|David Lee, PF 28 MIN | 12-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | +2Wow. Lee put an a show on the offensive end on Monday night with one of his most efficient performances of the season. His points can sneak up on you, in large part to their lack of flash and him competing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for the highlight reels. But, they all count the same and Lee was a beast inside. Only missing two shots on the night, Lee’s 25 points were second only to Curry, and his nine rebounds were second only to Draymond Green (who played 10 more minutes). Lee lost Kevin Love on the defensive end at times, but guarding someone as skilled as Love can’t be put on one guy. Lee struggled, but even Mark Jackson reiterated that it can’t be a one man show when guarding Love. He noted missed assignments, especially early in the game and while the Warriors gave up 120, they were without their two best defensive players and on the second leg of a back-to-back. This is not a no excuse reactions post.|
|Harrison Barnes, SF 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +8Barnes has found some rhythm in the month of April, which is really all the Warriors can ask for from the second-year forward for the remainder of this season. With Bogut out, Mark Jackson’s hand will be forced into some smaller lineups no matter who they face in the first round. Barnes’ importance (and minutes) will rise, and if he somehow resembles the version of himself that graced the court last postseason, the Warriors will receive a huge boost. He doesn’t necessarily have to score (although that would surely be welcome), but his seven rebounds and five assists against Minnesota are a perfect example of how he can help this team even with his offensive troubles. Barnes struggled to stay in front of Corey Brewer, who went off 22 points on 10/13 shooting, which shows another area that Barnes can indeed improve upon and possibly help this team come playoffs. He’ll never be a stout defender, but as long as he’s not a liability on either end of the floor he can indeed contribute. This is quite a fall from proclaiming him the future star small forward of the Warriors for years to come, but it’s what the team has to work with for this season at least.|
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +2The Warriors opted to use their smaller lineups against the Timberwolves, which negated O’Neal to a mere 21 minutes. This trend will most likely continue in the playoffs, but that doesn’t lessen O’Neal’s importance. As the lone dependable center on the team, O’Neal will now be tasked to matchup with either DeAndre Jordan or Kendrick Perkins/Steven Adams in the coming days. He’ll be asked to crash the glass against hyper jumpers and brute forces, which is probably too much for the 18-year veteran to handle, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help in that department for a limited amount of time. The offense bogs down when O’Neal is fed in the post, often leading to one-and-done possessions if his shots aren’t dropping. I don’t see Jackson making this a constant in the playoffs, which leads O’Neal to become a screen setter for his guards. He’s capable, but for how long is the question.|
|Stephen Curry, PG 42 MIN | 10-21 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 15 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 32 PTS | +10Ho-hum. Curry now has 526 threes in his last two seasons. Did I mention he’s shooting 47% this season from the field and 42% from deep? Ho-hum. Curry was deemed a small guard with no real position coming out of college. Now, in his fifth season, he’s cemented himself as one of the Top-3 guards in the league and Top-10 players in all of basketball. His assist totals are up, and while the turnovers continue to be a concern, it’s the risk you’re willing to take with such a gifted passer and risk-taker when it comes to making plays. You let Curry do what he wants, and a lot of the time this is the best play for the Warriors. We’re looking at either a Curry vs. CP3 or Curry vs. Westbrook matchup in the first round, which will entertain not only the basketball heads but casual fans alike. Curry plays an exciting style of basketball, best shown through transition points and Curry-esque runs only he can put on. All eyes will be watching, but Curry enjoys the spotlight. Whether his shorthanded team can handle the opposition is another topic entirely.|
|Klay Thompson, SG 36 MIN | 7-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +13Thompson’s growth this season can’t be overstated. He’s gone from three-point specialist to an elite perimeter defender and all-around offensive talent in just three seasons. I keep referring back to his Indiana game-winner as the turning point for Thompson, who has now turned into a very dependable option come crunch time. The term “Klutch” is now in full-swing, which is quite the turnaround from being labeled a one-dimensional player coming out of college. In April, he’s averaging 50% from the field and 46% from deep. The “Thompson or Barnes” debate is no more, and the best shooting backcourt in the NBA must now be put in the discussion for best one-two punch in the league. Thompson held Kevin Martin in check on Monday night, who is a famed Warriors killer. The Minnesota starters scored 105 of 120 points, with Kevin Love doing most of the work inside.|
Quote of the game:
It means a lot. It’s a number that most teams strive for early in the season. For an organization that hasn’t been there in 21 years, it’s definitely a big accomplishment. Obviously, we have our sights set on bigger things next week, but this is a huge accomplishment. Obviously, it’s coach’s first 50-win season, a lot of players in this locker room’s first 50-win season. We have to be proud of that and set ourselves up for success in the playoffs.” — Stephen Curry
Looking ahead: The Warriors have one game remaining in the regular season, a matchup with the deflating Denver Nuggets on Thursday in the Mile-High City. The Warriors have secured the 6th seed in the Western Conferences, which assures them either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. The first game of either series would be Saturday or Sunday.
Your small lineup (Curry-Thompson-Barnes-Green-Lee) shot chart of the night:
Your Andrew Bogut update of the night: Bogut was diagnosed with a fractured rib this morning and is out indefinitely. While Mark Jackson told the media before the game that this doesn’t mean Bogut is out for the remainder of the season, the Aussie’s tone just minutes later said otherwise. Bogut said he injured his rib in the Denver game last Thursday and was taking painkillers for the injury before Sunday’s game in Portland.
If the injured rib was to be played with, the risk of a punctured lung increases. Bogut has thus been advised to sit out and stated before the game that he’s having trouble with vibrations (sneezing, coughing) and can barely move his arm. A brutal loss for the Warriors elite defense and any potential advancement in the playoffs.
While the Warriors are in no way doomed, Bogut was arguably the second most important player on the team this season. He anchored the defense inside, often cleaning up the mess that others make. His shot-blocking ability and mere presence altered numerous shots and the way offense’s attacked the Warriors.
On the offensive side, Bogut was the best screen-setter on the team. He got caught for many illegal screens as well, but there was no doubt that if i was his body in between a teammate and the defender, there would be plenty of room to operate. Bogut’s post game was improving and his work on the offensive glass will be missed as well.
A tough injury to swallow, especially being on the eve of the Warriors second consecutive playoff birth and first 50-win season since 1993-94. The Warriors will either play Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers or Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, MVP Kevin Durant and the Thunder in the second round. Pick your poison.
Tyson Chandler is correct:
Graphic of the night:
Different player last 2 months pic.twitter.com/TLtqKNKvjD
— DeVontae James (@GSWarrior9) April 15, 2014
Tweets of the night:
Harrison Barnes’ moves are about as smooth as Seal’s face.
— Scott Mizuno (@ScottMizuno) April 15, 2014
Oracle’s wi-fi has shown Bogut-like durability over the last two home games
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) April 15, 2014
The wild wild west!
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 15, 2014