Game 2 - GSW vs. Sac Kings
(By request I separated it out into a new post rather than lumping it all into one)
In typical GSW / Sac fashion, this game was a high scoring, sparse defense, barn burner with the good guys coming out on top 98 - 95. The Dubs however did do a better job on the boards today and finished the game much stronger than yesterday. Anthony Morrow still didn't play, although he did warm up with the team and his ankle didn't seem to be bothering him like it was yesterday. There were really only three Dubs players worth talking about in this game (the three combined for 82% of the Warriors points) and nothing that happened in this game that changed the first impressions that I got from yesterday.
Anthony Randolph - 24 pts (on 10 - 13), 11 rebs, 2 ast, 2 stl, 5 blks, 6 tos
Similar to yesterday's game AR put up another solid overall performance, with his share of highlights (that breakaway dunk and several massive blocks) and lowlights (pass off the ref was the most stellar turnover.)
He was extremely impressive on the defensive end, bringing energy to start the beginning of the second half that (along with Curry's scoring) got the Dubs back into the game after a dismal first half. His help defense continues to be superb. He still falls for pump fakes way too much (he needs to learn to jump after the offensive player leaves their feet, not before) but I think he has the tools to become one of the best help defenders in the league (similar to Birdman for the Nuggets.) The area of defense he needs to start working on though is his post defense and on ball defense. Several times he was outmuscled in the post by Thompson or sagged off his man too much on the perimeter and let Casspi and Greene get wide open looks.
Offensively he was extremely efficient (minus the 6 tos), yet I really feel he can do even better than that. His elbow jumper seems to be much more consistent and he did an excellent job slashing to the rim, however his post moves leave a lot to be desired. If he really did gain 15 lbs of muscle, it's not showing in the games. He was continually pushed around in the paint by Donte Greene, who isn't exactly known as a tough hard-nosed defender. Maybe he can ask Brandon Wright to teach him a few post moves before BW gets shipped off? I don't think he'll ever be mistaken for Amare, but even Lamar Odom and Rashard Lewis have decent post-up offensive games to take advantage of smaller defenders.
Don't get me wrong, he's still the most talented player on the court and he's playing well, but I guess I was hoping to see more expansion of his game with all the talk of his non-stop off-season workouts.
Stephen Curry - 29 pts (on 8-22), 6 rebs, 3 asts, 2 stls, 3 tos
After a dismal first half (0 for 8 shooting and 2 pts), in which he tweaked his ankle, Steph exploded in the second half / OT for 27 pts. He continues to impress me with his ball handling and decision making. He did drill three 3's in the second half, but surprisingly, he did the majority of his damage on drives to the hoop, resulting in either a layup or a trip to the line (sometimes both.) He utilized his quickness and ball handling to blow by defenders at will and was able to finish numerous times amongst the trees. He spent more time driving to the hoop in the second half than Jamal Crawford did all season long. The really impressive thing was that he was that while the defenders weren't NBA quality (Jerel McNeal is no slouch but I doubt he makes the Kings team), the bigs that he finished over were (Jason Thompson is a starter and Donte Greene, Jon Brockman, and Omri Casspi all will be contributers this year.)
His defense was again adequate, but then again he wasn't guarding the Kings best perimeter guy (Tyreke.) He was really good in transition defense, coming up with some key steals and deflections (I only remember one bad instance when he let Tyreke get around him for a layup.) He also pulled down the third most rebounds on the team and did a much better job communicating with his teammates on switches and in transition.
He performed well in the clutch, scoring the go ahead layup and sinking two free throws to ice the game in OT. The most impressive thing to me is his BBIQ. His 3 assists weren't indicative of some of the great passes he made, particularly running the pick and roll. He made some great passes to Connor Atchley and Othello Hunter off the p-n-r, but they weren't able to do anything with the passes. I'm not sure why they didn't run the pick and roll or pick and pop with Curry and Randolph (as it was successful yesterday), but then again I didn't understand putting Joe Ingles on Tyreke Evans for the whole game when he continued to get torched.
Even though he didn't shoot well again (though his 8-14 in the second half / OT was a great improvement) he seemed to make the right decision with the ball the majority of the time. It didn't seem like he was forcing shots, just taking them when he was open, even though he couldn't hit anything in the first half. The only really bad shot I felt he took was the shot at the end of regulation, but he had to do something with the time running out. The way he plays reminds me of a really good poker player. In poker you want to get your money in good when you have the best hand, what happens after that is up to how the cards fall. You judge yourself based on the decisions you make, rather than the results, because you can always make the right decision (taking the open shot / making the correct pass -> getting your money in with the best hand) and get the wrong result (missing the shot / not converting the good pass -> getting sucked out on.) Judging him based on his decision making (something the Warriors are sorely lacking in), I think he did a stellar job today, and he's quickly turning me into a Curry fanboy.
The one area he really needs to work on is hitting his jumper off of one or two dribbles. The majority of the jumpers that he missed were of that variety (and the majority of those were fairly wide open, off of screens.) When he was able to set his feet, he was money. He also does a good job at hitting PUJITs (pull up jumpers in transition.)
Cartier Martin - 27 pts (on 7-15), 4 rebs, 3 tos
Again Cartier continued to impress and fight for that roster spot. He must have read my fanpost yesterday, because he came out today and proved me wrong and shot the lights out. He was really aggressive on offense, hitting open threes and making strong drives to the hoop resulting in 10-11 fts and several and-1's. He still looks like the only one that has a shot at making the roster.
I'll give JD the benefit of the doubt after reading the MT2 article about him being injured, because again he contributed nothing to the team, which was a bummer because I ran into his parents in the stands (at least I think they were his parents because they were both wearing Davidson jerseys and his Mom's one said "Mom" instead of Davidson.) Acie Law really only got playing time when Steph Curry tweaked his ankle and went to the sidelines, and again didn't do much to impress me. Joe Ingles got a ton of playing time (which I'm not sure is a good thing) and he continued to be anemic on offense (3 pts on 1-7 shooting.) He spent the majority of his time on the court trying (unsuccessfully and inexplicably) to keep Tyreke Evans out of the paint. He gets an A for effort, but a D for execution. At least he contributed a little with 8 rebs.
Despite Conner Atchley's best Rob Kurz impression, it's still extremely doubtful any of these guys have a shot at the roster.