The Warriors won every quarter of this game except for the 1st. They still lost by 4 points.
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Yao maxin' and relaxin'.
So much for the dominance over the Houston Rockets. The Warriors snapped their impressive 4 game winning streak (mostly consisting of blowouts) against the Rockets tonight. Throw in the fact that the Rockets played this one without Tracy McGrady and the Warriors still surrendered 111 points to the league's 10th worst scoring team and you can't help but be frustrated. Even though the Warriors managed to lead the game by 1 point in the 4th, this was a bad loss.
What happened to Warrior tempo?
A major reason the Warriors have had so much success against the Rockets is because they've been running them out of the gym before the first official TV timeout in the 1st quarter is called. Offensively they push the ball at Warrior pace, which the less mobile and athletic Rockets just aren't built for. This is of course fueled by the Warriors' suffocating defense on Yao Ming and the Rockets' backcourt.
Normally Yao is way too slow physically to handle Al Harrington's fronting and quicker hands. Normally Yao reacts way too slowly to the Warrior double teams and is completely shut down. (Yao's S-L-O-W) Normally Baron Davis dominates whatever vastly inferior guards the Rockets attempt to match up to him with. Normally the Dubs can blow out the Rockets by going uber-small. Normally Nellie can make the Rockets pay on the offensive end with Al dropping a barrage of treys that Yao can't defend.
Well NORMALLY didn't happen tonight consistently and it sure didn't happen in that ugly first quarter when the Warriors came out flat and disinterested, digging themselves into an insurmountable 18-33 hole.
Why did so many Warriors struggle?
The blame for tonight's loss should be spread all around:
- Baron Davis and Monta Ellis got outplayed by Rafer Alston and Luther Head tonight. That shouldn't be happening... ever. To Davis' credit he had the flu and got I.V for the game. It was honorable that he played hard tonight, but he shouldn't have even been playing. He could've used the rest for tomorrow's big matchup. On the other hand, Monta should've been dominant tonight, but he fell well short of that.
- Al Harrington was ice cold for 3 quarters and didn't bring his usual stellar shutdown D on Yao. He's the key to getting this W easily.
- Matt Barnes turned out a pretty mediocre performance. He's much better than this.
- Andris Biedrins didn't stand a chance against Yao.
- Mickael Pietrus walked away with the oddest +16 statline that I've ever seen in my life. Aside from a few nice defensive stops and rebounds he didn't look all that great out there.
- Let's hope the Warriors get much more from CJ Watson on most nights than they got tonight because they didn't get much return on their latest D-League investment.
- Kelenna Azubuike didn't play much, but he was a complete non-factor. Has CJ Watson leap-frogged Kaz in Nellie's rotation?
It's games like these that really make you wonder how Patrick O'Bryant, Kosta Perovic, Brandan Wright, and Marco Belinelli are doing in practice. Are they that bad that Nellie shouldn't be playing them when the Warriors struggle like they did in the 1st? Makes you wonder. In Nellie we trust.
International superstar Yao Ming walked away with a dominant statline of 36 points and 19 rebounds. He looked infinitely better than usual against the Warriors, but his game was still ugly. He wasn't all that far from netting a triple double with 7 turnovers. Yao was also the beneficiary of a whopping 15 trips to the line.
You have give the man his due though for coming out more aggressive, especially in the mid and high post. In the 3 previous games the Warriors completely shut down Yao with their speed and quickness, while making him look soft and slow both physically and mentally. Tonight Yao's power game prevailed. You could tell he was sick of the Warriors abusing him.
Yao was the one dishing out the abuse tonight.
Also I won't let this one go. At one point in the second half Al Harrington drove to the bucket and Yao Ming towering at 7-6 and 310 pounds tried to draw a charge, which was thankfully whistled for a blocking call. Sorry, but that's absolutely ridiculous. If I were the commish I'd ban Yao for at least 2 games for that silly stunt.
Tonight's honors goes to Stephen Jackson. Take away his contributions in terms of draining treys, distributing the rock, and grabbing some boards and this game isn't even close. Jack did his part tonight. The other guys didn't.
25 points (7-14 FG, 5-7 3pt), 6 rebounds, 7 assists : 1 turnover, 1 steal, and 1 block
Stephen shows off his Bhangra moves during the intros.
So how about that Chris Webber fella?
- Rumor: Warriors "Seriously Interested" in Chris Webber
- Rumor: Chris Webber to the Warriors by Tuesday 1/29/08
- Chris Webber Says "It's a Done Deal"
- Chris Webber BELIEVES and So Do I
- YouTube Tuesday - Express Yourself
Hey those flipping through those links is whole lot more fun than talking about this game!
Good thing the Warriors play the coldest team in the league tomorrow! I'm sure you remember what happened last time. Since this Warriors team makes absolutely no sense, I'm boldly predicting that the Warriors regroup and pull off a shocking win tomorrow in New Orleans. You heard it here. (Yes I think it's time for bedtime now).
Photos: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images + AP Photo/Pat Sullivan