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RECAP: Warriors 105, Sonics 99 - Just Enough

Final Boxscore

Collison, do you really think you're going to block that?

It wasn't pretty (expected) but in the end it still counts as a W. Maybe I'm getting spoiled expecting the Warriors to handily take care of lesser teams. I mean, c'mon, 34 wins already? It used to take 2 years for the Warriors to get 34 wins. Don't get me wrong, I'm not "just happy to be here", I'd love for the Warriors to punish teams, but I also remember what it used to be like and am not feeling very nostalgic. Yea I understand that if they blow teams out, it allows us to rest the high usage guys like Baron and Monta. But then again, blowing teams out just wouldn't be "the Warrior way". Everything has to be edge of your seat entertainment. High flying dunks, gambles on defense, great thread-the-needle passes, lots and lots of chest bumping, and a flair for the dramatic. I know I'd save money on heartburn medicine if the Warriors decided to put teams away quickly, but I also might not be as entertained. From now on, I'm just going to expect the Warriors to struggle early on but turn it on in the 3rd and 4th quarters to keep things interesting.

I swear, I'm living in an alternate universe where the Warriors are actually good. Heck, they've only lost 2 or more in a row just once this season. Amazing. Hit that "Read More" button for more thoughts.

BWright was rewarded for his impressive play last Friday with a start tonight. How he goes from collecting more DNP-CD's (Did not play - coaches decision) than buckets to starting is beyond me. I didn't think he should start after one impressive game, but apparently he's done enough in practice that Nellie had enough confidence to use him. Braces only played 9 minutes tonight and wasn't able to replicate his performance against the Hawks, but perhaps this is the start of Nellie having some confidence in him. He did grab 3 boards and had a nice dunk, but struggled offensively early on.

So here's the reason I didn't think should start. He's not ready. He's more suited to come off the bench when some of the opposing team's first teamers are taking a rest. Build his confidence against the other team's bench like they did against Atlanta. He's a high energy guy who's going to play in limited minutes. Let him settle into that role now so that when Beans comes back, knows what's expected of him and doesn't have to shift back to starting the game on the bench. As a high energy guy, he can provide that spark off the bench with some rebounding or a blocked shot or a dunk. I'm all for giving him minutes now, but give him minutes that will be consistent with how he'll get them when the team is fully healthy.

I'm sure starting him is just an experiment that Nellie could take a gamble on against the Sonics. I doubt it continues against Philly on Friday, but you never know. What it does mean is that Webber's minutes will be severely affected. If BWright continues to get minutes when Beans comes back, you can say goodbye to the CWebb experiment. Webber was largely ineffective tonight and neither he nor Wright got any burn in the 2nd half.

Austin Croshere, where have you been all my life? Okay that's a little overboard, but damn that guy provided a great spark off the bench tonight in the 3rd. 14 points in 9 minutes? A perfect 6-6 from the field? 5 offensive rebounds? Dare I say it? Okay I will, Crosh was Scary Hot tonight. Well scary hot for Austin at least.

In fact, the bench played well tonight. Monta, Baron and Jax played a ton of minutes but the bench still picked up the slack especially Croshere, Barnes, and Pietrus. Barnes hustled on the boards and even though he shot poorly, he still provided some good energy off the bench. Pietrus even got into a little bit with his scoring and D. These guys did what bench players are supposed to do - let the starters rest a little bit and not surrender buckets.

Welcome back Captain Jack! Good to see him back from his ankle injury and able to play 37 minutes. His shooting woes continue, but he did go to the glass tonight and help out there with 7 rebounds. You could see the difference in the team tonight with him in there versus the Hawks game - there's just a different on court chemistry with his demeanor and ability to initiate the offense.

Aside from this dunk, Al Harrington shot 1-8. He's had two poor games in a row now. I'm a little worried but shouldn't be. Prior to the Atlanta game he had a big big big game against the Celtics, so I expect him to break out of his poor shooting slump sometime soon, like on Friday against Philly.

Oh and I don't want to forget Baron Davis. All he did tonight was score 20 (although the 8-24 shooting is ugly), hand out 10 assists, and steal the ball 7 times. One last thing, his plus/minus was +18 tonight and he played 44 minutes. That means in the 4 minutes he wasn't on the court, the Warriors were a -12. No wonder Nellie plays him these ungodly minutes.

Fun stat - the Sonics shot 50% from the field tonight. Clearly not enough "DE-FENSE" chants from the home crowd. One would think that if a team shoots 50% or better for an entire game that they would win pretty easily. Not so tonight. The Warriors were a bunch of thieves tonight, piling up 14 steals and forcing 24 Sonic turnovers. So while the Warriors defense wasn't stellar, they sure did a good job forcing the young Sonics team into a bunch of mistakes.

Monta Ellis
With a slight nod to Austin Croshere for lifting the team up in the decisive 3rd quarter, this Warrior Wonder goes to Monta. He's just blossoming into a star. When he started his hot streak, I didn't think it would last this long, but he's kept it up for over 6 weeks now. Just check out his game log and splits and look at February, he's having an amazing month. 26 points on 61% shooting! Throw in 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, with 1.3 steals and you have a player who's in a hot streak that I hope never ends. His shooting percentages in February look like this - these are from the field, not the line: 70%, 91.7%, 80%, 50%, 66.7%, 53.9%, 42.9%, 50%, and 64%. Those are ridiculous numbers for a 2 guard who's taking a lot of pull up jumpers. Although his defense leaves something to be desired, the kid is playing big and Nellie can't take him off the floor. He's taking another giant leap in his development and it's been damn fun to watch.

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