Hello everyone! My name is Fabricio Rossi and I´m an avid Warriors fan, so I decided to post a Season Review for our Dubs. It will be kind of an Offseason Media Guide and will be divided in parts to make it easier to read since it´ll be very extensive.
I´ll write about what happened in each game of the season, what went right and what went wrong. What should we expect for next seson, Report Cards for each player with individual grades and much more. Don´t miss it! Part 2 is next, but parts 3, 4 and 5 will come in the next days.
Hope everyone enjoy it! Thanks!
Hello everyone, my name is Fabrício. I'll try to write an in depth review for the 2007-2008 Season of the Warriors and what I expect for this coming off season and what the franchise needs to do to upgrade and have a better chance to succeed next Season.
I think that if there's a slogan fort this Season it HAS to be: A BIG TEASER! We had so many expectations at the beginning of the season after last year historical Playoff run and elimination of the #1 seed Dallas Mavericks... I guess everyone thought we would be playing this season to probably win like 48 to 55 games and try to even get home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs, but of course that didn't pan out as planned (although we won those 48 games, but competition was too much to overcome).
The biggest mysteries for the year were: Is Baron going to be health enough to guide the Warriors to the playoffs again? Is Monta going to develop more and become the best player of the team? Is Stephen Jackson going to be in trouble with the law again or is he going to win the Community Award? Those were all big questions that in fact influenced the whole season, because Jackson stayed out of trouble but it was probably because of that 0 - 6 start that we are now watching the Playoffs at home. Baron indeed played the whole season but because of the lack of a quality backup PG it was clear as water that he was worn out for the last month and a half of the season. BD had a lot to play for this year because it was sort of a "Contract Season" for him, he had to prove everyone that he had durability and that he could guide the Warriors to the postseason and play on the same level that he played last playoffs where he averaged 25 PPG and 7 APG.
We all had great hopes that we would get Kevin Garnett during the off season, in fact the Warriors put up a great package including Wright, Biedrins and Ellis but the Wolves preferred to "give" KG to the Celtics. That certainly hurt our chances, because it's clear to me that the Jason Richardson trade (oh, I miss him!) happened for two reasons: to get financial flexibility and to get that missing piece to get KG (Brandan Wright). So maybe if we didn't try to steal KG from the Wolves we would still have JRich here... well, but that's another story and I really don't want to cause any more discussions about that.
The season started in Vegas with the Summer League where Marco Belinelli started with a 37 points performance! The hype about him rose to the roof at that point and that was probably the reason he was such a disappointment for the season. After that come the Free Agency signings, and maybe that's the time where the whole season fell apart. Mullin was clearly unable to bring to team the missing pieces. The signing of Troy Hudson (who had been injured for the most of his career) and Austin Croshere (he did play OK, but just played for 44 games but didn't address our needs) where not exactly what we needed and were not enough for a team that wanted to make a deep Playoff run.
But at least Mullin was great with our own Free Agents like Azubuike, Barnes and Pietrus, being able to bring them all back for the lowest possible and not giving up huge and long contracts to players who had a lot to prove to deserve those long contracts. Azubuike was brought back for 1 Season at $687,456; Barnes signed a 1 Year 3M extension and Pietrus signed for the minimum of $3,470,771.
That was great for our future financial project because now we have to extend Biedrins and Ellis and will have the money to bring both back.
The Opening roster was this compared to the one that finished last season:
PG: Baron Davis / Troy Hudson - Baron Davis / Sarunas Jasikevicious
SG: Monta Ellis / Kelenna Azubuike / Marco Belinelli - Jason Richardson / Monta Ellis / Kelenna Azubuike
SF: Stephen Jackson / Mickael Pietrus / Matt Barnes / Stephane Lasme - Stephen Jackson / Mickael Pietrus / Matt Barnes
PF: Al Harrington / Austin Croshere / Brandan Wright - Al Harrington / Josh Powell / Zarko Cabarkapa
C: Andris Biedrins / Patrick O´Bryant / Kosta Perovic - Andris Biedrins / Patrick O´Bryant / Adonal Foyle
Well, now talking about our main opponents...
After the 2007 NBA Draft everyone thought that the biggest threat for the Warriors would be the young Blazers with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy. And of course, our enemies from last Season: New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers. No one could forecast that the Hornets would put together such a great season and would be the #2 seed in the West, that the Clippers would lose Elton Brand and Chris Kaman for the most part of the season and that Greg Oden would play the entire season!
So at the end our biggest enemies were Dallas and Denver who were supposed to be playing for home court and not for the 8th seed!
No let's try to see everything that happened during our long and suffering 82 Games Season:
After a good Preseason where the Warriors had a 5-2 record the season started the worst possible way: with 6 straight losses! Stephen Jackson missed the first 7 games because of the NBA Suspension and we went 1-6 during that span. Four of those first 6 losses came at home against Utah, Cleveland, Dallas and Detroit and the other two where losses at Utah and at the Clippers.
Don Nelson started the season giving a new meaning to Small Ball with a starting lineup of Baron/Ellis/Azubuike/Pietrus/Biedrins and it clearly didn't work because the Dubs lost the game by 21 points and were out rebounded 56-37, it was just like the last playoff series where the Jazz destroyed us with rebounds and interior defense. Baron was the only one that showed up as he had 25 pts, 10 asts, 4 rebs and 5 stls.
In the second game the same thing happened, we lost because of rebounds: this time it was 53-36. Azubuike had his best game of the season with 33 pts and 8 rebs and Baron came 2 rebounds shy of a triple double, but Kaman had 26 pts and 18 rebs and the Clips simply outplayed the Warriors and won by 6.
Then the Jazz again!! Not again!! Another 23 points blowout as the Jazz simply had our number. The Warriors did hit 13 Threes that game but gave up 12, were out rebounded again and played no defense. That was the best game of the season for Al Harrington who had 38 pts, 7 rebs and hit 6-8 3PT FGs.
After those 3 straight losses we headed back home to play 4 straight at the Oracle. First stop, Lebron James and the Cavs: Oh boy, that game hurt so bad! We all remember that Harrington spike over King James! But at the end the Cavs won the 4th quarter and hit clutch Three after clutch three and ended up winning by only 4 points. The Dubs had 3 players posting double doubles (Harrington, Biedrins and Baron) but that was not enough.
The 4th game of the young season was against Nowitzki and the Mavs who were thirsty for revenge after their playoff loss to the Warriors. Again the Warriors came up short in the 4th quarter. The problem in the game was Free Throw Shooting (we hit only 16-30 for 53%). Baron had 37 points and Azubuike had 27 pts and 11 rebs but the 5th straight loss was inevitable.
After that everyone was pretty sure that the first win would come against the Pistons. The fans and the team just needed this game so bad but once again we had our famous 4th quarter collapse! We were up by 23 at one point and seemed like the first win would come but just 9 bench points and 61% FTs just doomed us. The second half belonged to the Pistons as they outscored us 60-40.
Finally!!! The first win of the Season! We got a little revenge on the Clips for that earlier loss and won by 17 with great games from Baron (21pts, 12 asts), Harrington (27pts) and Biedrins (23 pts and 18 rebs), the difference this time is that we out rebounded them 52-43 and hit 78% FTs.
The turning point of the Season for me was this road trip. The team gained confidence in themselves and won 4 out of 5 games. What a difference Captain Jackson made on this team! They shut down the Raptors in the 4th quarter (26-12) to steal the first game in Toronto (small side note: prior to this game the Warriors waived Stephane Lasme and signed DJ Mbenga". Then our Dubs destroyed the Knicks in NYC and the first chants of "FIRE ISIAH!" happened at the Garden as the Warriors beat the Knicks by 26 points (with 23/6/7/3 from Jackson). We did suffer a little set back in Boston with a 23 point defeat at the hands of Garnett, Pierce and Allen. We scored a season low 82 points this game and lost the rebound battle 40-24 but at least Nelson was smart enough to rest the starters as none of them played more than 29 minutes. At this point we were 3-7 and at the bottom of the Western Conference.
After the Boston set back the Warriors probably played their best basketball of the Season and won 6 in a row to climb back to above .500 for the first time in the season and that was simply the quickest turnaround in NBA History as the Warriors took only 14 games to climb to .500 (the prior record was 16). During this stretch run we beat the Wizards by 8 (behind a triple double by Baron Davis - 33/11/15), the 76ers in a great Overtime game where Azubuike hit the game winner 3 Pointer with 6 seconds to (Bob Fitzgerald said: "He's got Ice in his veins!") play and then Baron stole the ball on the Sixers last possession and we won by 2.
The third straight victory came in great fashion: a trashing of the Suns. The Dubs had great games by Stephen Jackson (32 pts and 8 rebs), Monta Ellis (31pts) and Baron Davis (28/6/9) and outplayed Steve Nash. The Warriors led almost from wire to wire and had 45 points in the 1st quarter! Don Nelson started the same 5 players as in last year's playoff run: Davis / Ellis / Jackson / Barnes / Harrington and the small ball was worth!
The 14th game of the season was historical as the Warriors reached .500 for the first time in the season with a come from behind win in Sacramento against the Kings. They were the fastest team to reach .500 after starting 0-6. They simply couldn't hit the threes that night, but Jackson made 2 3s in 20 seconds and they held the King scoreless for the last 3:43 minutes and won by 7 after trailing in the 4th quarter. Just a side note: Barnes mother died prior to this game (RIP Ann) and this probably dealt a fatal blow to Barnes season because it was clear that he wasn't the same Barnes from last season.
The first meeting of the Season with Yao and Rockets was really strange as the Warriors jumped up to a quick lead, then by the Rockets took the lead but the Warriors responded and literally shut down Yao (11 pts and 7 rebs 4-12 FG) and McGrady (11 pts and 6 asts 5-14 FG) with great defensive efforts from Jackson and Harrington and in the end it was a blowout, as the Warriors took this one by 19. This was the final game of November and the Dubs closed the month with a surprising 8-6 record and were 1 game above .500.
After the 6th win in a row against the Sonics in Seattle, the Warriors had won 9 of 10 and were playing like the end of last season! They looked unbeatable! They were winning games playing great defense and playing as team (2 20 points efforts, 2 18 pts efforts, 24 asts and 11 threes). In this one Stephen Jackson schooled Kevin Durant as he had only 6 pts on 2-12 FG. They jumped to 35-18 1st quarter lead and never looked back as they won wire to wire.
Then, the Warriors saw themselves in front of Dwight Howard and the Magic and that was too much for their 6 game winning streak. It was an emotional night (especially for Zorgon) because it was the homecoming of Adonal Foyle after 10 seasons with us. They trailed for most of the game, but in the end they put up a fight and almost won the game in regulation but Ellis missed a crucial free throw that would have put the Warriors up by 3 with under 20 seconds to play. Then Rashard Lewis was fouled and made both free throws and Ellis missed a potential game winner. In overtime, without Baron Davis who had fouled out in the 4th quarter, Dwight Howard was too much for the Warriors as he finished the game with 18 pts and 23 rebs. At least we were not out rebounded by the Magic because Harrington had 11 rebs, Ellis had 12 and Biedrins had a team-high 15!
Next, the Milwaukee Bucks at home. This one, wasn't even close. It was a 30 point blow out and the Warriors knocked down 15 threes, forced 23 turnovers, had 16 steals and starters got a good rest for next game against Shaq, Wade and the Heat. Now, this was a GAME! It was the first big come from behind win of the season because the Warriors were trailing by 18 in the 3rd quarter and entered the 4th quarter down by 9 but outscored the Heat 38-22 in the quarter and despite great efforts from Wade (33 pts, 10 asts but 7 TOs), random Warrior Killer Wright (19 pts and 18 rebs) and Ricky Davis (20 pts and 10 rebs) the Dubs won a great game by 7! That one was memorable!
After concluding their small 2 game home stint (with a 2-0 record) the Warriors played 5 very difficult games where the ended up losing 3 of those but the 2 wins were 2 of the best games of the whole season! The first stop was against the Lakers in LA where the Warriors had lost their last 8 games and it wasn't different this time, as they lost for the 9th straight time to the Lakers. Warrior killer of the night was Andrew Bynum who had 20 pts, 11 rebs and 5 blks.
But this was really a strange season... the Dubs followed a tough loss with a great win against the Duncan less Spurs at home. This game was played at the Spurs tempo and seemed to have no rhythm. It was only 1 of 11 games where the Warriors failed to score 100+ points. But in the end the Spurs couldn't stop us and we won by 12 despite a huge night by new Warrior killer Matt Bonner who had 25 pts and 17 rebs (both career highs).
This was the time when the 1W , 1L thing started to happen as the Warriors weren't able to put 2 strong efforts in a row and lost by 10 to the young Blazers. The next game was at home against Kobe and the Lakers. Well, what can I say about this one? Maybe it was the most entertaining game of the season. Do you remember the Baron kiss after the dagger 3 pointer? Dude, that was unforgettable! What a great game it was. The Dubs trailed for the most part and were down 6 with under 2 minutes to play but Baron used his magic on the Lakers and hit clutch shot after clutch shot culminating on that long and crazy three pointer that finished our opponent. He had 5 3PTs for the game, we had 3 players with 20 points and ended up winning by only 2 points! Check the post game quote by Mr. Bryant: "This is nothing. This is like slap-boxing,'' Bryant said. "For a real rivalry, you have to match up in the playoffs. The regular season is nothing.''. Shame we didn't have the opportunity to square off in the playoffs like Bryant said
Then off to another 5 games road trip where the Warriors played some great ball, but like the other trip had a dismal performance against Detroit on a Sunday morning and were destroyed by 22 points, one of the worst games of the season, especially for Baron Davis who had only 2 points and 1 assist. After this game we had a 13-11 record.
Finally a break: a game against the Memphis Grizzlies! This one was easier than the final score showed. We won only by 8, but the Warriors had complete control after the first quarter and had a huge second quarter run to blow the game open. Stephen Jackson had one of his best games of the Season with 32 pts and a career high 12 rebounds. If only he could do that night in and night out...
The third stop of the trip was in Minneapolis against the Wolves. This game really made me furious, it was going to be the first game of the season that I was going to watch live using an internet link and 10 minutes prior to tip off we had a power blackout and I couldn't watch the game! ARRGGGHH!!
Hopefully our Warriors had a good second half and after going to half time down 8 to the lowly Wolves (who had only 3 wins at that point of the season), they won by 13. 15th win of the season in the books!
This one is a game I wouldn't even write about if I could, but... Maybe one of the biggest teasers of the season! The Dubs were down big in the 4th quarter and then made a furious comeback to take the lead but then the ill advised threes started to rain and VC knocked down his own 3 to win the game with 24 seconds remaining. Result? A 5 point defeat to the Nets.
Our final stop was against King James and the Cavs and boy, did I enjoy this game! Blowout the East Champs at their own floor was great! They entered the 4th quarter up by 24 points!! Baron had a great night with 27 and 10 and Jackson also had 29 points in the winning effort.
As the long road trip ended, the Dubs got back home to face Timberwolves for the second time in a week. I was really scared about this one, but in the end we won by 4. The Wolves made furious comeback in the 4th but a career night (at that point) by Monta Ellis who had 35 points helped the Warriors to close out the game.
The first meeting of the season with the Nuggets was a devastating loss (as we could see in late April...). The Warriors hang in there for the whole game but Jackson missed a potential game winner with 10 seconds to go and despite 29 pts and 13 asts for Baron and 32 pts for Jackson, the Warriors couldn't overcome 39 pts for Iverson and 30 for Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets won by 4 (Ws hit 14 3PT FG this game).
But after a 1 day break, both teams meet again, this time in Denver for the second leg of the home-to-home series. This time, the Warriors played defense and held Denver to 95 points on their own home floor after allowing 124 two nights before. Again the Ws hit double digit threes and held Iverson to 13 points as we escaped the Mile High City with a 5 point victory.
On New Years Eve, the Dubs played the Rockets in Houston and again it was a wild game against them. After a great start, Houston took the lead at halftime and Don Nelson was ejected for complaining the famous non calls against us. The team came back from the locker room inspired under Coach Keith Smart and simply shut down the Rockets in the fourth quarter to win this one by 17 for a 2-0 series lead against Houston. They hit 14 3PT FG and Al Harrington again stopped Yao Ming who was held to 16 pts and 9 rebs and Al had 16 pts and 11 rebs. The Dubs closed the year with a 19-13 record and it was their 6th win in 8 tries.
The New Year started with the rumors about Gary Payton and Chris Webber joining the Warriors to finish their careers, but the first transaction of the Year was the signing of CJ Watson from the D League on 01/08 with a 10 day contract.
For the first time since the 5th and 6th game of the season, the Warriors lost consecutive games, and this would only happen again on April 1st and 2nd (games number 74 and 75). This time was against our arch-rival Dallas and the surprising Hornets. The game against Dallas made clear that the Mavericks had figured us out. It was a 23 points blowout and the Warriors never threatened Mark Cuban's team. Just a small side note, Don Nelson started MICKAEL PITRUS at Center, that's right. If that's not small ball, then I don't know what it is!
Our first meeting with MVP Candidate Chris Paul, was really disappointing. The Warriors had another slow start at Oracle and lost the first quarter by 12 and allowed the Hornets to score 39 points! It was the first start for Brandan Wright but he ended up playing just 6 minutes for 5 pts and 4 rebs. The Dubs came back in the 2nd quarter and went to halftime only down by 2, but again a slow start in 3rd prevented the Warriors from taking control of the game, and worst Baron had to play the whole game while Paul rested and that was difference down the stretch as clearly Baron ran out of gas in the 4th and New Orleans ran away from Oracle with a 12 point victory.
As Jim Barnett said the whole season, the Warriors showed again that mental toughness and bounced back from those 2 straight losses and won a memorable game against the World Champs Spurs. This was the first time since the 96-97 season that the Dubs won the season series against the Spurs. This one was an instant classic! Duncan had 32 and 13, Parker had 31 points and Ginobili had 20 points, but the Spurs allowed a season high 130 to the Warriors and Warriors won by 9 in Overtime, after Parker hit an improbable 3 pointer from the corner to send the game to OT. Baron was game MVP with 34 points, 14 assists but who really won the game down the stretch was Stephen Jackson hitting shot after shot after shot,
The 36th game of the season was against the young and streaking Blazers who won their 17th game in their last 18 at that moment. Just like the first game against Portland, the Warriors had no chance and this time random Warrior Killer was Steve Blake hitting 5-6 threes. Just Ellis played 25 minutes, but the rest of the starters played less than 20 minutes.
Now I have to admit. This is my favorite game of the season because Baron had 20 points and 19 ASSISTS (career high). I really admire him and wanted him to be more of a playmaker here, so, nothing better than 19 assists! Our Dubs were clicking on all cylinders hitting 14 threes and shooting 52% for the game, but Baron's game was really impressive as he had 9 assists at halftime and then dished another 10 helpers in the second half and the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies by 12 despite 43 pts and 11 rebs from Pau Gasol.
On January 16th we had our most funny game of the season, against the Dunmurphy sisters!! I remember all those posters with them (props to Tony PSD)! The Pacers jumped out to a 15 point 1st quarter lead because again Baron and company had a slow start at home, but then they won all the other 3 quarters and ended up winning by 5.
Another long road trip was on the horizon for the Dubs as they were going to play Minnesota, Indiana, Chicago and Milwaukee in 5 days.
The first stop was in Minnesota for the third meeting between the two teams and once again the Warriors showed that they were playing at the level of their opponent this season and won only by 7 allowing Antoine Walker to score 26 points and lost the 4th quarter by 10 points but were able to hang on to win it. This marked the first time they were 7 games above .500 since the 93-94 campaign and Nelson said: "I don't know if we have anything more. I don't know if we can be better. We're playing pretty well.''.
The second stop was in Indiana against the Sisters again. But this time they had the last laugh... it was a heartbreaker just like the last game against the Nets. They started great, Baron had 6 steals in the 1st quarter alone and their defense was superb. They build a huge lead and entered the 4th quarter up by 14, and then the biggest collapse of the season happened: they allowed the Pacers to score 46 POINTS in the last period and random Warrior Killer Kareem Rush hit 5 threes to close the deal as the Warriors suffered a huge blow to their playoff aspirations and lost by 8.
But Baron wouldn't let the Warriors lose 2 in a row and on National Television, he had a career high 40 points against the Bulls and the Dubs recovered from a huge hole and won by 8. Davis had 6 threes and was simply unstoppable baby! Side note: Barnes had a fine game with 11 and 11 off the bench.
This huge win against Chicago motivated the team and they again destroyed the Bucks in the last leg of their road trip. Best thing to comment about this game is that Kosta Perovic saw his first action of the season and was "dominant" against Bogut, with 4pts, 4 rebs and 1 blk on 2-2 FG! 20 points victory for the City guys.
Who could bare another heartbreaker in 5 days? This game made me stay paralyzed for 15 minutes after that missed layup in the last second by Baron that would have won the game for us. Not much to say about this one. It was probably the worst loss of the season and we can say that this is one that we missed down the stretch against Denver. Ryan Gomes was the random Warrior killer as he had 35 pts and 11 rebs on 11-15 FG. For the home team, Ellis had 28 and Barnes 20. After this game I really started to wonder if we would be able to make the playoffs, because we were starting games so bad at home, the bench was inexistent, Pietrus, Barnes and Azubuike were struggling so much and the starters were beginning to show fatigue.
If probably every Warrior fan was sick after the loss against the Timberwolves, imagine what happened after the Nets were in command in the 4th quarter at the Oracle? This might be the most nervous game of the season. The Warriors both scored 22 consecutive points and blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter of their nutty victory. Everything happened in this game, even the Hack a Boone tactic that backfired against us in the third quarter. Monta hit 13-18 FG for 39 points (career high) and Baron had a big triple double with 25/12/10/5. Totally insane game that we could have won easily.
Really, at this point of the season, I started wondering if I still had a healthy heart to watch Warriors games. The game against the Knick again was a nail-biter. Biedrins had the Warriors' best rebounding game in more than a quarter-century, grabbing an NBA-season high 26 boards to help Golden State to a 2 point victory over the New York Knicks, closing the home stint with a 2-1 record, but none of them convincing wins against mediocre teams.
Again, back on the road for games 48 and 49. The first one was against Houston. This time Yao had enough with the Warriors and erupted for 36 pts and 19 rebs, he had the help of Rafer Alston who had 17 pts, 12 asts and 8 rebs. The Dubs dig a 15 point deficit after one and were only able to make a run in the final quarter when they took the lead but lost it immediately and ended up losing by 4: another teaser! Huge side note here: Prior to this game the Warriors signed CJ Watson for the reminder of the season as Baron's backup, waived Troy Hudson who had a career ending injury and SIGNED CHIRS WEBBER to a contract! This was the start of the Webber Curse all over again! As the season will walk we will see that the experiment really didn't work.
Game number 49 was against the Hornets, and this was arguably their most well played game of the season. Check these numbers: 52% FG, 13 3 PT FG, 13-14 FTs, only 6 TOs and a great team effort with 6 players in double figures, led by Jackson's 26 and Baron's 23. But my game MVP goes to Matt Barnes because he played great defense and had 17 pts, 6 rebs and 2 blks. Proving that Nelson's teams can also play controlled ball and not only a frenetic and crazy style. This capped another winning month for the Warriors. They finished with a 9-6 record.
Our next game was probably the most emotional game of the year. It was GSOM Night #3, Jason Richardson was in the house for his comeback and it was the first time that CWEBB was with the team. I loved the video tribute to JRich but it was a shame that they split the screen with Chris Webber, I think he deserved more. My man Richardson was nervous as hell after the warm welcome by the fans and had an off night as most of the Bobcats players (10 pts 2-9 FG) and the Warriors were able to rest their starters and defeated Charlotte by 31 points with 54 bench points. This was the first of a 5 game home stand and 1 of 9 home games in February.
What a better way to start the Webber curse with a home loss to the Bulls who were without Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich? The Warriors had another slow start at home and allowed the Bulls to jump to a 9 point 1st quarter lead and had to play catch up the rest of the game. Webber disrupted the team chemistry and was too slow to keep pace with us (Even after a 5 day mini camp that Nelson forced his players to go through even in a Super Bowl weekend.). Another devastating loss that ranks at the top of the worst defeats of the season. As always, the night random Warrior killer was Chris Duhon who hit 11-16 FG, 4-6 3PT and had a career high 34 points, killing every Warriors run with a huge three. Side note: Webber had only 4 pts and 1 reb as a starter.
PART 2 will be posted in the next few days! Don´t miss it!