Is it safe to say that Chris Kaman's contract year wasn't a fluke?
With former #1 overall pick mega-bust Michael Olowakandi (1998) still fresh in the memories of many Clippers fans, Kaman gives them reason to relax that they got it right with this first round pick back in 2003. In the second game in a row (game #1 Boozer, but who can really stop him anyway...), the Warriors allowed a beefy big to break down their defensive schemes in every which way. Dropping 26 points and 18 rebounds, Kaman had his way with bean poles Biedrins and O'Bryant, throwing up baseline hooks over them or melting their faces with a throw down straight in their grill (or any other Warriors in his way).
Looking like Shaq, Kaman can also dunk with his left hand
(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
A lack of rebounding along with poor rotations running the zone defense and indecisive double teams allowed Kaman to have his way with the Warriors. The Warriors did a pretty good job a few times, crowding and jamming him upon getting the ball, which led to a bunch of rushed shot-puts by Kaman. Yet, ineffective defensive rebounding allowed him (8 offensive rebounds!) or others (56 total rebounds vs. the Warriors 36) to get a second chance in tipping in the shot. Guarding him was Biedrins, who alone -- at times -- looked completely helpless. But could you necessarily blame him sometimes with every other Warrior on the floor at one point being 6'8 and below. For novelties sake, that's pretty awesome, but not totally efficient against this.
Monta can't bare to see whats about to happen to him
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kaman had a lot of help from folks like Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas (the dude in the league I hate the most and for legit reasons), who came in and made some incredible jumpers in spite of some good man to man defense. Interior or perimeter, the Warriors defense looked more porous than those tacky croc shoes (hey y'all, please throw them away).
These are worse than TEVAS!
The showdown that I predicted between Kaman and Biedrins was brutal but I think a good sort of place to evaluate Biedrins. Granted, they're much different players and Kaman is a little more seasoned...but if Biedrins is supposed to be the defensive anchor of this team, he had a pretty poor showing today staying with just a pretty good big (I refuse to give Kaman "elite" status just yet...). But even though Biedrins scored 14 less points (an efficient 6 for 10), he definitely, when given the offensive opportunities this game (more so than the last), showed some patience, poise in the paint -- hitting a few nice hook shots. Seriously though, Biedrins' C3PO - herky jerky movements made Chris Kaman look like this guy (and that shouldn't happen):
Kaman was this smooth
The Warriors managed to dig themselves out of a 16 point deficit midway through the second quarter tying it at the half and another 13 point deficit earlier on in the 3rd quarter because of this:
The beginning of many ESPN "top ten plays" for AZ
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
This dude is major. This dude makes opponents bleed -- literally.
The Warriors were at times as unwatchable as some of Billy Crystal's movies
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
That dunk deserves serious considerations for Slam Dunk pullout insert for their next issue! AZ dropped a career high 33 points and 8 boards with a variety of tight dunks, jumpers, and putbacks that made think you were seeing JRich again but dare I say with better handles? He definintely showed his ability to create his own shot off the dribble, which made him look a little more Maggette-like than JRich. The muscles also give him that Maggette-look, too.
Even though the Warriors shooting percentage was relatively decent (47%), the offense just looked rather stagnate when not given the chance to break. Though Barnett continually re-iterated that Nelson prefers his players to take those open shots (which is the general logic of most coaches I would say), it just seems that the Warriors are just not a very good shooting team to begin with (streaky at best). And, again, like opening night, there tended to be a lot of one on one play which made the offense rather predictable. For an offense that seems to rely heavily on defensive work, the Warriors were just unable to create opportunities on the defensive end (like grabbing rebounds) to do what they do best. For some odd reason, Monta looked confused a lot in the first half, hesitating a lot with open shots, especially 3s as opposing defenders gave him yards of space to operate. He had several great slashing moves to the hoop and finishes on fastbreaks, but, again, telegraphed passes a bit.
There was an early POB sighting and no I'm not talking about that the awesome picture of him with the grannies. He says he's laidback, but the dude just doesn't look like a baller. I think his jersey is too small for him, which makes him look younger than he already is. With Biedrins out with foul problems, POB got some quality minutes (all five of them) but no touches on offense. He didn't get dunked on (wooo!) and even grabbed a rebound. It was a little sad to see him ignored in the paint during one possession where we waved his arms calling out "aye! AAYE!"
Bellinelli made an early entrance too and quietly contributed, hitting a layup and three. The dude can look pretty smooth out there and at one point had a nice behind the back dribble drive only to lose the ball in the paint. Perhaps it will just take some time for him to get comfortable with playing in the NBA, but he showed some things on both ends of the court that I think were mildly worth mentioning.
It's still early though and the Warriors offensive definitely seemed to pick up quite a bit from the first game. Then again, they were just playing the Clippers. But at any rate, the Warriors made some strides in this second game and hopefully we'll see AZ and others emerge...but more so because we need them to.
Though Baron did his thing as usual, I got to give it up to AZ. The dude made some big shots in the second half, helping to keep the Warriors close. Plus, he broke his previous career high! Cheers!