re*sil*ient (adj): springing back; rebounding
The Warriors were resilient tonight. They were down after the first quarter but fought back to take the lead in the 2nd quarter. In fact, they played the whole 2nd quarter without Baron. But then, the Clippers finished the 2nd quarter on an 18-8 run to take a 9 point lead into the half. A strong 3rd quarter start put the Clips up 23 and things seemed doomed right there. Again, the Warriors resiliency got them back into the game which came down to the last 3 minutes.
Monta just knows how to get to the rim.
Monta had a nice game, but got blocked a few times on layups and his careless turnovers are getting annoying. But he, Baron, and Kabuki were the reasons the Warriors were even remotely close. He poured in 28 points, collected 7 boards, and handed out 7 assists. He's still such a joy to watch because he seems to move so amazingly quick. One moment he's on the perimeter and the next he's spinning through 3 defenders and laying the ball off the board and into the rim. I'm not sure what his role will be with the new players coming on board, but I really hope it doesn't diminish that much. He's growing so much right now and is such a dynamic player, that a significant drop in PT and ball handling is going to hurt him. I don't think Nellie will let that happen.
Barnes had a really rough night. 2-15, 13%. Yikes. He had open looks, but just couldn't knock down the shots. It's hard to not blame him for the loss tonight because if he had shot the ball just a little better, this game has a completely different outcome. But his trademark D and hustle was there tonight. The 13 boards were awesome and a sign that he's not going to let his poor shooting affect the rest of his game. I'm looking for a big bounce back game from him on Saturday.
Baron was his usual self tonight dropping in 23 points to go with 8 boards and 8 assists. We saw POB get 10 minutes of action and he didn't disappoint. I wasn't expecting much but he had a nice dish to Ronald Major, a nice block and got to the line. Maybe the NBDL stint wasn't so bad. We also got a chance to see the newest NBDL signee, Ronald Major. He didn't shoot particularly well and seemed a little out of place, but I'll attribute that to first game jitters.
Looking at the boxscore, here's what was crazy. The Clippers got hardly any help from their bench except for Maggette. The 4 Clipper starters each had 20 points or more. ET had 23 points and 13 assists, Mobley with 20, Quinton Ross with 24. Then there was Elton Brand. He had an amazing tonight with a super efficient 27 points on 11-13 shooting. Nobody could contain him.
"All day baby, all day"
What's more is that when you look at the boxscore there was really only 2 categories that stick out, FG% and assists. Every single other category was pretty much the same, even rebounds. First, the Clippers shot nearly 7% better than the Warriors and had 4 more made field goals, the difference between the Warriors winning and the Warriors losing. The assist difference was ridiculous. A paltry 19 assists for the Warriors and a whopping 37 for the Clippers. They had nearly double the amount of assists! When you get those easy buckets and open jumpers, you're going to shoot a better percentage.
Then, during crunch time with the Warriors down 6 and about 3:00 to go, the Warriors had 4 straight possessions to cut the lead, but did not convert on any of them. The Clippers' excellent defense on each of the Warriors' possessions prevented what could have been an upset. Here's how each of those possessions went:
- Barnes missed a layup
- Baron stripped by Quinton Ross
- Baron stripped by Quinton Ross again
- Monta layup blocked by Brand
Combine the huge disparity in assists and a significant difference in FG% with the 4 wasted possessions, and you have a hard to swallow loss. The Warriors could have won this game as they kept bouncing back and were resilient all night. It was just the last 3 minutes that really made the difference. The experienced vets for the Clippers, Cassell and Brand, made a big difference.
But the Warriors will be back closer to full strength on Saturday when the Cleveland LeBron's come to town. The big trade will be complete and the newest Warriors will be in Oakland where they hopefully get a huge ovation. If you're going to the game, show them some love on Saturday and how great us Warrior fans are.
Warrior Wonder: Kelenna Azubuike. I predicted he'd have a career game and he sure did. His 28 points and 7 boards kept the Warriors in the game. We expect buckets and more buckets from Baron and Monta, but for 28 points with 4 three balls to come from an NBDL player is huge. So, Kabuki gets his first Warrior Wonder.
Caveman can't block my shot!