The Twolves just won the Finals
Oh. My. Gawd. If the Warriors miss out on the playoffs by one game, this will be one that everyone can point to and say if we had just won that game. It's one thing to lose against a below .500 team, it's another completely horrible thing to lose to the worst team in the league at home. How that happens? I can try to explain, after the jump.
Look how many people in the stands have their hands on their heads
I Blame Nellie
If I can give Nellie credit for wins, I can blame him for losses. I'm tired of our team coming out flat in the first quarter. I'm tired of our team not playing a full 48 minutes. I'm tired of not putting away inferior teams early! It's been happening for way too long now. This team seems to lollygag (yes lollygag) through the first quarter with no fire or energy. It takes them so long to get going. Today the lollygagging reared its ugly head again as the first quarter was filled with defensive deficiencies and ended with a 10 point deficit. Then, the Warriors have to fight their way back rolling off long runs just to get them back to even. I was even hoping the Warriors would come out strong in the 3rd quarter after a halftime peptalk. Nope. Same deal, the Twolves won the quarter by 8. The longer the Twolves stayed in the game, the longer they think they can actually win it. Giving confidence to a 5 win team is dangerous because they start to believe they can actually win. That's exactly what happened.
Nellie needs to light a fire under this team and soon. It doesn't have to be the desperation fire he lit last year to go 16-5 to close the season because that's probably not sustainable, but they need a spark. It needs to come from the leader and that's Nellie. This is the part of the schedule the Warriors need to take advantage of. There aren't too many above .500 opponents until the beginning of March. As strong as the Western Conference is this year, we just cannot afford to give away games.
Perhaps Nellie agrees with me.
I Blame Baron and Jax
Like Nellie above, these two are supposed to be the leaders. They are supposed to be the ones sparking this team in the first quarter and making sure everyone is fired up for the game. They need to be fired up as if facing the Lakers because a win here counts just as much as a win against the Lakers. Instead, the team comes out lackluster and there's no energy. It also doesn't help that these two combine for 10-27 from the field, good for 37%. Even better, they were 7-14 from the free throw line with Baron being 3-8. Ummm, we lost the game by one. Our leaders missed 7 free throws, Baron missing one in crunch time that would have put the Warriors up 2 instead of just 1. Gomes comes down, hits both his free throws to take the lead. Game over. I'm not sure what it was tonight, but losing to the Twolves can't happen, ever. Leaders lead. I'd like to see Nellie, Baron and Jax ask for more of themselves and the team
Perhaps it was the question they were asked, but it should have never come down to that last shot. This game shouldn't have been that close in the first place.
Gomes was awesome tonight and hit just about everything. Nobody could guard him. He hit jumpers and 3's, he posted up anybody, he drove the lane, he hit his free throws. Check out his line: 35 points - 11-15 from the field (2-2 on 3's), 11-12 from the line and 11 rebounds in just over 32 minutes. And he hit the 2 free throws to tie and then win the game. Wow.
Ummm this guy nearly dropped a triple double tonight. He shot poorly, but dished out 10 assists and pulled down 8 boards to go with his 3 thefts. I don't know how he did that.
I'd also like to commend the Twolves starters for playing hard the entire game and playing like they want to win. It's not easy to play hard day in, day out when you're 5-34, but they came out and played like true professionals. The bench scored 7 total points, the starters 102.
One of the lone bright spots for the Warriors. He was the only one hitting in the first quarter and essentially kept the Warriors from being down by possibly 15 at the end of the first. He dropped his 28 and more importantly, hit his free throws (10-11). What he now needs to do is get his game to be more consistent so the team knows what they're going to get from him every single game. Right now, sometimes he'll go for 25+ and then the next night he'll score 10. Hit the glass consistently, set up teammates with his drive and continue to work on that mid-range J. It's fun watching him and Biedrins progress. It feels like a slow process since we watch every single game, but when you step back and look at their games year over year, they're really learning and applying that to the games.
Nice job with the 12 rebounds, but 6 fouls in 21 minutes? In a game where Al couldn't throw it in the ocean if he was in a boat, our only other experienced big man needed to stay in the game for more than 21 minutes. I know the D on the perimeter stinks and the guards are getting in the lane without too much trouble, but that doesn't mean foul them. He's got better body control than that. The foul rate this year has improved slightly, but I guess today was just one of those days.
Lastly, a Request
Can we see some more of the bench players? Get Patty O in there for 10 minutes and see what he can do. Pair him up with Biedrins, Kosta, or BWright. Throw in Kosta or BWright to see what you have. If the starters aren't giving you what you need, give the kids a shot especially against a lame team like Minnesota. What's the worst that could happen? The Warriors go down by 10 or 15? Oh wait, that happened with the starters in there. Give the young guys a shot while the opponents are easier and the games not pressure packed, we might just need them later in the year.
He'd put together some solid games this past road trip and looked like he was getting his game back together. Today, he stepped his game up one more level and really stood out. He was the Matt Barnes that we all remember. The Matt who was the spark off the bench, the energy, hustle, and complete floor game. 20 points (8-12 FG's, 4-4 FT's), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block in 28 minutes. Welcome Matt. Glad to have you back.