Wow, what a way to end 2007 and start off the New Year, a convincing win in Houston 112 to 95. As the clock turned we said good bye to one of my favorite GSoM years. As we entered 2008 I wish this upcoming year to be as successful and entertaining as last. I have to say after last night's win ... it sure looks that way. My thoughts on the game after the jump.
The Warriors are now an astounding 19 and 13 sitting comfortably in 7th place in the West and only 3 and a half games out of 1st. Not to get too foolhardy but the coolest stat of the night came from two of our favorite GSoM fans during the thread:
"Answer: 1991-1992. We were 19-8 entering the new year, en route to a 55-27 season. If you think this team can push the pace and fill it up: that team, a modified Run-TMC with Billy Owens having just replaced Richmond, scored an average of 118.7 ppg."
- Sleepy Freud
Last night's victory over the Rockets proved once again we are not the team of the recent years that folded in the fourth quarter. Coming off a win in Denver the night before and with little rest, the Warriors played their second New Year's Eve game in 3 years (in Houston). The game started off with some ups and downs as the Rockets had a 4 point lead heading into the half. Right before the break, Nellie was ejected for arguing with the refs what seemed to be their 245th bad call. You could see the minute Biedrins was called for the foul, Nellie ran down the court with his face turning red wailing his arms around, it was priceless. When this happened I could only think to myself that Nellie was a genius. He wanted to pump his team up and thought by getting ejected it would band them together to make a nice push in the second half. That or he was tired and wanted to start the New Year celebration early. I think Barnett put it best when calling the game, as RubberDubDubs pointed out in the thread:
No ... Tequila goes here ... Vodka goes there!
Even without Tracy McGrady, the Rockets seemed poised to win with the home crowd (and the refs) on their side. Nellie's ejection didn't seem to have an immediate effect, as the Warriors trailed by 5 heading into the 4th. That was when they played with some heart and inspiration to completely turn the tables around and play their best Warrior ball. From the start it seemed as though they couldn't miss from behind the arc hitting three's from every part of the court. But their success came mostly due to their defense! Baron sparked the team with some tough defense leading to a couple steals and blocks allowing them to get a couple fast breaks and easy buckets. The defense held the Rockets to a measly 15 points while our offense scored 37 to give us our 19th victory.
Halfway into the fourth Ellis pulled a sweet drive into Yao for a gorgeous lay-up finishing with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and shooting 8 for 11. In the past month, Ellis has grown into a consistent shooter averaging almost 50% shooting and becoming one of our top options. He is learning how to use his speed to create shots and hang in the air during drives to the basket. I can only hope he continues to improve this year to be the leading scorer. I'd like to see Ellis become more of a threat on the defensive side using his speed to stay in front of other guards, to create steals and break up the opponent's plays. I think that will come over time as he gets more comfortable at this level. It frustrates me to see the boxscore every night and see him get only 1 steal per game when I think he could easily push 2 to 3. Am I too harsh on the kid?
But in the end it was once again our leader, Baron Davis who controlled the tempo of the game. Baron led the offense finally hitting a 3 in the fourth and dishing out some nice assists finishing with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. He also created on the defensive end stuffing Rafer Alston and causing the Rockets to turn the ball over on what seemed to be almost every play. Baron playing 43 minutes on a back to back game impressed me the most. At some point you've got to figure we need to rest him, but he seems to be in the best shape he's been in a long time.
Live By the 3... Win By the 3
I can't believe we made 6 three's in the 4th quarter alone! In fact we went 6 of 9 from deeeeeep! Shooting that well from long range is not only demoralizing to a team struggling to get anything going on offense, but it shows that you better bring your A game for 48 minutes not just 36. Jax turned it up a notch this quarter dropping 3 of bombs from the arc. He even dropped one right in the face of Luther Head in the closing minutes as the shot clock was winding down. Bam! I loved it, just a little icing on the cake. Al even got into to it as he dropped 2 three balls from the sideline. The sharpshooting from our streaky shooters brought us back and then sealed the deal. After that it was good night Houston, hello New Year's Eve party.
After the game Yao said it best about our Warriors:
I'm going to give our last Warrior Wonder of the year to us, the fans (as cheesy as that is). I honestly believe we have the best NBA fans in the league and challenge anyone out there to debate this! We might not sell the most jerseys or have the biggest fan spread, but I'm confident in saying we have the most passionate fans.
Happy New Year! Let's make 2008 as loud as possible!