There's the mantra in the NBA that good teams take care of bad teams, but I really question if that applies to these two teams. The Warriors have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games, so I'm fairly confident in calling them a good team right now or at the very least saying that they been playing very good basketball. But I'm not sure that the Trail Blazers are a bad team by any stretch.
Congrats Portland- you've just beaten the Jazz and Warriors on back to back nights.
Everything you could possibly want recapped about this loss after the jump.
Update: Check out Dave's recap over at Blazer's Edge
I'm not going to lie. A lot went wrong tonight for the Warriors tonight, but first let's look at the positives:
- It might not have seemed like it but the Warriors won the battle of the boards tonight by 1 (Warriors- 43, Blazers- 42)
- The Warriors get ripped when they miss a bunch of free throws, so I'd liked to give them their due here tonight. They hit 92.3% of their freebies tonight (12-13).
- They won the fast break points category 18 to 2 tonight. I credit the fantastic cross court passes from Baron Davis and Matt Barnes. The several picks of the Blazer guards out on the perimeter which led to some easy fast break buckets really looked like a Cornerback picking off a Quarterback and taking it the other way for 6.
- T-Hud looked decent out there. He nailed 2 treys and 2 free throws. Hudson played a solid and under control 16 minutes tonight.
Hey I didn't know T-Pain could ball!
(He sure can't sing!)
- Marco Belinelli hit a 3! Seriously I think he could use some time down the in D-League. Who knows maybe he could teach Kosta Perovic how to have at least one threat even though that would make the infamous, but amusing Zero Threat Position disappear.
- DJ Mbenga only played 6 minutes tonight, but he looked pretty good out there. He played solid D, cleaned the glass, and even managed an assist and 4 points. I'd like to see Nellie give him more playing time, especially when the other team is beating the Warriors up inside.
DJ was on pace for 32 points, 16 boards, 8 dimes, and 8 blocks tonight!
The Warriors couldn't buy a bucket tonight and the Blazers' zone defense gave them fits. Is it really any surprise that Mr. Sonic Nate McMillan, one of the league's greatest defenders of all-time, knew exactly how to shut down this Warriors team and hold them to an ugly 40.2% shooting on the night? Let's not forget the Blazers' holding the Warriors to and un-Warrior-like 18 points in the final quarter either. I really don't understand why other coaches don't follow this strategy against the Warriors. Pack the zone and force the Warriors to beat you from outside. Don't let them penetrate and give them the long distance jumpers which they really don't hit at a high rate. If they are hitting it from outside, just give the Warriors some time and they'll come back down the earth. Take care of the rock on offense and whatever you DO NOT let them penetrate. (I hope other teams didn't read that.)
Also Coach McMillan and the Blazers deserve a ton of credit for absolutely shutting down the pick and roll between Baron Davis or Stephen Jackson and Andris Biedrins. This is a very well coached team and they knew exactly how to render Biedrins ineffective on offense. You can tell they did their homework and watched plenty of game film.
Props to Mr. Sonic.
The biggest offender in terms of shooting blanks tonight was Stephen Jackson who went 3 for 15 from the field and missed all 7 of his 3pt attempts. It just wasn't his night tonight. I didn't mind his tech (haha, I never really do as long as it's not his second one) and I figured he was due for one anyway. He really didn't do much in terms of rebounding, passing, or defense in his 36 minutes out there as well, but that's fine. Jack comes hard to play every night and more often than not he's a big reason why the Warriors win games that they should and games that they shouldn't. He's more than entitled to an off night here and there.
This slight technicality doesn't really bother me.
A Not So Charmin Return
I can't remember the last time the Warriors were this Charmin soft post-Dunmurphy down low. Well okay there was the two games against the Jazz, but that squad made the Western Conference Finals last season. The Warriors shouldn't be letting a team like the Blazers dominate the paint. For the evening the Blazers had 36 points in the paint to the Warriors' 26. The Blazers were absolutely abusing the Dubs with their second chance points in the first half of this game. Let's be real- the Blazers didn't trot out any All-Star level 4's or 5's out there tonight. If the Warriors are struggling with the Blazers down low right now, there's a problem.
Murphleavy would be proud.
(That's not a good thing.)
With LaMarcus Aldridge out I really wanted to see Andris Biedrins dominate the paint tonight. I expected him to walk away with a nice stat line with gaudy points on a high shooting rate, tons of boards, and a bunch of swats. Unfortunately that wasn't the case at all. He was largely ineffective out there and whether it was Brandon Roy driving in and drawing the foul or Joel Przybilla going 15-10 in 29 minutes of play, Biedrins struggled all night long. His -13 +/- for the game unfortunately isn't the least bit misleading. Al Harrington only played 11 minutes tonight, but his his post defense savvy wasn't there either.
The One Minute Man unfortunately made an ugly reappearance tonight.
Like Missy "I don't want no one minute man!"
(well, okay I mean it differently)
Memo to Warriors: This is NOT Bill Walton or even Arvydas Sabonis.
Al with 4 fouls in 11 minutes works out to over 17 fouls per 48 minutes.
Warrior Injuries Aren't an Excuse
I remember Cavs Coach Mike Brown said last year when LeBron wasn't getting the calls at the end of Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons that the Cavs were a No Excuses ball club. This is a wild, fiery, go-down-swinging Warriors squad and I'd like to believe they're a No Excuses team too. Likewise this is a No Excuses recap.
If you're going to talk about how the Warriors were without Monta Ellis tonight, then you need to remember that the Blazers didn't have one of their top scoring options LaMarcus Aldridge. If you're going to bring up how Al Harrington was knocked out of the game early on what looked to be a very painful injury, just remember that the Blazers lost Martell Webster as well.
Tonight's Matt Bonner
Last night DJ Fuzzylogic called a big night from Matt Bonner and unfortunately looked better than Miss Cleo with that prediction. I called either Travis Outlaw or Martell Webster tonight. Webster got hurt so that by default I'd like to claim my prize for picking Outlaw. In all seriousness Outlaw looked very sharp tonight. His 22 points and 8 boards were very legit. Outlaw's a big reason the Blazers won this one. Very impressive. I love this guy's hops.
Can we Outlaw these random career nights against the Warriors?
Maybe we can do a GSoM ticket contest in the future where the community tries picking the career night stat line from some random player on the opposing team. It was funny a few years back when were doing recaps, but this is getting ridiculous. Actually scratch that. It's still pretty funny.
Can you believe that 22 games into the season only 2 games separate the Warriors and Blazers? Can you believe the Blazers are doing this all without their advertised franchise savior Greg Oden? This team doesn't need any saving. They're well on their way to being a very good team.
I really, really like I what I see from this team, particularly Travis Outlaw and Brandon Roy. I wish I could've seen LaMarcus Aldridge tonight, but I'm guessing that would tip the score more in the Blazers' favor, so trust me I'll live. The Blazers also have themselves a very solid backup center and option if they want to go big in Przybilla too. The West is only going to get harder for the Warriors next year and beyond with this team on the up rise- another reason that the Warriors need to aim to WIN NOW instead of building for a mythical rosy future. It's only going to get tougher in the Wild Wild West.
Before I forget I have to give some props to the Rose Garden crowd tonight. These are good fans. I give them a ton of credit for sticking through the recent losing ways of this franchise and not wallowing in self-pity (e.g. any Boston sports teams' fans) when Greg Oden was lost for the season. Sure they aren't as hype or as colorful as the Roaracle crowd, but the Blazer fans seemed really enthusiastic and you could hear them on TV. Props to them and of course their popular online first class community Blazer's Edge. They once again whopped on us in their open thread with their comments numbers-wise.
For tonight's wonder I'm going to have to give it to the Baron-Barnes Bruin Bad Boys. (Thank you! Thank you! That alliteration was all my doing.) I think Bob and Jim were alluding to this during tonight's broadcast on FSN Bay Area, but the Warriors essentially wasted great outings by Boom Dizzle and Matt Mohawk. Baron pretty dominated his counterpart on the Blazers whether it was Steve Blake or Jarrett Jack. Tonight Dizzle dazzled us with 23 points, 11 dimes, 8 boards, and 2 steals in 41 minutes of action. A very nice all around game by BD.
Matt Barnes came up big as well with a double-double: 15 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, and 3 thefts. One thing that isn't going to show up in the boxscore was the amazing long distance passes these two guys had. I know this sounds crazy, but I think Matt Barnes is the best in-bounds passer in the entire NBA. He does a tremendous job of getting ball down court quickly. His completion rate and TD : INT ratio is just exceptional. Forget Trent Dilfer, the Niners need Matt Barnes!
At the end of the season if the Warriors are in another dog fight for the 8th spot or hopefully a higher seed these are the types of games we're going to look back with regret.
Wow that recap wasn't nearly as festive as the last one I had the honor of writing when the Warriors went up to Portland last Spring and ended the drought, but it's all good. Maybe next time- but not next time x13 of course!
Photos: Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images + AP Photo/Don Ryan