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Neither is a defensive force (nor are they when they’re together, yet). But Adam Lauridsen of the San Jose Mercury “Fast Break” Warriors blog writes that them together on the court was definitely a benefit statistically:
The Warriors’ defense wasn’t great — particularly Lee (and others) on Scola — but the team did two things well enough to come away with the win. First, the guards and wings closed out on Houston’s shooters, denying them easy looks from behind the arc. The Rockets went 4-16 thanks in part to steady, aware efforts by Curry, Ellis, DWright and Carney. Second, Biedrins and Lee did a nice job clogging the key to deny the Rockets easy looks around the basket. That’s not to say there weren’t breakdowns, but the presence of a big body to provide help defense raised the degree of difficulty for the Rockets bigs. For the roughly 26 minutes Lee and Biedrins played together, the Warriors were +12. For the other 22, the team was -8. Neither shied away from mixing it up with Houston’s wide-bodies. Although Andris fouled out (at least two of the calls were bogus), I’d rather have him active for 27 minutes than passive for however long he would have played but for the fouls.
Is Dre finally “back”? So far so good as the David Lee acquisition seems to be benefitting Biedrins and the Warriors. Neither will scare opposing teams the way a front line like Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett might.
More importantly, does that mean we won’t see anymore 4 guard and Biedrins matchup confusion against bigger lineups
Stephen Curry lit up the Rockets to the tune of 25 points and 11 assists. But along the way, Curry’s ankle was aggravated again as he tried to draw a foul on Aaron Brooks during the 3rd quarter. Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times reports:
…towards the end of the quarter, he had a setback. He pump faked on a 3-pointer to get Brooks in the air. Curry, trying to draw a foul on Brooks, leaned in as he hoisted a 3. Brooks landed on top of him, and Curry rolled that ankle again, the same way, he said.
He got up hobbling and took the long route to the free throw line to walk it off
DAVID LEE: “I was a little concerned when he re-injured it. But sometimes, all it takes is to get out there and get back on it.”
Curry played the final 10:38 of the fourth quarter and had seven points and four assists in the period. After the game, he said his ankle was sore and he rushed through his media interviews to get treatment.
Definitely something to pay attention as the season progresses. For all you fantasy basketball players, hope you have some insurance. But Thompson also highlights some interesting chemistry between Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry in last night’s win:
Keith Smart gave Curry a seven-plus minutes rest in the second quarter. But when he returned in the third, giving Ellis a rest, Curry took over. He totaled 12 points and four assists in the quarter. He was looking for his shot and breaking down the Rockets defense by getting into the lane.
ELLIS: “That’s what he has to do. I mean, we have to work off each other. They were playing us a little different. Coach ran a play for us and they picked up what we were doing. Then Curry noticed what (the Rockets) were doing (defensively). That’s what he has to do. When I am going like that and come out of the game, and he’s in the game, he has to make offensive plays like he did tonight.”
I don’t expect Ellis to pull a Terrell Owens and begin sobbing to media: “That’s my point guard (quarterback).” But it’s nice that both guards are working together and adapting to situations accordingly.
People wondered if Monta Ellis’ new outlook on life, his teammates (namely Stephen Curry), and the future of the Golden State Warriors (check his tattoo of the Warriors logo on his back) was for real or just pre-season fluff. Matt Steinmetz reports that Ellis’ 46 point outburst shows that he has been determined to make things better:
“This young man has made a complete turnaround in his life,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “And once your life is in order things start to work perfectly for you. His relationship (marriage) and his life are in great order, and the guy has been ready to play since the summer, working out with (assistant) coach (Steven) Silas in Memphis.”
So far so good in Warriors land. Despite the intensive minutes given to all starters, their balanced attack among the starting five is a good sign, even against a Yao Ming-less team.
Courtesy of Golden State of Mind’s IQofaWarrior, here is there comprehensive nightly linkage of usual post-game chatter: Pre-game video, post-game interviews, and more.
But what are fans saying about this opening night win? It is just one game, right? Looks like it’s a combination of overexcitement and cautious optimism. From Golden State of Mind:
GovernorStephCurry: Was at game. Incredible atmosphere. Lee is a great player. Very good scorer, underrated passer (probably our 2nd best passer), monster on boards… really struggled with Scola, but Gasol did last night, and i don’t fault him. Steph’s added some quickness/athleticism to his game. He can drive better, his handle looks good, made some bad decisions but that’s okay. Andris looked very good, got some bad foul calls on him, specifically the Martin foul where it was a charge. Played good team defense, passed nicely, scored good amount, rebounded like a beast. Monta played ok defense, and he was playing within the team’s offense. I didn’t even care about the points. I only recall a few plays were he was iso’d at the top and put his head down. He played to his strengths which were the post up game, the mid range jumper of the screen, and driving to the hoop and getting fouls/layups. Very glad to see him mature and accept his role.
Spider Jerusalem: Well, a win is nice. Not too excited about all the fouls, but the effort was there on defense. Smart’s rotations sort of made me want to shoot myself somewhere non-lethal, so we’ll see how that goes throughout the season. I’d rather never see Carney at PF or Radmanovic at C again, though (his name is Adrien. Play him).
Monta made a lot of shots. That’s all I can say after this game. I’m glad he made those shots, but I’m not exactly glad that he took them. 7-12 from 16-23 feet is nice but also unsustainable. He was hot though, so I can’t complain. I just hope in the games where he starts out 0-5 or 0-7 on pull up jumpers he’ll do something else.
Badly Browned: Oh btw. I am still waiting on this new and improved defense…The rebounding was nice yes, but where’s the D?!
In a game of "my guards are better than your guards", the Warriors ended a nine game losing streak to the Rockets. Ellis was the show most of the night as he tied his career high by pouring in 46 points with an unbelievable 18 for 24 shooting display. He managed 27 in the first half, and Stephen Curry added 25 points and 11 assists. In their debuts with the Warriors, David Lee chipped in 17 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists, and Dorrell Wright added 15 points and three triples.
This was a game without defense. The Rockets looked spent after going toe-to-toe with the defending champs, and Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee had no real answer for Ellis. Kevin Martin had 28 points, but was only 5 of 14 from the field. Curry held down Aaron Brooks, who only shot 4 for 15 from the field. Despite Luis Scola being pretty much unstoppable down low, besting Lee one-on-one with an incredible 36 points and 16 rebounds, and Chuck Hayes notching up a "whoa that’s Chuck Hayes’s statline?" 16 points-8 rebounds-6 assists. The Rockets backcourt was no match for the Warriors, and that ended up being the big difference.
Golden State’s next game is this Friday versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
So much for the new look, defensive-minded Warriors. Golden State just put up points, and more points, and more points…and gave up points, and more points, and more points. The Warriors shot 50% from the field and a perfect 13 for 13 at the line, but the Rockets responded with 57% shooting and 17 free throw makes.
Monta Ellis was completely unstoppable against Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee, shooting 10-13 from the field and a perfect 6-6 from the line. Unfortunately, the balance of the Rockets cancelled out his monumental first half. Luis Scola put up 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting and 5-6 from the line. Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks combined for 20 total points. The usually offensively-limited Chuck Hayes got ten points, mostly from layups. Thanks to plenty of backdoor cuts by Brooks and Hayes, and the inside post moves of Scola, the Rockets compiled up 36 first half points in the paint and edged the Warriors by one point.
New coach, same story for the Warriors one half into 2010.
The Golden State Warriors open the season facing the Houston Rockets, playing the second game of a back-to-back. Travelling and chasing Kobe around can tire you out quickly and lets hope the Warriors exploit the Rockets’ possible tiredness right out the gates.
The Warriors finished out their preseason disappointingly, losing every road game and getting more injured in the process. We already knew about Ekpe Udoh’s wrist. But recently signed Louis Amundson, the new Ronny Turiaf, injured himself nine minutes into his first preseason game..after missing much time with a back injury. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Warriors got a scare in the second to last game of the season when Stephen Curry tweaked his ankle and was held out of the final game.
But in typical fashion the Warriors roll on and face a disciplined basketball team that at one point last night led the Los Angeles Lakers by double digits until a fourth quarter meltdown — or, rather, their inability to stop Shannon Brown.
The Rockets are loaded with shooters in Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Shane Battier, and Chase Budinger, which spells doom for our Warriors (lack of) perimeter defense. Just as challenging for the Warriors will be finding a way to defend against Houston’s frontline with the always efficient Luis Scola and Yao Ming. Granted, Yao will not be playing as Avinash mentioned earlier. But watching a joking, jovial Yao on the sidelines and then seeing him slam home a left handed dunk over two Laker defenders it traffic shows that he’s looking to make the most out of those 24 minutes he gets to play. Chuck Hayes plays bigger than he is, which is unfortunate for a Warriors squad who seem to do the opposite (see Brandan Wright).
Most importantly, will won’t get to see two Chinese players on the court at the same time. But we will see them both sitting on their respective benches, which begs the question: Shouldn’t Asian Heritage Night have worked better the first game of the season, given how Asian Heritage Last season was when Yi Jianlian and the New Jersey Nets came to town (and Yi put up a stinker of a game in his honor)?
So what can we expect tonight? Here are Golden State of Mind’s predictions:
Hope on over to Golden State of Mind’s game thread to join in on today’s excitement and chatter of opening night.
Or, if you prefer the Rockets, check The Dream Shake.
The Warriors lost all their preseason away games, but on the bright side, writes Jared Cowely of the Press-Democrat.com Warriors blog, “real basketball is finally here.” And by that he means the improvement on defense:
On defense, the team was an interesting study in preseason. Statistically, they were much improved from last season. They allowed only 100.3 points per game (112.4 in 2010), allowed opponents to shoot just 43.2 percent from the field (48.5 in 2010) and 36.6 percent from the 3-point line (37.5 in 2010) and outrebounded their opponents 47.1 to 43.0 on average (outrebounded 48.1 to 38.4 in 2010). That’s a huge improvement. If the Warriors maintain those numbers in the regular season, this team will be much better than most have predicted. We must caution that this was preseason, but even so, this team looks to be better on defense.
This is great news, of course, but the Warriors stlil lost quite a few games to some rebuilt and injury-recovering teams, like the Warriors themselves. It’s strange though that in spite of holding defenses to a lower shooting percentage, the Warriors ability to score, too, goes down.
Yao Ming is being eased back into the Rockets rotation, but is on a strict minute count that’ll limit his participation through most of the regular season (24 minutes, no more than that). Was it much of a coincidence that he played 23 minutes and fouled out only seconds before he'd have been pulled out on opening night against the Los Angeles Lakers?
Another limit on his return his unavailability for back-to-back games. Which means he will probably be in street clothes on Wednesday. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.
With the Rockets set to open the season with a back-to-back, coach Rick Adelman laid to rest any doubts about Yao Ming’s availability, saying he expects his center to play opening night against the Lakers. Yao, available for just one game in back-to-backs, would then sit out Wednesday’s game at Golden State.
He probably won’t be missed, since Golden State is still a very small team and Brad Miller, Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes should give Andris Biedrins and David Lee plenty of trouble on both sides of the ball. It’s too bad because of the Bay Area’s huge Asian demographic, which will now have to turn their eyes longingly to the end of the Warrior bench and hope Keith Smart calls Jeremy Lin’s number. Hint: Don’t expect to see him.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury offers a blueprint for long-term success. Kawakami mentions a lot of the things that we already know or has been on the “to-do” list for the last three decades, such as defense (‘Play some defense. Any defense’) or learning to use trade exceptions and expiring contracts in meaningful ways.
But the one that stands out the most, which I should be repaired immediately is its reputation:
Goal: Play with energy, foster locker-room chemistry, make this a place the current players don’t want to leave and others might want to join.
Monta Ellis’ positive recent testimonials are meaningful mostly because he was a major symbol of teamwide sourness for the last two years, and everyone around the league noticed.
But it has to be more than Ellis sounding happy. It has to come from an entire organization that’s on the same page — from Lacob’s vision to general manager Larry Riley’s planning to coach Keith Smart’s strategy to Curry’s decisions to the 12th man’s practice habits.
As great of a place as the bay area might be, playing for a company that has a horrible work culture can kill your will to live (see Rony Seikaly, Tom Gugliotta, Donyell Marshall, and more). We have all either witnessed this ourselves firsthand at our own jobs or know of others that may dread punching in their time-clock day-to-day.
Of course, winning cures everything. But there are plenty of teams in the NBA who are just as bad without the type of baggage that the Warriors carry. And worse yet, the Warriors are practically non-existent in the NBA fan’s imaginary. Fixing the perception that playing for the Warriors is a form of punishment or exile is one way to rebuilding and possibly attracting free agents. Let see what Lacob has in store for the Warriors as the season continues.
Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Smart is evading questions about his team’s playoff chances, even as press and blogs are expecting them to surprise people. Playoff bound? Maybe not. But I would be worried about these meteoric expectations considering what we’ve seen with the San Francisco 49ers this year.
Example of Smart tempering everyone’s expectations?
“We’re focused on getting better one day at a time,” Smart said, "getting better one game at a time. We’ve got to keep getting better. “… Maybe we can be really good two games in a row, then three games in a row. Our focus is on getting better.”
Definitely not the Mike Singletary, but I believe his realistic expectations can ground fans time-to-time about what the Warriors have not been able to do to get them to the promised land.
The opening of the NBA 2010-2011 season for the Golden State Warriors couldn't have come at a better time. The Warriors share their "opening day" of new beginnings with the "opening day" of the World Series across the pond over at AT&T Park. How are the Warriors celebrating this momentous occasion of Bay Area sports? By letting Giants fans (who've purchased tickets to the Warriors game) watch the game at (R)oarcle Arena, doors opening at 4:45 PM. With a double win -- Warriors and Giants -- expect a man-made earthquake (sans the destruction) created by thunderous cheering in the streets. I guarantee it. So what can we look forward to on opening night eve for the Golden State Warriors? Here's a brief round-up of what some people are saying.
The motto this year for the Warriors appears to be "fresh starts" as a range of changes from the front office all the way done to the players uniforms. Mid-first round castoffs and forgottens Dorell Wright, quoted as saying he's going to show off his Hedo Turkoglu-type game, and Rodney Carney look to show off what they're really about. They're ready to stop shooting stand-still 3-point shots, which could be a good thing considering how unsteady their 3-pt shooting was during the preseason.
Since the Warriors will be without both backup power forwards and centers in Louis Amundson and Ekpe Udoh, to what extent will Jeff Adrien be part of the rotation early on? Larry Riley hints that injuries and the failure to find an adequate backup point guard. Good news? Adrien grabbed 20 offensive boards, tying with David Lee and Andris Biedrins, and in less minutes. I'm also sure Adrien doesn't mind making the team by "default."
And as Adrien continues to work his tail off to ensure the Warriors don't cut him to make room for another point guard, it looks like the Warriors will rely to some extent on guard/forward Reggie Williams, who racked up 9 assists in their final preseason game, a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime, 105-102.
Williams thrust into the point guard decision against the Lakers was a result of Stephen Curry's ankle injury, which he himself said will not keep him out of the first game. Fantasy Basketball players rejoice! Also, Curry, Monta Ellis, and David Lee were named captains. As much as reports say the beef has been squashed between Ellis and Curry, can they share the rock and share the captain role?
Also, it's Monta Ellis' Birthday:
StephenCurry30:Watching NBA ball on TV getting me hype for tmw night. Happy Bday to ME8. 48 hour celebration
Lastly, Golden State of Mind offers a comprehensive preview and review of where the Warriors have been and where they might be going this season. Here are a few snippets from Atma Brother #1 on players, coaching, and the state of affairs in general at Golden State.
On the past:
Hopefully someday Randolph learns how to play winning (he didn't even play on winning teams in college or in high school), team-oriented basketball with the professionalism that's required in the NBA. Until then there's absolutely no point in having him on an NBA roster. I chuckle when I read pieces about he's likely to breakout this season or that the Warriors screwed up by trading this young player with unlimited upside (by people who probably have never even see him play). I prefer to reserve that projection for players who have some semblance of hoops IQ and fundamentals.
On the possible strengths this season:
Pick + Roll
Once Stephen Curry and David Lee get in rythym, you're going to like the sound of this. Pick and roll all day, every day. Even Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins are reasonably solid pick and roll cogs. (That's of course provided Biedrins doesn't play scared again.)
Yes, you read that right. The Warriors are set to be a very nice Windex team. David Lee and Andris Biedrins are elite rebounders, Louis Amundson is solid, and Stephen Curry opened some eyes with his nice work on the boards last season. Who knows maybe even Monta can get back to his earlier rebounding rates. Even if he doesn't, the Warriors project to be at their best level in this department in years- decades perhaps.
Check back in for regular updates on all Warriors-related opening day new.
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