Game 3 - GSW vs. Det Pistons
D-E-F-E-N-S-E. That was the name of the game tonight. The Warriors dominated the second half of the game to finish with a 97 - 69 win. This was one of the better team defensive efforts I have seen out of a Warriors team (yes, I know it's only summer league.) Offensively it was a 4-man show again, with the return of Anthony Morrow. Thanks to Blake Griffin playing in the other arena, I got to sit courtside right behind the Warriors bench, allowing me to hear the huddles and Keith Smart all throughout the game.
I want to talk a little about Coach Smart, since I tried to listen in as much as I could. He was just as active as the Warriors defense tonight, constantly teaching, encouraging, and correcting players all the way till the last second ticked off (literally - he was barking out defensive assignments up 28 with 24 secs to go.) He seems to have the ear of players and he has a great rapport with them. I know he's the team's "Defensive coordinator" and he really does stress that side of the court with the team, much more than the offense.
My favorite Keith Smart moment of the night came near the end of the third quarter when Jeremy Pargo drove into the lane and Connor Atchley met him, held up his hands and held his ground as Pargo barreled into him. Atchley, backpedaled as Pargo hit him square in the chest and Atchley was called for a blocking foul. Smart jumped up out of his seat and pleaded with the ref that it was a charge. He then called Atchley over and laughingly said to him, "You gotta fall down on that." I'm no advocate of flopping, but 1) Smart is right, and 2) I've never seen a coach teach flopping, so I found it hilarious. Atchley sorta just smirked at Smart, gave him a high five and walked back on the court.
He also does a good job with AR. Every time Randolph would push the ball on the break or catch the ball in the post Smart would calmly say "Under Control" to him over and over and it seemed to do exactly that. If Don Nelson decides to walk away after this coming year, I think the Warriors should take a long hard look at Smart as he's impressed me a lot with this summer league squad.
Anthony Randolph - 21 pts (on 6-12), 10 rebs, 1 stl, 3 blks, 3 tos
I know my other recaps have been a little harsh on AR, but I guess it's because I was expecting a lot from him. Today, I felt he finally put it all together and played in a dominant fashion. He only played 25 minutes today (the game was already out of hand at the end of the third / start of the fourth when he was getting a breather), but he was extremely active and effective on both sides of the court.
The Dubs went back to the pick and roll with Curry and Randolph and the Pistons had a terrible time trying to stop it. Randolph did a great job diving to the rim after the pick and all Dajuan Summers could do was foul Randolph (AR was 9-11 from the line and Dajuan ended up being the first summer league player I saw this year to foul out.)
Defensively he was the tone setter for the team. He had several plays that were clear momentum shifters (that one block towards the end of the first half and the steal from Daye which he then slammed home.) He spent more time in the paint today and only put up one three pointer, so I really have nothing negative to say about his game.
Stephen Curry - 23 pts (on 7-19), 7 rebs, 4 ast, 5 stl, 1 blk, 4 tos
Showing no ill effects of the tweaked ankle, he put together his most complete game as a Warrior. Again, he struggled shooting from the field and he did make a couple mental mistakes (there were a couple of times he tried to force a pass into traffic that got picked off and he had that one "heat check" three attempt that he missed), but beyond that there wasn't much not to like about his game either. I've talked enough about his decision-making, playmaking and shooting, so I'm going to focus on some of the areas of his game that I haven't already talked about ad nauseum.
On the defensive end, he did another great job as an on-ball defender and his transition defense was again superb. He played the passing lanes beautifully and pilfered his man several times to end up with 5 steals for the game. He even got a block on Sean Singletary 1-on-1 on a fast break, which got a lot of "Oohs" and "Aaahs" from the crowd.
Something else that I haven't mentioned yet about Curry is his strength, which is extremely underrated (I am working on a longer post relating to this, that I hope to finish after summer league ends.) There were several times where he ended up having to guard Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko on switches off the 1/3 pick and roll and both of them tried to post him up to take advantage of their size. Curry wasn't about to give up just because he was giving up 6 inches and 30 lbs. He fought for position against both of them and ended up getting a steal from Daye on one possession and knocking the ball out of Jerebko's hands out of bounds on another possession.
Offensively, he did a good job getting into the lane again and finishing or getting to the line. He ran the pick and roll well, hitting Randolph a bunch of times and Atchley for an and-1. He found a cutting Morrow on a beautiful pass and generally ran the team well. One thing that I'm really liking about Curry is that he is constantly pushing the ball up the floor and putting the pressure on the defense.
He just needs to improve the consistency of his jumper off the dribble and he needs to do a better job at the end of quarter / game situation where they seem to ISO for him.
Anthony Morrow - 17 pts (on 8-13), 6 rebs, 2 stl, 3 tos
Coming back from his ankle injury I was a little afraid that he would have a hard time staying in front of his man because he didn't exactly have great foot speed and quickness prior to the injury. Boy did he prove me wrong today. Not only on defense but also on offense.
We all know he can shoot the lights out, which he did (not only in the game - I watched him hit ~30 three pointers in a row at the half-time break going from one corner of the court to the other, barely even grazing iron), but he also put together some nice drives and pull up jumpers off the dribble. I remember a sequence of 3 possessions in a row at the beginning of the fourth quarter where he beat his man off the dribble and either drove to the hole or dished to an open teammate.
Defensively he was aggressive, along with the rest of the team. He was able to stay in front of his man for the most part, and did a decent job closing out on shooters. He came away with a few steals and had some scrappy moments where he was on the floor fighting for loose balls.
Cartier Martin - 18 pts (on 4-10), 5 rebs, 2 stl, 1 blk, 2 tos
He didn't shoot very well today, but he made up for it in many other ways. He went to the line a ton (10-12) and was extremely active on defense. He was matched up mainly with Austin Daye, who has about 6 inches on him, and Martin held him to 11 points on 5-14 shooting. He was constantly pushing Daye out of lane on defense and closed out well when Daye drifted to the perimeter.
He also picked up a few more charges on the Pistons (and was robbed of one when the refs changed their call.) He's definitely a glue type guy that does all of the hustle / scrap type plays that don't show up in the stat sheet. He's also a favorite of the coaching staff and based on his play so far I can see why. I'm even more certain he'll get a camp invite after seeing how Coach Smart and the other coaches were talking to him.
I've been giving him a hard time in my other recaps, and though he didn't get much playing time today, I feel like today was his best showing. He was much more aggressive today, particularly when Curry was getting a breather. He also does a good job giving Curry advice and encouragement during time outs. He's always the first to meet Curry on the court and give him a little talk before the huddle. He also had a funny moment at the beginning of the third quarter when he jokingly tried to check himself into the game and walked by Coach Smart and asked him who he wanted him to replace. Smart just laughed at him and other assistant coaches were cracking up.
Clipper Darrel was in the house tonight after the LAC game ended and he is apparently a Dubs fan, as he was heckling the Pistons. When he came over from the other arena, Curry was getting a breather and Clipper Darrel tried to start up a "We want Curry" chant, and just as he got done with the first go round, Smart put Curry back in the game and Clipper Darrel yelled "THANKS." Also in the house today, Marcus Camby, Don Nelson, and Mike Tyson ...
I took some pics today as well since I was so close to the action. I'm not the best photog in the world and my camera sucks though but here's a link to the pics I got.