Yup, that's how I felt too.
Even Jessica's presence wasn't good enough luck
So the drought continues. No, that 13 year drought ended last season. This drought, hopefully, won't last that long. The Warriors still haven't won in Staples since January 2003 and now have lost to the Lakers 9 straight times. They'll get a rematch this coming Friday in Oakland, to hopefully end one of the droughts. On to the game...
The Lakers are so precise. Everyone knows where to go, where they should be, and what their role is. They may not be the most talented players, but they are extremely well coached and disciplined. That discipline is the key to their success because even when Kobe has an off shooting night like tonight, the other guys can step in and pick up the slack.
The Warriors were looking up for most of the game
One HUGE thing that playing disciplined within a system helps with is closing out quarters. Tonight, that is exactly where the game was won. Just look at the play by play at the end of each quarter. The Lakers just took over.
Warriors are up 31-28. Trevor Ariza of the Lakers gets fouled and goes to the line for 2. He makes the first (31-29 Warriors), but misses the second. Sweet! Oh but Lamar Odom grabs the offensive rebound, passes to Ariza who gets fouled again. Nooo! This time, Ariza makes both free throws to tie the game and nobody else scores in the final 20 seconds. So what could have been at least a 2 point lead, possibly a 4 or 5 point lead turned into just a tie.
With 3:18 to go, Kelenna Azubuike makes a shot and pushes the Warriors lead to 7, 56-49. The Warriors were playing well, but the Lakers knew how to close out a quarter. A Fisher 3 point play followed by a Bynum 3 point play, a couple Ariza free throws, a Kobe free throw, and "poof", it was a 58-56 Lakers lead. The halftime score was 60-59 Lakers.
Like a broken record, the end of this quarter was no different than the other two. 5:50 to play and the game was tied at 73. Fisher hits a quick 3, Bynum made a layup, and the Lakers never relinquished the lead. The lead eventually grew to 11, but the Warriors were able to make a quick run and enter the fourth with a 6 point deficit. Again, the Lakers closed out the quarter strong and kept the Warriors scrambling.
I guess this wasn't so much that the Lakers closed out the quarter strong, but at one point just simply took over. At 8:45, the Warriors had cut the lead to 4 points, 95-99, but that was the last time the Warriors even sniffed the lead. In just under 2 minutes, bam, the deficit was 11 points, 97-108. Fast forward another minute to 4:41 and bam, the deficit is 17 points, 99-116. Game over. Good night. Go home.
Tonight, it was as if the Warriors just couldn't get the game under control. Despite surprisingly outrebounding the Lakers 47-38, the Warriors just never appeared like they were going to control the game. What it really felt like was the Warriors just scratching and clawing their way to just keep themselves in the game. That's what helped the Lakers close out quarters. The Warriors had to play catch up during the quarter and couldn't make the late push.
Yuck, I feel sick
I understand the need to give Baron a rest but is Troy Hudson really the answer? If Troy Hudson is going to play, he's got to be productive. Everytime he's on the court, I get this sick feeling in my stomach. He just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the players. Maybe Nellie is giving him minutes so he does develop some sort of chemistry so that he can be productive later in the season when Baron's legs may not be as fresh. Here's the thing, Hudson is horrible at shooting. Tonight he was 2-7 (28.6%). On the season, he's 6-25 (24%).
He's okay with setting people up and moving the ball but when he tries to shoot, he shoots too early in the shot clock and too often. His role should be in a similar fashion to DJ Mbenga. Everyone knows Mbenga is in there to play tough D, hustle, and pretty much not shoot the ball unless he has a dunk. Hudson should also be playing tough D and hustling, and on offense, he should be running the offense. Stop taking shots early in the shot clock and get the ball and players moving. Limit his role as DJ's role is limited, and we'll hopefully get better results out of our backup PG. He wasn't the reason we lost tonight, but sure didn't help much.
I gotta say that Bynum looks very very good. This was one of the best games of his career, but the guy looks smooth, poised, and has a major presence down low. He's very strong down there and is pretty athletic too. He had this nice little spin on the block where he elevated over Al and banked a little 4 footer. It looked like he'd been doing that for many years, but I think he just added it to his arsenal this year. If Bynum keeps getting stronger, works on his low post game, he's going to be scary in a few years.
Monta wasn't aggressive enough tonight
I thought he should have been more aggressive because none of the guards on that team except Kobe can defend him one on one. He could have taken more shots or got in the lane and kicked it out, but either way, he needed to make more of an impact given the mistmatches he had tonight.
It was a disappointing game to watch because the game was there for the Warriors to win if they could have just got some consistent play. Not enough guys stepped up today for the Warriors compared with the Lakers who had 7 guys score in double figures. The Warriors just couldn't disrupt the game and play at their own tempo. The Lakers played as a team and that's where the difference was tonight.
Next up are the world champion Spurs...
Baron gets the Warrior Wonder again. He had a huge first quarter in points, but didn't score much the rest of the way. He had a very nice floor game ending with 20 points (7-17), 8 boards, 7 assists, 4 steals, and just 2 turnovers. What I also really thought Baron did well was play tough D on Kobe especially in the first half. Baron's so strong that Kobe's post up game struggled because he stays rooted to the ground and has quick enough hands to bother Kobe. Overall a nice game from Baron, just needed some help from his friends.