'Twas the night after Xmas at the Roaracle, but the Warriors kept giving!
Preview/ Open Thread (65+ Comments)
Monta celebrated XMas on both the 25th and 26th.
Make the jump for some post game thoughts- at the expense of the Timberkittens- plus some Bonus GSoM Holiday Party coverage!!
Checking in on the Timberkittens
In the preview I broke down the probabilities of various explosions and career nights from individual Timberwolves that could offset what should've been an easy W for the Dubs. Let's take a look and see what happened:
Al Jefferson could easily give the Warriors a scare and go 20-20.
Actually this almost went down as it was ALL Jefferson inside. He racked up 20 points and 19 boards plus 3 dimes, 3 steals, and a block. Very impressive, but not so impressive if you remember how Charmin soft the Warriors are inside. Jefferson flat out dominated his counterpart Andris Biedrins tonight. Biedrins nearly fouled out and just doesn't look like he's in Jefferson's league. Neither are impressive one on one defenders by any stretch, but Jefferson has superior rebounding ability plus an old school array of drop steps and spins in the post to fall back on. Just for fun, how good do you think the Warriors would be if they had All Jefferson instead of Biedrins this year?
All Jefferson's going to torture the Warriors for the next decade.
Rashad McCants could drop 20+ points.
McCants was held in check to about his average with 15 points. Good thing he only took 6 three's. If he kept taking those it would've been a long night.
Craig Smith could eat up the Warriors' interior and muscle his way for a big double-double.
Craig was close, but finished up with 8 and 8. I can't remember if it was DJ Fuzzylogic or Fantasy Junkie who called Smith "Oliver Miller minus the skills and a few inches". Anyone want to guess the over/under on weeks until Isiah trades for Smith to add him to the twinkie trio of Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, and Jerome James?
Antoine Walker could turn back the clock for a little shimmy shake and a few treys.
Thankfully there was no shimmying and no shaking. Walker only hit 2 treys off 6 attempts, but he sure did look like he was having fun jacking up long balls at a rate of 1 every 4 minutes.
Sebastian Telfair could drop double digit dimes.
Here's some East Coast bias at work. If Telfair didn't play high school ball in New York I doubt he'd be able to skip college and get drafted in the 1st round. For the night he only had 4 assists to 3 turnovers. He also had the game's worst +/- stat at an unsightly -25. That's... not so good.
Corey Brewer could go 10-5-5.
Corey wasn't exactly brewing Minnesnowta's finest tonight with 4-0-2. He's still a very intriguing prospect though.
Mark Madsen could come back to the Bay Area and do some bizarre victory dance on the Roaracle Arena floor.
There is a god! (Or there are gods if you're polytheistic.)
Kevin McHale's All-Star cast wonders what the man in the front office is thinking.
So do I Mad Dog and Shimmy Walker... so do I.
I also added in a scale to interpret the outcome of the game based on those 7 item checklist in the preview:
According to my outlined scale I'm supposed to give the Warriors some major props and call it a big win since they stopped all 7 of the nightmares. But anyone who watched the game in person or at home on the TV set will tell you this wasn't major prop-worthy nor a big win. So what gives? And why was this game still so close? And why did Nellie have to play Baron Davis (40:43), Monta Ellis (44:41), and Stephen Jackson (40:06) such heavy minutes as if this was a playoff game against the worst team in the league?
Cause for Concern
A W's a W no matter how you do it, but this game made some flaws on this team abundantly clear:
Protecting the lead ain't easy: As expected and as they should, the Warriors were up by 22 points at one point in the 3rd, but by the 4th quarter this game was too close for comfort and the Warriors' lead was trimmed to as little as 4 points. With Nellie having to play his starters such heavy minutes, the team jacking up 31 treys and only making 8 of them (25.8%) even though most of them were good looks, the TWolves murdering the Dubs on the glass (Warriors- 43, Wolves- 51), and no low post scoring option whatsoever to get easy buckets when the game slows down and fatigue sets in- get used to it. This team isn't going to continue to be 5 games over .500 if they don't solve these glaring holes with either some major in-house improvements or some major in-season acquisitions through trade or free agency.
Two quick ideas to improve this roster: On the trading block this team should be doing everything possible to bring over Ron Artest. He simply gets this team over the Western Conference mediocrity hump and could vault them into an elite squad with his stellar D and all around offensive game. On the free agent tip Earl Boykins would give Nellie another rotation player who could spell both Baron and Monta as well as strengthen the shooting rate. With Earl on board this team gets even faster and will pick even more pockets.
Too Many DNPs nightly: It's becoming a regular occurrence for a huge chunk of this roster to rack up DNPs nightly, namely Patrick O'Bryant, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, Austin Croshere (injured), Troy Hudson (injured), Kosta Perovic (DLeague). Note all of these players (expect for POB) were part of the Warriors' past offseason splash. What an offseason disaster. That's 6 roster spots wasted this year if this continues, which it presumably will. None of these guys can night in and night out positively impact an NBA game right now.
- Need for a rotation player: Some might argue that Nellie needs to simply play POB, Wright, and Belinelli more, but I trust Nellie here. If he thought they could help him he'd play them significant, consistent minutes. Nellie's running a meritocracy here. He's playing to win now, not to develop players who might blossom years after he's retired on a beach in Hawaii sipping some cheap American beer (actually he's probably doing that sipping part right now as I write this here in the Bay). I don't blame him one bit (for the playing time distribution, not the cheap American beer). It's on Chris Mullin and Robert Rowell to bring in players that their head coach will play.
"Major Props" for the "Big Win"
It feels odd to do this, but the Warriors did satisfy all my criteria, so I owe it to them:
Swats and Picks by Smalls: As a basketball fan you just have to enjoy the tenacious of the Warrior D tonight even if it didn't seem consistent. It was amazing how many swats this team racked up all around: Baron Davis (3), Monta Ellis (1), Al Harrington (1), Andris Biedrins (3), Kelenna Azubuike (1), and DJ Mbenga (1). The thievery would make Robin Hood smile too: Davis (2), Ellis (2), Harrington (2), Stephen Jackson (2), Matt Barnes (2), and Azubuike (1). Hey I guess when the worst team in the league comes to town to face this edition of the Warriors that's somewhat expected.
I used to scratch this record in preschool!
Big Minutes for Big Minute Players: There is definitely a problem when it takes huge minutes from BD, Monta, and Jack to knock off a terrible team at home, but let's not forget to give these guys some props for being able to come up big in this heavy playing time. These are world class athletes in amazing shape. Running and gunning for such heavy minutes nightly with Nellie screaming at you to run faster and score more ain't easy if you're not in tip top shape. Think about that the next time you're too lazy to get up and go to the gym.
If Homer can do it, so can you!
- Checking the Standings: If the regular season ended today the Golden State Warriors would be playoff bound as the 7th seed in the loaded Western Conference bracket. It would also set them with a first round date with the 2 seed Phoenix Suns. It's way too early for these sort of predictions, but my crystal ball says something upsetting- if you're a fan of the Phoenix Sunny Delight that is.
The Hindu man's BALL DON'T LIE!
Tonight's Warrior Wonder Monta Ellis had a Dwyane Wade-type game (I'm of course not saying he's DWade nightly, but tonight the productions and style were very similar) for 4 simple reasons:
1) He knocked down a bunch of midrange J's
and got to the line 10 times, making 90% of them.
2) He crashed the boards (6) and made some nice dishes (4).
3) He had some amazing finishes thanks to some crafty layups and smooth dunks.
Dunk you very much!
Monta: "Yo Gerald- YA'LL GOT SERVED!"
Also see my man Adam's take The Hard Way (Warriors 105, Wolves 101) [Fast Break]
Highlights from the GSoM Holiday Party in the luxury suite courtesy of Chris Murphy and the Golden State Warriors.
The GSoM Holiday Party... Where Hella Amazing Signs Happen.
There's plenty of smiles when the Warriors only get hammered on the glass by 8!
It's a sign of things to come...
Enjoying the W in luxury!
There's plenty to smile about when the Mad Dog isn't dancing on your home floor.
Yaobuttaming was just shocked the Warriors didn't blow this one!
We Believe these tee's will never go out of style!
Huh? Whaaa? What? Group picture?
But we're not ready!
This one's much better:
Happy Holidays from The GSoM Crew!
Photos: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images, AP Photo/Dino Vournas, Hash Photography