Final Yahoo! Boxscore
After starting 0-6 and looking like a one-trick-pony that the "We Believe" haters had continually harped them to be, the Warriors have roared back to a respectable 8-7 record. The Warriors, beating the Houston Rockets 113-94 at the Roaracle, kept charging at the Rockets red jersey’s like bulls aggressive at red-cape slinging matadors (except they actually got some flesh).
A rare smile in the game, McGrady enjoys Tony.Psd's funny photo of him.
The Warriors confused, frustrated, and almost deflated what seemed like an overly sensitive team. After swarming defense like killer bees (but not Wu-Tang…) translating into easy buckets in transition, exploiting match-ups, and a few questionable calls by young referees, superstars McGrady and Yao … by the third quarter I might add … looked like they had just about given up. It was pretty much the Warriors vs. Mike James show at that point.
The game began to look like the Suns game of a few games back. I realized by the second half of this game that the Warriors are using the jedi-mind tricks of Bruce Bowen. Or is it the Bruce Bowen effect? I don’t necessarily mean that they play dirty like Bowen does. Plus they’re a much better-looking bunch by far. But you know his ability to frustrate the superstars of any team is what Warriors disorienting, disruptive defensive and offensive play is like. Technical fouls, passes sailing over-head and out of bounds, mopey and foul mouthed superstars translates into wins for the Warriors!
Yao holds his breath against the onslaught of 6'8 and under defenders
With another semi-commanding win over a Western conference contender, the question returns of whether Nelson is a coaching mastermind or perhaps getting a little crazy in his old age? But I guess we can’t deny that Nelson has been able to manufacture wins by any means necessary, especially in tight situations; in what would normally be losses (such as the trying wins against the Wizards and 76ers), Nelson has somehow found ways to exploit team defenses through his unapologetic changing arrangements of his lineup.
Former all-stars can't get no love in the Oracle
Jax versus Mike James, Baron Davis versus Rafer Alston or James, Harrington versus Yao were key matchups that the Warriors used to their advantage. Jax and Davis backing down the smaller two guards and Harrington got defenses "stretch like Yao Ming" (Cam’ron, "Hey Lady") with his 3pt shooting (4-5). Get it? Get it?? Even defensively, the much shorter Harrington was able to push Yao Ming out of his comfort zone and FAR from dunking range. Further the Warriors stifled McGrady defensively but somewhat emotionally. With the mid-sized Warriors collapsing all around him with excessive contact, McGrady grew grumpy and quiet.
The Warriors offense looked like a loose cannon or the movies where people are firing off shots at each other with reckless abandon. Lucky for us, the Warriors were making their shots. Though, the shots taken were never bad shots save for many forced drives by Jax. I love Jax’s aggressive, attack the basket mentality, but the dude dribbles with his head down and more likely than not, he’s going to the hole no matter who’s open. Granted, sitting from the position of my television that only sees the game from the baseline, I’m unable to read defenses that Jackson is probably seeing. But on several occasions, a running AZ, Pietrus, or Ellis was completely ignored as they looked wide open.
Needing more of this from Beans
And what about Matt Barnes? Good to have him back and playing within himself. Whereas during the beginning of the season, he seemed to be pressing but in the last few games, despite not scoring a whole bunch, is doing the things that has made him valuable to the Warriors in the last season. Grabbing and tipping rebounds, playing tough defense, diving for loose balls, hitting open jumpers when given the opportunity, pushing the ball on the break and distributing instead of trying to find his own shot is what makes him the Shane Battier of the Warriors (just better looking). The play that was exemplary of Barnes’ game was when he pushed the ball ahead, maneuvering his way between multiple defenders to throw up an underhanded alley-oop pass to Monta Ellis that looked like it was straight out of the school yard or a tandem dunk contest. It would have been 10s from the judges all around.
With the Warriors line-up seemingly set, but constantly reshuffled with different players getting the minutes based on production and seemingly running well together finally, can we say the Warriors are a deep team? If someone outside of Baron Davis is cold, can others step in, like AZ? And what Biedrins? With his minutes dwindling the last couple games due to matchups, what does that say when your big man -- someone potentially worth upwards to 12 - 13 million a year -- can only play 22 minutes a game when matched up against elite and offensively skilled centers (Yao Ming and Amare Stoudemire)? I’d actually love to see Biedrins get some more touches being that he’s been confident bringing the ball up the court and looking to attack the basket with some drop steps any chance he gets (but with not many successes quite yet). The game seemed to open up many interesting questions as the Warriors might hitting a turning point in the season. Figuring out ways to attack zone defenses and making their mini-lineup a catastrophe for superstar laden teams, the Warriors got us something to look forward to again.
To end, I think this sequence best exemplifies the night:
A hot and bothered Jim Barnett reacts to a Baron drive and dish to a backdoor cutting teammate: "That excited me!"
Barnett's basketball fetish: Baron Davis
Al Harrington. You could say Baron had a more statistically even night, but Harrington’s defense and shooting were instrumental to disrupting the flow of the Rocket’s defensive and offensive schemes!
Photos courtesy of Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images, AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez,