Box ScoreGameFlow

After Coach Smart called yet another timeout within the first 3 minutes, I started to wonder, even question, what exactly he was trying to accomplish. I imagine he’s trying to either fire up the boys or re-emphasize their defensive strategy. Regardless of his intention,  it’s beginning to  feel more of a tired act, like a father yelling from the stands after his high school son dribbles the ball off his foot.

Sure this tactic may work for some coaches, but for Smart, who has yet to prove himself, he should learn to trust. Much like Phil allows the Lakers to work through tough stretches, I believe this team could benefit from a similar coaching style. Yes, they’re young and they need direction, but as any good parent knows, reprimanding quickly becomes background noise. With the playoffs more of a mirage now, the Smart needs to be looking towards the future, even though he may not be a part of it.

To dig deeper into the issue of trust, if Smart learns to trust his players, I suspect the players will reciprocate. It’s little things that can eat away at players over time to eventually take a huge chunk out of them. I see it happening with Ellis, which seems to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the players. I’m not saying Keith Smart is to blame, but a timeout isn’t always going to snap them out of their funks. Start trusting Steph to not pick up a fifth foul. Start trusting Udoh to box out and rebound. I’m not saying he shouldn’t help, but he should be more of a guide than a dictator. Let these youngsters make their mistakes, and trust them to pick themselves back up. It may not always work, but the progress lies in the process, not the result.

As for the game, if you watched it, you probably turned it off halfway through the third. It’s remarkable how consistently inconsistent they’ve become. Go down by double digits early, close the gap by halftime, and then either let the game get out of hand or fail to execute down the stretch. The Warriors even had a fighting chance after Duncan went down in the 1st quarter with a sprained ankle. He didn’t return and yet the Warriors never came closer than six. Stellar performances by Manu and Parker was more than enough to push their winning streak against the Warriors in San Antonio to 26, now a 14-year tradition.

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Three Stars
1st Star: Ekpe Udoh
Udoh earns the top spot here by default more than anything. He took a team-high 14 shots which really speaks to his aggressiveness tonight. While it was nice to see his confidence in his post game, it really took the rhythm out of Monta and Steph. Along with Wright, these are the guys that can really hot if they can find their rhythm. I’d like to see Udoh pick his spots more, or allow his guards to set him up for some easy baskets. 15 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks in a career-high 38 minutes. If he can work on those hands, he’ll collect a few more rebounds and convert a few more baskets.
2nd Star: David Lee
One rebound short of another double-double, Lee was working hard all night. He constantly has to outwork his man because he’s rarely bigger or stronger. Of course effort doesn’t equate to efficiency, but there’s not much else you can ask for. He needs more touches, only eight shots tonight, and I’d like to see him work the top of the key more because his passing is really underrated.
3rd Star: Acie Law
Smart stuck with him for long periods in the 2nd half which allowed pile in 14 points. He was forcing his way to the basket and somehow only found two free throws. He finished well around the rim, which he seems to be doing consistently as of late. His only blemish was five turnovers, which was uncharacteristic of him. It spoke more of the Spurs pestering defense than his ability to take care of the ball.

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3-PT shooting: In a match-up of the top two three-point shooting teams, the game wasn’t quite what you’d expect. Both teams shot under 35% with noted sharpshooter, Matt Bonner, going 1-7 in the first half.
Uphill battle: With a small front court, and an even smaller backcourt, it’s painfully obvious that the Warriors are fighting an uphill battle. They have to work harder on both ends, and every hit they take is a little more bruising for them. The Warriors need to get back to their transition game and use their speed advantage, however small, to get some easier buckets.
Defense & rebounding: The Warriors actually did well on the glass tonight, limiting second chance points. Especially with more than a third of the Spurs’ shots coming from threes, the players had to work extra hard to track down those long rebounds. In spite of this, the Spurs just got way too many open looks. Plus, Manu is just too good. Sneaky good, too.
The More You Know: No game-related fact tonight. Instead I have a special treat, sort of, in the form of Don Nelson’s All-Nellie team. Here it is:
PG – Steve Nash
SG – Sidney Moncrief
SF – Marques Johnson
PF – Dirk Nowitzki
C – Bob Lanier (on one leg)

He also noted that Steve Nash was the best player he ever coached while admitting he couldn’t/still can’t play defense. Go figure.

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The Warriors face the Rockets on Wednesday in the final part of their Texas road trip. Monta has been spectacular against Houston this year, so hopefully that will get him going. The Rockets are on a four-game win streak, making it no easy feat to close out the road trip with a win. The Warriors are going to have to contain the ultra-efficient shooting guard. Kevin Martin draws contact with the best of them and with the height difference, Monta’s going to need all the help he can get. Move your feet fellas.

3 Responses

  1. EvanZ

    “The Warriors are going to have to contain the ultra-efficient shooting guard. Kevin Martin draws contact with the best of them and at 6’7″ Monta’s going to need all the help he can get. Move your feet fellas.”

    This is one time I wish a misplaced modifier (“at 6’7″ Monta’s going…”) was in the right place.

    • Patrick Lo

      You are absolutely right, sir. Writing would be a lot easier if I was less stupid. Thanks for the heads up.