This might be the toughest loss of the season so far for the Warriors. Not because so many things went wrong, but because so many things went right.
So close, but not close enough.
What went right:
- For the most part the Warriors played a very entertaining brand of hoops tonight featuring some very active defense which led to some exciting buckets in transition. They picked the Lakers 18 times and rejected 6 of their shots. Credit BD (5), Andris Biedrins (5), Mickael Pietrus (3), Al Harrington (3), Stephen Jackson (1) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1) for the interceptions. This is the second game in a row where we've seen the Warriors force so many turnovers at a stunning rate. If they keep this up, in the long run they'll run a lot of teams out of the building. For the first time in several years we can finally say this team is athletic.
- Everyone out there was trying hard on both sides of the ball. That's something that we haven't been able to say much this season. Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, and even Josh Powell are major upgrades defensively over those two softies the Warriors sent to Indy. Ain't nuthin' Charmin soft about the Warriors' D tonight.
- Al Harrington really struggled putting the ball in the hole in his Warrior debut, but tonight he was money scoring with post up moves, points in the paint, and treys. Let's hope he reverts back to his rebounding ways that he displayed this past Saturday because 1 board in 43 minutes of play is bad- Mike Dunleavy bad.
- Mickael Pietrus never looked so good on the glass and finished with 14 boards. Sure he made a mistake or two, but overall MP2 played a very effective game. No major complaints here.
- The Warriors actually outshot the Lakers in their own building. If I told you that the Dubs would shoot 47.7% from the field tonight to the Lakers' 43.0% would you say the Warriors were going to lose? What killed the Warriors tonight was the huge discrepancy at the charity stripe and the huge rebounding margin.
- Baron Davis put out his finest defensive effort of the season. He's had better numbers in the past and 2 of his turnovers tonight could've easily been avoided, but he still had a nice night. If he didn't go down with leg cramps in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, we might be enjoying a Warrior win in LA. But no excuses. He went down and the Warriors lost.
Al was scoring at will.
What went wrong:
- It's understandable since these guys haven't played together that much, but this team looked out of sync at times. They're still learning each other's strengths and weakness and how to play as a cohesive unit. The problem is that the Warriors don't have any time to figure these things out as they're fighting for their lives to make the final playoff spot in the West. Time is running out.
- The refs messed up badly on two calls on Andris Biedrins, but he still needs to be more careful about with his fouling. The fouls severely limit his effectiveness and cost the Warriors dearly by forcing Nellie to go extremely small. With Andris on the bench the Warriors can't hang with other squads on the glass. Tonight the Lakers dominated the battle of the boards inhaling 51 rebounds to the Warriors' 36. Ouch!
- The Warriors have to find a way to reduce the ridiculous free throw disparity. Tonight the Lakers went to the line 41 times, while the Dubs only got there 20 times. Kobe alone had 19 trips. Whatever it takes for the Warriors to get a more balanced number of free throw attempts, they need to do it. I suggest baking brownies for the refs and giving them Warrior Girl calendars before each game. How can the refs possibly not show the Warriors love with that kind of pre-game treatment?
Cover your mouth! If you breathe on Kobe, it's a foul.
Even Kobe couldn't believe the foul calls the refs were giving the Lakers.
What needs to change:
- First and foremost the Warriors need to play smart and keep up the intensity for 48 minutes. The Warriors will start winning close games once they do that. Until then, there will be nothing but heartache for Warriors Nation.
- The long scoring droughts need to stop. Maybe Nellie needs to call time outs faster to calm down the team and draw up a play for them to get an easy score. This team is not good enough to go on those long droughts and play catch up.
- I'm all for the trade, but let's hope Nellie, Mully, and Higgy aren't done dealing. This team needs another rebounder or two badly. I'm really curious why Matt Barnes didn't play tonight. Think something's brewing on the trade block?
Opposing players shouldn't look like WR's when they grab rebounds against the Dubs.
It just doesn't add up my friends. The Warriors should've won this one in LA, but they didn't. For the first time this season the Warriors are 4 games below .500, putting them in 10th place in the West. They're going to need a big winning steak in the second half of the NBA season if they're going to make the playoffs. Playing .500 ball from here on out isn't going to cut it.
You could easily make a case for Mickael Pietrus and his efficient 14 and 14 with 3 steals and a block. You could easily make a case for Al Harrington and his 30 points on 13 for 19 shooting. You could easily make a case for Baron Davis and his great defense (5 interceptions and 1 block). But I'm going to make a case for GSoM favorite Jessica Alba. Miss Alba made her presence known on the FSN Bay Area telecast and waived a friendly hello to the entire GSoM community. If she can rebound or make good decisions in the clutch, the Warriors should seriously think about adding her to this squad. I think everyone in Warriors Nation would be down. Hey, maybe the Warriors would get more calls from the refs if she was on the team.
UPDATE: Thanks to the sharp eyes of loyal GSoM community members Poopoojoe and GSDubz, we have a great game pic of tonight's Warrior Wonder...
Photos: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok and Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images