Last night, the Golden State Warriors faced an early deficit against the Los Angeles Lakers and battled back to make it a seven-point game by halftime. They managed to get closer in the third quarter but then the Lakers turned up the defensive intensity thanks in large part to Metta World Peace and stretched their lead to double digits and looked as though they had the game won for all intents and purposes.
The Dubs then battled back in the fourth quarter and even managed to take the lead with less than two minutes left in the game on the strength of a strong David Lee post up.
The Warriors got themselves in trouble on the offensive end when they tried to essentially close out the game but consistently trying to isolate Lakers defenders, who routinely managed to get stops. In the process, they force fed Klay Thompson who fired away as if he were Allen Iverson while Brandon Rush was completely ignored despite being the main reason they got back into the game thanks to his combination of drives and jumpers.
And yet, with the game on the line, the Dubs had a two-point lead. And then, they were snake bitten by…the Black Mamba.
Kobe Bryant caught the ball on the left wing and basically laughed at the Warriors attempt to double-team him when he took a hard dribble away from it to his left and fired away a tough contested jumper to tie the game. So the Lakers managed to get a stop on the Warriors next possession and the exact same scenario presented itself. So what happens?
Isolated at the wing, double-team coming, Kobe takes a hard dribble to his left, fires away a seemingly tougher shot than the possession prior and yet the end result is the same: mesh.
And just like that, the Purple and Gold were victorious at Oracle Arena.
With the Lakers game now a thing of the past, Mark Jackson must now prepare to take on the New Orleans Hornets tonight at home. The last time these teams met, Golden State was victorious by nine points on the road.
The Hornets like to seal off the paint to prevent drives as well as post up opportunities and their defense was successful on this front in the March 21st encounter, holding the Warriors to 24 points in the paint. But their willingness to clog the lanes at all costs resulted in them giving the Dubs some awfully good looks from 3-point range, which essentially was the story of the game.
Indeed, the Golden State Warriors converted 14-of-29 shots from deep and left their opponents flabbergasted by the hot shooting.
It’s worth noting though, that one would typically expect a team to blow out their opponent with such a shooting display and that was not the case against New Orleans. The Hornets managed to stay in the contest by winning the rebounding battle by 14 and shooting 49.4 percent from the field. They were quite successful shooting the ball because they were able to manage a multitude of easy shots as evidenced by their 60 points in the paint scored that night.
The Warriors are undersized and like to play even smaller at times to have some speed on the court but that often results in giving up second chance opportunities and getting beat up on the interior.
Ultimately, this contest will come down to which team exploits the opposition’s weakness best: if the Warriors convert a decent percentage of their outside shots, they will probably come out victorious. However, if the Hornets are able to consistently get points in the paint and also take away possessions from the Dubs with their offensive rebounding, they will have a shot to steal one on the road.
Warriors note: He won’t be getting any recognition on the All-Defensive teams, but Dominic McGuire’s defense this season has been nothing short of impressive. The sample size is quite small in comparison to other defensive stoppers, but how many players in the league could successfully defend the likes Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol? The list looks as such: Shawn Marion, Gerald Wallace and LeBron James. That’s it. McGuire himself cannot yet make the list, because as I said, he’s only had to do it for a handful of possessions against these players, but it’s still worth acknowledging that we’ve noticed him right?
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