And here we are.
This off-season Warriors fans rejoiced as Don Nelson returned to the bay. With the coming of Nellie came a new hope. A hope of a team that would develop an inside presence. A hope of a team with an improved free throw percentage. A hope of a team that would harness the dormant potential of players like Mike Dunleavy.
Now I'm not saying these hopes are dead, but tonight we just saw same old Warriors.
Yep. You've got your work cut out for you man.
I want to say that I'm more worried than upset at tonight's performance. Even though it is just one game, it awakens the fear within that the Warriors' problem stems from the inability of this squad to play together as a team. Every Warriors possession seemed to result in a one on one scenario, while every Lakers possession seemed to come from an effortless dish or an offensive rebound that was all too easy to get. And seriously... who the hell is Ronny Turiaf?! I mean, aside from the guy that dropped 9 boards, 3 dimes, 2 jacks, 2 swats, and 23 points on us. That's just embarrassing man.
Last season we were a team that was plagued with excessive (not to mention horrendous) 3 point shooting. Tonight, our collective 3 for 19 shooting from beyond the arc served as a sickening nostalgia. Combine that with some FUGLY shots from the key tonight and you will see that we wasted a LOT of possessions tonight. I can't believe how many missed layups we were forced to endure!
During the game the announcers told us of a new regimen that Nellie has included in practice; players shooting 100 free throws each. After tonight's performance, I had to question how strict this exercise actually was. I'll admit, it took a little sleuthing but I did manage to get a snapshot of the Warriors practicing more free throws after tonight's game.
Dunleavy going 100 for 100.
Needless to say, I'm sure it was a lot more difficult for them on a real 10-footer tonight. But hell, I'm sure they'll get the hang of it!
Yes. There were some positives tonight. Beidrins with only 3 fouls?! Is that a fluke or has he actually learned to defend in this league? If the latter is true, we might see some big things from him this year. T-Double was par for the course with his 13 boards and 11 points. One can only hope that his three blown layups in the first quarter was simply a result of opening night jitters.
Overall, it was a disappointing night for all Warriors fans, but we cannot hang our heads to low. There are 81 more games to go this season and I refuse to believe that our coaching change will have no effect. Nellie is a solid coach with a strong track record, but he's not a miracle worker. It would be truly na?ve of us to assume that he would have completely flipped this team around in the off season.
I guess we were all hoping for just a little more change than this...
Warrior Wonder: My love affair with Monta Ellis continues. How many Red Bulls does this kid drink before each game?! Despite his ridiculous speed and relative inexperience in the league, he always manages to stay controlled when he has possession. He left us last season wanting more, and tonight showed us that he's got plenty more in his bag of tricks. Keep an eye on him... if you can keep up.