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Game 56 Rewind: A grab bag of thoughts following a critical victory over the Nets

Good to be back with the Warriors, if only for a game, subbing for Diamond, as he gets an early jump on the six-game road trip. It may be my last fill-in assignment for awhile, as by the time they get back from this trip, I’ll be off to spring training for 12 days. But I’ll get some GSW down the stretch, and hopefully in the playoffs as well.

There were so many things to ponder following Saturday night’s 93-86 win over Brooklyn (I managed to cover two Nets games without calling them “New Jersey”), I’m going to go “darting here and there” on the blog tonight, just a bunch of quick hits on things that merit mention.

–Kevin Garnett wants a blood transfusion from Jermaine O’Neal. Awesome Garnett quote after the game following O’Neal’s 23-point, 13-rebound performance: “I haven’t seen J.O. play like that since Indiana. I’m glad he found the Fountain of Youth.”

–Without question, O’Neal was fabulous, but to score like he did, he got a lot of great feeds down low from Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Blake. I framed a question to O’Neal after the game in that context and he was understandably appreciative. He said many of his baskets came in the wake of setting screens, just going to an open spot, and guys finding him open. A few times during the game on plays he made, I told those sitting around me, “Toney Douglas doesn’t make that pass.”

–A lot of people will call Curry’s huge banked 3-pointer with 37.2 seconds left lucky. He didn’t, and I wouldn’t. As he noted, he had proper balance and a solid follow-through, and said his momentum was simply carrying him left when he let the shot fly. Great shooters make their own luck.

–The Warriors are 12 games over .500 for the first time this season. Just going .500 over the final 26 games would give them 47 wins. That might not be enough in the crazy Western Conference. But if they go 16-10, they win 50. That’s definitely doable.

–David Lee must have spent some time in the hospital, or perhaps just an emergency room, after missing the game with the stomach flu. He posted this Instagram photo after the Warriors’ win, congratulating O’Neal and Draymond Green on their big performances. He’s really sucking the fluid out of that I.V. http://instagram.com/p/kv26V1EwOZ/

–Even though he had trouble defending Deron Williams, Steve Blake’s second game as a Warrior was better than his first. He made a couple of big 3-pointers down the stretch, and also had five assists, including some timely feeds to both O’Neal and Green. If Blake’s efforts result in just three wins over the final 26, it could be the difference in making the playoffs and not. I would contend his effort against the Nets counts as the first.

–You wonder what Green could do if he played 30-35 minutes a game. He was a somewhat ugly 5 for 16 shooting, but he had 10 rebounds, 3 steals and was part of the key deflection in the final minute that salted the game away. He’s had issues at the free throw line this year, but went 8 for 10 on this night and in the final three minutes, 6 for 6. The guy’s just a winner, pure and simple.

–Marreese Speights didn’t play in the second half. If you saw the first half, you know why. Pretty much awful. Jordan Crawford wasn’t much better, going playground and shooting 2 for 10. The bench was outscored 30-15 in the game, and Harrison Barnes was also a non-factor save one monster dunk. Hopefully on this road trip he develops some rapport with Blake when the subs come in.

–In two games against the Warriors, Andray Blatche has looked something akin to an All-Star.

–Iguodala won’t get much run what with O’Neal and Green grabbing the spotlight, but he was pretty special on this night — eight points, eight assists, 11 rebounds, four steals. This is what the Warriors paid all those millions for, and he also played 44 minutes. If he plays like this down the stretch, 16-10 to get to 50 wins won’t be a problem.

–Green noted it was special getting this win against a team that has three future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce, Garnett and Joe Johnson. He threw in “and maybe Kirilenko.” Sorry, Draymond. Maybe Deron Williams, but not Kirilenko.

–Curry, who went into the All-Star Break averaging more than four turnovers a game — worst in the NBA — has four turnovers in three games since the break — 0 against Sacto, 2 against Houston, 2 against the Nets. He said during the morning shootaround he’s analyzed where he’s making most of his turnovers — he’s trying not to make a play before it develops and he’s not leaving his feet when he passes. It seems to be working.

–You want to know why the Warriors want to move to San Francisco, you only had to be at the Coliseum grounds Saturday night. A monster truck jam was held at the stadium, and most of that one-time crowd arrived before the Warriors fans who show up every game. Hence, a lot of Warriors fans got shut out on parking spaces, and the lower bowl of the arena was filled with empties throughout the first half and it only got slightly better in the second half. So why couldn’t they have scheduled the truck jam for Friday night? If I’m Joe Lacob, I’m raising holy hell.

–Well, I could go on and on, as I am wont to do following an exciting, important win in any sport. And what the Warriors achieved Saturday night definitely was. Curry said afterward the Warriors simply can’t throw away any more home games, hence the Houston/New Jersey double was huge for the team’s position and confidence heading into this six-game trip. If they handle this upcoming six-gamer like the last seven-gamer (6-1), they’ll be in the clover for the playoffs. A 4-2 roadie would be great, 3-3 just fine. After this trip, the Warriors will have 13 home games left, just 7 on the road.

And speaking of the road, time to hit it. Pleasure serving you.

Twitter: @stewardsfolly

Carl Steward

  • Incredible

    Great stuff. Thanks.

  • Stan

    Hey Carl,didn’t Curry’s banker remind you of those great 70′s UCLA teams? Wooden made his players use the backboard because those shots not only are hard to block because of the arc,but they also result in offensive rebounds if they missed. Walton was all over them.
    Isn’t anything taught nowadays? No backboards,no weaves,no sky hooks. Just dunk and jumpshoot.

  • Stan

    Bibby,Meyers,Wilks..all used the backboard…good old days.

  • Commish

    My goodness, how could you use the Monster Truck whatever as a reason to support the Warriors move to SF, which personally I hope will never happen. My goodness, in the last two years our tickets have jumped 40%. Can you begin to imagine the cost after the move (which in case you missed it, I despise the thought of). Parking for 1000 million or billionaires. Ticket prices through the roof. I couldn’t get into the game and after two hours went home, but never in my wildest dreams would I ever use that as a reason to want the Warriors to move to SF. That is truly one of the strangest leaps of “logic” I’ve ever read.

  • Howard Benner

    That was one of the original complaints from day one; the quintessential real estate cliche “location, location, location” will become “new venue, new venue, new venue” &, ultimately “a Wariors game is now reserved for lifestyles of the rich & famous. . .don’t see it not happening, though. . .

  • Howard Benner

    While perusing the stat sheet Bazemore has gone for 32 points in two games, playing @ the SG position.

    However, just look @ what Blake has done for Crawford & Barnes; they both are just getting to their spots & Blake delivers the ball. When Lee returns & Bogut kicks the rust off the bench should contribute even more as O’Neil, who is the true warrrior on this team exploits bench ‘bigs. . .Blake & O’Neil are the new heart of this team & along with Green as the “glue guy” perhaps the missing links of this team; mental toughness & professionalism; will continue to carry this team.

    The trade for Blake, O’Neil displaying his toughness every day, Green’s all around tenacity & Crawford losing the propensity for “playground play” might have given the W’s what they sorely needed; a heart transplant & a bench presence. With nine players performing within their assigned roles & hopefully bringing a defensive effort each & every night perhaps the Warriors can retain the lost luster from last season’s playoff run. . .

    But let’s see how they play in Chicago, New York & Toronto. . .

  • Commish

    Not sure what you mean by “don’t see it not happening, though”. Do you mean you think it will not happen? I don’t think it will due to the enormous obstacles. But what I do know is we, the fans, will be financing it to its conclusion with ticket price increases that we can either take or leave. It really sucks imho.

  • Howard Benner

    I see relocation as a certainty, despite the obstacles. . .that is true but that is how new stadiums, ballparks & arenas are financed.

    I live in Seattle & when initiatives for the new ballpark for the (Sub) Mariners & Seahawks were proposed on the state level they were resoundingly voted down.

    However, the county took the lead & through user taxes, hotel & rental car taxes & county muni bonds they paid off the extinct Kingdome & built their new venues. Only a handful of all major league sports teams (led by the Giants) have built privately funded venues. . .

  • Commish

    I hope you are wrong but my wife and I are older and by 2018 who knows? Who knows if we can afford another 40-50% jump in prices with no recourse other than take it or leave it options. Maybe we will take on partners and figure out how to go to five games a year rather than 35. But enough about us. LOL. I’m more curious if Lacob with his lust for nothing but the best will keep Jackson around next year or upgrade. I know a lot will depend on if we make the playoffs and if so how far we will go. I’ve concluded rightly or wrongly we need an upgrade. How about you?

  • Howard Benner

    I totally agree. Jackson seems to “stay the course” in his assessments of his team, but this insistance that they are a defensive team? To me that’s kind of disingenuous. . .the fact they brood too much, are immature, don’t display enough heart. don’t come to play every night. . .no heart. . .this is a direct reflection of the coach. . .

    Then I see Jeff Hornecek of the Phoenix Suns & how they are underachieving to success. His team “buys into” his approach & accompanying systems. He doesn’t have to “preach to the press” or engage in propaganda. He is a former player, just like Jackson. The Suns are far less talented than the W’s. . .they are a young team. . .so, yes, I think this team needs a new HC. . .I’ve maintained that for quite a while. . .too bad Mike Malone is the HC in Sacramento. . .