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Another Close Game, Another Choke Job for the Warriors; Lose 104-103 at Memphis

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

MEMPHIS– It seems whenever the Warriors are in a nail biter, the question is not whether they’ll lose, but how. Saturday, a failed block out and an offensive foul secured a 104-103 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies.

Golden State(11-17) has lost three straight. The Warriors now have nine losses after being within a point in the final 90 seconds. If they’d won four of those, they’d be right there in the race for a playoff spot instead of flailing at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson has repeatedly said learning how to win is a process. But this process seems to be taking forever.

“We don’t have a timetable for it,” forward David Lee said, “but certainly that’s been the reason that our record isn’t as good as we want it to be. We’ve lost a lot of close ones. The positive is that we’re not far off. The negative is we’ve let a lot of them slip away and it’s put us in a tough spot.”

The Warriors’ unclutchness wasted an otherwise impressive performance. They fought back from 18 down – Memphis jumped out to a 9-0 lead and led 27-9 late in the first – and wound up controlling the game most of the second half.

Golden State got monster performances from their starting backcourt, as Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for 69 points and 12 assists. Ellis and Curry totaled 61 points their previous three games.

Ellis had nine in the third quarter as Golden State built a 75-64 lead. But when it came time to seal the deal, the Warriors needed the Heimlich.

“It’s the little things,” coach Mark Jackson said. “The little things that either win or lose ball games. … That’s a tough loss.”

Arguably the biggest little thing that cost the Warriors the game came with 5.6 seconds left. With the Warriors up a point, reserve forward Dominic McGuire did a masterful job defending Grizzlies star Rudy Gay, who was forced into a difficult pull-up with McGuire’s hand in his face. Gay — who missed four straight free throws in the final 2:26 – clanked the 14-footer.

But nobody blocked out Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. In one motion, he rebound Gay’s miss and dropped it in with two hands before the Warriors knew what hit them.

“The last line of our defense is securing the basketball. And when it mattered most, we weren’t able to do it. Disappointing. … Tony Allen wanted it. That’s what winners do.”

Warriors forward Dorell Wright got out of position trying to help defend on Gay. That created the opening for the offensive rebound. Of course, both center Andris Biedrins and big man Ekpe Udoh were on the bench for the most critical defensive possession.

“Gay causes so much attention when he pulls up because he’s hit so many game-winners,” Allen said. “I looked at Gay as he shot it and just went around Wright and just got the tip. There wasn’t anything special about it. I was just at the right place at the right time.”

Golden State still had a chance to win. After trying to get the ball to Ellis — who was draped by Allen, forcing the Warriors to call a timeout – the Warriors decided to inbound it to Lee. He was to fake the hand-off to Ellis and drive to the basket, making the Grizzlies play for their defensive aggression on the perimeter.

But Lee was out of control. Though replays show he was added by a one-hand shove from Memphis center Marc Gasol, Lee was called for an offensive foul after crashing into Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. Ball game.

“When I turned, there was three guys waiting on me,” Lee said. “I had to put the ball in the referees hands. I felt like I was tripped from behind and nobody took a square charge on me. But surprise, surprise, that call didn’t go our way.”

All season, Jackson has been juggling and experimenting with lineups and play calling, trying desperately to figure out what works. Unfortunately for the Warriors, nothing has resulted in consistent success.

Is it inexperience? Is it poor strategy? Is it lacking desire or insufficient talent?

“We’ve just got to find a way to get the job done,” guard Nate Robinson said. “It won’t be perfect. … We’ve just got to find a way to win no matter what it is. We’ve just got to want it.”

* Curry broke out of his slump with a season-high tying 36 points on 13-for-31 shooting.

He caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 16 points and knocking down all four of his 3-point attempts.

Prior to Saturday’s game, Curry was in his worst offensive stretch of the season. In the last four games before Memphis, he’d totaled 32 points 15-for-47 shooting (31.9 percent).

Before that slump, Curry hadn’t gone more than two games without scoring at least 20 points. But during those four games, his high was 14.

* The Warriors were outrebounded by 14 and they were doubled-up in points in the paint (Memphis had 44 to the Warriors’ 22). A big reason was the presence of Gasol.

He finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. He was the reason Biedrins fouled out and Udoh flirted with foul trouble.

The Warriors had Tyson Chandler listed as their top priority this offseason, and they followed by going after restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan next. But perhaps the real apple of the Warriors’ eye, according to multiple team sources, was Gasol.

No doubt, Jackson is a big fan.

“He’s one of the top five smartest players in the league,”Jackson said of Gasol.

Golden State never made an offer because, according to one source, they had every reason to believe Memphis would match. So the Warriors never made an offer and Gasol signed a four-year, $58 million contract with Memphis.

The Warriors would have had to jump super high to getMemphisto let Gasol walk. But going that high would’ve required Golden State using the amnesty on Biedrins. One source said that was too risky because if Memphis matched the Warriors would have had no legitimate center on the roster at the time.

 

 

 

Marcus Thompson

  • David Kleinberg

    The Warriors couldn’t amnesty Biedrins because if Memphis matched the Warriors, the Warriors would have no legitimate center.

    Biedrins,legitimate center?

    Last night 18 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 6 fouls
    Season 17 minutes, 2 points, 4.8 rebounds
    $10 million doesn’t buy what it used to. Even the Giants did better with Zito

  • Young

    Just had a thought…

    Trade Monta ellis for ANYONES 1st round pick. This serves 3 purposes.

    1.) keeps this years 1st round pick by having a poor enough record the pick is protected.

    2.) It adds a second 1st round selection, which means another legit talent. I love how Klay and Epeh have developed under Jackson.

    3.) More minutes for Klay. He can start now and learn how to play faster.

    Thoughts?

  • Michael

    The warriors have no legit center with biedrins. Let’s not let Cohan/lacob pretend this decision was anything but a money saving move. Lacob has proven if not the same he is similar to Cohan. Getting rid of Lin and not amnesty for bien…same old same old.

  • Fray

    @Young

    I agree. Keep Curry, its easier to find another scoring guard than it is to find another point guard with as much potential as Curry.

    I wish Klay would get more minutes. Give him some of DWrights minutes. he isn’t scared to drive into the paint and finish (..at least try and finish) at the rim.

    Hate how the Warriors go from winning streak to losing streak. One step forward and three steps back??

  • Niners in 2012

    Too risky to cut Biedrins?? HILARIOUS. What would we ever do without Biedrins? LOL, he sucks so bad. Just terrible. Anybody could duplicate the production he provides, ANYBODY.

  • robert rowell

    I’m not gonna beat the dead ‘legit center’ horse, but you served up a softball there mt2.

    I think ultimately mark jackson needs to start taking heat for this ridiculousness at the end of close games. inexplicable late game rotations, odd use of clock and timeouts, and poor play calling have cost the Ws games. granted, I don’t think they’ve deserved to win a lot of these close games, they certainly should have won more than one of the nine close games they’ve been in.

    let’s get Tropical.

  • dubs

    This team is a joke. I just have one question, does Jackson still think this team is going to the playoffs? Like others have said, Biedrins is only on the team because Lacob didn’t want to eat his contract. Memphis would not have matched the money we offered Jordan plus Biedrins salary on top of that. We wasted the amnesty on Bell, cut Lin to free up only 700k, kept Biedrins as the starting center, hired a coach with zero coaching experience, might as well have Cohan back. Seriously, whats the difference? The ONLY difference is Lacob is accessible to the media.

  • Ron

    Jackson’s bad late game decisions are getting old. Come on coaching strategy is not rocket science. Plus making the same mistakes over and over again does not bode well that he will be a good coach in the future.

  • Yoda

    You have to beat the “legit center” horse, dead or not. Biedrins hasn’t been a legit center for years now. That is one issue that never should have held them back from making an offer.

  • marquee jackson

    This is an interesting article and a funny one at that on some of the points.

    Point 1: Learning to win is a process – Well let’s see, these guys have been in the league for a few years. If you have not learned that now, then you will never learn. My expectation for a $60M payroll is to have some sense of how to win and not make dumb plays at the end of a game. How much more $$ do we have to pay to get common sense out of these knuckle heads.

    Point 2: Dorrel not boxing out because of ….. I have news for you, these knuckleheads do not box out. They are not thinkers nor do they have the aptitude or instinct to box out or have the desire to win.

    Point 3: Amnesting Biedrins means possibly loosing their last legitimate Center. Well if you have been living under a rock and don’t know this by now. We ain’t got no legitimate Center in Biedrins. He ain’t no player and he does not do anything for this team. Any amature like me who’s watch basketball know that this guy does not have any skill. He is tall but thats about it. What a waste of height, money, time, you name it.

  • JM95054

    Biedrins is like a poor man’s version of Chandler. They both need a good pg to set them up. Chandler dunks and Biedrins does his finger rolls. He had his best years with BD at the point. With our current PG rotation, Biedrins is useless. Get us a good pg to drive and you’ll see the Biedrins we all enjoyed during the We Believe season.

  • Dave

    Dork beats Dirk.
    http://tinyurl.com/6o869jk

  • Paul Walton

    How can the Warriors even think they could be a playoff team without a legitimate center & a true point guard. I like Lee but he is more suited for the small forward position, we need a beast at power forward, and a coach with serious experience like Doug Collins at Philly. As I have followed the Warriors throughout the years it seems the top brass just isn’t very basketball savvy no matter who owns the team, it makes being a fan of the org. a challenge.

    By the way the rebound at the end of the game last night, Wright was just standing there watching as the man he should have boxed out, rebounded the ball and put it back in, no excuse for that kind of effort. Rush should be starting over Wright, I can’t believe Jackson doesn’t realize this!

  • Stan

    Yeah-I’ve had that how will they lose this one? feeling for awhile now. Amazing how this team is satisfied to make it a close game…then Curry,Lee and Ellis fade into the wallpaper.
    Like Cohan and Nelson,Lacob has been sure that he has a winner here and what he has is a perpetual also ran. Just watch the former Warriors thriving who were just…let go. He didn’t fit “the core” according to Riley. Core? like of a rotten apple?.. What’s that guys name again?

  • Stan

    Btw-I think Greg Papa just embarasses himself on Lin. Greg represents the past and status quo thinking…its that inside the firm boundrys of the box that permeates the Warriors thinking.
    And why the Warriors have sand kicked in their faces by big teams. Riley’s will to draft and trade for skinny has killed this team. Lin had too muscle for Riley.

  • PhillyJ

    Eff the Warriors.

  • 808HI

    AB and Dorell combine for 2 pts. Wow!

    Memphis starters all had double figure in points.

    AB just dump him all ready.

  • moreaufan2

    Hey we shud trade Curry instead of Monta, he is faster and a better all around player that Curry. Curry doesnt have the foot speed to defend NBA PG’s and is only a shooting threat, he cannot drive to the basket, niether can DOrell Wright, and JAckson is not doing a good, job, we have terrible ball movement and we arent doing what winning teams do, we dont have fun out there consistently.

  • Niners in 2012

    The Warriors are so irrelevant right now it’s depressing. There’s so much good things in the NBA right now and none of it has to do with the Warriors. And a guy we cut, Jeremy Lin is one of the most popular people in the world right now. Letterman, Leno, Saturday Night Live. IS this really happening??? Why do I follow the Warriors anymore??

  • robert rowell

    i know people are down on dorell, but, remember there was a reason that he essentially was a bench warmer his whole career. he’s flawed. he’s not a starter, never was. criticize the W’s management for thinking they could move the 8th guy off the heat’s bench into a starting role on the cheap.

    let’s get Tropical.

  • Gav

    Mr. Lacob,

    I am going to point out something your trained monkeys cannot and has been screweing you over with Udoh and Lin.
    From last night

    Curry started BALLING right when Monta was taken out.

    For the game Curry is a -7 while Monta -18.
    Klay replaced Monta and played with Curry and is a 9.

    It cannot get more obvious than this.

    That just proves again that Monta holds Curry back, in fact Monta holds everybody back.

    And Watching Lin vs the Mavs,

    There is no doubt in my mind, the Warriors didn’t give away a backup rotation guard in Lin, they gave away a Steve Nash.

    If you don’t hold the guy accountable who pushed you to do that, your leadership is in question not only in your organization but the Fans all over the Bay Area.

  • laup123

    Biedrinsanity: (n) The failure to amnesty Biedrins and cut Jeremy Lin resulting in one of the Top 5 disasters of a franchise, leaving indefinite despondency among fans who will soon begin to lose their loyalty.

  • Dave

    Knicks talking title after Lin leads them to win over Mavericks. Warriors talking lottery after Curry and Biedrins leads them to another loss.

  • Dave

    Knicks talking title after Lin leads them to win over Mavericks. Warriors talking lottery after Curry and Biedrins leads them to another loss…

  • moreaufan2

    If ur a Monta hater ur a sucker!. He is dong what he is told to do, go out and score, not facilitate! if they tell him to facilitate he can do that
    . plus its not about scoring, Curry cant defend anyone period

  • JM95054

    D Wright is a role player. He needs a PG to create a shot for him at the 3 point line. Look at a guy like Novak and he is making a killing in his role. We need a pg that can create for our team. If only Monta was willing to distribute and set up Curry and D. Wright.

  • AQ

    curry and dorell wright don’t move well off the ball neither do they penetrate. It’s time to start the rebuild process. The only person that consistently gets open off the ball is Lee. Lee and Ellis work great together. Other than that dorell is useless. As # 18 said wright is flawed and should not be a starter. It’s time to start making some trades and rebuild through the draft.

  • Dave

    Lin was reduced to tears last year under Smart.

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/jansing-and-co/46454454/#46454454

  • Grey Warden

    #19

    Hey Gav, where was Curry when Ellis was sitting the entire 4th quarter in the Portland game?

  • deano

    Curry, Ellis and Lee are providing GSW with almost all the offense. Fine. Add Udoh and McGuire for defense, and we might win some of these close games.

    At the end of the Memphis game, Rudy Gay made a series of incredible shots. On the Warriors’ last defensive possession, with GSW up by one, Jackson put McGuire into the game. He covered Gay so well that Gay had to put up an awkward clunker; but D Wright froze and did not block out. We lose, again.

    McGuire should have been in the game for the last three minutes, at least. He is athletic enough to play SF; and he’s and big and strong enough to provide the Warriors with a physical advantage at one position at least. Jackson has called him the team’s best defender. SO USE HIM.

  • dan

    Lin can drive and dish even though he is not exceptionally fast but with a quick first step and some twisting of his body, Lin can get to the basket and score inside. Lin can also dribble and drive with both hands. Watch videos of him driving left and right.

    Curry can’t do that and that’s the real problem. Westbrook can get the basket. Durant did it last night several times.

    Lin has better court vision and ball handling skills too. Teams are already double-teaming Lin. Do you think teams will double-team Curry anytime soon ?

    Curry is an undersized SG who can handle a little bit but asking him to be the lead dog is a FAIL. EPIC FAIL.

    We had these discusssions before when AR, BW, JRich, Murg, Dunleavy were here. Overvauling your own players will kill you. Lacob thought he could build around Curry, Ellis and Lee. Wrong.

  • Stan

    Yeah,I like that hesitation first step Lin does-then shows all his quickness.
    Lin in the offseason hired a coach to work on his game. Can you imagine Curry or Ellis or Beidrens working all off season with a coach to improve their games and weakness’s? Beidrens wont even try to improve his free throws..Monta doesnt take any risks getting to a rebound..on and on..

  • Dave

    If you can’t make 70% of your free throws, you shouldn’t be in the NBA. 70% is a low C average. Bedrins is shooting 20%. He is 1 out of 5 for the year.

  • gizzm

    pffft W’s could have had Gasol but they drafted Stephen Lasme instead. hahahahah

  • JM95054

    Lin is def not backing down from D. Williams tonite. And BDavis doing what he does best…chucked a 3 pointer on his first possession.

  • Jesse

    Mark Jackson is eerily similar to Mike Singletary. How many ways did Sing find ways to lose close games and the Warriors are doing the exact same thing. Jackson even talks like him. If there is a Harbaugh out there for the Warriors, they need to find him fast.

  • Young

    Question was / is, who’s better?

  • moreaufan2

    Jesse I have to totally agree with u on that. Man that is so true! His approach was wrong, when I went to the open practice it seemed like he was trying to make fun of his guys by saying they didnt know what defense was, that is not coaching!I wish we had kept Keith Smart, he knew how to get his guys to play hard for him. And he worked his lineup well.