By: Billy Hoyle @wwnetbillyhoyle
I don’t think its any secret that there are certain teams in the NBA that are a class above the rest. Generally speaking, the reigning champs will be one of those teams. These teams are expected to beat the average NBA team on any given night and as was the case tonight, they do.
In years past, the Warriors would have had a better than average shot at winning games against elite teams, like the Lakers, because of the unorthodox, scramble, Donnie-Ball they played. Now that the Warriors employ a more or less “conventional” style of basketball, they are easier to game-plan for and, thus, defeat. I don’t think anyone is surprised by the outcome of this game although many of us may have hoped the Boys from the Bay would at least struggle for air as they were being choked out by their bigger, stronger and faster opponent.
This is not a team that you can have a mediocre effort against and still muddle your way to a win. The Lakers are killers. They find your weakness, in this case everything, and exploit it and exploit it and exploit it until you submit. They’re probably not satisfied with beating the warriors by only 24 and they’re definitely not satisfied with the way they let the Warriors second team fight back. They expect to beat an inferior team, like ours, at home and the Warriors didn’t do anything to change that.
Monta got his twenty and that really was the best thing that happened in the game. It wasn’t efficient and it wasn’t pretty but it was some measure of consistency in an otherwise inconsistent night. When his shot isn’t falling Monta doesn’t have another aspect of his game, defense or playmaking, to fall back on. Everything he can do on the court relies on his ability to score the ball. When he isn’t doing that, he isn’t going to be doing much else. I think it’s pretty clear that he needs Steph Curry in a much more significant way than was ever thought. Monta is clearly a Lieutenant and needs a General to be effective. Steph is his General and he is lost without him.
The guy who cant have a game like this is David Lee. Lee is a player who creates his own advantage by being the hardest worker on the court, any night and every night, no questions asked, so help you God. He has to find a way to get it done even when he is as outmatched physically as he was tonight. However, instead of being a gamer and doing whatever it takes, he opted for a different game-plan, he did nothing. He literally did NOTHING AT ALL tonight. Oh don’t misunderstand me and think he wasn’t on the court, he was technically on the court for exactly 19 minutes, but for as much as he accomplished he may as well have been a too drunk fan running on the court to get a mid-game autograph from the Best Player in the Land, Kobe Bryant. During those 19 minutes Lee managed to total 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 turnovers while missing 3 shots and 2 free throws. If that isn’t subtraction by addition then I don’t know what is. If Lee had skipped the game altogether there is a very good chance the Warriors would have lost by 15 instead of 24. The term is “net negative” and “Every Day Dave” is it. I was very excited by his first two games but if this is the type of effort we’re going to get when the odds are stacked against him then I do not want Lee on my team. We all know Lamar Odom is one of the toughest match-ups in the NBA, that’s why he landed such a classy lady in Khloe Kardashian. That is not an excuse for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHNG, so get it together Dave. If you want big time money you have to act like a big time player. That was not this and you aren’t allowed many goose eggs in a season. How many games like this do you think Amar’e Stoudemire will have? If I’m the guy who gets to pick first in the office pool, I’ll say zero. In fact he only scored in single digits twice in the regular season last year. Lee did so 4 times, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to chalk it up to having shaved his goatee off and he hadn’t adjusted to his increased aerodynamics. There’s your mulligan Dave, let’s not have a repeat performance in the future. It’s embarrassing.
The Warriors bench was the only other warm spot in the pool, aside from Montas 20 points, displaying an unreasonable amount of hustle considering the circumstance of being down 20 to start the 2nd quarter. Dan Gadzuric has continued his impression of a workable back-up center, playing strong defense and being in the right place at the right time. Sure, he’s overpaid but he’s really here as an expiring contract, so we are getting more than was bargained for.
The same can’t be said for his bunk-mate on the ship out of Milwaukee, Charlie bell. Tonight was the most run Charlie has had in his tenure at Golden State totaling 21 minutes on the court. He managed 7 points 3 assists and a rebound shooting 30% from both the field and 3 point land. His defense wasn’t particularly tough, however he did seem to be trying his best and more often than not, that’s the type of game you’re going to have against the reigning 2-time NBA champs.
Rodney Carney continued to impress with a solid 8 point and 8 rebound night in limited minutes but his shot selection is lacking. He seems to be on the verge of becoming a player who can give you a solid 20, I’m just waiting for it to actually happen.
Jeremy Lin was a surprise substitution for Reggie Williams and he definitely brought a spark to the game. The Warriors had been stagnant and apathetic until Lin took the court. He may someday make himself into a solid back-up point guard but he’s far from it at this point, however its not unreasonable to say he actually belongs in the NBA.
It really was an expected loss, especially with Curry in rehab for his badly and repeatedly sprained ankle. I can take defeats by elite teams like the Lakers, it’s the effort that I have a real problem with. This had better be an aberration or else its going to be a very long season.