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Warriors Posting Up; What to do with Reggie; Ellis on Edge

Tonight’s game in Utah is the first in a series of games in which the Warriors will face teams that play inside out. The Jazz, Timberwolves, Blazers and Rockets – the Warriors’ next five opponents – all have solid-to-really good big men who anchor their offense. (I might be reaching a bit by including LaMarcus Aldridge in the bunch, but he’s certainly capable.)

The Warriors of old would have tried to run these teams out of the gym. But Keith Smart’s Warriors are looking to take a different approach. Forward David Lee said, starting tonight vs. Utah, the Warriors were going to go inside more.

LEE: “You’re going to start seeing more of that. We worked on it (a lot) in practice.”

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The Warriors definitely went inside against the Jazz. They dumped the ball down to Lee and Biedrins consistently (Lee more). It didn’t produce much by way of points – Golden State was 13-for-39 in the paint – but it did force the Jazz to defend inside. Utah even brought help to Lee. With a minute left in the half, though Lee was 2-for-8 from the field, the Jazz had center Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap on him. That led to Lee finding Biedrins cutting to the basket for a dunk, putting the Warriors up 44-43.

It might be a hard pill to swallow for Warriors fans, who want to see some uptempo action. (Personally, I think they’re best chance of winning is to push the tempo). But it was actually effective and arguably the correct move considering the Warriors’ lack firepower with Stephen Curry on the bench in a blazer.

Oddly enough, they were killed on points in the paint (50-26). They didn’t shoot a good percentage (39.5%) and did not get the Jazz bigs in foul trouble. Well, what did it do? Limited possessions. Kept the big men involved, which helped in rebounding (they outboarded the Jazz 46-40). Fostered ball movement.

SMART: “In this building here, you have to make the defense come and collapse a little bit. You can’t settle too much for playing outside, jump shots and pick-and-rolls, because that will feed their break. I thought that’s why we were in the game for three quarters. We were right there in the game because we played that style, trying to put it inside.”

If only those two big men had made a few more of those baskets.

SMART: “The game is different, probably on our side, if we can get a few more. Even drives to the basket, we missed a few lay-ups down there, too. We’ve got to finish the plays in the paint. When you get a chance, you’ve got to come up with either a bucket or the free throw.”

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Lee was 3-for-15, though he got himself to the free throw line 14 times, making 12. Biedrins was 4-for-10. Both of them, when they had one-on-one coverage, got good looks at the rim, especially Lee. They just missed. When the double-team came, Biedrins looked a bit rattled and rush. Lee can pass out of double-teams, but he didn’t look like he could beat the double-team himself.

The point is, the Warriors dumped the ball down and they got good looks.

BIEDRINS: “I’m just not happy we didn’t finish them. We just have to finish on those shots. We missed so many open lay-ups. We have to (make them), otherwise they won’t come to us anymore. We can’t let them down. We have to make sure they know if the ball comes inside, we will gets something good out of it.”

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Keith Smart is in a tough spot with Reggie Williams. With Curry out, for what is looking like an extended period of time (he said he is hoping Dec. 18), should he start Williams or keep him in his role as a reserve. There is no easy answer. It seems to make sense to start him. He’s the next best player on the team. He is the next player most able to replace what they lose with Curry out. It makes sense. But there are disadvantages to starting him even though Curry is out.

Now, if you ask me, I would go route Sloan did with C.J. Miles. With Raja Bell out of the lineup, Jerry Sloan started rookie Gordon Hayward at shooting guard. He played all of 10 minutes, 52 seconds, scoring one point, turning the ball over twice and committing four fouls.

You might be wondering why C.J. Miles didn’t start. I didn’t get a chance to ask Sloan, but I am assuming because he wanted Miles to stay in his comfort zone as a reserve. Plus, as a key weapon off the bench, putting him in the starting lineup would leave the bench without much punch. Miles scored 20 points in 28 minutes. He is on pace for a career-high in scoring despite having yet to start.

Reggie Williams had 30 off the bench against San Antonio. It seemed as if he was just getting in his groove. But Curry got hurt and since then Williams has started. If he continues starting, when Curry comes back, you run the risk of Reggie having to adjust again back to life as a reserve. Plus, starting puts Williams into a different mode (as the fourth or fifth option). It also robs the Warriors of bench scoring. Monday, Golden State’s bench was outscored 36-14.

Of course, Smart doesn’t have the weapons Sloan has. While the Jazz lost a defensive weapon in Bell, the Warriors lost a top scorer in Curry. If Reggie Williams stays coming off the bench, the Warriors would have to start Charlie Bell or Acie Law next to Monta – or move Dorell Wright to SG and start Vlad at SF. Either way, the starting lineup would be replacing a 20-point threat with a guy the defense wouldn’t t have to worry much about. That doesn’t necessarily bode well for the Warriors’ desperate need to get out to a lead.

So what should Smart do? Keep Reggie coming off the bench, getting him comfortable in his role as a sixth-man type and saving some offense for the reserve unit? Or does he keep his starting unit as strong as possible until Curry gets back in, preventing teams (as best he can) from loading up on Monta?

Don’t be surprised if he tries it the other route and bring Williams off the bench vs. Minny. He would have to start Vlad or Acie Law. I lean towards Law because starting Vlad would require more lineup shuffling.

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After getting called for an offensive foul, and having attempted only two free throws all night, Ellis was visibly frustrated. He was about to slam the ball, but he caught himself and held on to it. And kept holding on to it as he walked down court. Eventually, he rolled it behind him without looking toward the ref, who hit Ellis with a tech.

It was clear the — obvious, alleged, perceived, imagined … pick one — lack of calls Ellis gets is getting to him. He is usually composed on the court. But he’s becoming more vocal and more openly frustrated with the refs. It seems to be getting to him. And I was sure of it at the 3:29 mark of the fourth quarter.

Ellis got an outlet pass on the break and Deron Williams laid a hard foul on him. Ellis got up, walked slowly towards Williams and spewed some words his way. In seconds, it became a jarring match and the two had to be separated.

When’s the last time you saw that from Ellis?

Marcus Thompson

  • Joe

    Warriors shouldn’t feed Biedrins and Lee in the pivot to go one-on-one, especially against Utah. They need to get there points by slashing to the hole, rebounds, and feeding off the guards. It’s fine to feed them the ball in the post but they need to pass out when the shot isn’t there. It seems like a couple of times a game David Lee forces a slow and awkward dropstep in the post, that the defense easily challenges, only to hoist an awkward looking hook fading away from the basket.

  • marques8

    Well, the sportswriters pretty much ran Nellie out of town. There is little doubt they would have won more games and stand a chance at the playoffs if they had kept him. The Clippers would probably be in the playoffs and New Orleans would be playing with an energy they have lost.

    Just for kicks, I want to go back and read those Tk columns. My fav of course was how Nellie took money over character. That should have made them bloods. tK does that everyday. Someone should hire Nellie. It’s a one season deal. There won’t be a season next year and Nellie can make a victory circle. Never was the winningest coach in basketball treated worse than in GS. Every pounding this team takes make sme feel a little better. These new owners have sure made a difference.

  • J Canseco

    Pretty obvious that what’s really getting to Monta is the constant losing and poor play of his teammates.

    Biedrins’ limited offensive game is unacceptable for a starting NBA center.

  • Mike Aucksbigg

    Ellis consistently gets hosed by the refs. The foul disparity against him makes no sense. Actually, the whole team gets abused by the refs, and have been for years. The foul disparity against the whole team is totally unrealistic. How can the Warriors constantly go for 11, 12, 13+ minutes without drawing a single foul? It’s preposterous.

  • jclay09

    If Ellis played for another franchise he’d get calls like Dwhade.

    The real takeaway from all this is how devoid of talent the roster is outside of Lee, Ellis, Curry, and Wright. Vlad Radmanovic or Charlie Bell or Acie Law? Starting? Reggie Williams the next best player? It is time for ownership to step up and make moves to improve the roster. This bench is revolting.

  • Playoffbound

    Fire Smart!!!!!!!

  • Kyle

    I hate complaining and I think the Warriors bring a lot of the calls against them on themselves, BUT it does seem like a consistent trend that the Warriors are on the wrong end of the officiating, night in and night out.

  • dubfan

    Is it encouraging in any way that, as noted on last night’s broadcast, that the Warriors have played THE toughest schedule to date in the entire league? And no wonder that they are (not) doing what they are doing presently, which would likely be the case even with a full squad, but they are really hampered right now. No Curry, a half a Lee, no use of Udoh (yet; and who knows if he’ll be any good, although we can hope). Yep, they have holes in the lineup as big as the gash in David Lee’s elbow, but once again the injury curse/nightmare has reared its’ ugly head. I’d still like to see a fully healthy squad playing a 10-20 game stretch against a less than brutal schedule to truly evaluate this team – although who the hell knows if this can or will happen this year.

  • bill

    Hey Monta – You beat him to spots, stole the ball a few times, generally made him look bad at times. Do you expect him to love you? Sure he was PO’ed. You should just smile ’cause you know you got to him. That would piss him off MORE!

  • danikil49

    @#2

    One persons meat is another persons poison.Bring Nellie back , are u kidding. I am enjoying losing a lot more than I have the last two seasons. New ownership, some defense, 4 quality players to start with and no Nellie. I am loving it!!!!

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    @#9

    Some defense? Are you kidding? Our defense is just as bad as it was last year, we’re just playing slower, which in turn has made our offense worse. The lack of aggression from Biedrins on offense has manifested itself on the defensive end now as he isn’t even blocking shots this year.

  • Playoffbound

    #9

    “some defense”

    What defense? Are you kidding me? We are playing at a slower pace so it’s a mirage. We allowed 108 points to the Jazz in a slow tempo game.

    Where is the offense? Once we get down by double digits, there is no coming back. Smart has to go… It doesn’t have to be Nelson, but somebody else. This team is very boring. The fact that he plays Vlad Rad so many minutes should be cause for losing his job.

  • Joe

    Hi Marcus – I have a theoretical question…

    If there is a lockout next year… and the entire season is lost how would the NBA determine the draft order for the 2012 draft? I’m just wondering if they would use this year’s records for 2011 and 2012 draft lotteries?

    If that is a possibility, even a remote one, it would make a lot of sense to start tanking now.

  • Joe

    MT2 rocks…an actual journalist with integrity.

    Kawakami is the worst…..lame speculation, tons of unnamed sources, and doesn’t know what he is talking about. I think he wrote 5 columns last year about how bad and overpaid Ellis is…and another 10 saying that Ellis and Curry can’t play together.

    If anything has been learned this year it is the opposite…Curry and Ellis are worth keeping together. The 3-4-5 spots all need help though. At the least, Warriors need a top 3 lottery pick and and a big trade not involving Ellis or Curry.

    Right now they have the 8th worse record. This season is over – there is no hope for the playoffs – time to start tanking.

  • danikil49

    Please ,don’t even think about bringing Nellie back. let’s just keep moving forward. A new coach and a couple of personnel moves should put us on the right track.

    Oh and by the way, I did say some defense, not a lot. Any defense is better than Nellies’.

  • Andris Biedrins Sucks

    Someone please tell me how in the world Andris Biedrins was scouted? When you are 6″11″ and nobody pays any attention to you on offense …you are bound to get rebounds. His game is probably the worst I have ever seen for what he gets paid. Are you serious. There is no move he has that is a go to move. Anyone can develop a flip hook shot….and he isn’t even good at doing that!!!!!

    I have never seen a ball player not be able to face the basket and shoot the ball squared to the hoop and just shoot it regular style. This is a unbelievable. They guy is a complete joke….and the bobby fizty guy is totally clueless and cant stop praising this worthless ball player. Just trade the guy for anything…he’s useless

  • Joe

    It doesn’t matter who the coach is – this roster doesn’t have anywhere near enough talent to win. Roster is 2 star players away – just like all of the other garbage teams in the league. I just want to see stability at the coaching position – Smart has credibility as a guy who can teach young players.

    Also, it’s Silly to talk about offense or defense as if one is so much more important than the other. They both matter and players that are good on both sides of the ball win. Ellis is the closest thing the team has to a complete player. Everyone else is just a role player – with significant weaknesses, no matter their strengths. Until they fill out the roster with more complete players they are going to keep losing.

  • fans

    fans out there please we can’t tolerate this team anymore. can in and complain and blast the organization on the radio and speak your mind. you don’t deserve paying these tickets and getting a product that is bottom standard. We have to get rid of andris biedrins and play the younger players. why sit players when you still lose. rookies have to play. so what if they are rookies. this team doesn’t build talent and is a complete joke. fans we need to hammer this point home on radio and all over print media so there’s pressure to get rid of andris biedrins and the other useless players. most of all we need to get rid of biedrins. i totally agree with comment 15

  • Bill

    no one expects Ellis to get calls….when he drives there’s a picket fence waiting and he understandably dishes it outside where without curry we have only DWright and Reggie to shoot…and then it’s live by the jump shot die by th ejump shot…..also did anyone really think we had a chance when one of the refs is the famously bigoted anti-Warrior ref Tony Brothers? that guy needs to be sent to another planet….

  • deano

    Dubfan: Thanks for the news about GSW’s tough schedule thusfar. Combined with all of GSW’s injuries, the current record is easier to accept. Regardless, we need to remind ourselves that the Warriors were not going to make the Playoffs this season even if everything broke right for them.

  • dubfan

    @ Deano…yes, probably true about not making the playoffs this year, even under the best of circumstances, however, they could (have been?) a 35-45 win team, under the best of circumstances and this would be reasonable progress, even if it is not good enough to get to the post-season in the very tough Western Conference. Look at the givens, now, in the West. Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Hornets (in a big rebound from last year), Thunder, Nuggets, and Jazz. These are all virtual shoe-ins to win 50+ games this year. Lagging shortly behind are Portland and Phoenix, both of whom will probably win 40+ and even Memphis is playing better as of late. Houston is a bit of a surprise in their fall…It is a brutal conference to be part of, but this makes a near .500 season a good season. Another 25 win campaingn? Ugghh!

  • Garrett

    Call me optimistic or just plain crazy but I think its too early to count us out the playoff picture. Look at the bubble teams ; Portland B.Roy is playing less b/c he’s suffering from a non-recoverable injury and.. Oden’s out. The Suns can score but cant defend and they’re bench is shallow of big men. The Jazz are just as shallow in big men after Fesenko and he’s not even that good. OKC isn’t unbeatable, the warriors almost proved that. Im not counting on a miracle but the warriors are only a trade or two from being a WAY better team. Sacramento, LA CLippers can’t say that. Im eager to see what Riley’s next move is and if it involves some D-League prospects. Carney’s contract isn’t guaranteed so he could be waived for someone better Look , Next season might not happen , and if it does come to that , are you really willing to wait until December 14 2012 to say “we gotta chance this year” ? Get Real

  • NoWayTheDubsMake Playoffs

    19. Garrett….calling yourself optimistic is the understatement of the year. The Warriors are way out of the playoff picture and all the team you listed are WAY more talented than the Warriors…especially Utah and OKC.

    Utah doesn’t have big men after Fesenko? He’s there worst big. Milsap, jefferson, Ak, Okur are better than anyone on the Warriors. They have one of the deeper frontlines in the NBA that I’ve seen in the last 10 years.

    I would swap rosters right now with Sacramento or Clippers right now. If for no other reason than they have young talent and lots of cap space. Warriors don’t have either.

  • DubFan

    You’re crazy…but I hope you’re right!

  • warren

    If they are only going to play the guy 10min then put in that J Lin to see if he can play

  • realism

    I recently heard a caller today comment on warriors backcourt and Biedrins. The afternoon talk show host bob fitzgerald I believe didn’t even let the caller finish what he had to say. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars were on teams that had other tougher players and if he had any basketball knowledge….Joe Dumars is 5x a better defender than monta or curry. Also if he bothered to hear the caller out he probably didn’t want to hear that there is no pressure to guard anyone else but lee who is playing with one arm right now……this is exactly why you can’t pay one person 9million to be absolutely and non scoring threat which means they should never have signed biedrins in the first place…..get a clue talk radio homer announcer