It’s games like these that can make the Warriors insufferable for the Bay Area faithful. The sloppy passes, the bad fouls, and poor shot selection all epitomized their terrible decision-making. That’s nothing to say of the meager opponents who were equally befuddled without their newly anointed floor general, Deron Williams. Sure the Warriors are a dreadful road team, now 9-23 on the season, but this fact doesn’t excuse a 90-94 loss to the New Jersey Nets. Maybe it was the tired legs, or the travel from back-to-back road games, but that hardly stops them from playing smart basketball.
It was a close affair throughout, with neither team making huge runs. This loss could’ve solely been placed on the Warriors with the way they were executing, but that’s what made it so danged frustrating. The Nets had the desire with Humphries flying around for rebounds and altering shots, but their offense was stagnant without a true playmaker on the team. Admittedly, their defense was active, especially inside, but the Warriors still found ways to score when they weren’t handing the ball to the other team. This was an ugly game for both with a lot of frantic play that spurred only more chaos.
A shot clock violation by Udoh, a silly foul by Curry, and a foolish lead pass by Lee are the kind of plays that completely sucked away any momentum they might’ve had. Sure, the violation by Udoh could be deemed a “rookie mistake”, but this rule isn’t exactly news to him. It’s unfathomable to think that, as the shot clock is winding down, your player passes up an open shot to post up and then immediately try to pass out to reset. Mistakes happen, but these are mental mishaps that high school coaches would bench players for.
Even with the Warriors coming back to take the lead 90-87 with 3 minutes left, there was always that lingering sense they’d blow it again. On a night where everyone seemed out of sync, someone needed to step up because the team effort just wasn’t there.
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1st Star: David Lee
It’s painful to put anyone here, but Lee made solid contributions. Even though he couldn’t keep Humphries off the glass or stop Lopez from scoring, he still managed to put up 17 and 10 with only a single turnover. While everyone constantly bemoans about how Lee is overpaid for what he does, I would argue he’s overpaid for what the Warriors need him to do. They need an inside presence on both ends, something he’s certainly not. He rebounds well for his size, although he’s tapering off. He’s got a reliable jumper, and he passes well. With all the offensive talents in the backcourt, his contributions on that end have diminishing returns while his defensive weaknesses become a glaring issue. Fault him for what he needs to be, not what he is.
2nd Star: Acie Law
Great play from the 4th year out of Texas A&M, who was not among the boneheaded players tonight. He made sound decisions, something that should be expected from the point position, and was decisively aggressive. He started the 3rd quarter, either as a punishment to Curry(3 fouls in the waning minutes of the 1st half) or an acknowledgement of his fine play. Either way he was 4-5 on the night with 0 TOs in 18 minutes.
3rd Star: Reggie Williams
Aside from taking an awkward shot to finish the game he was hitting from deep, going 3-3 on the night. Why he didn’t play more in light of some piss-poor guard play, is beyond me. Aside from 10 points he had 0s across the board.
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Execution down the stretch: When the warriors were on their 7-2 run heading into the All-Star Break, the common theme was solid execution closing out games. Something about the Warriors always has them in it for 36-42 minutes, only to have a complete meltdown to throw the game away. This could be on the coach or the players. Whether they need better plays or better execution, their late game play must improve if they expect to contend in the west.
Brook Lopez: Despite not having his new playmate with him tonight, Brook was still an unstoppable force in and around the paint. He doesn’t have a ton of post moves, but he has a surprising quickness that caught his defenders by surprise. He hit the dagger runner(can a runner be a dagger?) to complete the Nets comeback and seal the win. 26 and 10 for Lopez who got his first back-to-back double-double on the season, putting him only 571 short of Love’s current streak.
Anthony Morrow: Sure Golden State had too many shooters, but he was probably the sweetest shooting of them all. Still firing at a 45% clip from long range, he hasn’t quite been able put it together on a consistent basis. If he can learn to move without the ball like Rip or Ray, he’ll have a long career in the NBA. 22 points and 4-6 from 3PT for the ex-Warrior.
Brandan Wright & Dan Gadzuric: Speaking of ex-Warriors, these guys made their first appearance with their new team tonight. Is it me or does Udoh remind you of Wright? Nellie saw real promise in Wright before his season-ending shoulder injury. Let’s hope Udoh fairs a bit better.
Win Streak: With this win the Nets strung together their first 3-game win streak in two years. As sad as that is, it’s sadder that the Warriors were the ones to let it happen.
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The Warriors host the Magic Friday night where they may be able to pull one out behind the perpetually raucous crowd at Oracle. With Orlando sporting one of the deeper, if not the deepest, rosters in the league, the Warriors will need an inspiring performance from the entire lineup. If they can frustrate Dwight into some early foul trouble, they’ll have a fighting chance. If they keep it close, look for how they perform in the clutch.