It was a SMH kind of night for David Lee and the Warriors. - Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Curry struggles with his shot a game after his legendary 54-point performance and the Golden State Warriors fall to the Boston Celtics in a slow-paced, sloppy 94-86 contest.
Stephen Curry, fresh off his epic shooting performance at Madison Square Garden, shot 6-22 from the field, 3-11 from distance, and turned the ball over four times. Having provided the grisly details of the best player on the Warriors comes this fact: he deserved as close to zero percent of the blame as possible for this loss.
The rest of the team:
David Lee: 4-13 shooting, 10 points, standard OLE! defense, and the most random 19 rebounds you'll ever see.
Klay Thompson: 7-19 and 1-7 from three.
Jarrett Jack: 1-9, two points, and 19 minutes played.
The only player that played well with consistent minutes was Harrison Barnes and he wasn't even on the floor during a crucial stretch in the third quarter when the game was still close because Richard Jefferson apparently needs minutes or something.
The Boston Celtics had a plan going into this game; have defensive ace Avery Bradley (the East-Coast version of Eric Bledsoe) pick Curry up from beyond halfcourt and then have Kevin Garnett or Chris Wilcox jump out on him even before the pick is set by Lee/Carl Landry. Curry couldn't get past Bradley but most importantly, he couldn't get his shot up against him. Bradley stuck his body right into Curry's midsection on every drive and stopped the quick release.
Now having said that, Curry was still able to draw five fouls against Bradley shortly after halftime and had ten free throws in the game. By the time Bradley was essentially fouled out with eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Warriors were only down one point. So what was the problem?
Because of the way the Celtics played the pick-and-rolls, the Warriors played Curry off the ball and had Thompson initiate the offense. The results were as bad as it sounded when you read it.
The spacing was incomprehensibly bad all game. Like these-guys-have-never-seen-a-zone-before bad. Klay was unable to get his dribble off even against below-average defenders like Jason Terry. When he wasn't able to create space or threaten a drive, Lee couldn't get his post-ups where he likes them, mid-post. Instead, he was pushed all the way to the wing and had to start his drive from there. And it appears Kevin Garnett is a good defender, as well.
On one telling play, Klay dribbled around aimlessly above the top of the key—with no one getting open or cutting—and finally ran through a pick-and-roll and scooped in a layup for a score. Why is that important? That was the only open shot Klay was able to find despite bringing the ball up on more than 10-15 possessions.
Another key factor that has slowed down the spacing and flow of the offense has been the Carl Landry post-up-ish game. There have been too many occasions where he's gotten the ball 15 feet away from the basket instead of six feet where he is much more comfortable and effective. Landry is no Lee in the post, thus meaning the ball is going to go up regardless of where he is on the floor. The result has been way too many pull-up jump shots from Landry outside his comfort zone. He's effectively become a bit of a black hole on an offense that has struggled at times to get the ball moving.
Given the way his teammates have played the past two games, Curry probably deserves this for the next game as well. An interesting development occurred in the game when the referees called several touch fouls against Bradley while he was hounding Curry up the court. The calls culminated in a ticky-tack call on a pump fake Curry made that got Bradley up in the air, his fifth.
If Curry can consistently get that call and play a little bit of an old-man game, he'll get to the line at least eight times per game. Andre Miller and Paul Pierce are masters of getting other players to jump on their shots and the top two old man game players. The difference is that Curry shoots better than both of them, combined. Curry could stand to work on less cross-court passes and better defense, but if he can develop a knack for drawing fouls, his offensive game is potentially unstoppable.
1. The last time Harrison Barnes scored 16 or more points in a game it was nearly a month ago against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 21-point blowout loss. Barnes came out of the gates aggressive against the Celtics and never stopped attacking even when his teammates wouldn't pass him the ball.
According to Evan Zamir's site NBAwowy.com, Barnes leads the Warriors with 13.3 percent of his field goal attempts coming with drives. From Captain Obvious, this needs a much larger sample size.
Perhaps the best play of the night—maybe a foreshadowing for future offensive sets—happened when Curry set up a pick-and-roll with Barnes on the wing. Garnett again jumped the hedge but Curry made a pocket pass through the defenders and had Barnes streak down the side for a wide-open dunk. The side pick-and-roll is especially tough to defend because of the defensive three-second rule and the shooters the Warriors can employ on the other side. Most likely, it was just a spur of the moment play that worked. Hopefully, Mark Jackson can experiment with this set a little more in the future.
2. Jarrett Jack didn't play well tonight and hasn't in the past three games. After his explosion and late-game heroics against the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves, he has cooled off considerably. It isn't that he's playing differently however, it's that the pull-up jumpers and contested shots in the lane aren't falling anymore. And we were quick to forgive when he would overlook wide-open players because he made the shot after, but he has missed most of those in these three-game stretch, causing a bit of a love-hate relationship amongst fans. I don't doubt that he'll get back on track but is this kind of play ultimately better or worse for the team?
Big-picture: that's a question they'll have to answer this offseason when he becomes a free agent.
3. Klay shot 32.1 percent from behind the arc in February and isn't getting off to the best start in March. He's been rather streaky all season, 29.3 percent in November, 44.8 percent in December, and 40.2 percent in January. It might be fatigue, it might not, but the Warriors need him to get his stroke back for the stretch run. Most of the threes he's been missing lately have been of the open variety.
4. Does David Lee ever NOT shoot the ball when he catches it from a player on the drive? It would seem logical that against certain teams and certain players (anybody over seven feet tall) he would at least take an extra dribble, pass it back out, or just a pump-fake because of his own lack of athletic prowess but that hasn't been the case. He was blocked twice more today. I'm not sure where Lee is ranked—after several hours of CIA-level investigation, also known as googling, I couldn't find the stat—in the category of shots blocked but he has to be in the top ten.
Welp, that was a depressing recap.
And I'll just leave you with this:
And with that offensive rebound, Andris Biedrins ties Purvis Short for 6th on the Warriors' all-time offensive rebound list with 1,187— #GSWStats (@gswstats) March 2, 2013