"I come to find out though, all these years, man
The game wont wait no matter who you are
Where you are or how you are
The game wont wait
Its a cold thang, its a cold game
You know how it is"
-Warren G, "Game Don't Wait"
The Warriors were thoroughly demolished the night before by the likes of the Francisco Garcias, Quincy Doubys, Kevin Martins and Ron Artests of the league. And as usual, it was just the cure for the Warriors motivational problems. Lets hope that Nellie incorporates shame and embarassment somehow into the video sessions during practice, perhaps replaying the darker moments of their career captured on celluloid by the media as inspiration for why they should played focused and what they look like when they are. The Warriors are sitting at the 8th spot in the playoff standings right now; but its probably equivalent to sitting on broken glass given that Denver is creeping on the come up any day now. Every game matters and this was a game that the Warriors definitely couldn't give up.
Final Yahoo! boxscore
The Warriors have worked on their pre-game introduction choreography
From jump, the Warrior came out, guns blazing. The Warriors built up a sizable lead by the end of the first half, lead by Stephen Jackson's 18+ points in the first quarter alone. Jackson couldn't miss from deep and neither could the rest of the Warriors, especially Monta Ellis.
Its kind of perplexing to me how Monta is so efficient (13-18 from the field)! Offensively, Monta is like the Yin to the rest of the Warrior's Yang. What I mean is that, Monta is the Warriors most reliable and perhaps only midrange game player on a team full of 3pt jump shooters -- or in an offense that depends so much on the 3pt shooting. And while the announcers make comparisons between Monta and Leandro Barbosa, another player with similar speed, I would say that Monta fills the roll more of a Richard Hamilton type player in terms of efficiency. Whether with a man in his grill or soaring to the hoop, Monta found a way to get the ball in the bucket. Perhaps it was defensive lapses alone by the Clippers JV squad last night, which featureed their 7th point guard of the season Smuth Parker; but it seemed as if no one could stop Monta's go to move, the same drive to the lane 4 times in a row in the 4th quarter. Can someone please explain this? I know Monta is efficient, but the same move over and over again?
Davis slices and dices better than infomerical "Ronco 6 star culinary knives!"
The Clippers JV squad provided a nice break for the Warriors starters as Baron Davis sat out extensively for most of the 2nd and and 4th quarters. Players like Al Harrington and Kelenna Azubuike got some extra burn in LA. The one thing I noticed (what we've all noticed recently) is that both of them are not great finishers or that great at drawing contact. Harrington is a crafty player on the block, as we've seen on all season, and he's able to find cracks between the giants that are usually guarding him. But does he just have bad luck? More often than not his shots just kinda roll around the rim or take the wrong bounce. Azubuike is a different story where his shots are thrown up wildly ala Antawn Jamison, but obviously without the awkward finesse. More often than not, his shots clank off the backboard or side of the rim. They're both got the right attitude for thinking about attacking the basket, but man, they really got to finish those drives! Antawn Jamison really needs to release an instructional video or something. It would instantly sell more than J.J. Reddick's shooting video.
Monta takes a page out of 'Karate Kid' where defense becomes offense
Defensively and offensively, Mickael Pietrus finally looks like he has found his stride. Seriously, you have to wonder what happened after the trade deadline that got Pietrus on page with the rest of the team. Maybe it speaks to Nellie's genius or rather the conundrum that is his coaching style in his ability to get the most out of a team of mild headcases. Like Dunleavy Jr. in a lot of ways, Pietrus needs to be somehow incorporated into the game early for him to be most effective, even though he might have gotten most of his points in the 4th quarter when the game almost been decided. But getting him a few easy buckets early seems to jumpstart everything else as far as defensive energy goes (you can definitely see it in the body language, especially in high definition TV!). Pietrus is also one of the few players on the Warriors who actively looks to attack the basket when given the chance (few and far between) and I would hope that the Warriors somehow integrate that aspect of his game, somehow, into their 'driving and dishing' schemes.
Biedrins dribbling??? Those two words together may seem like an oxymoron. It even sounds like tabloid talk doesn't it? When the Warriors had the game on lock, Biedrins on two occasions put the ball on the floor from the foul line and in one giant drop step made it to the hoop. I wouldn't put too much on these two plays, but I am wondering about these new found handles that Biedrins is showing off. Should we be excited about them? Is this some new outside game that the Warriors have been slowly developing to be unleashed next season?? Have they made him into a perimeter player as evidenced by his two dribble drive slam dunk that started from the top of the key? What do folks think?
Going from Kosta's zero-threat to the triple threat, Biedrins is on the perimeter is a force to be reckoned with?!
Amidst all this CP3 for MVP talk, folks really have to have a look at Baron Davis. I know folks are tired of talking about how the Warriors are continously shafted by sports critics. Even the announcers were still talking about Davis being excluded in a loaded west coast conference. Like any player, Davis has some bad games. But a short stretch in the third was indication of what he truly means to this Warrior team. With the Warriors lead dwindling with a 10-0 Clippers run, Davis was inserted back into the lineup, hitting three shots in a row to put the Warriors back up comfortably at 17. With a drive into the heart of the Clippers defense, a fade away jumper and then a three point field goal, Davis was like Rick James, COLD BLOODED!
Too much Al Thorton
The Brandan Wright vs. Al Thorton rookie battle is not quite of the epic proportions that media is making of the OJ Mayo vs. Michael Beasley fab-frosh match-up, but it was kind of an indicator of where Wright is at this point. Granted, the Warriors don't give Wright much room to operate within their offense, rarely to never giving it to him when he's posting up on the block and possibly for good reason. But in the third and fourth quarter with the two rookies matched up against each other, it was obvious that Thorton is (more) ready to go now. Thorton, known to be a ballhog, repeatedly attacked Wright, over powering him, outmuscling him, and outhanging him in air for non-stop "and ones." If people are calling Thorton "raw," then Wright is sushi, straight up. Thorton's cocked back, one handed put back while getting fouled was incredible. His one handed putback slam over Biedrins was insane. Wright might be better down the line, but Thorton's game is soaring right now, metaphorically and literally.
Warrior wonder goes to Monta Ellis. I know Stephen Jackson deserves it as well for holding it down with Baron on the bench, but Monta's ability to go at the heart of the Clippers defense repeatedly was incredible. Left hand, right hand... Ellis was unstoppable!
Photos courtesy of Johnny Vy/NBAE via Getty Images, Jeff Gross/Getty Images, Francis Specker/AP Photo, Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images