Yahoo! Final Boxscore
From starting 0-6 to going 6-0 in their last 6 games, the Warriors wizzed and speedily rolled passed Seattle Sonics like … well, Sonic (the hedgehog).
Ellis to the Rim! ... many times tonight.
Corny metaphors aside though, the Warriors commanding 109-96 victory over Seattle and their future Jordan/Pippen 2.0 (Kevin Durant and Jeff Green) and Twin Towers build 7.2.1 (Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene) wowed the Seattle home-crowd with sharp shooting from 3pt land, dazzling handles, and full court alley-oops. It was textbook Warriors basketball, if such a textbook existed.
That is, the Warriors were scrambling all over the floor deflecting passes, annoying Seattle’s guards poking the ball out of their hands, creating space and easy cutting lanes and layups through lots of motion on offense, and of course, tight dunks. You almost kind of wondered if this young Sonics team had ever watched tape of the Warriors given how everything out of the Warriors playbook was successful. Before I give the Warriors too much credit, I have to say the Sonic’s youth and inexperience showed as they allowed Biedrins to snag a double double in the first quarter alone. Further, they were incapable of making easy buckets in transition, with Damien Wilkins being a strong candidate for the Warrior wonder for how many major bricks -- jumper and uncontested layups -- he put up in the first quarter alone that allowed the Warriors to push ahead to a double digit lead in the first 6 minutes of the game!
There games was so hot, this game had to be stopped to let things simmer down! More corny metaphors coming…
Warriors literally and figuratively brought down the house with their performance!
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fiiiyaah!
Yet, I don’t mean to take anything away from Biedrins though. His activity on the defensive and offensive end early proved to be a major advantage for the rest of the game. In the first quarter, the Warriors as whole seemed incapable of preventing the Sonics from getting into the lane, but Biedrins seemed to do just enough to disrupt their shots WITHOUT drawing any fouls either. The first quarter alone seemed to capture what Biedrins does best, which is play within himself: taking shots within the flow of the game (3 foot lay-ups) and hustling on the boards for second chance points (5 offensive boards last night alone and averaging 3.5 for the year). Why not calling him "hustle and flow"? "Hustle and Flow" went for 18 points, 12 boards, with 3 block shots.
Things just seemed to be going the Warriors way last night as the constant movement in the first half was able to create space for easy layups and open 3s in the half court set. For those that weren’t able to watch the game, the stat sheet is reflective of the distribution that was happening for much of the game, though more so in the first half. Everyone seemed to get their touches and the Warriors were looking to create for each other (24 total assists to 11 turnovers). In one of the most innovative plays of the game, typifing the night, was the Warrior’s modern day rendition of the textbook give and go, which occurred between Biedrins and Ellis. Yet the passing and awareness of each other all occurred within the 3 feet of each other.
As Ellis drove to the lane with Biedrins running closely alongside (practically parallel) but in front of him between Ellis and the basket, Ellis suddenly dumps to Biedrins, which Biedrins then quickly passes back to Ellis who then drives in for a pretty layup. Almost like a pinball machine, if you will, with Warriors and the ball bouncing around madly. This type of awareness of teammates and reads of defensive schemes just left the Sonics puzzled.
Only way to stop Harrington and the Warriors was to do it like this.
Or like this! Talk about putting a hand in his face!
That luckily didn't end up like instead. Hope Pietrus' nose is alright.
Especially puzzled might be Kevin Durant, who looked like he was playing for Don Nelson instead of P.J. Carlesimo. That is, any chance he touched the ball and had some space, he had made up his mind that he was going to launch a jump shot. In one of these few times he did take it to the whole, he ran into two Warriors throwing up an air ball and the other time, looking like Brandan Wright was going to be in the Slam Magazine monthly dunk insert but on the receiving end, managed to get stuffed by the back of the hoops. Booooiiiinnng! Unlike Durant, Jeff Green looked to create more and also find more high percentage shots. Pressing less, Green found easy buckets for teammates and easier shots for himself utilizing his size and strength to get into the paint for some short jumpers and hooks. Both have size, but Green clearly looks more NBA body ready at this point. No doubt these two have tons of potential and talent, its just a matter of when that they’ll both be able to put it together. Was there a reason why they never played on the court at the same time? Or rarely did?
Harrington had another strong showing tonight (20 points on 7-15 shooting) taking his defender off the dribble several times, hitting that new extra gear. But besides that Harrington’s 3pt. shooting has been fire as of late (4-6 for the night and 42% for the season for you stat-hungry folks), too! Ellis did his thing and FSN Washington announcers were loving him (and the fans too). But most impressive was seeing Ellis not putting his head down on every drive to the hoop, but looking for and also hitting the open man in the lane or in the corner as he’s able to draw multiple defenders to him. Perhaps he’s learning to control his drives more and getting caught up in the air less?
Nice to see AZ getting more burn and touches tonight, providing a spark off the bench, hitting several open jumpers and impressive putbacks, muscling his way around 3 defenders on several occasions.
The game was pretty much decided by the third quarter as contrary to Warriors history, there was no system shutdown post-halftime. If they wanted, they could have pushed the lead to 40. The second half was more of the same, except the Warriors began to coast a bit throwing up quick shots and errant behind the back passes in traffic that were fun to watch anyway. With a big game tonight against Dwight Howard, perhaps becoming this era’s Bull Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, or even Shaq, the Warriors are going to need another performance like last night.
As much as I want to give it Biedrins for his efficient night (9-12 shooting), I’m giving it to Harrington again. His training regiment in the offseason is paying off; sharp shooting and quickness this season has translated into an even more potent offensive team and skilled team that the Warriors haven’t seen in a long time.
Dave Zirin - Time for the Take: Why Seattle Should Seize the Sonics [Edge of Sports]
Photos: AP Photo/John Froschauer and Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE via Getty Images
Yahoo! Final Boxscore