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Can’t get enough of those thrilling yet torturous late game wins? Want to know more about what the players are saying about Wilson Chandler’s missing tooth (fliers are up around Madison Square Garden) and where it might be? Or just want to see Stephen Curry become the assassin that he transforms into every fourth quarter? If you said yes to any of these, click on through to Golden State of Mind for IQofaWarriors’ game night linkage of videos, interviews, and commentary.
In what otherwise could have been a blowout, the tight game that came down to the last few possessions meant burning the first unit for nearly the whole game. Aside from Biedrins (24 minutes), no other player in the starting 5 played less than 40 minutes (David Lee). Stephen Curry logged the most minutes at 45 and the Warriors clearly needed every minute he was in during the decisive fourth quarter.
From these stats alone, you can deduce that the second unit, particularly Brandan Wright and Jeremy Lin — once again the first two players of the bench, did not get a chance to play much. In 9 minutes, Brandan Wright recorded 7 points and only 1 rebound. Like Biedrins, Wright is long. Unlike Biedrins, Wright has a nice touch around the hoop which he is able to finish well around the hoop and in transition.
But a problematic stat was that he picked up 3 fouls. Though playing nice help defense in the last few games — accumulating a few weakside blocks and blocks in transition, Wright has been horrible in one-on-one situations. He is often overmatched size-wise and struggles to get rebounding position. Also, Wright does not seem ready to catch passes or loose balls that bounce his way, which Lee is a master at based on his ability to get tip-ins and rebounds.
Other interesting stats of the night:
The Warriors shot nearly 53%. The Knicks shot 47%.
The Knicks shot 11 more free throws and were called for 8 less fouls (25-33).
The Warriors only shot 10 3-pt attempts, making 5 of them.
Anthony Randolph played 8 minutes and went scoreless
David Lee, on the other hand, was 11-17 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line.
Taking a look at Wednesday’s Western Conference action, in DC the Rockets were victimized by rookie John Wall’s first career triple-double in his 6th career NBA game. Wall went for 19 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds, adding 6 steals and a blocked shot for good measure, all versus 1 turnover. Fantasy owners everywhere are patting themselves on the back.
With the loss the Rockets spin further into Western Conference oblivion and now sit at 1-6 on the young season. Kevin Martin had a solid night himself, going for 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Rockets starting PG Aaron Brooks remains out for at least four weeks with a severely sprained ankle. Ishmael Smith, an undrafted rookie out of
The Thunder cashed in twin 31-point efforts from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to knock off the Sixers, 109-103, and improved to 4-3 on the year. Durant put on a free throw clinic as he drained 16-of-16 from the charity stripe. The 76ers’ Jrue Holiday continued his upward trend with 17 points and 11 assists, while rookie SG Evan Turner, filling in for an injured Andre Iguodala, went for 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Finally, the T-Wolves, fresh off of a close battle with the Lakers on Tuesday, knocked off the Kings in Sactown, 98-89. The Wolves (2-7) were led by Michael Beasley, who dropped a career-high 42 points on 17-of-31 shooting while sitting on my fantasy bench. (Thanks, Universe!) PG Luke Ridnour sat out his second straight game with a strained hammy, and fill-in Sebastian Telfair managed just 1 assist in almost 40 minutes of run. Omri Casspi led the way with 17 points for the Kings (3-4), who dropped their third game in a row on a night that saw Tyreke Evans completely disappear (1-for-5, 5 points). RekeDaFreak did throw in 9 assists – some consolation for fantasy owners.
Check back here tomorrow after the Warriors go for their third straight road win and take on the Bulls. Thursday’s games featuring Western Conference teams:
LA Lakers (8-0) @
At the end of Wednesday night, here’s what Mapping the Western Conference looks like:
LA Lakers 8-0 --
Golden State 6-2 2.0
LA Clippers 1-8 7.5
If there had to be a word that epitomized the Warriors road trip, it would be "self-destruction."
For the third straight night, the Warriors looked the part of a dominant playoff team. At one point going up 19 halfway through the third quarter, the Warriors let the New York Knicks get back into the game with poor defense, putting the Knicks on the line 43 times compared to the Warriors 32. The Knicks also made 17 more free throws than the Warriors. Controlling the boards for three quarters, a re-energized Knicks team out-hustled the Warriors at the end of the game, out-rebounding them 41-36.
But in spite of the one and a half quarter lapse in concentration, the Warriors put together a strong enough defensive effort in the final two minutes. Leading by one, the Warriors stopped the Knicks in spite of them securing 3rd-chance points, racing to the opposite end for an easy layup by Dorell Wright.
With 16 seconds left and the game seemingly in the bag as the Warriors sat on a 5 point lead, the Knicks closed the gap to 1 in a span of 3 seconds by hitting a technical free throw and Stoudemire hitting a 3-point shot just moments later. After burning two timeouts to in-bound the ball, Monta Ellis made two free throw. After a Wilson Chandler missed three point attempt, Lee was fouled after the rebound which safely put the game away with 1.2 seconds left to play to pull out a 122-117 victory.
David Lee led the way for the Warriors in an emotional return which the jumbo tron showed a tribute to Lee for his game and his efforts off the court in the community. Lee finished with 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals. His teammates looked for him early on as he had 3 dunks early in the first quarter, which he howled in the face of Timothy Mosgov on two occasions. Lee’s had no empathy for teammates as he knocked out two of former teammate Wilson Chandler’s teeth, as they got tangled going for a rebound. An extended timeout during the third quarter was needed to find Chandler’s two teeth, which Chandler had actually spit out himself, and Lee needed attention from trainer Tom Abdenour to bandage up the inadvertent bite marks. In the fourth quarter, camera shots showed bleeding through the bandages.
Amar’e’s matador defense could only be matched by David Lee as Amar'e pounded the ball into him and Dre Biedrins inside easily to the tune of 33 points and 10 boards. Raymond Felton led the charge beginning in the third quarter, finishing the game with 20 points and 6 assists. Chandler, in spite of missing a tooth, had 27 points, with 4 three pointers off 10 attempts.
Although Ellis started the game, it seemed that the fourth quarter now belongs to Stephen Curry as he put the Warriors on his shoulders once again directing traffic and scoring enough to keep up with the Knicks resurgent offense. Much like against the Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors, Curry closed out the fourth, with Ellis deferring, finishing the game with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. SBNation Bay Area editor Avinash Kunnath described Monta Ellis as Invincible and he was just that, playing through what was evaluated by doctors as a back strain. Ellis didn’t shoot his best, but finished the game with a steady 22 points and 6 assists with one of those assists coming at a crucial juncture in the fourth, hitting a wide open Reggie Williams on the break for an easy layup.
Oddly, the Warriors seemed the more dominant team throughout the game in spite of the self-destruction in the third and fourth quarter. Throughout the game, the Warriors seemed to take the Knicks out of rhythm, pulling away with short leads of 5 to 9 points, only to let the Knicks tie the game by giving them driving and passing lanes. Even during the fourth as the Knicks took a one-point lead, the Warriors seemed to steady themselves, playing solid defense for enough possessions at the end of the game.
At the end of the day, the Warriors won the game and David Lee got his redemption, albeit the hard way with a punctured left arm. Hopefully this will not be too much of a distraction for their next road game. The Warriors are now 2-1 on their 5 game road trip.
In typical Warriors 3rd quarter fashion, the Warriors offensive execution was near perfection. With an array of drive and dump passes in the paint, the Warriors were man handling them in every which way. David Lee and Andris Biedrins exposed Amar’e as the poor defender as he is. Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were getting easy layups and floaters in the paint.
Then the meltdown happened once again.
Upon hitting their 19 point lead, the Warriors took three poor perimeter shots and then stopped moving their feet on defense, instead reaching for fouls. Raymond Felton was the beneficiary of such poor defense as he went to the line on several occasion as did Danillo Gallinari, the flat-footed Italian.
What happened during this third quarter was exactly what we saw in Toronto and in Detroit. Upon building a comfortable lead, the Warriors got sloppy on defense and stopped running their offense. As the momentum swing began happening, the Warriors soon began to rely on one-on-one offense from Ellis and Curry, with poor results.
The Knicks and the Warriors production in the second quarter made their coaches cringe. The offense ran the gamut from being amazing efficient with high percentage buckets in the paint to repeated turnovers. The Knicks have 8 and the Warriors have 11.
On the Warriors end, Curry developed a rhythm in the second quarter scoring on transition buckets to finish the half with 10. David Lee, talked off finally feeling more comfortable in the offense, has 14 points with 3 thunderous dunks in the first quarter.
It was definitely a surprise to see Jeremy Lin get off the quarter, albeit very briefly to spell Stephen Curry. In very limited minutes, he tapped the ball away leading to a steal, which Brandan Wright was the beneficiary with a two-handed dunk in transition.
Lastly, Brandan Wright, again, was the second man off the bench, playing very effectively with 7 points in 8 minutes. The Warriors seem intent on getting Wright touches early on with easy buckets in transition or through drive and dump passes for dunks. Wright bobbled a pass a foot out from the hoop for what could have been an easy dunk. But any production from Wright this early on is a good sign.
In an up and down 1st quarter with the Knicks showing a lot more energy than the Warriors, battling back from a 7 point disparity, it seems like Lee is getting a warm welcome back and putting on a decent show for the fans.
Marcus Thompson Tweets:
gswscribe Marcus Thompson
Video followed by standing O for Lee, who emerged from huddle and waives to the crowd. At least he didn’t lie and say he didn’t notice
And then later..
Lee dunked on Mozgov and screamed as he backpedaled down court. Just got an and-one on Mozgov and said "Can’t f—-in’ guard me."
And from Rusty Simmons:
Rusty_SFChron Rusty Simmons
DLee dunks off an inbounds pass. That’s three dunks tonight, doubling his season’s total.
Lee looks like the jealous ex that’s trying to show the former boyfriend what they’re missing. As much as I love the intensity, screaming in Mozgov’s face twice in the first quarter is a little bizarre. Mosgov ain't getting love. I want to see him scream in someone’s face that actually plays well, Amar’e perhaps? But I guess it’s no different than Kevin Garnett picking on scrubs.
Ellis is shooting on the court right now. His J looks to be working. And he’s smiling. Not doing any running though Monta Ellis said he is planning on playing tonight. Keith Smart said it is up to him
Ellis’s job on defense will be to check the rookie guard out of Stanford, Landry Fields. Coach Mike D’Antoni is really high on him. Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York has more.
Fields won the Knicks’ starting spot at shooting guard when coach Mike D’Antoni decided Wilson Chandler would be better utilized to provide some scoring punch off the bench, and Fields has played well through the Knicks’ first six games. Heading into Tuesday night’s game at Milwaukee, Fields was averaging 8.7 points (seventh among rookies), 5.5 rebounds (sixth among rookies) and shooting 56 percent (third among rookies). In 150 total minutes, he has committed only 11 fouls and just three turnovers.
“He’s not making mistakes, he’s an efficient shooter and player, doesn’t turn the ball over,” D’Antoni said. "When you have guys who are going to score, Amare [Stoudemire] and those guys, you need someone who’s efficient.
But how will he handle one of the top five two-guard scorers in the NBA? Fields has his hands full tonight, even if Ellis isn’t at 100%.
The Warriors hit the Big Apple coming off their first road win in Toronto. But, tonight presents another challenge of whether they can win within continental United States. Slightly facetious, perhaps the Warriors win in Canada was much like the San Francisco 49ers' second victory recently over the Denver Broncos playing in the neutral territory of England.
But as much as the Warriors try to down play the significance of tonight's game, a win over the New York Knicks could be a huge emotional hump for the Warriors, more specifically, David Lee, to get over. With rumors swirling that Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni felt that his personnel, such as Lee, was not "athletic" to his liking, Lee is trying to downplay the significance of this game, but you can tell that he wants this win badly:
"There's no two ways about it: I'm looking forward to playing in New York and getting a victory," Lee said. "It's going to mean a lot to me to go in there and get a win. I want my team to come out ahead over their team. That means a lot to me.
"Even when they come to play in Golden State, I'm going for the W. I don't care what kind of game I have, as long as I help our team win."
And while many Warrior fans were split on whether paying David Lee $80 million over six years was a mistake, judging by the $20 million difference between him and his current Knicks replacement Amar'e Stoudemire and the disparity in win-loss records, it seems for now that the Warriors and fans are getting their money's worth.
The Warriors catch the New York Knicks on the second game of a back-to-back, which you can bet they still have the memory of the 27 point blowout to the Milwaukee Bucks fresh in their brains. You wonder if Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf, former Warriors involved in the Lee sign and trade, have similar feelings as Lee on whether they want to punish their former team. Randolph has hardly lived up to the excitement that Knicks fans and media have had over his skill-set and even general manager Donnie Walsh has tempered his attitude recently by suggesting that in spite of Randolph's potential, they're just waiting right now.
Landry Fields, former Stanford Cardinal's standout, has been starting at shooting guard, getting consistent minutes and contributing productively to Mike D'Antoni's liking:
"He's not making mistakes, he's an efficient shooter and player, doesn't turn the ball over," D'Antoni said. "When you have guys who are going to score, Amare [Stoudemire] and those guys, you need someone who's efficient.
"If [Fields] does something, it's positive. There's not a lot detracting from what he does. He's a heady basketball player that'd be good anywhere if you're looking for chemistry things, what glues which five guys together."
Warriors have been known in the past to allow shooters to get hot (see aging and slumping Rip Hamilton from Sunday's game) and Fields is definitely a player the Warriors should watch out for.
On the injury front, Monta Ellis had an awkward fall against the Toronto Raptors, scaring the franchise and fans as he lay motionless for minutes, struggling to walk under his own strength. But X-rays showed no structural damage and Ellis is listed as day-to-day and may return tonight if he's feeling up for it:
"We got good news," general manager Larry Riley said. "(Tests) didn't show anything to be concerned about. So now it's how well can he manage the stiffness and soreness that is going to accompany something like this. "... His spirits were good. He's enthusiastic."
Perhaps the Warriors injury curse is slowly being lifted, but it's too bad that Ellis may be out just as Curry's ankle is coming to full strength.
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