I honestly can't understand for the life of me how the Warriors got this W this morning, but hey it's a W and after an 0-6 start I'll take it! With today's win in Toronto the Warriors picked up their first win away from Oakland and began their first win streak of the season. They're also undefeated with Stephen Jackson so far this season. Good times in Dub land.
Preview/ Open Thread- Live Blog (235+ Comments)
2,635 miles, 106 points, and a 2 game win streak!
We've got a special jam-packed recap for your reading pleasure with some help from our friends from Canada, but first a few thoughts:
Crappy Craptors Meltdown: The Warriors "only" gave up 100 points this morning and "held" the Raptors to 12 points in the 4th quarter, but I don't think Nellie and the fellas can really take all that much credit for that. After pretty much scoring at will in the first 3 quarters against the Warriors (with TJ Ford going absolutely nuts in the first half), the Raptors simply could not buy a bucket in the 4th. They were missing wide open shots that you rarely see an NBA team collectively missing for an entire quarter. We're used to Warrior meltdowns in the 4th, but we're not really accustomed to seeing opposing teams meltdown in the clutch against the Warriors (aside from the Mavs last Spring of course). You know I could really get used to this- it's pretty funny when the tables are turned.
Just an Odd Game: Believe it or not but the Warriors dominated the points in the paint this morning (54 to the Raps' 36), but were dominated in transition with only 6 fast break points to the Raptors' 13. This isn't how this Warriors team was built to win, but that's perfectly fine. The Warriors (47) also out rebounded the Raptors (46) by 1. When the Warriors are out rebounding you, you know something's going wrong. If I were the Raptors I'd be very, very disappointed with their showing today. The Warriors traveled over 2,600 miles, came into their house and beat them on a Sunday during our breakfast time.
Poor Team D: Even with Jack back this is still a bad Warriors defensive team. Individually the Warriors made some defensive mistakes, but there's a larger problem here. They just seem so out of synch and have a long way to go before they are a cohesive defensive unit. They don't seem to trust each other or communicate enough on D. The defensive switches and help are nonexistent. The Warriors aren't perfect offensively, but I'd contend that they're 2-6 right now because of poor team D.
Jack: "I smell Snickers bars!"
BD: "Word? Hook it up!"
(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Italian Day at Air Canada Centre: The Raps billed today's game as Italian Day with the two Italians being Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli. I don't think this game drew quite the numbers as Yao vs Yi did the other week, but it's still cool to see how global the NBA is becoming. I think I'm going to have to say that Bargnani won this battle. He walked away with 12 points and 3 boards in 19.5 minutes, while Belinelli walked away with zero- as in 0 points (0 -2 FG), 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, and 0 blocks in a shade under 4 minutes of play.
I'm really starting to think that that one meaningless summer league performance where Belinelli blew up for 37 points was a fluke and all the off season hype including Nellie hyping up Marco as a future superstar was a mistake. It's way too early to say that Marco won't be a good NBA player or that he's been a bust, but he doesn't look nearly as NBA ready as Nellie, the organization, and many others made him out to be. I just don't see future superstar for Belinelli right now. It's still a long season, so hopefully Nellie can find a good role for him and Marco can step up his D, rebounding, and passing.
Jessica is Cash Money: I'm not exactly the most knowledgeable cat about Hollywood gossip (I definitely need to peep ShowHype more often), so today I learned via the Getty caption that the 9th best looking Warriors fan Jessica Alba is back with BD's boy. Interesting stuff:
Actress Jessica Alba sits courtside with her boyfriend Cash Warren during a game between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors on November 18, 2007 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
The Warriors are undefeated with Jessica in the building this season!
(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
No one Warrior player stood out really stood out for me me tonight, but I was impressed with the great scoring distribution so I'll have to split it 6 ways as 6 Warriors notched double digits in scoring: Jack (17), Boom (16), Kaz (16), Andris (15), MP2 (11), and Al (10). And if Cash is actually back together with Jessica, I'm going to have to split it 7 ways. Actually I take that back. If Cash got Jessica back he's the Warrior Wonder hands down.
Before you make the jump to see what our guests Kinnon from HoopsAddict.com and the boys from RaptorsHQ.com have in store for you, peep this "interesting" video clip loyal GSoMer Caught Backcourt dropped in the the live blogging festivities.
I guess that's our Thunder Victory Dance?
Update 10:39pm: Some Warrior highlights from the game:
I'll pass the mic to my man Kinnon Yee from the mighty HoopsAddict.com:
Do it for Jessica. With Jessica Alba courtside, the Warriors managed to come out with a victory against the Toronto Raptors. Marking his return, Stephen Jackson, back fresh from his 7 game suspension, managed to put up 17 pts and play solid defense on Chris Bosh for the entire game. The Raptors team had just come fresh off a win with their Eastern rivals, the Indiana Pacers. Sure, the Warriors were 1-6 coming into tonight's game, but a guy like Stephen Jackson can be a game changed on any given night. A tall, strong shooter with some defensive abilities (on a team that has few), he was sorely missed.
Of course, Golden State had the unfortunate task of playing the Raptors at 1am EST, which worked out to about 10am PST. It's a strategy that's worked for the Raptors for most of last year, but in the end, it was the Raptors that looked gassed. Baron Davis dug deep and found his shot late in the 4th quarter, and Andris Biedrins had a monster game with 15 points and 14 rebounds while being the sole inside presence for the Warriors. Without Rasho Nesterovic, the Raptors have struggled to establish themselves inside, and Biedrins made the most of his 2nd chance opportunities when crashing the offensive glass.
However, TJ Ford kept the Warriors from walking away with the game. Scoring the majority of his 29 points in the 1st half, he managed to penetrate deep into the Warriors defense to make life difficult. The Raptors attempted to attack Baron over and over to try and punish him. Jamario Moon, the Raptors' 27 year old rookie, drove to the inside consistently, with an eye to attack the rim. In the early 2nd half, the Raptors upped their defensive intensity as Moon, Carlos Delfino, and others continued to force Golden State to make turnovers, as the Raptors recorded 8 blocked shots for the night. Nevertheless, the Warriors kept shooting from the outside for most of the game. In fact, it was hard to tell that the 2nd half and 1st half were played by the same two teams. Both teams switched to outside shooting, with the Warriors going first, and then the Raptors following suit in the 4th. Shots that fell were no longer falling as the Warriors kept front rimming their shots. It wasn't until the 4th that the Raptors fell asleep as the Warriors woke up and Baron Davis, the heart of the team, took action. He drained turn around jumpers, knocked down critical 3s and just abused the Raptors. The funny thing is, it's not as though they weren't contested shots. Baron kept shooting and shooting, making Anthony Parker do nothing but shake his head in disgust.
When you're 1-6, you take any win you can, but the Warriors have their share of concerns. I can understand Oakland's frustration as their team is one that's marred by inconsistency. At any time, they can look like they would beat the Mavs in another seven game series, and in the other, the lack of defensive intensity and poor shot selection can just kill the team. It'd be interesting to see what Don Nelson thinks of this inconsistency. After all, it's been his career philosophy to live by the jumpshot, and die by the jumpshot. However, I can't say that it was the Warriors beating the Raptors, so much as the Raptors beating themselves tonight. You don't shoot under 30% in the final quarter and expect to win most nights. Nevertheless, Stephen Jackson proved to be the presence the Warriors were missing, and hopefully they'll be able to replicate their success against the Knicks who have an extremely strong inside presence.
Also Here's a Q&A we did on the Raptors and Warriors with the boys from RaptorsHQ.com during and after this Sunday morning game:
Golden State of Mind: After the Vancouver Grizzlies bolted Canada for Memphis back in 2001 the Toronto Raptors became the country's lone NBA team. We know the Raptors have great fans and are wildly popular in Toronto, but how popular are they in the rest of the country? Have they become Canada's team?
RaptorsHQ.com: Great question. Hockey will always be Canada's passion to a certain degree but with the recent success of the Raptors, we're seeing a renewed interest in the team across the nation. A perfect example of this is that the CBC, Canada's National Television Network is now carrying games. This is the first time they've ever covered professional basketball and this is a channel that besides its renowed NHL coverage, doesn't really pay much attention to other professional sports besides the Canadian Football League. A huge step and a testament to the team becoming much more of a national presence.
Golden State of Mind: The Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers this past Friday night. There's two former Warriors of interest on the Pacers who we don't get to watch play all that much since they're in the Eastern Conference. What are your thoughts on Troy Murphy on Mike Dunleavy? Are you impressed with their game? Would you rather have Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington?
RaptorsHQ.com: It's funny, the Raps' commentators were just discussing this. At first it looked like G State got a steal of a deal on that trade, and yes, I still think the trade favours them, but the Murphy, Diogu and Dunleavy have played much better under Jimmy O'Brien. I think the trade will end up being pretty even for both teams unless Ike Diogu really does become Elton Brand Jr, as he was advertised on draft day. I like Jr. Dunleavy (I'm a huge Duke fan) and Murphy but they just didn't fit as well in Golden State. Really though the lynch-pin in the deal for me was Stephen Jackson. He's had some off-court issues but he's really an underrated player. He defends, gives energy, can score, is physical and just knows how to play the game.
Golden State of Mind: It's always fun to see how other team's fans compare their own players with the Dubs. Taking into consideration age, contract, and team fit who would you rather have on the Raptors?
Dave from RaptorsHQ.com:
a) T.J. Ford or Monta Ellis?
I'd take TJ in this one. Love Monta, but he's not a pure point guard and I think TJ eventually can be an All-Star in this league at the 1.
b) Chris Bosh or Andris Biedrins?
No question here, Bosh all the way. However that's not to say we don't like Biedrins here at the HQ. We were screaming for Babcock to select him once we were hearing he wasn't going to take Iguodala in the Rafael Araujo debacle...we all know how that turned out.
c) Andrea Bargnani or Marco Belinelli?
No question here either...Bargs has the potential to be a real special player in this league while I think Marco is going to be more of a Vinnie-Johnsonesque scorer off the bench.
d) Jamario Moon or Brandan Wright?
Now this is a tough one. Love Moon's athleticism and I was never sold on Wright at North Carolina. He reminded me a bit of Derrick Coleman in terms of coasting but on potential, I'd take him over Moon due to his length and athletic ability. Ok, um...Moon just crushed one on Biedrins...hmmmm...
Golden State of Mind: Coaches, player, critics, and fans alike have been calling the Eastern Conference the Leastern Conference for a few years now. With the offseason moves and improvements (especially in last year's Titanic Atlantic Division) do you think it's fair to still label the Eastern Conference the NBA's JV league? How big of a disparity do you see between a team like the Eastern Conference .500 Raptors and the Western Conference 2-6 Warriors right now?
RaptorsHQ.com:I think the gap has definitely closed, but it's not similar playing fields yet. I think both Orlando and Boston are a bit overrated and havne't had to play that many tough clubs yet. For instance, Boston's toughest game so far was against the Raps, which they won in OT on a Ray Allen near buzzer-beater. I'm actually watching the two play each other right now and it will be interesting to see how both the Magic and C's do against teams like the Suns, Warriors and Rockets.
I think Toronto is in the same league as the Golden States, New Orleanses and Denvers so late Western Conference in terms of how I see the playoff seeding eventually unfolding. But besides Detroit and perhaps Boston and Orlando, I'm not sure other teams like Cleveland or New Jersey would even be in the running if they were in the West. So there's still a ways for the "Least" to go.
The strange thing is that teams like Orlando and even Indiana have looked stronger than expected and Chicago, Washington and Miami playing much worse. If the last three teams can turn things around, then I think a stronger argument could be eventually made for smaller gap between the two conferences.
Don't sleep on the recap of the game over at RaptorsHQ.com Tip-In, Toronto Raptors Post-Game: Fourth Quarter Misery where the fellas asked me:
I just wanted to give a shout out to Kinnon, Dave, their crews at their respective sites, and Raptors fans in Toronto. They're good folks and incredibly nice and polite. I'd say they're the Canadian equivalent of Portland Trailblazer fans.
On tap this week for the Dubs:
- Tuesday November 20 @ New York Knickerbockers
- Wednesday November 21 @ Boston Collusion
- Friday November 23 @ Washington Warriors
- Saturday November 24 @ Philadelphia 6-6-6'ed
(And yes I think that makes this the longest recap ever at GSoM.)