I'm still can't believe the Warriors pulled this one off like they did without B Diddy. It has to be the biggest shocker of the year for the Warriors.
Credit this win to the the unexplainable coaching of the Cavs as much as the Warriors. It was almost like the Cavs were trying to lose this game. The Warriors Charmin soft interior was exposed big time in the first half. Bay Area product Drew Gooden and Center Ilgauskas dominated the Warriors. Drew had a double-double with 16 points (on 7-8 shooting) and 10 boards at the half! Gooden was scoring points at will a la Wilt in the post, but then in the second half a strange thing happened. The Cavs pretty much benched Gooden and Ilgauskas. It made no sense at all. Both players had double-doubles playing 25 minutes or less. This was the first game of the season where Monty clearly was not the worst coach on the floor.
Because of the Cavs horrendous coaching last night, the entire burden of winning the game was placed on the shoulders of The Chosen One Lebron James. You have to feel for the kid. In the 2nd half the best offensive option he had to work with was former Warrior Donyell Marshall. Were the Cavs trying to lose? It doesn't add up. For pretty much having to go 1 on 5 on offense in the 2nd half, Lebron deserves some props for a 14 point, 9 rebound, 6 assist night.
Credit Mike Dunleavy and Mickael Pietrus for some great defense on Lebron James the entire night. You read that correctly- Mike Dunleavy helped shut down Lebron James last night. Before the game even the most passionate Dunleavy fan would expect some serious posterizing by Lebron on Mike. Somehow, it didn't happen. Mike Dunleavy did things last night that I have never seen him do in his 4 year career. He has been one of the worst defenders in the league, but he was a legit stopper last night on the King. Mike has been appropriately labeled soft over his NBA career, but against Cleveland he took it to the hole with authority. It was shocking. Warriors Nation has never seen Mike this aggressive or consistent for this long of a stretch.
It is time to trade Mike Dunleavy. Buy low, sell high. Mike's value will never be this high. NBA fans and teams always seem to try to trade their players when their values are low (Ron Artest is a prime example) and they are struggling. It's just bad business sense. Guys like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett should be on the trading block. Their teams aren't going to win and their star player's value are at highs. For the first time in forever Mike's stats in a 7 game stretch actually look good. His value is inflated right now. He's not going to average 22 point (on a high shooting %), 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
More than anything the Warriors need a rebounder, especially one that can scoop up some offensive boards. Right now a package with Mike Dunleavy may be able to bring in a rebounding force. Drew Gooden (who should have walked away tonight with a 25-18 night) comes to mind. He would fit perfectly. Let's remember that the Warriors have gone 2-5 during Dunleavy's best stretch. He's playing well, but he's not the answer.
MP2 looks better every game. He wasn't as hot shooting the ball last night, but he blanketed Lebron James in some Deion Sanders-esque defense. Hopefully, the Warriors realize that they have an up and coming stopper with Pietrus and give him more minutes. There is no reason why he shouldn't be playing 30+ minutes a game every night when he's 100% healthy. If it weren't for the knee injury that caused him to miss 20+ games, Pietrus could very well be starting at the small forward spot with Dunleavy coming off the bench.
T-Double had a pretty poor 1st half with Gooden abusing him, but turned it on in the 2nd half to finish with 16 and 11. Troy even dropped a few nice passes that led to easy buckets. The only question remains- did he pay the Cavs to bench Gooden in the 2nd half?
What happened to Ike? He isn't getting the minutes or touches. I am little worried that Ike is the 2nd coming of Corliss Williamson. Nice low post scoring moves, but not much else. Let's hope it's not true because Ike is a fan favorite. Ike's rebounding and defense leaves a lot to be desired.
The Kings are reportedly close to getting Ron Artest, but the Warriors are still in the hunt. It's time to step up and be smart. If a Pacific division team gets Artest the Warriors are in trouble. Life is going to be tougher for the Warriors, especially Jason Richardson. Offer Dunleavy and Ike and make it happen. Will Mike Dunleavy ever be a top 10 small forward? Will Ike Diogu ever be a top 10 power forward? Mullin and company can't get attached and overrate their players. You have to give up talent to get talent and Artest is some serious talent that you don't want your rivals getting.
Only half of the Boom-Rich backcourt was on display last night, but the birthday boy did not disappoint. JRich was All Star worthy with 22 points, 5 boards, 5 dimes, and 3 steals. Jason deserves some serious props for his much improved passing. JRich probably won't make the Western Conference All Star team, but he's played like a star pretty much this whole season.