Blog Buddy: Bright Side Of The Sun
The fist half of last night's game presented plenty of challenges to the Warriors. Nothing seemed to be working on the offensive end of the floor (37% FG for the first half), meanwhile the Suns were just picking apart the Warrior defense with Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat working the pick and roll to perfection. To my eye there were two main factors that kept the Dubs in this game early:
Poor Outside Shooting - First, the Warriors were very lucky that the three ball was not falling for anyone in a Suns uniform. Sure, they did a pretty good job of closing out, but there were plenty of open shots that just didn't go. Under normal circumstances you can't expect Frye to go 1-8 from deep, and let's face it, if those shots fall like they usually do the Warriors are buried early in this one.
Offensive Rebounding - The second factor was a very surprising performance on the offensive glass that helped Golden State earn the extra possessions necessary to get up 51 shots in the first half. It was great to see everyone get involved with five players finishing with two or more offensive rebounds.
Second Half Resurgence
Since it worked so well in summing up the first half, I'll go ahead an oversimplify what happened in the second half while I'm at it. I think we can overlook some of the finer points and say that the second half also boiled down to to major factors:
David Lee - With the rest of the roster struggling to score, Lee got aggressive in the third quarter and started to assert himself on the offensive end. He put up 15 third quarter points on a gaudy 7-8 shooting, and continued to clean the glass, finishing the game with 28pts 12reb 3ast 1blk 1stl.
Ekpe Udoh - Udoh was the Yin to Lee's Yang tonight, as he came in a changed the game on the defensive end of the floor in the second half. He entered the game late in the third and spurred the Warriors run that earned them the lead for the first time since the 1st quarter, and they wouldn't look back. Ekpe swatted away three shots and challenged many, many more, but he wasn't completely one dimensional, as he score some very key buckets including a late game hook shot that helped secure the victory.
Honestly, I was going to give this to Udoh even before that last hook shot in the lane. He changes the entire tone of the game when he steps out on the floor, and suddenly there are no easy looks in the paint for opposing teams. It may not show up in the box score, but Udoh's second half play is what swung this game in the Warriors favor.