For Warriors fans it was one of those nights. Take your pick of evils:
- Getting blown out by the San Antonio Spurs.
- Slipping down to the 9th spot with tonight's Nuggets win against the Suns in Denver. Check out Nuggets Slip Past Suns (126-120) [Bright Side of the Sun] and Pickaxe and Roll for more.
- Having to listen to the homerish Spurs announcing crew on NBA League Pass.
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Besides the odd fisheye lens view anyone notice anything else wrong with this picture?
I promise this is more interesting than the actual game... after the jump!
The Loss in 2 Bullets
Plain and simple. The Warriors got beat by a better team. I know it sucks because it's during this crazy juncture of this season and I know I was foolish enough to predict that the Warriors would get this W, but in all seriousness did you really think they were going to win this one? The good news is they still won the season series against the Spurs for the first time in... well, quite some time. Here's the bad news:
- Points in the Paint: Excuse the bad analogy, but it was like the Warriors were working with preschool paintbrushes and the Spurs were hitting them with fully loaded top of the line paint guns. Part of it was Nellie thinking it was cool to have Austin Croshere man the interior for extended periods. Part of it was Andris Biedrins' usual softness down low (still I would've liked Nellie to play him more than 15:50 tonight as he was rebounding the rock really well). Part of it was the awful perimeter defense on the slashing guards. Heck part of it was just Tim Duncan and Tony Parker scoring at will in the paint like they do against every other team in the association. But everyone on the Warriors roster, coaching staff, and front office (even Gary St. Jean could find Erick Dampier who could defend the rim exceptionally on occasion- rare occasions like Chinese New Year and Diwali though) was responsible for giving the Spurs a whopping 62 points in the paint advantage to the Dubs measly 28 tonight.
The Warriors made the Spurs look like Black & Decker.
- The Big 3 Minus 2.5: Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Monta Ellis just didn't have it tonight. Baron was playing tough and scoring reasonably well, so I'll give him a 0.5 here. However he just wasn't distributing the rock on par with his usual brilliance. Jack's 2 for 12 just aren't going to cut it, especially when he was so quiet on defense, didn't really set up others, or make a big contribution on the glass. When Monta shoots 5 for 16 and has 5 turnovers the Warriors just aren't going to win many ball games.
I hate to say it, but it's really that simple. Terrible defense + 2.5 of the big 3 against the San Antonio Spurs on the road = Blowout Loss. It's a good thing this game wasn't televised locally in the Bay Area.
The Spurs D vs the Warriors No-O in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter summed up in one pic.
Bench the Bench
When I was recapping the Blazers game less than a week ago I boldly proclaimed that Nellie Knows What's Wright and pleaded for fans and the media to quit bashing the legend. I went on to say that it was both ignorant and arrogant for critics to question his usage of the bench particularly talented, but extremely raw rookie Brandan Wright unless they go to practice day in and day out. As you can probably imagine that didn't sit too well with many golden folk in the comments. Before we look at what the rookie crew did tonight I'll pass the mic on over to Nellie:
"I have the benefit of seeing these guys every day in practice," Nelson said. "You guys (the media and fans) only see what happens in games. You see something missing on the court and think, 'try that guy.' But I know what he can do and what he can't do."
Definitely do check out the rest of GSoM friend Marcus Thompson's piece Youngsters have to be ready while they wait and wait [Contra Costa Times] for more.
- Brandan Wright (12:00): 1 bucket, 1 rebound, 1 blocked shot, 1 blocked shot attempt, and 0 assists. Sorry, but doesn't exactly seem like the kind of material that would help the Warriors win right now during the EVERY GAME COUNTS final stretch. Check his game log. You only play him right now in very select spot situations. Nothing more nothing less. We're trying to win games here right now and establish a winning culture, not develop players for the future who might be good players. Nellie knows this. Do you?
- Kosta Perovic (6:50): It was complete garbage minutes because of the score, but let's look at the bright side. Expiring contract next year!
- Marco Belinelli (4:38): Straight 0's all across the statline except for 1. 1 wild airball that is. (I can't remember if he was forced to shoot it because the shot clock was winding down though, so that airball might not be his fault.)
As a sidenote I find it funny how Kosta (+1) and Marco Belinelli (+6) were the only Warriors aside from Biedrins (+2) to rack up a positive +/- for the game. The +/- stat seems helpful over the course of a 82 game season and for looking the best 5 man units, but I'm still not sold on using it for individual game analysis. I know our buddy Tim Kawakami from the San Jose Mercury sees and uses the +/- stat differently than I do though and he's a sharp guy, so I admittedly could be missing something critical here. Sounds like a great topic for another time.
Monta Ellis vs Tony Parker
I've never really been a big fan of Tony Parker's game (his game on the hardwood that is, as his game with the ladies is just phenomenal!), but watching the game I couldn't help but think that Parker (current age 25) and Monta Ellis (current age 22) were just mirror images of each other. I first made this comparison over 2 years ago when Monta was just a rookie who barely played when the Warriors, much like tonight, got spanked by the Spurs (Recap: Warriors 75, Spurs 92 from 2/25/06):
Monta Ellis. This season Monta's had some fine moments. He's been a bright spot all season long. Monta's lightening quick, tough, has handles and a nice shooting touch. I've had a tough time this season imagining what he could be when he develops. I think I've finally figured it out. In his prime Monta is going to be a tougher version of Tony Parker with a better outside shot.
I've never been a big fan of Tony Parker's game. I think Duncan and Pop's schemes make him look a lot better than he really is by hiding his shortcomings. Parker's a good player, but not a superstar as Fitz and Barnett were calling him on the Warriors TV broadcast tonight. If Baron was on the Spurs he'd be 10x better than Parker. Monta's going to be better than Tony Parker some day too. He might never be as appreciated, but he'll be better.
And oh yeah, since I know you're wondering- Yes, Monta will have a fine lady too.
So just for fun let's compare the two quick as lightening little men now 2 years from that piece (since it's much more fun than talking about this game anymore).
Scoring: They both get you a shade under 20 at a gaudy overall field goal rate. Both are excellent finishers, although Monta's more fun to watch because he can get up much higher. Monta's got a pretty money midrange jumper (though he's been struggling as of late with that shot), but Parker's shown to be a far better 3pt threat. Last season Parker actually hit 39.5% of his tries from downtown. Monta just don't have a 3pt shot right now. Edge- Even.
Passing: I don't think either is a great distributing point guard or someone with great court vision. However, Parker does seem far ahead of Monta in this regard (TP- 5.8 apg vs ME- 3.8 apg). Edge- Tony Parker.
Rebounding: Parker really isn't a major factor on the glass (3.2 rpg this season), but you could argue there's not as many boards to go around with the slower paced Spurs and bigger and better frontline. Still I'm going with Monta's 4.8 rpg here. Edge- Monta Ellis.
- Defense: Let's just say neither will be winning the Defensive Player of the Year honors any time this century. Edge- Whoever they're guarding that night.
Neither guy has a chance in hell at stopping the other.
But let's dive into this comparison even further because when I was looking at the stats I'm afraid I uncovered something scary and maybe even somewhat of a red flag for Warriors management when they're thinking contract extension this offseason and for hoop junkies to temper their sky high expectations for Monta. When I first began this little adventure, the first question I had was what were Eva's man's stats when he was Monta's current age of 22 and how do they compare.
2007-2008 (through 72 games played) Monta Ellis [age 22]
37:53 min- 19.9 ppg (53.1% FG, 21.7% 3pt, 77.3% FT), 3.8 apg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 steals
2004-2005 Tony Parker [age 22- although 23 looks like a much closer comparison stats-wise]
34.12 min- 16.6 ppg (48.2% FG, 27.6% 3pt, 65.0% FT), 6.1 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 steals
So let's look at Tony Parker's stats over the course of the following 3 seasons:
2005-2006 Tony Parker [age 23]
33:53 min- 18.9 ppg (54.8% FG, 30.6% 3pt, 70.7% FT), 5.8 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 steals
2006-2007 Tony Parker [age 24]
32:30 min- 18.6 ppg (52.0% FG, 39.5% 3pt, 78.3% FT), 5.5 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 steals
2007-2008 (through 61 games played) Tony Parker [age 25]
32:47 min- 18.5 ppg (49.0% FG, 28.1% 3pt, 71.5% FT), 5.8 apg, 3.2 rpg, and 0.8 steals
Really seems like Tony Parker leveled off fast doesn't it?
Makes you wonder and possibly even temper your enthusiasm about Monta's upside over the next few seasons. Now I'm not saying that Monta can't make any further huge strides in his game, but the Parker precedent if you will, really makes you stop and think.
I can't really say I walked away really impressed with any Warrior player's production tonight. However watching the Spurs homerish broadcast team was just painful. Don't get it twisted though. Sean Elliot's a solid color man (you know what I mean, but why did that phrase just sound so odd?) on ESPN, but when teamed up with the Spurs play-by-play guy it's just flat out annoying and incredibly biased. At one point the Spurs play-by-play man was jokingly chiding Elliot for siding with the refs and not rooting for the Spurs enough on a call that clearly should and did go to the Warriors. At one point (although they made some valid points) they were blatantly mocking Biedrins' league leading field goal percentage for being meaningless.
Makes you really appreciate Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett. So Fitz and Barnett get my award tonight. Thanks for bringing it every night fellas!
Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay + D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images