Box ScoreGameFlow

The Warriors played well, there’s no denying that. Despite shooting under 40% and being outshot at the line, they did just enough to fend off the Lakers’ championship squad. They crashed the boards with a vengeance (50-47), an absolute necessity against those behemoths they call Bynum and Gasol. Everyone was sharing the ball and, more importantly, there was a ton of activity off of it.

Unfortunately, a part of me feels the Lakers had this if they really wanted it. I’m not saying the Warriors didn’t earn it, but with it being a close contest throughout, Jackson was content to rest his starters for long stretches. Gasol and Artest didn’t even break the 30-minute mark while Kobe logged only 32. It was a great win by all means, and the Lakers reserves are hardly slouches themselves, but it’s tough to gauge with the starters being held back a bit.

Pessimism aside, this win marks the end of 12-game win streak the Lakers had against the Warriors. It now makes three straight wins over quality playoff teams, a fantastic sign that the Warriors can really keep up. Like coach Keith Smart mentioned, it’s the progress and identity they’re trying to establish during this waning part of the season. The Warriors know they can put the ball in the hoop, but getting stops is a problem that has long plagued this franchise. If this defense, holding the last three opponents under 100, is the turning of a new leaf, we’re all for it.

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Three Stars
1st Star: David Lee
Lee was unquestionably the top player of the night with the way he kept the Warriors afloat during the 1st and made incredible plays throughout while still having to mix it up with the best frontcourt in the league. He’s got a playoff mentality and I suspect it’s slowly catching on. 22 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and a monster block on Kobe (shown above). I hope a tooth never finds a way into his elbow ever again.
2nd Star: Monta Ellis
He took a lot of heat-check threes, but that’s something we have to live with here in the bay. When he wasn’t taking threes? Simply unstoppable. The way Monta controls so many angles offensively is really a stunning, almost underrated aspect of his game. We know he’s fast and can finish around the rim, but he’s so much more than that. Everything from the path he takes to the basket, to the balance of his body, and the intricate angles of the ball that avoids futile swats are all carefully calculated like an offensive mastermind. I kid, the dude makes this up on the fly and he’s absolutely one of the best in the game. His chemistry with Lee is growing which should make him realize he can trust all his teammates and not just Steph and David. 26 points and six assists for the shameless shooter. Seriously, stop taking threes.
3rd Star: Stephen Curry
Only 68 points for these three tonight with Curry putting in 20, but it was enough to overcome the slumping Lakers. His shot was off, much like it was against the Grizzlies on the last back-to-back, but he stuck with it to score nine in the final quarter. He should’ve destroyed Fisher, but the win is having me feel a bit generous. Six rebounds and five assists to go with the 20 for the superstar sophomore.

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Dorell Wright: He finally broke Jason Richardson’s franchise record of threes in a season by hitting one, and adding one more for good measure. Well deserved for a player who managed to keep up his efficiency despite nearly doubling his previous high for minutes in a season. He was cold for the third straight game, but maybe that’s the key to winning?
Lou Amundson: Still doing work. Did you guys see him wrestle that ball away from Gasol? I dub thee Lou, Taker of Candy from Babies.
Kobe Bean Bryant: Kobe in Kobe Mode has worse shot selection than Monta in Monta Mode. You win, Kobe. You win.
Bynum & Gasol: Combined they went 12-16 from the floor with 31 points and 24 rebounds. I’m glad Kobe Mode exists. You win again.
Lamar Odom: I thought he’d be a huge matchup problem like Marion was, but Amundson and the rest of the Warriors played him well. Odom is easily frustrated, so they simply crowded and bothered him into oblivion.
The More You Know: The Warriors are now 18-4 when holding their opponents under 100. Defense truly turns into offense and especially with the way the Warriors operate. The Warriors, at least lately, have been trying to stuff the paint more and getting their opponents to become a jump-shooting team which leads to long rebounds and fast breaks for Steph and Monta. Additionally, their transition game is sparked by Udoh blocking shots and Lee manning the outlet passes. All of this combined with their ability to force turnovers and you have a squad that truly epitomizes this defense-to-offense philosophy.

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Three days until the home stretch which kicks off with a home game against Sacramento on Sunday in the first of three games in four nights. Rest is welcomed at this point, but a three-day layoff may put a bit of rust on the wheels. A solid day of rest followed by some intense practices should be enough to keep the gears turning for the Warriors. Let’s hope they can keep up the intensity against their friendly rivals from up north. 114-100 W’s!

4 Responses

  1. Warner

    I’m a Knicks fan who loves to watch David Lee whenever I can. He truly earned my respect while playing for those awful teams in NY and ALWAYS working his butt off. ALWAYS. It really got under my skin with all of the grief the guy received from Warriors fans from the moment he arrived in the bay area. I kept trying to tell people to be patient for he will adjust his game and become a 20-10-4 guy for this team for years to come. I’ll agree it took much longer than anticipated and at times he looked very lost and uninterested but it seems he’s finally coming into his own. This team has some great building blocks for the future and Lee should be a cornerstone of this franchise for years to come. Warriors fans!! Appreciate the man!!

    • Pat

      I didn’t get to see Lee much before he came over, but I’ve come to realize he’s a much more physical player than I thought and not just on the glass. He fights hard for position and he’s not afraid to make and take hard fouls. Admittedly, he has some foolish frustration fouls, but this physicality needs to catch fire with the rest of the team.

      If they can develop this mentality, and reputation, they’ll earn a lot more respect from the rest of the league, the referees included. Hopefully this will help erase their horrendous FT differential.

  2. Daniel

    So, while these past 3 games do *not* mean that David Lee is all of a sudden worth his contract, I think they should serve as a notice to his detractors — those of the “he accumulates stats when it doesn’t matter/he doesn’t get his numbers against top flight competition/he doesn’t get rebounds in traffic” crowd — that whatever you think of Lee’s game and his relative worth to the Warriors now and in the future, the man is a good basketball player, plain and simple, and while he may not be the best fit, he does help the club more than he hurts the club.

    Putting up those kinds of numbers vs. the Mavs, Trailblazers, and then the Lakers (on a back-to-back, no less) should quiet that chatter down, I hope…and something else I’m noticing about him is…he seems comfortable with where he’s taking his shots, and is sharing with his teammates.

    Has it come much later than we’d hoped? Yes…but keep in mind this is a brand-new team, not to mention he missed 8 games early on. If folks have readily admitted the Heat are a work in progress all season, I’m not sure why Lee was supposed to hit the ground running with 20-10’s every night.

    • Pat

      Past all the numbers, the thing that impresses me the most is that he actually cares. It may sound silly, but NBA players are paid to show up and play. No one says they have to care and I imagine there a quite a few that are here simply because of the money. Who do you think would still play if they had WNBA salaries? Kobe, for sure. I’m not saying Lee has that same drive, but he fits the mold of a team-first, do-whatever-it-takes kind of guy. These kinds of qualities should not be understated because I think too many people assume $10 million means you give 10 million percent all day, every day.

      At the absolute, nitpicking worst, he’s a better value than Andris. So, you’re right. Haters need to stop hating.