Reactions: Warriors 120, Timberwolves 121
|David Lee, PF 34 MIN | 10-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | -3This was the first home game all season where Lee didn’t speak to the media after the game, and that should speak volumes. Even though Lee had another impressive night offensively, he was abused by the Wolves frontcourt — as was the entire team — on Friday night. While Kevin Love is a power forward, he’s somewhat a stretch-4 in the sense that he can play outside and can hit the three (39% on the season). Nikola Pekovic is quite the opposite, tearing up the the paint and slowly bodying any opposing player into submission on nearly every possession. The Wolves starting frontcourt combined to shoot 18/36 for 48 points, 28 rebounds, nine assists and three turnovers. The defensive lapses aren’t all on Lee, and while he was the whipping boy for poor defense last season, since the Warriors returned from their long road trip they’re allowing 109.5 PPG, a staggering amount for a team still ranked fifth in the NBA in defensive efficiency (99.7). This turnaround will take a team effort, and while Lee was seen slow to rotate and being put to work by the newly crowned All-Star starter, the rest of the team shares just as much blame.|
|Andre Iguodala, SF 33 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | 0Lost in the complete mess that was the team’s defensive effort, Andre actually had himself a good night. He wasn’t matched up with Paul George or Kevin Durant, who embarrassed Iguodala in recent games with huge outings. While Corey Brewer was his positional opposite, Curry was hiding on Brewer for a lot of the game. Andre is often seen roaming the floor defensively and is stuck on the opposition’s most gifted scorer. He bares a heavy burden on the defensive end, but pundits and fans alike have criticized Andre for not looking himself yet this season, especially since his return from injury. He still doesn’t look 100%, and he may not be the rest of the season the way the Warriors use him on both ends of the floor. Friday night however, Andre showed his offensive skill-set with three shots from outside (including one three). His free throws continue to be a concern, and while he made two clutch free throws to put the Warriors up 120-119 with 0:27 seconds left, these came after he failed to convert what would’ve been an amazing four-point play with 1:16 left in the game. He’s sitting at 60% for the season, a number staggeringly low but is a product of his limited attempts. Regardless, that clip will need to be improved.|
|Andrew Bogut, C 32 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 7 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -8While Jackson said postgame that not one player on his team is doing their job defensively, I have to strongly disagree. Bogut has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Warriors, and up until the Pelicans game (1/18) the hounds were out for Jackson’s head considering Jackson’s usage (or lack thereof) for his starting center. I will say this, it’s not often you seen an opposing center rack up 22 points and 14 rebounds, which is just what Pekovic amounted to on Friday night. Yet, Bogut had a career-high seven blocks. SEVEN. No Warriors player has done that since…Andris Biedrins in 2010. The theme has been team effort on the defensive end, and while it’s indeed just that, Bogut deserves very little of that blame.|
|Stephen Curry, PG 37 MIN | 12-21 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 15 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 33 PTS | -3Curry cemented his All-Star starting nod with an impressive performance, which included his sixth 30+ points, 10+ assist game of the season. The turnovers are still the issue, and they seem to come at the most inopportune times. Curry had three turnovers in the 4Q, with 2:47 left in the game with the Warriors down five. Curry’s 33 points came after he ripped off 15 points in the 4Q, but it was the defense that failed to take advantage of Curry’s hot start. Curry reiterated postgame that it’s not the offense that has been the problem during this rough stretch, they simply can’t expect to outscore opponents every night and expect to win. He also admitted the team at times gets down on themselves when they begin games leaking like a sieve on the defensive end. Things don’t get easier on Sunday as the Portland Trailblazers (32-11) and Damian Lillard come into town.|
|Klay Thompson, SG 37 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | -10Lost in Curry’s greatness and the poor defensive efforts was another efficient night from Thompson. His lack of rebounding is disconcerting: six rebounds in his last six games. Besides the Wolves imposing frontcourt is a barrage of pesky guards that aren’t offensively potent but are incredibly pesky. Kevin Martin and JJ Barea are — judging off my Twitter timeline — two of the most hated players in the league based off their unusual offensive forms and niftiness. The entire team was exposed defensively, some (Bogut) more than others (Lee), but it was a tough night for each position.|
Quote of the game:
Former great coach Pat Riley told a team I played on: ‘You have to have the disease of greed and you have to want more’. You can’t be satisfied. At times we are satisfied or at times we think we are good enough to go through the motions and win ballgames. We do not have Kevin Durant or LeBron James. The way we win games is collectively, getting it done defensively, and having special nights by individuals. At times we are not getting after it and not staying to to our identity and that is a defensive minded team. — Mark Jackson
Looking ahead: The Warriors have three games left on the current homestand and welcome the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday. They then welcome the Washington Wizards on Tuesday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (TNT) before finishing their week with the Utah Jazz on Friday (ESPN).
Your Splash Brothers’ shot chart:
Your Kevin Love/Nikola Pekovic shot chart:
My take on the last play: You can’t hate on the last shot. Yes, it was Harrison Barnes, and his struggles this season have been well chronicled, but he’s still shooting 42 percent from the field this season. The play as reiterated by Jackson and Curry was a high pick-and-roll between Curry and Lee. Once Curry was doubled off the P&R he found a wide open Barnes for the potential game winner. You can argue that Barnes was struggling mightily (1/6) before that final shot and the insertion of Draymond Green or even Jordan Crawford would’ve been better, but that’s hindsight bias.
You can fault Jackson for a lot of things, but his point guard made the appropriate play and made a great pass to an open 42 percent shooter (albeit 36 percent since 12/1). If Barnes makes it he’s forgiven of all recent transgressions and is given a huge confidence boost heading into the future. He missed, and now we question everything. As a Draymond Green and Steezus supporter, would I have loved to seen if either of those players could’ve drained that same exact shot? Absolutely. But given the lineup that was out on the floor that was a great look.
One other note: why not keep Bogut out on the floor and try for a quicker shot to give the team a possible tip-in or putback opportunity? Curry (or even Thompson) is more than capable of shooting off a quick jumper, and given the appropriate bounds Lee or Bogut would work to put in the miss. Jackson has never favored that scenario and will instead go for maximum offense (the lineup of Curry/Thompson/Iguodala/Green/Bogut has only shared the floor for 12 minutes this season, for example), but that is definitely another option.
Tweets of the night:
The Black Falcon has been taxiing on the runway all season.
— Scott Mizuno (@ScottMizuno) January 25, 2014
This officiating crew loves calling charges. I feel like we’re watching a Duke game.
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) January 25, 2014
@JoshMartinNBA please unfollow
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) January 25, 2014