Andris Biedrins is getting frustrated with the lack of progress in his left ankle, which has forced him out of the last six games, including Wednesday’s game at Atlanta. Like David Lee and Stephen Curry before him, Biedrins is stuck battling against his desire to play and his need to be healthy.
His ankle is still swollen and painful. He hasn’t been able to do anything on it, as of Tuesday. Before the team’s flight Tuesday, Biedrins received his second PRP shot — an injection of concentrated platelets, cell fragments, to aid in his ankles recover. He is supposed to sit out for 48 hours after the shot, so he can’t test his ankle again until Thursday. Unless he sees drastic improvement on Thursday, enough to practice, I wouldn’t expect him in Friday’s game at Charlotte, either.
BIEDRINS: “I know it’s nothing major. It’s an ankle. But still. I mean, I want to play all the time. I missed so much last year. Now this injury is taking a little bit longer than we thought. It’s just frustrating.”
Biedrins did say the home stretch in January and February — 18 of 22 at Oracle — are of utmost importance and he wants to be healthy for that stretch. Biedrins said he even considered missing this road trip if it means ensuring he’s healthy for that stretch. He said he won’t play until he do something on it. Then he has to worry about conditioning.
The wise thing might be to come back this road trip, because his first couple games will be assuredly be rusty. He can try to knock that off on the end of this road trip. But first, his ankle must show some progress.
BIEDRINS: “January and February, we have so many home games. I’m not rushing things. We haven’t set any date for me to come back, whether it’s going to be on this road trip or not. I’ll make sure it is totally healthy. I’d rather be 100 percent for all those home games coming up because that’s the most important push of the season. We have to really take care of the next month and a half.”
With Biedrins out, as well as back-up center Dan Gadzuric out with a strained left groin, Smart has gone frequently to the smaller lineup, with David Lee at center. Lou Amundson has started games, but Smart seems to be in love with Lee at center and Vlad at power forward.
But Smart said it is a product of necessity and not a change of philosophy. Though Lee played center in New York, Smart wants a traditional lineup, Lee at power forward and a true center. He contends rebounding is the most important thing for their defense and he doesn’t want to sacrifice that for a smaller and more offensively skilled lineup.
However, Smart did say he is more comfortable now with using that lineup for specific situations (like when the other team goes small). He said he didn’t think that lineup worked well early, but the success they’ve had has shown him he can use that lineup when necessary – which it is now, with Biedrins and Gadzuric out.
SMART: “It’s a long game, so you may have match-ups within the game where he’s playing a little bit of five. But no matter how you cut it, he has to learn how to be a four man playing against fours, and we have to keep our centers there. Because there will be times where you won’t be able to (play him at center). You’ll have to have a big matched up with another big.”
Wednesday night’s game might’ve been a good example of that. The Hawks’ bigs dominated inside and David Lee definitely looked at a disadvantage against Al Horford. The Warriors only lost the rebounding battle by one, because Lee and Amundson did compete on the boards, and Dorell Wright’s dominance of Marvin Williams helped out, too. But Horford and Josh Smith got whatever they wanted. (Of course, if Andris had started, Lee would have had to defend Josh Smith, which is probably a worse match-up.)
The obvious answer is to use Udoh more. But Smart sat him the entire second half. He said he thought Udoh looked a step slow and wasn’t ready for the experience of the Hawks bigs.
Curry was done after the game. He looked completely exhausted and said he felt like throwing up. It seemed Smart felt the same way after watching Curry play, because he kept yanking him from the game and sitting him or long periods.
In addition to being out of shape after sitting for two weeks with a sprained right ankle, Curry had to deal with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday. He labored through 29 minutes and at times was visibly gasping for air. (Still, it seemed he sat for too long some times, as the Warriors were in desperate need of some offensive flow. Curry had 12 assists in 29 minutes.) On top of that, he committed three turnovers — all a result of being casual with the rock — kept leaving Mike Bibby open. (Not all of that was Curry’s fault, as a few times he was doubling down on Horford and was forced to run out to contest the 3 even though someone should have rotated over to cover for him).
CURRY: “It’s the first time I tried to play sick in a while. Especially missing six games before, I was already a little bit out of shape. That put me back a little bit. But I tried to fight through it … It was just tough trying to get going with my body feeling the way it did.”
Part of the reason Monta Ellis had a hard time on offense was because he had to work hard defending a bigger, stronger two guard in Joe Johnson. He posted Ellis, ran Ellis off screens and just made Ellis work. Johnson finished with 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting with 8 assists. Ellis mostly settled for jumpers on offense, going 4-for-13 from the field. Of Ellis’ 13 shots, 11 were from 15 feet or further. He took just four shots in the second half. And he wasn’t getting to the line either, making just 2 of 2 from the stripe.
Someone is really happy about Dorell Wright’s performance Wednesday. His name is Jim Barnett.
I watched the Warriors’ game vs. Philly while I packed for the road trip and the Warriors’ TV analyst constantly talked about how Wright needs to get to the basket more and get to the FT line more. He said Wright never uses his pump fake to get to the basket, instead wastes it with extra dribbles, trying to draw a foul, or by following it with a tough jumper.
Well, Wednesday, Wright got going by getting into the middle of the Hawks defense, and even to the basket. Only four of his 13 made baskets were from 3-point range. Wright did his damage by attacking – off the dribble, off screens and, yes, using his pump fake. The result was a career high and his second consecutive game with at least 20 points, the first time in his career he’s done that.
WRIGHT: “I’m trying to change everything. I don’t want to be a spot-up shooter because I have so much more I can offer to this team. I think I need to use that a little more, and the past few games I’ve been doing that.”
As nasally as can be, Curry was singing a song by Diddy Dirty Money.
CURRY: “I’m coming home. I’m coming home. Tell the world I’m coming home. How that song go?”
Curry has big plans for his second trip as a pro to his hometown of Charlotte. Of course, he’ll be stopping at Chik-Fil-A. But he’ll also be checking out his Davidson Wildcats.
When asked who they played, Curry laughed before answering.
CURRY: “Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.”
One more question, Mr. Curry. You listen to Diddy Dirty Money????
CURRY: “I was flipping channels and I stopped for a second on BET and that song was playing.”