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Recap #61: Golden State Warriors 103, Boston Celtics 107 - Still too small; Pendulum swings back from Stephen Curry to Monta Ellis

Lather, rinse (off Curry), repeat.
Lather, rinse (off Curry), repeat.

SBNation's CelticsBlog: Celtics Blow The Lead But Win The Game

I'll slice and dice this one in different ways, but here's the quick-and-dirty version, by quarter:

  1. David Lee 14 pts. Von Wafer? Alright, whatever. Warriors down by 5.
  2. Ray Allen 12 pts in quarter. Rajon Rondo 9 assists. Celtics up 11. Yawn.
  3. Monta Ellis 16 pts. Celtics mess around and... well, they mess around. Warriors down 7.
  4. What the hell, this is a close game? Wait, can the Warriors grab a loose ball? No. Game over.

Hit the jump for some better (?) analysis...


Luckily, our buddy Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress happened to be in Boston and was tweeting nice 3rd-person objective stuff. Here is how the rest of the intelligent basketball world views the Warriors...

Warriors take a 20 second timeout 26 seconds into game. Score tied 0-0. That's...interesting. Any idea why?

The apathy Monta Ellis is showing on defense is truly impressive. If he tried a little less hard he might fall asleep. #allstar

My plan for tonight is to figure out what the hell happened to Andris Biedrins' once promising career. The guy fell off a cliff. GSW fans?

Its amazing to watch in person. He's not even pretending RT @WarriorsRndTbl: That is a constant w/Monta. Never puts effort on defensive end.

Level of intensity overall defensively is somewhere between a preseason and summer league game so far. Some pretty baskets at least.

And then Monta Ellis makes a move like THAT on offense (so smooth, easy) and it all makes sense. The guy is an incredible scorer.

The Warriors are playing Vlad Radmanovic at the 3. If he can "guard" the 3 in the NBA, that changes a lot of things in my college scouting.

On the plus side, I'm getting some solid scouting in for the teams I scout for internationally tonight. Half dozen prospects on display?

Jeff Green was looking very tentative to start game. So what do teammates do? Get him a bunch of easy dunks. That's how you get a guy going.

Celtics have 17 assists on 23 made baskets this half. They're having a ball out here playing 5 on 0. Really fun to watch this ball-movement.

RT @johnschuhmann: Already tonight, Ray Allen has had two of the prettiest mid-range bank shots I've seen all season.

Warriors are trying the "leave him open" strategy mostly. RT @LarryCoon: Ray Allen is 7 for 7. Leave him open, cover him -- doesn't matter.

Halftime: Boston 64 GS 53. Ray Allen has 20 on 7/8 shooting. Rondo 9 assists. Green 13 pts in 12 min. David Lee 16 pts, Monta 13.

Really disappointing to see what Stephen Curry is evolving into. No playmaking, shoots ball every time he touches it, zero effort on defense

In his defense, this Warriors team might be most poorly coached team in NBA based on what we're seeing here. No accountability whatsoever.

Slowly coming to the conclusion that If Vladimir Radmanovic can get NBA rotation minutes, pretty much anyone can play in the NBA. Incredible

End of 3rd quarter, and somehow Boston is only up by 7 points. Ellis, Lee brought Warriors back. Celts just toying with them?

Any #ssac people who wanna grab a beer at Westin, I'm heading there with peeps after Celtics game.

Huge drop in intensity for Rondo in 2nd half. Just stopped trying on defense, tried to be way too fancy on offense. Celtics couldn't score.

Celtics coasted the entire 2nd half. Probably thought they can just win it with defense at the end. Let's see if that's what happens.

RT @johnhollinger: Ellis has 28 in 2nd half, 41 for game. Raining 3s like he's Ray Allen.

Warriors give up a key offensive rebound to Ray Allen down 2 w/12 seconds to go. Allen makes both. Looks like Celtcs will win this one.

Celtics 107 - Warriors 103. Allen/Pierce both had 27 points. Monta Ellis was ridiculous w/41, most in 2nd half.


Steph: Horrible. Just kept leaving Ray Allen open. Ray Allen! Then had those flashes of mental ineptness throwing the ball away on a duck in transition or bounce-passing to a Celtic. Pretty much left his brain at the hotel. Smart subbed Acie Law for him on more than one occasion. Then later on, Steph finally hit some shots. But it was just far from a complete game. Way too many holes in this performance.

Monta: Super-athletic game. Trey was on. I'm not sure I agree with Givony that Monta doesn't care about D. I just think it's lack of defensive basketball IQ. Nothing really you can do about it unless you get some better players, a more competitive environment, and a coaching staff with the right philosophy.

Dorell Wright: Great early outing. Just superb again, driving and hitting shots. My favorite was the jab-step, two dribbles left, and pull up on Paul Pierce. That's an elite move. Too bad he disappeared late. If I were the Warriors, I'd hire a personal trainer to watch his game and point out things that will get him to the next level. One major thing is how to deal with those moments of disappearing. It may not be his fault, but it needs to be analyzed.

Lee: Pretty solid outing, but again he's trying to do too much. Let's face it, on the Lakers or Spurs or other elite team, he's a key contributor.

Ekpe Udoh: Kind of non-existent.

Al Thornton: On Twitter it was reported that Keith Smart spoke excitedly about Thornton pre-game. Well, it should come as no surprise that Thornton was under-used. When he came into the game, it was clear on defense that he would not be manhandled, holding his own off-ball in the paint. On offense, he made a couple of deferring passes in the interior that didn't really get anywhere, so basically he didn't do much. Worse, Smart stuck with Vlad Rad on Pierce, a complete and utter mismatch which Pierce easily exploited on multiple times.

Vlad Rad: Absolutely horrific. He was slow to the ball, he was slow on the rotation. He got beat off the dribble (Pierce). He got a T at the worst time. Now, Vlad has his moments, but when he doesn't go into microwave mode, Smart's got to recognize that he belongs at the end of the bench. It's a crapshoot everytime. Stop throwing the die so much.

Acie Law: Not very effective overall, but nothing terribly glaring. Had a nice replay-worthy step-over layup. He's just kind of too slow. I mean, he literally could be slower than Derek Fisher, who has the same body type.

Beans: Meh.

Reggie Williams: Very limited minutes. Too skinny trying to defend Pierce. Makes you appreciate Pierce.

Jeff Adrien: DNP.

Big Three: Pretty much par for the course. Rondo was toying around too much around the late 3rd or early 4th, getting deep into the paint, stopping his dribble, and not being able to find a cutter and basically killing the play. Kevin Garnett was solid. Pierce was Pierce and Ray-Ray went off in the 2nd, hitting about seven straight shots. Of course, the Warriors kept leaving him open for some strange reason.

Troy Murphy: Missed the few treys he is being paid to nail when he comes in.

Von Wafer: A little mini-microwave early on. Non-factor afterwards.

Nenad Krstic: Not bad. He plays hard. And he's no slower than any of the Warriors' frontcourt players.

Jeff Green: 21 points for solid play, but the Warriors is the type of fast-paced all-athleticism-no-IQ team that Green can have a great game against. I don't see that happening against, say, the Spurs or Bulls.


The following play from the 2nd quarter epitomized the Celtics' advantage over the Warriors: Pierce (or was it Ray-Ray? -- doesn't matter) crosses through the baseline and comes all the way around a KG pick. Wright can't get around the screen fast enough and Vlad Rad (or was it D.Lee? -- doesn't matter) gets caught in the switch, and Pierce gets the pass from Rondo up top and drives easily to the basket, draws contact, and goes to the line.

Worse, Warriors announcer Bob Fitzgerald praises Pierce for the drive when it was just plain bad defense.

What we see here is a combination of the youthful Warriors and the veteran Big Three. He knows how to set a good pick. At the same time, Pierce knows how to come around the pick. At the same time, Wright doesn't know how to get around the pick or anticipate where this play is heading. And finally, Vlad Rad is unable to anticipate the play as well, unable to hedge off KG and give enough room for Wright to do something about this play.

And finally, the last play of the game is a microcosm of the Warriors perennial problems. Down two with 37 seconds to play, the Warriors need a stop. The Warriors do a decent enough job to force a low-option Garnett jumper from the top with the shotclock winding down. Only it backrims and it's a long rebound. Guess who watches and doesn't block out? Monta. Ray-Ray chases the ball down at the free throw line and Monta is forced to catch up and foul him. Game over.

The two plays above are my thesis. The Warriors are too small. It's okay at any other level to have such elite offensive firepower in the backcourt as Steph and Monta, but not in the NBA. In the NBA, first of all, you need athletes that can get around picks. Those are big, mobile bodies in the NBA setting those picks. As much as you need a Steve Nash running the pick-and-roll, you also need to look at the defensive end of things sometimes.

Secondly, you need girth to box out. You need guys who want contact. Who aren't afraid to take a hit if there's a charging Ray Allen from the opposite side of the court and the ball is up for grabs -- he who catches it wins the game.

So when someone compares the Steph-Monta potential to Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, I cringe. I had the pleasure to watch a replay of the '92 All-Star Game on NBA TV the week before this season's All-Star Weekend. You should've seen Isiah D up Magic Johnson. It was in-your-face, physical, slide-the-feet. As for Dumars, just imagine him guarding Ray Allen. Ray-Ray might still get open and put up a shot on Dumars, but only after Dumars has checked him a couple times, given him a few slaps to make him think about it. Dumars was a pretty solid rock, mind you.

And finally, I can't really be disappointed when Lou Amundson doesn't dive for a ball. He's just not athletic enough. Or when Reggie Williams doesn't aggressively go for the tie up and at least a jump ball, but sort of waits there like a shortstop for the ball to trickle out. There isn't an environment around them on this team that would make their brains go, "Oooh, that's my ball. Gimme that!"


Steph did not play well and Monta scored 41. So this time, the pendulum swings back in Monta's direction. I'm not saying I know the answer, but I know that I've seen this before. And back and forth we go...

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