Box ScoreGameFlow

Initially, I began writing a long-winded piece about how the Warriors were at their best when distributing the ball evenly. Instead, I’ll leave the analysis at that and save deeper, muddier thoughts for a later time. Tonight, the Warriors started offense was clicking from the start, warding off the dreaded timeout from Keith Smart.

Unfortunately, the Warriors couldn’t slow the Rockets, allowing several easy scores in transition. It was an entertaining first half with the tied at 57 apiece seeming sure to be competitive at the break. However, a minute later, Houston is up nine after three three-point possessions. Golden State is used to playing from behind, yet they haven’t figured out that they need to score and stop the opponents from scoring to catch up.

The Rockets steadily increased their lead from there and handed the Warriors another decisive loss. At this point, their record isn’t a huge deal since the Warriors will likely end in either the 12th or 13th seed in the west. Instead they should be focusing on progress, which I saw to a certain extent in the first half. They repeated had good looks on offense which can from player movement and strong picks. Houston just had too much momentum coming  in winning their previous four contests and likely getting a boost from having Scola back in rhythm. A big night from Dorell was negated by an equally spectacular performance by Kevin Martin. I’m slowly becoming desensitized to these losses. Hopefully the players aren’t feeling the same way.

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Three Stars
1st Star: Dorell Wright
Dorell’s shot selection was really commendable tonight. He used his infamous pump-fake to draw his defender in and blow by them for an easier look. He had a hard time keeping up with Kevin Martin, but most players do. He had a career-high 34 points to go along with five rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block. Only one turnover in 42 minutes, which is important if he expects to play an even larger role in the offense next season.
2nd Star: David Lee
I find it hard not to put Lee up here every night because he brings it every single night. He might not be worth his contract, but he’s doing everything he can to make the ownership not look foolish. Again, one rebound shy of a double-double, but he had his hands full with Scola all night. 19 points on 19 shots isn’t ideal, but I don’t mind him getting more looks.
3rd Star: Stephen Curry
With the mediocre guard play of late, it’s tough to decide between the two, but I ultimately went with Steph who seemed to care a little bit more on defense, and showed a tad more restraint with his shot selection. Admittedly, he took a few jumpers early in the clock, but it’s important for a shooter to establish his rhythm. I’ll stop getting on Monta’s case when he stops gambling defensively.

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Sharing the load: Without a true superstar to anchor either end, something Monta has never been, the Warriors should truly take the team concept to another level. With four players perfectly capable of dropping 20 a night without blinking, every player should be looking to stay aggressive. All the Warriors are guilty of taking poor shots, but it’s Monta’s responsibility to dial back his usage and be more aggressive in finding his teammates. With an equal workload on offense, there should be no excuses on defense. I’m not sure if this will fix Monta’s tendency to space out, but at least he’ll be held more accountable.
Monta as a leader: I realize I harp on Monta a lot, but it’s only because he is seen as the unquestioned leader of this franchise. There’s no problem with this other than his inability, or refusal, to evolve his game and elevate his teammates. Sure, it’s an overused line, but only because it’s necessary. Monta cannot cruise through a season taking tough shots, playing mediocre defense, and dropping his usual 25 a game. He’s forcing his teammates to adapt to his game, which is not all efficient to begin with. I’d like to see his assists and free throws rise while his steals drop. It may seem like an odd suggestion, but steals and blocks have long been proven to be poor metrics of defensive aptitude. If that wasn’t the case then the Warriors, Wizards, and Grizzlies would be the top 3 defensive teams.
Dorell doin’ work: In the last two years, the Warriors drafted a future all-star point guard in Curry, and signed a solid power forward in Lee. Lost in that mix is the completely affordable Dorell Wright. His numbers last year essentially projected these numbers given the increase in minutes, but he has managed to maintain his efficiency despite such heavy play. He’ll be an important piece moving forward and I hope the new owners realize this.
Free throw woes: During Nellie’s interview the other night, he attributed Biedrins’ regression to his poor free throw shooting. While it’s understandable, he needs to realize that his tentativeness is only hurting the team more. On the other hand, Amundson, who suffers from the same charity stripe condition, looked confident, fearless even. Of course he went 1-5 from the line, but he still managed nine points in 16 minutes.
Biedrins dedicated?: Nellie also mentioned that when he approached Biedrins in the summer to take lessons from the underhand legend, Rick Barry, Andris declined and left the country for other matters. I understand the stigma behind shooting free throws granny style, but if it works, who cares? Chuck, are you listening?
Chuck Hayes: Known for his defense and sweet stroke at the line, Hayes showed off his passing skills by notching his first triple-double of his career with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. He was a pest on both ends all night long, and the main reason the Warriors never stood a chance in the second half. None of his passes were flashy, but he never missed his mark. The Warriors could learn not only from the Rockets’ ball movement, but their player movement as well.
Courtney Lee: We all knew about Martin, but I didn’t expect this from Courtney Lee who was 10-16 and 5-8 behind the arc for 25 points. The Warriors were honed in on Scola and Martin, which freed up Lee for several open looks in his sweet corner spot.
Jordan Hill: Sorry Knickerbockers.
The More You Know: Since hitting a franchise record, 21 threes against Orlando, the Warriors have not hit double digits since, making just under seven a game over the last seven games. The Warriors can get a little three happy at times, but it is still a vital part of their offense. They went 7-15 tonight, but I’d like to see them take and make those open looks.

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Toronto is coming to town on Friday, and the Warriors need to win here if they want to avoid matching their season-high seven-game losing streak. Like I mentioned before, progress is more important than wins and losses, but there’s no excuse to lose this one. With a day of rest after heading back home, Golden State should be fresh and eager to remind the Raptors they’re still lower on the food chain. Were bad puns made for sports, or were the sports made for bad puns? 119-108, I think.

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