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Hold the Phone … Are the Warriors Playing Defense Now?

Warriors forward Dorell Wright, after swatting New Orleans big man DJ Mbenga’s layup, stood there and stared, a scowl on his face. He said he was looking to see how far the ball went.
It was the perfect cap to a third quarter in which the Warriors really established their defense. Yes, you read that right. The Warriors established their defense.

The Hornets had just 18 points in the fourth quarter. They missed 14 of 22 shots and turned the ball over five times. They got just three free throw attempts. The only thing that kept it from being worse was New Orleans’ six offensive rebounds in the quarter, which turned into eight points.
All in all, it was another solid defensive effort for the Warriors. Yes, you read that right. Another solid defensive effort. Golden State held the Hornets to 34-for-75 shooting (45.3 percent), that’s even more impressive considering New Orleans shot 64.7 percent in the first quarter.
The Warriors held the Hornets to 35.7 percent shooting in the second half, including 1-for-6 from 3-point range. Chris Paul went scoreless on three shots after halftime. Granted, he played just under two minutes in the fourth quarter, and forward David West didn’t play at all. But that was largely because the Warriors had the game under control.
That’s two consecutive games the Warriors’ defense controlled the game. Oklahoma City was held to 59 shots after coughing up the ball 20 times and being killed on the boards.
The Warriors have now held five of their last eight opponents below 100 points.
Granted, the Hornets did play without starting center Emeka Okafor, who is hurt. It’s not like he is a huge presence on offense, but he’s better than Aaron Gray and Jason Smith. So that helped the Warriors some.
And, granted, the five times they held opponents under 100 were at home (the two times they gave up triple digits was against Phoenix, and one to Denver). The Warriors don’t have many home games the rest of the way.
And, granted, two of the opponents they held under 100 were Milwaukee, a poor offensive team, and a Utah squad without star point guard Deron Williams. But, with that said, is it safe to say all that defensive talk by Keith Smart is starting to pay off?

Marcus Thompson

  • wg

    also, new orleans has been in a tailspin; and okc was on the back half of a back-to-back.

  • W’s in 2010

    It started with the bench, those guys came off the bench and gave us nice defensive energy. Charlie Bell was really getting after it. Defense gets contagious, starters came back in and played very well.

  • http://cctimes Judge Wapner

    WG:

    Stop hating. The W’s are playing hard. Give them some credit for doing the things that nobody thinks they’re able or willing to do!

    They may be catching some of these teams without a key player.. but the W’s are beating good teams. And they’re beating them with defense and rebounding. I never thought I’d see the day..

    Imagine how box scores would look if the W’s ever got any respect from the referees.. How many more points would they score if they got to the line? How many less would they give up if they didn’t get whistled for every attempt at a block or steal?

    In their game against OKC, the free throw differential was ridiculous. With 2 minutes to go in the 4th Q, the Warriors had attempted 7 free throws. OKC had taken 27.

    And we STILL won.

    Go W’s. Keep playing hard. Keep making these haters crazy. These guys are a real team, and they’re exciting to watch. 10 games better than last year, 4 games under .500. Not bad for a bunch of scrubs.

    ECJ

  • Ron

    Concur with the Judge. Defense has been greatly improved of late. Remember it was an after thought for years. Go W’s!

  • Gizzm

    the Warriors actually won a game officiated by that horrible Violet Palmer. How she is still in the league is beyond me, and she definately is a Warrior and Monta hater!

  • One NIght Stan

    So let me get this straight…..

    Anytime someone is the least bit critical, or mentions a point or fact that isn’t 100% supportive of the team and/or organization….they are a hater? Right? I’m just trying to clear this up…thinking my dad might be a “hater”. Might have to disown him if it is so.

  • GSW Truth

    Also, all of the wins occured during astronomical events known to effect the will of all non-wariors, in turn enhancing the play of those in a warriors uniform. Also, Chris Paul has been depressed lately because of a fight with his mother. And someone has been sleeping with Durant’s girl so he has not been able to focus…

  • Grey Warden

    Wg is probably Tim Kawakami in disguise.

  • Mike Aucksbigg

    Nice work, Judge Wapner. Great response.

    Gizzum, I thought I was the only one who noticed how bad Violet Palmer is (at least she is against the Warriors). Ronnie Garretson (sp?) also seems to have something against the Dubs. Every time I see either one of em I know we’re going to get screwed. Heck, we even know these refs by name…that’s how much they screw us over.

  • Kyle

    I’m not ready to make any grand statements about this team has changed or become more defensive-minded, but these last few games (with Phx being ENORMOUS exceptions) have really felt different in a good way. We’ll see if the team can build on this.

  • Bucky

    glad to see the warriors play defense. Hopefully, this will inspire the starters (yeah you Monta and Steph) to play defense too

  • btmn

    -the bench played very well pouring in 30+ points (i believe)
    -they played d with intensity and our moral went up.
    -the crowd got into it.
    -THANK YOU UDOH! (7 boards off the bench; beans and lee had 9 combined)
    -monta has it tough guarding the bigger man every night, but does below average-average (sometimes well)
    -stephs defense has sucked all year but is getting better (i have to keep reminding myself he is only a sophmore)

    im excited when i think of what we can do with a good big man and a back up 3. but for now we are being competitive :)

  • deano

    GSW’s improvement this season in defense, rebounding, and (bottom line) wins is substatially due to Larry Riley’s roser moves last summer and Keith Smart’s coaching. Riley and Smart get flogged in the blogs, but I think that they are both doing a good job. What’s not to like about a 50% increase in wins over this time last season?

  • dubfan

    Numbers do not lie (right?). The Dubs are 16-11 since having a complete lineup of their standard starting 5. And they likely would have won 5-6 more games with a healthy David Lee all year (the 10 that he missed plus the next 10 when he was half a player). This is a pace that extrapolates over a full season to 48 wins. This is a playoff team when healthy. Do they still need help, and especially at the center position? No question, however, Udoh is starting to give them consistent quality defensive minutes, Dorell is getting better and better, Curry is starting to take that leap upward (just as he did the latter half of last season), David Lee is being his everyday 17/10 and knocking down shots with consistency, and Monta is still Monta (and this is good! Some have said that Monta has already reached his ceiling (where others have not)…well, if this is true, I’ll take it – this is a high ceiling!

  • haastheman

    good to see this team play good ball in the second half. When this team is healthy, we can play. It helps that NO was without Oakafor, and OKC is a young team, they will have ups and downs. This team needs to start the game with purpose. The first quarters are killers. Right now Williams is the only consisten presence we have off the bench, but if Udoh and one of the other guards can give us CONSISTENT production off the bench we could challenge for an 8th spot. It would be nice to make a trade to bring in a three with some of our expiring contracts and have Wright come off the bench, or have the trade acquisition come off the bench. Wright needs to work on his off the drible game a little more, it seems like once a player concentrates on his three ball, that’s all he does. Defenses are really starting to shut off those open looks and he’s got to be able to put the ball on the floor.
    Things are looking up for bay area sports. This warriors team has a bit of a SF Giants feel to them. Torture all over again.

  • Pingback: Bench + Defense = Warriors Victory? « Balls Out

  • deano

    Dubfan: I agree with all you say. A better center is all we need. Personally, I am hoping for a Camby for Beidrins trade in the next eight days. Beans could help Portland get into the playoffs, maybe get them a higher seeding. Camby is hurt, and old, but he only has one more year on his contract; and when does get healthy, he will be more of a defensive presence than Beans.

  • Don

    Sometimes we bloggers expect the Dubs to be a t championship caliber. WE are not there yhet. But we are getting better. That is why patience makes sense. What I don’t want to do is trade a valuable asset unless we are going to get significantly better. I would rather add pieces then replace. Let’s have a strong team with a food bench that wins 45-50 games then add a big piece to get us over the top. we need to establish a winning heritage here first. That gets FA’s to want to come here. They do not want to come here now, but if we have a winning atmosphere, and great fans plus one of the most beautiful places on earth, they will come! Lacob is nothing more than a big fan like us, with a ton of dough. A bold move is great as long as it is seriously additive and not just a move to shut up the naysayers Let’s be smart about this.

  • warriorJon

    Still worried about Smart’s game adjustments and substitutions.JLin owned earlwatson last night, got pulled then never put back in.missed on taking advantage of confidence building with young promising player.if smart wasnt forced to use the bench 2 games ago,i dont think he’ll have the confidence in them that he has now.more JLin, Udoh and BWright minutes!!!!!

  • PJ

    big ups to Marcus Thompson for being an articulate, kick ass journalist, for many years now.

  • danikil49

    Let us also remember that the Dubs were without David Lee for several games. So when we say that the Dubs won because a certain player was missing, we should keep in mind that it works both ways. Defense, Udoh and a maturing Dorell Wright is manna from heaven. Go Dubs.

  • dubfan

    Agreed…there is no sympathy whatsoever for any team the Warriors ever play for their “poor missing players”…teams throughout the league have been feasting on the Warriors short-handed squads for the better part of the past 2 years.

  • AirplaneRider

    Short answer, NO.

    As long as they have Monta, Curry and Lee we will be one of the worst defensive teams in the league.