During the Warriors 0-6 start to this season there's three things I didn't think I'd ever be able to say:
- The Warriors held a team to under 85 points and won a game with their defense.
- The Warriors have won more games on the road than at home at the Roaracle Arena so far this season.
- The Warriors have a 3 game win streak!
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What Curry's knee is doing to Jack's unmentionables
is exactly what the Warriors did to the Knickerbockers tonight.
You know they say red is the new black.
Makes your Nelliebelly look oh so slim!
DEEEEFENSE Makes All the Difference!
Ignore the Warriors' offensive production from tonight for a second. Putting up over a hundred points nightly is pretty much a given for this squad, but holding an opponent to 82 points on 39.2% shooting from the field and 20.0% from downtown is a miracle. I'll make the bold proclamation that the Warriors will go undefeated this season any time they hold a team to under 85 points.
This was the first game this season where I've seen the Warriors play smart, excellent team defense for the majority of the 48 minutes. Props to Pietrus for his excellent job denying the rock from Zach Randolph despite giving up a ton of pounds (or maybe that's just 1 Ton literally?) and for his thievery (4 steals). Stephen Jackson (3 picks and 2 blocks), Baron Davis (2 steals and 1 block), Kelenna Azubuike (2 steals and 1 big swat), Andris Biedrins (3 picks), Monta Ellis (2 steals and 1 block), and Al Harrington (1 steal) also joined in on the fun. Overall I really liked what I saw from the Dubs tonight in terms of help D, rotations, and triple and double teaming the especially turnover-prone Knicks players (keep reading for more on that).
One question that I've been pondering is whether or not Stack Jack is All NBA Defense material? He'll probably never earn that honor playing on a team that gives up the most points in the association, but the entire hoops nation is really sleeping on how versatile of a defender he's become. He makes life hard for both swingmen and big men. Imagine how good the Warriors would be defensively if they teamed up Jax with his old buddy Ron Artest- and I'm not talking about in terms of defending themselves against those barbarians at Auburn Hills. Tru Warier Ron-Ron to the Dubs, I'm just saying...
Don't forget- 17 steals and 7 blocks for the Warriors tonight!
Twinkie Trio Turnovers
Do Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, and Jerome James go out to McDonald's after each game? Someone needs to tell these guys this isn't like when they were kids where they could hit up Mickey D's after a weekend morning rec league game. Seriously, how can these guys be so slow and out of shape when they're professional basketball players? Can you imagine how good Curry and Randolph would be if they were just in decent shape? I think that's exactly what Isiah was imagining when he traded for both of them. Problem is he didn't realize that Mickey D's still sells Big Macs for only a few bucks.
Also, this might be the worst passing (very) big man combo in the history of the NBA. Their court vision is literally nonexistent. They're both the type of players you hate playing with on the playground. Once they get the ball everyone on your team knows they ain't getting it back regardless of whether those guys are double, triple, quadruple, or quintuple teamed. Curry and Randolph just have terrible court vision that borders on visual impairment whenever they get the rock in their hands.
At one point Randolph tonight literally pivoted into a double team instead of rotating or dribbling towards the baseline where he could've either driven to the bucket or launched a decent shot (haha, we all know he wasn't going to pass). Seconds later Boom picked Randolph's pocket.
Stephon can't bear to watch the Twinkie Two's turnovers anymore.
For the night the Curry-Randolph Twinkie Twosome racked up 2 assists to their 10 turnovers. This isn't to say that the rest of the Knicks were all that good in this department either as they walked away with a 13 : 17 turnover margin- and no, I didn't flip those numbers. Overall the Knicks had an alarming 15 : 27 turnover ratio for the night.
Other Game Notes:
- Al Harrington and Andris Biedrins had their worst games of the season because their foul troubles. Who would've thought that the Warriors would be able to overcome terrible outings from both TMNHarrington and Biedrins and still blow out a team on the road? It's wonderful when players step up off the bench. The flip side is Al and Andris should be well rested for tomorrow night's game against the Celtics in Boston.
- The Warriors were ABUSED on the boards tonight by a margin of 18 (34 Warrior rebounds to the Knicks 52). If the Warriors continue to force turnovers like they did tonight and as they did during that 16-5 mad dash for the right to upset the Dallas Mavericks and shock the world last spring, I can live with the poor rebounding disparity. They have to make their free throws too, which they managed to get away with tonight (only 63%).
- Amazingly the Warriors had as many points in the paint as the much bigger Knicks interior that is gifted at scoring in the low post. Thank you Curry and Randolph for the Charmin' Soft D. You make the DunMurphy Duet proud. By the way check out how those former Warrior defensive stalwarts did tonight against the mediocre Lake-Show at home in Indy.
- Stephon Marbury has been taking a huge chunk of the blame for the Knicks woes the past 3 seasons, but he returned to his Starbury form tonight and had a pretty solid all-around outing. His penetration to the bucket and finishes were virtually unstoppable.
- The 3rd quarter of this game featured some pretty poor offense all around, but you have to give the Warriors a ton of credit for holding the Knicks to only 15 points in that period.
- Monta really seems like an afterthought in Nellie's rotation right now, especially with Jack back. If and when the Warriors ever have a healthy combo of Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Kelenna Azubuike, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, and Al Harrington, Monta's minutes are going to drastically decrease even further. Bold prediction: Monta's not a Warrior past the February trading deadline.
New Warrior DJ Mbenga aka Tacooo got more playing time tonight than Stephane Lasme got in the previous 8 games. The man looks like a bouncer at a club- he's the wrong man to mess with. He botched one layup on a fast break that was simply hilarious (man Nellie needs to make sure DJ's never running the middle on a 4 on 1 fast break ever again), but he did get his first bucket as the first Warrior to ever sport #28.
If D.J. scores at a Warrior home game can we all get free tacos?
- The only thing louder than "We Want Foy-le!" chants? "Fi-re I-say-ah!" His treatment of Anucha Browne Sanders is indefensible, but my man Modi of Cosellout makes a good case for why Isiah's not as bad as the mainstream media would lead you to believe as the front office head of the Knicks. Definitely check out the "The Book of Isiah - Unraveling The Biggest Myth in Sports"
- Patrick O'Bryant, Austin Croshere, Marco Belinelli, and DJ Banger all played tonight, but #8 pick Brandan Wright didn't. Does doing the Wright thing mean sending Wright down to the DLeague this season so he can get more game experience? My guess is that's how Nellie sees it, but we'll see. I'm guessing BWright would rather be playing in meaningful games at UNC, rather than meaningless ones in the DLeague. Then again I doubt he regrets bringing in $2.3 million this season. Get that money Brandan- don't let anyone tell you should've stayed in college to work on your game.
Boom Dizzle and Action Jackson had great outings on both sides of the ball, but I'm going to have to award tonight's honors to Mickael Pietrus. MP2 had an efficient scoring game needing only 8 shots to reach 16 points and played some stellar defense all night along, aside from one poor rotation that led to an easy score for Zach Randolph on an inbounds play. In MP2's previous 4 seasons as a Warrior I've never seen him play as active, smart, and versatile defense as he did tonight. Big ups to MP. He's a big reason the Dubs won tonight in NY.
3 Game Win Streak Baby!
Photos by Nick Laham/Getty Images