives him 37 points on 15-for-22 shooting combined against New York Metro Area teams.
WATSON: “I just like playing in New York. I know it’s the Mecca of basketball.”
Watson also had five steals. The Warriors finished with 17 steals (Ellis had 4 and Curry 3) and forced 22 turnovers. They now average 10.4 steals per game and force 18.6 turnovers per game. Both are tops in the NBA.
MONTA ELLIS: “I loved it tonight. We’ve been hitting that quite some time this season and it really hasn’t been successful. But tonight, he really came through.”
Ellis was talking about Mikki Moore, and how this time when he dumped the ball off inside, Moore caught it and finished it. A few times.
I think it was the second quarter Monday in Oklahoma City when Ellis drove, got caught in the air (as usual) and found Mikki at the last second. But Mikki fumbled the pass and wasn’t able to convert.
Ellis, fuming, turned away and waved his arms in frustration. Afterward, Moore asked Ellis to be patient with him. It’s been a while since Moore’s been in the mix regularly, and he hasn’t played on a team where the guards look for him since his days in New Jersey when Jason Kidd was running the point.
So, Wednesday, after he caught and flushed a few of Ellis’ passes, Mikki did what any good teammate would do. He gave the credit to his team’s star player.
MOORE: “The difference is I didn’t drop any of his passes tonight.”
ELLIS: “I thought he was playing by himself for a minute how he was dunking the ball. That was great that we got that from him tonight, the energy. Not only that, his rebounding and defense.”
Vladimir Radmanovic was asked to rebound, and he has been, at a pace that exceeds his career average. He had 9 boards Wednesday, and he’s averaging 7.3 rebounds over his last nine games. He’s gotten fewer than six just twice during that span.
The 9th year vet came to the Warriors averaging 4.05 rebounds for his career.
Maggette and Randolph also had nine, as the Warriors outrebounded the Nets 46-44. Golden State is the worst-rebounding team in the league at 37.76 per game. New Jersey is tied for 25th (with the Knicks) at 40.45 per game.