Thoughts on Game No. 2: Raptors 112, Warriors 108 (OT)
By Geoff Lepper
Don Nelson always said he’d go with the lineup that gave him the best chance to win.
He never said anything about giving it any rest, however.
The King of Smallball went big for once Friday, and it worked for 44 1/2 minutes. Then came the inevitable fatigue, and a 112-108 overtime loss to Toronto.
Stephen Jackson once again played point, Corey Maggette moved to the 2, Al Harrington to the 3 and Ronny Turiaf — who a couple weeks ago was slated for only for backup center duty — manned the 4.
But for all the great work that group did in staking the Warriors to a 93-88 lead, it all came crashing down in the final 3:30 of regulation, when Golden State scored once — a 3-pointer from Harrington that came only because of a fortuitous bounce after Jermaine O’Neal spiked a drive by Maggette.
“Everybody had their shot at it,” Nelson said. “We didn’t deliver that much, but we got the ball where we wanted it when we wanted it. We were 3-for-16 in the fourth quarter. You can’t do that and expect to win.”
A typical possession came with 46.5 seconds left and the Warriors clinging to a 93-92 lead: Maggette gathered in a pass on the right wing and turned to face Raptors swingman Anthony Parker. After three ineffective jab steps elicited no movement from Parker, Maggette settled for a 17-foot jumper that came up short.
At the other end of the floor, Chris Bosh practically sprinted past a gassed Andris Biedrins — one of four Warriors to play more than 40 minutes Friday — for an uncontested dunk.
“In the preseason, we weren’t playing 40 minutes,” said Harrington, who was already sucking wind in the classic hands-on-knees position midway through the third quarter. “Right now we are, so it’s something we’ve got to get used to, get adjusted to, and quick.
“The preseason is usually a time where you’re resting. It seems like we should have been playing a little bit more so we’d be prepared for now. It’s going to take us a couple of games to get adjusted to and then we’ll start knocking our shots down in the fourth.”
** Going big worked defensively because the Warriors were able to dominate on the glass even though Sam Mitchell went with Nelson and tried to out-muscle him by using a combination of Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani combo. It would have been interesting to see what the result would have been had the Raptors really gone small, putting Bosh at the 5 and Moon at the 4, rather than using Bargnani and planting him on the block.
** For all the problems with fatigue, Brandan Wright wasn’t the answer Friday. Three consecutive plays early in the second period summed things up: Bargnani posts him up, then wheels around him for an easy layup, O’Neal goes Dikembe on a Wright dunk attempt, and then Bargnani beat him again for a baseline slam.
** If I’m scouting the Warriors, I’m wondering why Mitchell wasn’t trapping the hell out of Jackson and Kelenna Azubuike. I understand T.J. Ford (who would have been excellent in that role) is no longer in Toronto, but why give a pair of non-point guards a free pass until they get within 30 feet of the hoop?
** So much for Maggette as the answer at the end of games. Wednesday, the Hornets were able to simply keep the ball out of Maggette’s hands. Friday, the Raptors let him have the ball, and he was unable to close the deal. Six shots in the last 4:05 of regulation, all misses, including a drive on the final possession that illustrated part of the problem: Maggette’s game is dependent on getting to the line, and when you’re not a star and trying to drive for the winning bucket in the last 5 seconds, you don’t get the same kind of calls you do with 8:35 left in the third quarter.
** On the plus side, Maggette was already earning double-teams after his 27-point performance in the season opener, which makes exactly one Warrior who merits that kind of attention from opponents.
** Jackson had another five turnovers, keeping his season pace at 410. One problem with Jack at the point is that he usually makes a couple careless mistakes per game — dribbling the ball off his foot or something similar — regardless of what position he plays. Add in the further difficulty of learning to be an NBA point guard on the fly, and you get a league-leading 5.0 tpg average.
** A healthy Shaun Livingston would kill in this system. Absolutely kill. Too bad he A) isn’t healthy and B) is in Miami.
** The reemergence of the one-pass, step-back jumper offense — especially with the starters on the floor in the first half — was not a good sign.
** The repeated open layups off busted screen-and-roll plays in the first half — where the Warrior bigs would show hard on the topside of the screen, and their Raptor counterparts would proceed, unimpeded, to the hoop — is why Nelson wants to switch at all times.
** Cause and effect: Azubuike leaves Jason Kapono wide-open for a 3-pointer to double down on O’Neal. Maggette gets called off the bench immediately. Azubuike gets an earful from Nellie all the way down the sideline.
17 Responses to “Thoughts on Game No. 2: Raptors 112, Warriors 108 (OT)”
Son of Ahmed October 31st, 2008 at 11:26 pm
What’s your take on the Williams situation? In Hu’s blog she noted that he is playing well in practice and some of the players feel he is good. Does Nellie have some kind of vindictive bias? What’s really going on?
Maggette is a good player and a solid #3 option. He is never going to be a guy you can go to down the strech in games. Warriors miss Baron big time.
Anyone else loving the delicious irony that Don Nelson spent YEARS trying to prove he could win without a center..
…is now trying to prove he can win without a point guard? That thought alone was enough to salve the sting of the loss.
Fatigue was definitely a factor. The final minutes + overtime were ‘07-08 all over again
Here’s the thing with Wright: He’s never gonna learn if he doesn’t play. If he plays, he’ll screw up inevitably to begin with, but eventually one hopes he’d improve.
Yet now he sucks, gets yanked, and the Warriors again run their veterans into the ground only to lose closer than they otherwise would have.
In the NBA, there’s only two choices that make sense:
Be a title contender, like LAL, BOS, etc.
COMPLETELY suck and accumulate assets in the hope of becoming really damn good.
Being mediocre is just a self perpetuating cycle. If you want to truly improve you must first suck alot.
Chasing wins with veterans is the worst thing one can do.
On the other hand, apparently tonight was the deadline for a Jack extension, and we haven’t heard squat. Cool?
Oh, and the ineffectiveness of Maggette was very disturbing. He settled for an inordinate amount of jumpers - was he tired or hurt? on the other hand, his drives were ineffective as well…
One would think he’d get a foul call on that illfated drive against Parker, since he’s a foul magnet and well known as such. He also slipped…so i’ll chalk that up to “home freakin court advantage: Toronto”.
The missed dunk was also, hopefully, a fluke.
All told I think i’d take Maggette driving over last year’s 2nd half plan of hoisting 3’s by Jack and Baron.
Geoff Lepper October 31st, 2008 at 11:53 pm
SOA: I’m working on a new post about that, but it probably won’t be up until tomorrow.
Jon: There is no deadline for a Jack extension. It’s all in the team’s court right now.
gotta love the excuses. FATIGUE??? look at the Raptors boxscore. it’s not all that different.
most knowledgeable fans??? YEAH RIGHT.
you guys don’t even know the basics of NBA basketball. SUPERSTARS win game. that’s why Magic, Greg Anthony, Legler, Kenny, Charles or any guest used to get on guys like KG about not taking over in the playoffs.
LOOK, late in tight games, both teams pick up their defensive intensity. that’s when you need a go to guy who can get you a good shot for either himself or his teammate.
my god, how can you ppl watch NBA basketball for all these years and not understand something that simple.
btw, it’s not a PG thing - unless you think Rondo, Rafer Alston or Fisher are their teams end game decision makers.
Howl sez SUPERSTARS win games.
Now go get us some .. and also pick up a pizza. SUPERSTARS (plural) are sooo easy to come by.
And BTW, Baron Davis isn’t a superstar, he’s a Diva.
Stars or not, “…the one-pass, step-back jumper offense — especially with the starters on the floor in the first half — was not a good sign.”
Jerry Sloan would throw a chair and start a locker-room fight if a guy played the way GSW did the last 4 minutes or regulation.
It’s not a PG thing, but it is a shot-creator thing.
Baron Davis was injured again, by the way…left after 13 minutes.
commish November 1st, 2008 at 8:19 am
Love this site. Anyway, two games into the season and its like Nelson didn’t learn a damn thing from last year. And for two games Jackson is saying, post game, how he has to play better. Duh. This was the deal with Baron as well (who I laughingly agree is more of a Diva than Superstar) who loved to jack up the undisciplined three at will along with sidekicks Jax and Al. Last year I was first lamenting then gripping then raging about Nelson’s lack of ability or willingness to instill or insist on more disclipline, especially at the end of the game. Dudes, IMHO (and I mean that seriously) I truly believe this is a coaching problem more than personnel problem. Joe said Jerry Sloan would be throwing chairs, but I think it more appropriate to say this type of lack of discipline doesn’t happen under coaches like Sloan. Not more than once anyway. And now we give Nelson a two year extension. WTF!
Son of Ahmed November 1st, 2008 at 8:41 am
You and I posted the same last season. Discipline and selfishness were two unforgivable sins; I hope that trend does not continue.
Jon, you’re right about Nelson needing to take the long view on the franchise. He does need to bite the bullet and develop the young players. Not saying 30 mpg, but they need to be in the rotation and getting consistent minutes. I’ve never been a proponent of tanking, but the NBA success pattern is established: Suck hard, acquire a superstar, then blast off. Mark Cuban has said that teams need a lot of luck to acquire the players to win championships. History shows they also need one season with a lot of losses.
Geoff, thanks for the reply. Look forward to your post about Williams.
There is no question that superstars win NBA games. Since the Warriors are currently deficient in that area the real question you should be addressing is how do the Warriors get a superstar.
commish November 1st, 2008 at 3:27 pm
Well, the obvious money (literally and figuratively) is on Monta the Moped.
M.Squared November 2nd, 2008 at 12:51 am
You miss the point- if Rondo wasn’t an intregal part of that championship- then why didn’t they just start another 2 guard next to Ray Allen? PG are needed to protect the ball and distribute. Additionally- Rondo was way above average as a man to man and a team defender. Tony Allen, JR, Steven Jack or any other 2 guard in the league couldn’t have ran the point in Boston and taken them to the championship.
Additionally- KG proved those clowns wrong. He won a ring by being the ultimate complimentary player not the take over guy they suggest. Allen didnt play superstar ball last year and neither did Pierce. In fact- had they not landed Allen and KG- Pierce would still be looked at as scoring forward that can’t help his team win.
And who was the Superstar when Detriot last won it all? Billups was a re-tread. Wallace was a neverheard. Rasheed was whistle away from meltdown. Hamilton was a Jordan castoff and Prince wieghed as much as cross country runner.
My understanding is KG lead in the locker room and practice. He got Pierce to take the game seriously.
Rivers got the egos to play defense and commit to a championship. I give him credit for doing something I doubt Nellie could have done, put his ego aside.
Book marked - will come back within in a few days to check rest posts.
I admire your ability to compose awesome post - simply wannted to express I like it !
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