Despite the obvious loss tonight, I pretty sure I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has been watching the Warriors this year who wouldn't be pleasantly surprised at the display we put forth. Usually, losses are pretty tough to write on. This is especially the case with the Warriors because losses are usually coupled with an excess of embarrassing preventable mistakes.
We knew we were outmatched in this game from the moment that we saw it on our schedule. Add to the mix the fact that the Warriors had to approach this game with only 7 healthy players (one of them suiting up in a Dubs uniform for the first time ever) and we had a recipe for a smack down.
But tonight, we saw something different. We saw one of the NBA elite teams look at each other in amazement, wondering why they couldn't extend a lead. We saw Ellis and Curry dishing the ball with flare. We saw Maggette hitting up the floor, fighting for boards and fighting through gauntlets for points. We saw Morrow draining tres in the face of the bewildered Cavs...
...we saw our boys play like Warriors.
JUMP!First and foremost, let's talk about the newest addition to the club. I have to say, I'm not all that dissappointed with Vlad's performance out there tonight! Is he going to be a point for point replacement for Stephen Jackson? No, probably not. But it was nice having a 6-10 shooter show some efficiency (at least in the first half) With enough training in Nellie's system, Vlad can trim down his shot selection and make a nice addition on both sides of the floor.
Plus he's not crazy. That kind of goes a long way.
All said and done, we've only seen half of what this trade had to offer. Unfortunately, that's going to be the case for a long time. So hell with it, let's make some proverbial lemonade. Not too Vlad at all if you ask me.
Moving onto the game - it was nice seeing such a depleted roster come out with such a strong offensive start. One could only hope that this type of offensively display would be complimented by some defensive output, but sadly this was not the case. Despite some great shots (and a great drive by Steph Curry that is worth noting), LeBron and Hickson (hello Warrior Killer!) did a tremendous job tearing up the Warriors inside. By the time the quarter ticked down, the Dubs had 30, but found themselved to be down by 5.
Defense was certainly happening on the Cavs side however. The first half gave way to some incredible swats by Cleveland. Well, if you were the Warriors, change that "incredible" to "embarrassing". Right out of the gates the Cavs increased the lead to 11 and were well on their way to running away with this game.
Now this is when it happened. Ordinarily, the Warriors (especially the Warriors with a 7 man rotation) would have accepted their fate and begun the beloved ritual of hurling up long bricks. But that's not what we saw. It all started with Morrow heating up from beyond the arc, nailing 3 tres in the 2nd quarter alone. This was enough to prevent the Cavs from running away with the lead, but unfortunately, not enough to chisel into it either. Honestly, it was nice enough seeing us hang with a team at a notch above us. But how long could it last?
Third quarter. Where Morrow's shooting cooled, Mags started up on the hustle. Where Vlad's midrangers started bricking, Monta's took over. Only at the end of this quarter did LeBron take over enough to stretch the lead back out to 11. So this was it. LeBron was about to take over the game and finally put the Warriors in his rear view mirror.
Enter the fourth. As the fatigue set in for the Warriors, Anthony Randolph stepped in and completely turned his dismal game around. Scoring most of his 13 points in the 4th quarter alone, Randolph came out with a fire unseen in the previous three quarters. As the back and forth continued, the Warriors actually managed to chisel the Cavs' lead down to 1 off of a ridiculous three from Morrow.
In the end, LeBron did what LeBron does. A few timely dishes and scores padded the Cavs lead with the right amount of time on the clock and the Warriors came away with another loss. But the Cavs have to be wondering how 7 scrappers from the Bay had them on their toes for 48 minutes. I know I am.
All 7 of our players scored in the double digits. We out-rebounded the Cavs and dished out the same amount of dimes. Given our limitations, the Warriors were on form tonight.
Yes. A loss is a loss. No way around it. But in the chaos of this one comes a glimmer of hope. Maybe this team can pay together. There certainly was some inspiring ball movement that led to some pretty innovative scores tonight. Could they do this again? Does this have anything to do with the departure of Jackson's stop and pop style of play?
It sure would be interesting to see what this team does when it gets a little healthier...
Gotta go with Monta on this one. With 23 points and 8 impressive dimes, Monta was doing it from all ends of the floor all night. Where our other players suffered through hot and cold streaks, Ellis served as the go to guy to keep our offense flowing.