When Austin Croshere is playing, you know the Warriors must be playing well. When Fitz is saying "Austin Croshere can get scary hot" the Warriors must be absolutely killing the other team. This makes me wonder, are the Bucks a real NBA team or just an NBDL team in disguise? That's how bad the Warriors made the Bucks look.
The Warriors were so much faster and quicker than the Bucks tonight. It seemed like every loose ball belonged to the Warriors. Every time the Bucks drove the lane, they were stripped. Every time the Bucks passed the ball in traffic, it got deflected. Every time the Bucks shot the ball, it was challenged. The Warriors combined for 16 steals and 6 blocks to wreak havoc on the Bucks' offense. It was as if the Warriors were playing with 8 guys and the Bucks had 4.
I know the Bucks were on the 2nd game of a back to back, but this was just ridiculous. They hung with the Warriors in the first quarter, but when that 2nd quarter hit, the Warriors slammed on the accelerator and the Bucks were stuck in neutral. The Dubs rolled off an 11-0 run to go up 38-25. Finally, after nearly 4.5 minutes, the Bucks scored only to go another 2 minutes before scoring again on a tip-in and later a free throw. After nearly 7 minutes of action the Bucks scored 5 points. Yikes. When the quarter was over, the Warriors outscored them 27-11 in the quarter and essentially put the game away. Michael Redd gave it his best shot to bring his team back, but his 16 points in the 3rd weren't enough as the Warriors still won the quarter 28-27.
The Warriors had one of their best shooting nights of the year also. Look at the numbers:
- FG: 45-86 (52.3%)
- 3PT: 15-22 (68.2%)
- FT : 15-16 (93.8%)
What's even more impressive than the 3 point performance is the job they did at the free throw line. Only 1 missed free throw! 93.8%! That must be a record for this team. Hopefully they keep this up and can get the team FT% above 75% which would put them at about average for the league. Right now, at 69.3%, they're 28th.
As far as players who impressed tonight, I'd have to put Kelenna at the top of the list. He shot an efficient 6-8 from the field for a very quiet 16 points. As Barnett pointed out in the telecast, he's learning new moves and finding different angles to finish on drives. Where before he might have just had a pump fake, he's now working in a juke with that pump fake to mix up his moves.
I also really enjoy watching Monta play now because he's improved since the beginning of the season. The biggest compliment I can give him is that he's able to positively affect the game even when he's not scoring. Before, he was the scoring spark off the bench. Now he's helping out with the rebounds. He's not always skying over people to grab boards but sometimes coming from the big man's blind side to poke or deflect the ball to himself. In the last 4 games, he's grabbed a total of 32 rebounds or 8 per game. Before this recent surge, he was averaging just 2.7 per game. He's also making the extra pass, using the drive to set people up, and making smarter decisions with the ball. Good to see Monta step it up.
Bogut doing his best Barbosa impression
Monta had the highlight of the night too. He got the ball in the corner and nobody was guarding him. Instead of launching a three, he took off full speed towards the basket. As he got just outside the paint, he elevated, cocked the ball in his right hand, and threw it down on Bogut for the dunk and draw the foul. "Monta to the rim!" -Fitz
And I can't forget DJ Mbenga. He really worked his butt off tonight on the defensive end. He deflected quite a few balls and hit the boards, with rebounds 7 in 13 minutes. He's settling into his role on the team as a guy who can provide some bulk and rebounding off the bench, while also giving the team some good `ol hustle. His offensive game is ugly and I don't think he'll ever score in double digits, but if he continues to work hard on defense and clean the glass, he'll earn minutes.
Lastly, I enjoyed watching Yi Jianlian. Other than Michael Redd, no Buck stood out. It's hard to stand out when you're getting blown out by 30. But, Yi impressed me with how smooth he is. He's 7 feet tall, but you wouldn't know it with his footwork and soft hands. He had a nice spin move, a couple blocks, and had a nasty dunk off of an offensive rebound. One other thing is that his defense on the perimeter was pretty good. He made Jax and Al think twice about shooting out there because he's long enough to get a hand in their face and quick enough to challenge them if they drive. Just from watching him tonight, it seems like he's got the tools to be a good player.
Boom Dizzle. He bounced back from his 6-23 shooting night against Orlando to go 7 for 14, 2 of 3 from 3, and 4-4 from the line. His 20 points and 9 assists came in just 31 minutes of play. He also had a ridiculous +31 +/- tonight. Nobody on the Warriors really even came close to that. Basically for every minute that he played tonight, the Warriors would outscore the Bucks by 1. Great bounce back game for Baron.
Update: The Monta Dunk - "You just got YouTubed." Thanks to danielholl for digging this up.