This game may turn out to be a microcosm of the Warriors' season as a whole. Up and down, back and forth, a loss and a win. This game is why they call basketball a game of runs. The Warriors would make a run to close the gap, but then the Hornets would make their own run to push the lead back to double digits. Back and forth it went the whole game, 10-0 run, 0-9 run. One moment the Warriors show they can beat a team as good as the Hornets and then the next moment they look like a lottery bound team. Tonight, there was no consistency in their play. The end of the game was just the Warriors being on the wrong side of one of those runs. With 3:30 to go in the game, the Warriors hit a fast break layup to get to 90 points and a 3 point lead. It took the Warriors another 3 minutes to score again and by that time the Hornets had already taken the lead. Yesterday in Dallas the game nearly slipped away because the team couldn't score in the clutch, and today the game did slip away. This can't continue to happen. I'm not sure what it is, but Nellie needs to fix it.
Despite the inconsistencies, I was really happy with the way they played tonight. They never gave up despite being down by 12 after the first quarter. They kept fighting and fighting to get back in this game. Even though the fell behind by double digits multiple times, the Warriors always had a run to get them back in the game. The good thing about these runs was that they were led by different players each time. Monta Ellis, Anthony Roberson, and Matt Barnes all were the catalysts for some of these runs. It's great to see the role players stepping up to give the team a boost so that the team does not have to rely on Baron and JRich to keep the team in the game.
What really hurt the Warriors tonight were two ankle sprains. Both hurt the Warriors badly in the rebounding and defense departments. One happened to Mickael Pietrus yesterday in Dallas and the second happened tonight when Ike Diogu's hot start was sidelined by an accidental ankle turn. Had the Warriors been able to play both players, I think they win the game. Both players give them a good defensive presence, offensive and defensive rebounding, and straight up hustle. Look at the rebounding stats, the Warriors were beat 52-34 on the boards with the Hornets getting 21 offensive rebounds. TWENTY-ONE! Hopefully these two ankle sprains are minor and both can come back soon.
As far as the players, for the most part I felt Baron was really patient and didn't force too much on offense. He seemed to let the game come to him tonight. There was much less pounding of the rock and more moving without the ball. Part of this is due to Nellie's strategy of a Monta and Roberson dual headed point guard which allowed Baron to move on offense more. Hopefully in the future, we'll see more of the better ball movement and motion on offense.
I also really liked what I saw from Andris Biedrins tonight. He only grabbed 5 rebounds but he was the anchor of that defense for much of game. When Chris Paul would drive the lane, there was Biedrins challenging the shot. He wound up with 6 blocks and changed a lot of shots. Biedrins is seriously a new player since last year. He even made two clutch free throws in a row. You can tell he worked hard on his game in the offseason.
As for a round up of the other players, I have to give props to Roberson and Monta for picking up the scoring on fast breaks and also in the half court set. Barnes was very active and I really liked what I saw from him on defense and on the break. Now what's going on with Murphy? 0 rebounds again? Also, JRich's shooting woes continue as he goes 2-9. Hopefully he gets into playing shape. This team could explode if he can back to his old self. Oh how potential is so dangerous, isn't it?
Warrior Wonder: Andris Biedrins. His defense and hustle kept the Warriors in the game. With Ike out, he was the only Warrior who could defend the paint. Without Biedrins tonight, the Warriors would have had no chance.