Thoughts on Game No. 1: Hornets 108, Warriors 103Filed under: News; Tagged as: Al Harrington, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Baron Davis, Brandan Wright, Chris Paul, Corey Maggette, DeMarcus Nelson, Don Nelson, Kelenna Azubuike, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Williams, Monta Ellis, Peja Stojakovic, Richard Hendrix, Rob Kurz, Stephen Jackson, Tyson Chandler
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — While Baron Davis and his Clippers were getting waxed from the get-go by the Lakers on Wednesday, the Warriors really could have used his expertise in the final moments at Oracle Arena.
Tied with 1:56 to go, the Warriors were outscored 7-2 the rest of the way.
Golden State missed its last five shots, had a critical possession go awry when it couldn’t complete a simple inbounds pass and watched the New Orleans Hornets take a 108-103 victory to begin the 2008-09
A year ago, the Warriors’ plan would have been simple: Put the ball in BD’s hands and get the hell out of the way. Golden State went 9-2 in games decided by three points or less last season using that M.O.
This time . . . not so much.
“We went where we got decent looks. We didn’t make them,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “Last year, Baron made all of them. That doesn’t happen all the time, either. . . . I thought we just had one of those years last year where we made all of them. I think we won six or seven games with game-winners and probably only missed one.”
The Warriors didn’t get that chance Wednesday. Down 104-103 with 14.2 seconds left, a clearly fatigued Stephen Jackson tried to inbound the ball to Corey Maggette, only to have it bounce out of bounds, allowing the Hornets to build their lead to three points. Al Harrington up-faked Chris Paul out of the way to get an open look at a 3-pointer, but it missed. And that was the end of the Warriors’ chances.
** So much for the deeper, more talented Warriors bench. Jackson played all 48 minutes — guarding Paul, then Tyson Chandler and everyone in between — Kelenna Azubuike was on for 43, and Harrington for 42. The Warriors only used two reserves for any length of time. Brandan Wright, the second-year forward who allegedly had earned a place in Nelson’s rotation, was nowhere to be found, along with Anthony Randolph, Marcus Williams and Marco Belinelli.
“I told the subs that I’m not going to be able to play these guys this many minutes on this next road trip or for long periods of time, so we’re going to use our bench more as we move on,” Nelson said. “I chose really just to play six or seven guys most of the minutes tonight. I thought we needed to do that to have a chance to win this game.
“(Jackson) missed a few assignments because I think of fatigue, and it was just one of those things I thought I’d go with him the whole way. I thought about resting him for a few minutes here and there, but I didn’t want to do that tonight. I wanted to win this game for the fans.”
** The screen-and-roll remains better named hit-and-miss, something Nelson knows must change if the Warriors are to stave off mediocrity: “We just don’t run the screen-and-roll as well as we did when Baron was here. And that was a huge weapon for us. We’re going to have to have it before too long into the season, but I didn’t have enough confidence to run very many of them tonight, and until we get a little better.”
** The DeMarcus Nelson Era got off to a rough start. With Jackson shadowing Paul, Nelson had to guard Peja Stojakovic, who straight-up abused his ridiculous height advantage to score six of the Hornets’ 10 points in the opening 2 1/2 minutes.
** Don Nelson commented a couple of times recently about his concern for his team-wide ball-handling and passing abilities, pointing to the Warriors’ 20.7 turnovers-per-game average in the preseason (second-worst in the league). Wednesday, they did a good job keeping hold of the ball, limiting themselves to 13 turnovers even though Jackson played the point for 33 minutes.
** Jackson went 5-for-12 on 3-pointers, but some of his misses were straight out of the Davis playbook, such as the pull-up 3-point air ball with 18 seconds left on the shot clock after the Warriors had opened an 11-point lead in the second quarter.
** Monta Ellis was on the inactive list with Anthony Morrow and Richard Hendrix. According to a team spokesman, after three games on the IL, the Warriors can transfer Ellis to the suspended list for the remainder of his 30-game ban. That means Golden State can sign an extra player and keep them until Dec. 15.
Somewhere, Rob Kurz’s phone is ringing.
28 Responses to “Thoughts on Game No. 1: Hornets 108, Warriors 103”
Good to see Nellie will use the bench more as the season goes on. Can’t have SJax running 48 every night or he will be dead by midseason. I also liked his quote about winning this game for the fans.
We need a point guard BADLY. That is all.
You might want to correct your dates. This is the 2008-2009 season.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 9:46 am
True enough, Lloyd. I was so excited by this team I tried to throw the wayback switch.
M.Squared October 30th, 2008 at 10:06 am
Nellie will definitely have to find 2 more guys on the bench to go to- especially with Ellis out. I would have liked to see Wright and Bellinelli get some minutes last night. Gotta start bringing them along. Especially when you need a 3 in the last 14 seconds- Bellinelli should have at least been on the floor. Again- Whats up with Marcus Williams? Seriously? He can’t come in and play 15 minutes and run the O? I think Nellie is just down on this guy. He has got to be able to contribute. I just don’t see him being that bad. Nellie has to find a way to put Harrington in a position to make high percentage shots. But then again- I saw at least 3 missed layups by the big trade magnet. That David Lee /Crawford deal is not such a bad idea- eh? Giving Jackson 10 minutes of rest last night might very well have allowed us to win that game. His last 6 misses hurt. Maggette was the guy they needed to go to down the stretch- other than that air ball 3, he was taking it to the rack and still appeared to have good legs in the final 5 min. I am not sure why they went away from him in the final 2-3 min. Nice to see Andris continuing his progression. His stats in 29 min pretty much equaled what Chandler did in 37. Heres to a 40-42 record……
I will give Nellie this ONE pass because it was opening night.
The thinking that playing the bench will impair our ability to win, however, is something that absolutely, positively, CANNOT stand after this point. This is why we lost last year, it was why we lost two years ago, and this year, it won’t just lose us games, but cost us our future.
The kids NEED to play.
Consider that Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Melo…they aren’t asked to defend the opposing team’s best players CAN score with efficiency.
Yet we’re asking STEPHEN JACKSON to do all of these things?
That isn’t just ridiculous, it’s stupid. I certainly hope the final moments of last night disabused Rowell, Mullin, whoever the hell is making decisions of any notion that we “need” to max out an extension for Jack. If anything, our reliance on Jack makes us all the more susceptible to game-ending collapses, just like our reliance on Baron and Jack last season lead to our downfall last season.
If we haven’t learned anything from the recent past, then the franchise is doomed.
Oh, and on the loss of Baron’s late game ability…
I’m fairly certain that if we had kept the ball in Maggette’s hands, we would won the game. Even Baron wouldn’t have been able to do anything if Jack tossed the ball out of bounds.
Posey, Maggette, MoPete…it’s not like anyone was able to guard Maggette (he was something like 8 for 11 with a dozen free throw attempts).
I’ll believe Nellie about the deeper rotation when I see it. He has made these promises before…. He needs to develop the young ones by playing them!!!!
petaluman October 30th, 2008 at 11:31 am
Very interesting news about the extra roster spot. It would be great to give Kurz some regular season time on the squad.
However, we could also look at someone playing a position where we’re not so deep. Has the team expressed any interest in anyone out of the last round of roster cuts around the NBA?
I was thinking that we might experiment with some 10 day contracts, but just read in Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ that:
Ten-day contracts are available to be used starting January 5 (or the first business day thereafter) each season.
I assume we’ll have to use partially guaranteed contract(s) to fill this spot. I couldn’t find anything about a minimum duration on these. Can we use them in much the same way as 10-day deals, guaranteeing only a small amount (short time) of the contract?
Hollinger’s take on the scheme last nite. It echoes what I thought myself; the “switch everything” plan worked until the end, when we decided NOT to switch on the play where Paul scored the go-ahead layup.
Why abandon the plan that worked most of the night?
Yet another reason why Nellie is brilliant enough to keep you watching, yet stupid enough to make you want to kill him afterward.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 11:51 am
Dig, Jon: You all and I agree on Stephen Jackson being run into the ground under this kind of workload. Although, Jon, I will say that Kobe is often the Lakers’ defensive stopper, at least to close out games.
Jon, M. Squared: As for keeping the ball in Maggette’s hands… Here’s a breakdown of the Warriors’ seven possesions from the 1:56 mark on:
** Jack brings the ball up, passes to Maggette with his back to Stojakovic far out on the right wing. When Posey drifts from Jack to shade over to Maggette, Maggette passes to Jack, who fires a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 13 on the clock. It’s a miss, his fifth in a row. Rebound to Chris Paul.
** Same play call as before: Jack walks it up on Posey, Turiaf sets a screen near the right elbow for Maggette to pop out. Except this time, the Hornets have better defensive execution, and Stojakovic slips the screen, stays on Maggette’s high side, provides tough denial and Jack — who picked up the dribble too early and is now under nose-to-nose defensive pressure from Posey — can’t get him the ball.
Instead, it rotates to Harrington, who drives, spins and tries to cross under the hoop for a reverse layup that has no chance.
** Azubuike brings the ball up, gives it Jack, who has Posey on his hip 20 feet from the hoop past the right elbow. Kelenna loops around, then tries to post up Paul down on the right block. Paul fronts him, so Jack drives past Posey and runs into a collapse of defenders in the lane. Jackson’s pass gets deflected to Turiaf, who bats it to Maggette at the 3-point line, He passes to Harrington along the left wing, Al steps in, finds Jack along the baseline, but now there’s only 3 on the shot clock, and Jack’s layup try is banged off the glass by Tyson Chandler. Shot clock violation.
** Maggette two free throws after being fouled by Chris Paul at the other end of the floor in a scramble for a loose rebound.
** DeMarcus Nelson, brought in specifically by Don Nelson because he’s the ONLY guy on the roster who can break down his man on the dribble, tries to get by Paul and find Jackson in the left corner for an open 3, but the ball is deflected OB. Maggette and Jack can’t connect on the inbounds play.
** Inbounds to Al, who misses the 3.
** Jackson misses a 3 on the left wing.
To sum up, the three times the Warriors tried to get the ball to Maggette in the final minutes, the Hornets: forced it out of his hands with a feint at a double-team, then overplayed and denied him the ball, then watched as the Warriors couldn’t complete an inbounds pass.
I love the efficiency of Maggette’s offensive game, and I think the Warriors absolutely needed someone who can get to the line with regularity in the half-court game. But Corey is not a guy at the end of the game who can dribble himself 94 feet into a scoring position. He needs to have the ball fed to him in a scoring area. And in a end-game situation where the Warriors don’t have an experienced PG on the floor, a good defensive team can neutralize Maggette. They could not do that last year against Baron.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 11:59 am
Petaluman: There are non-guaranteed one-year deals that don’t fully vest until Jan. 10. DeMarcus Nelson is on one, and I believe Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson’s deals are similarly structured, although I’ll have to double-check on that. The upshot is that they can sign a guy like Kurz and pay him a pro-rated portion of the minimum up until Dec. 15.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 12:04 pm
Jon: They didn’t deliberately NOT switch on the play at the end; Paul went AWAY from Chandler’s screen at the top of the key, meaning that Harrington was on the other side of Chandler and had no opportunity to step in on Paul. With the other four Hornets spaced out on the 3-point line, there was no help defense availble when Paul got a step on Jack. It was over 28 feet from the hoop.
Good analysis of the final sequence of plays; I had not remembered that much detail. Maggette we all agree can put the ball in the hoop, but we certainly need help getting the rock to him.
As for the Paul layup…it goes back to the Jack problem. It looked to me like they weren’t trying to switch, but mainly because Jack was simply too slow on his feet to get in position to do anything, whether it’s switching or chasing over/under. Staying with Paul is hard enough when you’re fresh; doing it in your 48th minute of play is nigh impossible (even more impossible for a 6′8 dude on creaky knees!)
We had better get at least some 10 minute stints for Wright/Hendrix/Randolph (pick one), more Nelson early in the game, and cut Jack down to under 35 minutes.
Fortunately the Raptors wing players are pretty uninspiring. Jamario Moon is a hyperathlete without a truly polished skillset; Kapono is solely a sharpshooter, Parker is MoPete, and Joey Graham is nothing. Maggette should have another field day.
Unfortunately, Bosh/O’Neal is going to be just as hard to deal with as West/Chandler, and Calderon is no fool. It’ll be a very similar matchup.
petaluman October 30th, 2008 at 12:57 pm
Thanks for the follow-up info. To be more specific, could we (for example) bring in Coby Karl for 10 days or so, waive him, bring in Darius Washington (or Darius Miles, for that matter), etc., as a way to try guys out? I’m not suggesting it as a strategy, just wondering whether there are any guidelines we need to adhere to.
M.Squared October 30th, 2008 at 1:20 pm
Who cares about Kurz? Is he really going to play minutes over Wright, Bellineli, Randolph, Hendrix, & Morrow? And if he does then shame on Nellie for doing so.
He hit a game winner in Beijing. Great. We have other guys to develop. If he was someone we really needed- then he wouldnt have been cut. If we are going to sign anyone- it should be a point guard -otherwise- save the money. Jwill wouldn’t come out of retirement for a mil and a chance to start and “run” in Nellie’s system? Maybe not- but I’d make that call to him. Don’t the Griz want to dump Kyle Lowery’s salary? They wouldnt take Watson and Demarcus Nelson and a future 2nd rounder for him? Both are non guaranteed and could be cut without pay by Memphis. They save money- get a pick and the Ws get Lowery. If they wanted they could go back and re-sign Watson or Nelson in 30 days.
commish October 30th, 2008 at 1:20 pm
Is it only me who would like to honor Harrington’s desire for a trade and get a good to servicable PG? Are there any takers out there? Does Memphsis still have depth at PG and a need for a tweener F/PF? Why Nelson didn’t bring Wright and or even Randolph off the bench to see what they contribute is beyond me. It will be long season if Nellie goes back on what he said about playing younger players off the bench.
Meanwhile, from my perspective, Harrington cannot score against or defend against bigger, stronger players. Let’s move him and see what happens with Wright and Randolph or even Hendrix. And since we have three guards on non-guaranteed contracts, let’s take advantage of that while we can.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 1:50 pm
Petaluman: While I think they can technically do what you’re talking about, if they do choose to utilize that extra spot, it’ll probably be one guy who gets six weeks to show what he can do.
M. Squared: None of that is going to interest the Grizzlies, IMHO. The Warriors’ haven’t been interested in J-Will for the past few years; I don’t think that’s going to change now.
Commish: You’re not alone, but finding a trade partner who’s willing to give up something the Warriors want is infinitely more difficult.
There’s always EDDY CURRY!
Man, Sheridan wasn’t even trying with that one.
M.Squared October 30th, 2008 at 3:21 pm
I wouldnt be so sure. They are all about saving $ in Memphis. That cuts a year and a half of salary for them and they get a pick. For now- they need to hold Harrington. Offers will get better around all-star time, and if they don’t - they’re not gonna get any worse than they are right now. Trading him just because he wants to is foolish. Hopefully Rowell is has at least a 1/2 of a brain to stay out of this and let basketball people run with this one.
The Dubs should be interested in J-Will. He is serviceable for the time being and he is better than the other stuff that is out there. They’re not going to be able to go the NBDA well on this one and adding another swing doesn’t help.
Geoff Lepper October 30th, 2008 at 4:00 pm
Jon: I did chuckle at the idea of Eddy Curry and Don Nelson in the same gym. Al thinks Nellie rides him too hard? Curry would just get destroyed, on a daily basis.
commish October 30th, 2008 at 8:41 pm
Hey Jon, Curry got no heart.
Joe.Sez October 30th, 2008 at 9:10 pm
When asked by a reporter in 2003 what Curry needed to do to become a better rebounder, Skiles simply replied: “Jump.”
M.Squared October 31st, 2008 at 11:02 am
Commish is correct. Curry’s heart is buried under about $60mil. The dude has a ton of talent - but will likely never reach it. If Chicago would have kept Brand- Eddy just might have learned a bit about effort and hard work.
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