Always an exciting thing to watch the Warriors take on Portland in the Oracle. Maybe it's the energy that so many young players bring to the floor. Maybe it's the possibility of watching Roy, Oden, or both give us a glimpse of our future competition (or hopefully acquisitions) of this league.
Maybe it's the fact that we always seem to win. And just before the All-Star Break, we needed a W under our belts. Count it!
Well it's getting pretty late and I'd like to give everyone a nice little breakdown of tonight's events before coverage of All Star Weekend. So let's take this bad boy quarter by quarter with some nicely organized bullet-points. There was some good, there was some bad, and as always, there was some ugly.
Fortunately Portland cornered this evenings' market on ugly. Shall we?
- At first glance I thought I was going to have to kiss my Monta > 20 points prediction goodbye. His first two midrange jumpers were classic easy buckets for Monta B.M. (before moped). But as they bricked out, concern started to set in. Luckily it didn't last! (And yes, I know my prediction didn't actually come true as Monta = 20 points, not > 20 points. Stupid techicalities.)
- Ronny started with an awesome job cleaning the boards on both an offensive and a defensive end. It's great to see what can happen when we, a team that values midrange and long shots, get some aggressive muscle on the boards. By the time Ronny picked up his first two fouls, he also had 6 points, 3 boards and an assist. Not bad for only 6 and a half minutes of play.
- Portland hearts turnovers.
- The Dubs played the 1st quarter pretty damn clean! While Portland was giving us the ball every chance they could, we were executing with precision. A 12 point lead at the end of the first was our reward.
- Even though his shooting ended up off, Travis Outlaw nailed his first three jumpers and reminded me that he was a top notch Warrior Killer. The moral of the story? Screw Travis Outlaw.
- Crawford's handles are NASTY. Sometimes it looks like the basketball is orbiting around him. It's very Discovery Channel. I dig. Wish he shot better tonight though.
- In regards to team leadership and scoring, Jackson has been pretty consistent as of late. If I asked everyone reading this to raise their right hand if they have ever doubted Jax's ability to be a consistent leader, I'm pretty sure we'd all be typing comments to this post with one hand. I'm not saying he's there. But this is a good start. His turnover, however, aren't.
- The 2nd quarter became the Jax and Mags show. You know it's a bloodbath when they stop trying to outscore our opponents and start trying to outscore each other.
- Monta with a 3 at the close of the half? At this point, I'm shocked if it doesn't happen. Clutch.
- Poor Oden had no room to breathe tonight. I almost felt bad for the guy when he picked up his 4th foul early in this quarter. Then I realized that Oden riding the pine was better than the alternative - Oden destroying us down low. I felt better after that.
- Wow. Portland hearts turnovers. Less than halfway through the third they had 18.
- What happened to the tempo? Our jumpers stopped going down; it was clear that this was our slump. Luckily for us... (see next bulletpoint)
- Portland hearts turnovers.
- I'll give it to the boys. They weathered the third quarter slump. In the final 3 minutes, the Warriors came back with a few nice scores from Randolph and company. Good to see Randolph get a few confidence boosters during this time!
- Q: How can someone be nervous about going into a 4th quarter up 18 points?
- A: When you're a Warriors fan.
- Man I love Turiaf. He's an absolute beast. Oden should be taking notes. He's certainly had enough time to jot things down with the time he's spent on the bench in foul trouble.
- Hey weren't we up by 18? Now we're up by 8. What happened to the preceding 1?
- Hey! There's your midrange shooting Monta! Couldn't have found that at a better time.
- Seriously though. Portland hearts turnovers. Season high at the Oracle. Again.
And that's about that. In the waning minutes of the game, Monta became the Monta we have all grown to love with his huge series of jumpers to keep us fighting to the end. Should we have blown an 18 point lead? Of course not. But we did do the one thing that a good team needs to do with the lead.
That's right. We kept it.
Not bad Warriors. Not bad. ONTO THE ALL STAR BREAK!!!
TURIAF!! Your first double double as a Warrior and, despite a little foul trouble, an excellent showing on all parts of the floor. I can't wait until we have you and Biedrins back on the floor again.
Remember when Foyle was our starting center? What a difference a few seasons can make!