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RECAP: Warriors 125, Grizzlies 117 - Award Tour

Yahoo! Final boxscore

"Here we go…. going through the same thing" - Portrait, "Here We Go"

Songs about women make great basketball metaphors

What does it really mean to play Warrior’s ball?  It is commonly described as simultaneously fast paced, seemingly erratic, idiosyncratic, undisciplined, reckless, and fun.  Yet, their play as of late seems to have contradicted if not questioned the integrity of what that actually means. Though they were able to snap out of their current shooting slump (53% from the field and a respectable 80% from the line) tonight against the Grizzlies, they managed to dig themselves into a whole tonight, blowing a 18 point lead, letting the Mr. Hyde side of Warrior ball dialectic of domination and self-destruction take over at the beginning of 4th quarter.  Luckily, Dr. Jekyll made it back in the nick of time to save themselves from themselves.

Warrior ball should really be diagnosed as a psychopath having a split personality.  When the going is good, the shots drop like booties at the club.  Warriors do what grade school teachers demands of their students: sharing.  They attack the basket, look for the open man, swing the ball and get easy shots.  For some reason, as the trend has gone in the last few games, that once the opposing team starts making a few buckets chipping away at a sizable lead, the Warrior’s flip out and all hell breaks loose and Mr. Hyde is unleashed!

At the beginning of the 4th quarter, as Gay and Miller dropped threes and Kyle Lowry looking seasoned like Lawry’s -- dribble drives and drawing fouls on the offensive and defensive end -- the Warriors as a team suddenly stopped moving the ball settling for quick 3s with PLENTY of time on the shot clock.  Why does this happen?  Is this plan B to Nelson’s game plan?  As we’ve all seen before, there is no cutting but just a lot of one on one that ends in a poor shot with hands everywhere in their faces.  Baron Davis picked up two quick fouls trying to back down a Derek Fisher-floppy Lowry.  Oddly, after the lead fell to between 9-5 points around the 4 to 5 minute mark, the Warriors somehow remembered to start cutting, rotating, and sharing again.  Baron Davis drew defenders with Harrington, Jackson, and Azuibuke circulating around the hoops, crossing cutting and confusing defenders.  

We really need to start calling Azuibuke "Hero" instead.  My mom calls him that for all his last minute heroics.  With the lead down to 4 in the 4th, a driving Baron kicked it out to Azuibuke, who dropped a much needed three.  A minute later, Azuibuke double pumped in the lane and floated the ball up, kissing it off the glass for an ‘and 1.’  If that wasn’t enough, he hustled for an offensive rebound falling out of bounds, which lead to a much needed two points.  This dude seriously has that "killer instinct."

Showing off his inside game

The same sort of play could be seen in the first quarter as well.  Though the Warriors shot decently well overall, for a large chunk of the quarter settled for long twos and threes, completely moving away from the easy buckets that Biedrins provided early from his movement (12 points and 7 boards in only 14 minutes).  Interestingly, the end of the quarter showed the Warriors returning a bit more to the beginning with a little more intensity on the defensive end, bringing them within 2 after being down 10.  Why wasn’t Biedrins more available during the game?  A game with this much speed and movement seems like it would benefit from his play in this game.

Less of this tonight meant more points for him

So what else defines Warrior ball?  At their best, the distribution definitely shows up in the box score with 6 players in double figures and the Warriors ‘big three’ of Jax, Baron, and Monta notching 20+ points each.

Here are some additional quick notes of individual play:

Rudy Gay:  This dude is looking like one of the most offensively well rounded players in the 2005-2006 draft.  Inside, outside, and off the dribble, his game is smooth.  Plus he’s a guarantee for at least a few highlight worthy dunks.  

Mike Miller:  He must have a weird Warrior fetish.  Either that or the Warriors just can’t play perimeter defense.  With a balanced game (20-6-7 .. and 7 TO), Miller brought the Grizzlies back in the game with 3 quick 3s in the 4th.  Though not quite as adept off the dribble, if he’s able to catch and shoot, he is absolutely ‘automatic-systematic.’

Get this man to do this!

The Eastern European Showdown:  Biedrins owned Milicic.  For what its worth, Biedrins dominated Milicic inside.  Floating shots over him or drop stepping, Milicic made Biedrins look like Shaq and himself look like Biedrins versus Shaq.  Also, Biedrins cannot name any of Santa’s reindeer.  Biedrins response?  "(Chuckle) Whaa ??? Ahhh… I can’t name … ahhh waaaah!"  

Monta Ellis: Like Nellie ball is a complete conundrum.  With Mom watching, Ellis somehow managed to drive and distribute without pummeling defenders that managed to get in his way.  Ellis moved nicely without the ball getting a few highlight worthy dunks and layups.  Too bad his post-game interviews were the complete opposite of his in-game play.  

'Feeling' out the defense, Monta learns patience to make his move.

What are folks thoughts of Warrior Ball?  Should we just take the good with the bad?  Is it like Yin and Yang where lots of sharing must be counterbalanced by lots of selfishness?  At any rate, we managed to get the win and any win on the road is major step forward for this team.  

Photos courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Weber and Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

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