Nellie on his team: “They’re too soft. Gotta toughen up.”

Nelson went after his team today, turning what was initially scheduled to be an off day into a grueling two-hour practice. They ran a bunch of defensive drills, including taxing one-on-one post-up defense drills (one player would have to guard each player in the group consecutively, one-on-one in the post). They even ran a three-man weave.

The players were visibly feeling it. A few balls were slammed, a few expletives were shouted in frustration. Corey Maggette and Monta Ellis got the night off. Maggette showed up on the court halfway through practice and sat on the side and watched. Ellis apparently came and lifted weights, but stayed in the locker room area.

Nelson was so disappointed in the effort during Saturday’s loss at Portland that he put it on them at practice. During practice, he went off on them about his disappointment, two players told me. He shared some of his frustrations during his post-practice interview. Here is the transcript:

So, what made you torture the team today?

They deserved it.

You hadn’t planned on practicing today, right?

No, I hadn’t. We needed to get some work done.

Mostly on the defensive side?

100 percent

Feel good about what you saw?

We needed to do what we did. There was some slippage. Only had 7, 8 guys and it was hard to do much.

It looked like Curry took a pounding. That’s good for him, right?

He’s gotta toughen up. They all do. They’re too soft. Gotta toughen up. Our centers are back now, time for them to step up.

Some guys showed some frustration today. You think it’s time for somebody to get mad?

I don’t call that having any benefit on anything. Kicking the ball or something like that. I need somebody to do something on the floor positive.

Did you see something good out of Andris?

I thought the bigs needed the work that they did on both ends. We worked them hard. You know, it’s time for them to know that they’re not going to get re-injured. It’s time now to put the injury behind them and start playing up to their potential. We’ve given them a few days, a few games. I don’t need it to take two weeks to get it done. They need to step up and do it now.

Can having another big body leaning on you help you realize you’re not going to get hurt again?

Oh yeah. They’ve got to go against big guys. Luckily the guy that got hurt tonight was my fourth guy. Or today. Hunter sprained his ankle.

Monta and Corey got the day off just because of minutes?

Yeah. I didn’t need to get them banged up today because we were going to have a pretty tough practice. I didn’t want to get them dinged up after playing all those minutes.

Will practice be different tomorrow? Will it be more like a walk through?

We’re going to practice. We’ll do that the next day, the walk through.

Did Ronny take a step back?

It was a hard game to play on the match-ups. For whatever reason I thought I could play one big, but they didn’t seem to get much done. So, anyway, I went with Randolph in that spot. I thought he was the most effective big that I had. They should’ve had more of an influence on the game as far as I was concerned.

You talked about smalls after the game. Did you know you needed more from the bigs last night or you saw something on film?

I did. I thought we could play one big the whole game and have more of an influence on the game. Other than the first quarter, nobody had a game after that. Not blaming anybody but we need better performances out of everybody.

Randolph got matched up on Andre Miller a couple times. Impressed by Randolph’s defensive versatility?

If I had it to do over again, I would’ve played a big on him. Not necessarily Randolph. I thought I should’ve probably played Corey on him to start with. It would take one post-up guy away. Our smalls couldn’t guard him. And then Radmanovic, although he’s got an Achilles Tendon, I don’t know how that’s effecting him, was another guy that could’ve guarded him. I put Morrow on him, but he just couldn’t handle him.

Ronny and Andris playing timid?

Timid on the offensive end. Ronny’s been very good on the defensive end. They worked both ends. It was a defensive day, but you’ve got to have an offensive day against the defense, too. So I really liked what the big guys were doing.

For the most part, the players agreed that the practice was something they needed. But they stopped short of calling themselves soft.

WATSON: “I guess this was good for us. We needed it. We had a bad game, but it showed us we’ve got a lot of stuff we need to work on. So we’ve just got to get better defensively as a team and try to make some shots on offense, too. I don’t think (we were soft). Just that one game, we had a bad — it wasn’t really a bad defensive game because we were still in the game late and had a chance to win. We just had some open shots that we missed and stuff like that. But we’ve been playing pretty hard I think. Not really soft. We weren’t letting people push around, so I don’t think we were playing soft at all.”

MAGGETTE: “Just gotta just try to play as hard as you can and play aggressive. I’m just used to doing it. I know some guys not used to doing it and coach probably would call them out. I think in the beginning of the game its how your intensity starts off that really prepares you throughout the whole game. I think each time I step on the floor, I just want to be as aggressive as possible. We’ve got guys, I think all our guys do that. We just had a night like last night that we didn’t do it.”



After the game Saturday, Nelson’s venom was reserved for the guards. Brandon Roy and Andre Miller had their way with the Warriors guards. Roy posted up Ellis easily. Miller went at Steph Curry and Anthony Morrow every time. Both are veteran offensive beasts in the post, as perimeter players go.

Nellie started small, with Maggette at PF instead of Randolph. Nate McMillan started the Blazers off with a traditional frontline, though they weren’t formidable players (C-Juwan Howard, PF-Jeff Penderfgraph, SF-Martell Webster). Then McMillan went small, bringing in guard Jerryd Bayless, moving Roy to SF and Webster to PF.

So it was Portland’s small lineup vs. the Warriors small lineup. It was no contest. The Warriors had 41 points on 68.2 percent in the first quarter. The rest of the way, they totaled 48 points on 33.3 percent shooting. Conversely, the Blazers had 31 points on 47.1 percent shooting in the first quarter. The rest of the way, they scored 74 points on 49.1 percent shooting.

NELLIE: “When they went small and matched up with us, their smalls beat our smalls. They were better than us, they were more aggressive. I love the way we started. (We just played) poor defensively, they just did what they wanted to us. They posted us when they wanted, penetrated when they wanted, they just made us pay whatever price they wanted.”

Nellie didn’t follow by going big against the Blazers small lineup, which was clearly getting the better of the Warriors. He went a little bigger to start the third, replacing Curry with Radmanovic in the lineup. Curry had four fouls. But he didn’t give much time to lineups featuring Randolph and Biedrins or Biedrins and Turiaf.

NELLIE (on what changed after first quarter): “That’s what I was asking the assistants. We didn’t do anything different; we didn’t call any different plays. I think it was a foul-prone first half that maybe got our guys off our rhythm or whatever. They called a lot of fouls on us, but that usually works itself out in the second half. We never responded; never gave ourselves a chance in the second half.”

Nelson felt like his smalls should have played better and blamed it on them not competing. Both guard Anthony Morrow and Stephen Curry respectfully disagreed, but acknowledged they didn’t execute.

CURRY: “I feel like we competed. I think fouls kind of took us out of our game early. We tried to be aggressive. They tried to go to the post  every possession and tried to exploit our size. I feel like for the most part we did a good job, they just made more plays than we would’ve liked. I try to compete every night. But sometimes it may look like your not because of how good the offense is against you.”

One thing everyone seems to agree on is that Monta Ellis needs more help. And Corey Maggette’s 20-plus isn’t enough support.

ELLIS: “It wasn’t good enough; I can’t do it by myself. I can’t win a game by myself. It just wasn’t there tonight. Nobody played up to their ability.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Andrew R.

    Thanks for the report Marcus. Though in hindsight, I would much rather have the Ws have pulled the trigger for Amare, starting with Biedrins, Maggette, Jackson and Ellis. That would be a good team. This team is just garbage. As Jackson says, this Warriors organization just doesn’t care about winning — they’re all about duping us poor Ws diehards into wasting money watching supbar play.

  • earl monroe

    This team will never come together if 2 guys get practice off and the rest get drilled, it sends the wrong message, Nelson is going to lose this team, reading between the lines, Curry and Morrow do not feel like they did not compete.
    Double standard-it will come back to bite you ass Nellie

    Ellis on the other hand feels like he scored 30 so its not his fault, “I can’t do it by myself. I can’t win a game by myself.” Really bad sign talking like this, I am sure your teammates love to hear this.

    Time for Nelson to leave.

  • fillmoe mike

    U are a fool if you think star players should practice everyday because they should not..the nba season is a long abd grueling one so missing a practice every know and then is not a bad thing…players need the rest sometimes

  • kobe24

    Fire that old fart Nellie now!!!

  • Marques8

    I wouldn’t make too much of any of this. Every coach goes after his guys every now and then. I think what’s not said here is “Given our size and the way we play, guys can’t take a night off. The guys playing the most minutes are still getting it done. Where are you other guys?”

  • Optimus

    Of course this team became softer when you trade SJax for Rodmanovich. Even though I think it was a necessary trade, to an extent this should have been expected.

  • earl monroe

    Fillmoe-The whole team should practice if you as a coach are making it a “POINT of not not being tough”, under normal circumstances of course you rest players, star players whatever, but its a team wide issue not just a portion of the team,
    this whole team is NOT tough, all of them including Monta and Maggette

  • DCT

    I think monta, maggs, deserved the rest (even randolph though he did make some rookie mistakes here and there) because they played 100% and delivered 100% unlike the rest of the team. The rest of the team may have played 100% but man they did not deliver. Monta is really shouldering the team, and as we can see in the NBA now a days every team needs a supporting cast, which GS lacks on a consistent bases. And it really showed in this game. The smalls were torched!

    I can see how Nelly could lose the team by doing this. But also it shows that Nelly still has some passion for the game. How can you explain going from 64% shooting first quarter to 36% the following quarters and “OPEN” shots.

  • 808SPacific

    Great Nellie you excuse Mag’s and Monta from practice.
    I’m no guru, but just look at the size of our guards. You can go through all the d drills you want, guys like Curry and Watson will ALMOST always lose the battle against bigger guards like Baron, and Miller.

    We shot like shit that night (Which did not help), and McMillan took it to Nellie taking advantage of our small guards.

    Nellie step down and take some laps around the gym yourself you old fool. You should have put AR and Mags on some of their guards.

  • warriornab

    not soft nelly…we just suck, our “gm”, president, owner, fans are all idiots

  • Ewok

    I really like Corey Maggette.

    A lot of people think he is not fit in the team, but imagine the team without him, its even much worse.

    He doesnt complain even though he was relegated from being a starter, and most of all, he is a workhorse who likes to operate in the paint physically.

    Sure he needs to do a few more adjustment, such as passing the ball to the open guy, establish a tandem with Monta, and improve his jumpshot in the perimeter.

    With Nellies approach, he is right.

    The team will be competitive when Morrow is a factor. The team needs to make an impact on rebounding, Curry needs to toughen up.

    The players carrying the load of the team right now are Monta, Corey, and AR. We need the others to step up.

  • Harp’s Dubs

    Wizards seem to be getting near a divorce with Arenas, possibly trying to void his contract if they can’t find a trade partner.
    How about Biedrins, Curry and Claxton for Arenas and JaVale McGee?
    Wizards get rid of the Arenas headache and HUGE contract while getting a legit center (Biedrins) and Curry.
    Warriors get a backcourt of Ellis and Arenas and a 22 year-old raw rookie center who may turn out to be serviceable.

    PG – Arenas/Watson
    SG – Ellis/Morrow
    SF – Maggette/George
    PF – Randolph/Radmanovic
    C – Turiaf/McGee/Hunter

    PG – Curry/Crittendon/Boykins
    SG – Stevenson/Young/Foye
    SF – Butler/Miller
    PF – Jamison/Oberto/McGuire
    C – Biedrins/Haywood

  • Ken

    Warriors waive Mikki Moore.

  • Any team which relies on perimeter shooting is going to have an off night. When your shooting touch goes away during a game, when you miss perimeter shots repeatedly, you have to go to the hoop. The coach should tell the players this if they don’t realize it themselves. Nellie is right but too late. He was asking too much of his small guards to stop Miller and Roy. But he realized his mistake after the game not during. That is not the players fault. Rony and Andres have to go to the hoop. Under the basket they have to be ready to catch passes. Last and not least, when a shot is taken, at least one Waarior has to go to the hoop for a rebound. What we have is all four Warriors heading down court on defense with no one going after the boards. Whose fault is that, coach ?

  • Gizzm

    yeah ellis scores alot. but he turns the ball over the most in the league and he takes 25-30 shots a game.
    Hardly ever looks for his teammates except for pre-game ritual buddy Maggette.

    This team blows. I’m tired of all the excuses.

  • Chuck D

    Here’s what kills me…… Miller and Roy are known as guys who go into the lane and post people up. Anybody who studies the game knows that. Coaches absolutely should. So for Nellie to have 2 or 3 small guards in the game continuously (Ellis, Curry, Watson) invites the Blazers to play to their strengths, and they’re obviously going to abuse our small guys. If he’s going to put in a scheme of small guards to try to defend post-up players, he absolutely must help them with a couple of big guys to deter Miller and Roy when they get in the lane. But Nellie complements the small guards by having Maggette line up at PF for 2/3 of the game…… a mistake he later acknowledged by saying he should have had more than 1 big guy in the game most of the time.

    The players may not have done well, but they were not put into a position to succeed by the coach. But sadly, this happens all the time, not just in this game. Nellie absolutely can not execute a game plan or execute in-game adjustments when what he is trying isn’t working. He’s the one who deserves the most disciplining, not the players.

  • Swear

    The warriors were really soft in that portland game during the second half. That was lame to watch, I had to turn it off. Nellie was right to whip these guys into shape. I don’t really care that Monta sat out, but Mags should of practiced he plays way less than Monta. I still think the warriors are going to win more games than last year (29-53). If the warriors trade anthony randolph I will officially stop being a fan.

  • Warriors B. Good

    The Warriors should try to trade Corey Maggette back to the Clippers for Marcus Camby. Why does this trade make sense for both teams?

    1. The Warriors have no identity and no direction. Maggette is the only player besides Monta and Biedrens who is signed for more than 2 years. To get his big contract off the books will aid us when we do figure out what our identity and direction are.

    2. Although Camby makes more than Maggette, his salary is up after the year. We will essentially just dump Maggette’s salary.

    3. The Clippers have Kaman at center and drafted Blake Griffin, who has at times looked studly. Camby is limiting Griffin’s minutes.

  • freez

    how can u say he’s limiting blake griffin’s minutes when he’s been on DL this whole season? trade doesn’t make sense, they already have thornton at the 3. not like they were desperate to get maggette back anyways