Originally posted Apr 13, 2010 11:47 PM PDT
This one got rough.
Wow. This was oh so close to being a great game. Is there any doubt that the Warriors came to compete? Their defensive effort in this game was incredible. Boozer was knocked out in the first half with a shot to the ribs. Deron Williams, who has been on a scoring tear as of late, was hounded by Monta Ellis into a 3-9 shooting, 5 turnover night. Monta also drew two offensive fouls that forced Williams to sit out virtually all of the third quarter.
The Warriors, the fourth best shooting team in the league, could have won this game if they could simply have made a shot. A clearly rusty Monta Ellis fired blanks all night long, finishing a putrid 4-22 from the field. Stephen Curry was only marginally better at 5-15. No doubt Utah's tough defense had something to do this. But Ellis and Curry, and the rest of the Warriors, missed plenty of wide open looks. Ellis in particular couldn't even finish his layups.
Jump for some end of the year thoughts:
Utah escaped, but this was still a great game for me to watch. The Warriors have been playing exceptionally well as of late, which gives me hope for next year. This team has real chemistry now, even between Monta and Curry, which many doubted could happen. Can you imagine what this game might have looked like if the Warriors could have added Andris Biedrins, a healthy Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright, Kelenna Azubuike, Corey Maggette, Anthony Morrow and CJ Watson to the mix? Those players might not have helped Ellis and Curry hit a shot. But I don't think they would have let Paul Milsap go for 24 rebounds either.
Lets talk players:
This one went in.
Monta Ellis: Played one half of a great game. The defensive half. If you haven't already been impressed by Monta's growth on defense this season, you had to have been in this game. He simply shut Deron Williams down. With the aid, of course, of a clever trapping scheme drawn up by the Warriors coaches.
On offense he was so off that he literally couldn't even hold onto the ball. Most of his 6 turnovers came from simply losing the handle. Including the devastating bungle of the fastbreak in the fourth that would have cut the deficit to 5.
I can't fault him. He was aggressive in trying to lead his team, but he couldn't shake off his rustiness. His defense is what stands out to me about his performance in this game.
Stephen Curry: Laid an egg. Deron Williams really pressured him, which is why Nellie took him off the ball in the third quarter. Never got going.
I didn't concentrate on his defensive performance, but I don't think it was great. Both CJ Miles and Wes Mathews had big games from midrange.
Heart and Soul.
Rony Turiaf: Held Boozer to 1 for 3 in his short stint on the court. Did he also deliver the blow that sent Boozer to the locker room? Who doesn't love Rony Turiaf?
Anthony Tolliver: He got 9 rebounds, but in reality Paul Milsap ate him alive on the boards. I wonder if there's room for improvement there? This is after all, his first half-season in the big time. On the other hand, Milsap at 6-7" in stilletos is simply a force of nature.
Chris Hunter: Only 1 board in 21 minutes. Hunter really struggles against quick front lines, and they don't come much quicker than Paul Milsap.
Reggie Williams: Did some good things, but for the first time this season I thought he looked intimidated. He wasn't the only one. Utah's defense does that to players.
I also didn't watch him on the defensive end, but clearly he shared some of the same responsibility as Curry for the performances of Mathews and Miles. Did a great job on the boards though, with 9 .
There is a lot of room for improvement for Williams. I think Nellie is tremendously excited about him as a player, which is one of the chief reasons he is talking about coaching the summer league.
It ain't pretty, but it works.
Devean George: The Warriors' best player in this game. He couldn't miss a shot, including buzzer beaters to end the second AND third quarters. But he was also effective on the boards, with 5. And don't miss those 3 steals. Devean George is a real NBA player, even on one leg.
Raise your hand if you still think Marco Belinelli is a real NBA player. If your hand is raised, you should check out Adam Lauridsen's blog.
Vladimir Radmanovich: You didn't think I'd leave him out did you? I thought Bad Vlad had already rocked every atrocious look possible from the Warriors bench. But with that shaved dome, he saved the best for last.
"Let's try tickling Milsap's armpits."
Crossmatched Turiaf and Hunter on Boozer, and Tolliver on Okur. Boozer really struggles against size, which is why he has always been so overmatched in the playoffs, particularly against the Lakers.
Crossmatched Ellis onto Deron Williams.
Used his bigs to trap Williams on the pick and roll, and take Utah out of their offense.
The Warriors held Utah to 22 points on 35% shooting in the first quarter, when they had Boozer.
Are you sure that Don Nelson doesn't coach defense?
One more year, Nellie! I want to watch you take this team to the playoffs. One last time.
If you can't give it to Devean George for this game, when can you?