» 2008 » November

  • Nov

    (Today’s installment of your faithful reporter’s quest to prognosticate all 1,230 NBA regular-season games this season.)

    Trail Blazers (11-6) at Pistons (10-5), 12:05 p.m.
    Pick: Trail Blazers +4

    Hey Blazers, trust me from personal fantasy-league experience: Mike Conley is not the answer.

    Bulls (7-9) at 76ers (7-9), 2:05 p.m.
    Pick: Bulls +6

    I got a packet of free razors in the mail as a promotional item. Would it help Drew Gooden if I sent them to him?

    Rockets (11-6) at Nuggets (11-6), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Nuggets -4.5

    Whoops. I was wrong, J.R. Smith is doing knuckleheaded things. He’s just doing it more quietly than Allen Iverson.

    Nets (8-7) at Suns (11-6), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Suns -9

    The Nets are really above .500? Seriously?

    Raptors (8-7) at Lakers (13-1), 6:35 p.m.
    Pick: Lakers -12.5

    The Lake Show is only 3-3 as a double-digit favorite.

    Yesterday: 6-5
    Season record: 122-121-3

    – Geoff

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  • Nov

    By Geoff Lepper

    It was the end of a difficult five-games-in-seven-days road trip. Their captain and team leader was on the bench in street clothes because of a badly swollen and sprained left wrist. They were facing a highly motivated ex-teammate who wanted to prove a point.

    The Warriors better hope one of those excuses holds water. Because when Golden State dropped a not-nearly-that-close 138-125 decision to the New York Knicks on Saturday for its sixth consecutive defeat, it wasn’t just a loss.

    It was comprehensive surrender. Total capitulation.

    So total, in fact, that Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat said he saw Warriors coach Don Nelson leaving the bench several seconds before the final horn sounded. Honestly, I didn’t catch that, but I can’t say it would shock me if it was true. Whenever the camera caught showed a glimpse of Nelson on Saturday, he looked to me like a CEO who was stuck testifying before a Congressional sub-committee — someone supremely interested in being anywhere but there at that moment in that time.

    New York Knicks guard Chris Duhon drives on Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins (Associated Press photo/Frank Franklin II)

    New York Knicks guard Chris Duhon drives on Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins (AP photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Of course, you’d probably look like that, too, if your team was allowing a mid-level talent such as Chris Duhon to break a Knicks franchise record that had stood for nearly a half-century. Duhon had 22 assists, or one more than Richie Guerin notched on Dec. 12, 1958.

    “Wow, what a player,” Nelson said. “He looked like Steve Nash out there. Unbelievable performance. Whether we zoned him, switched him, it didn’t matter. He still found a way to hurt us. Really impressive performance.”

    The utter inability to even hint at an effective countermeasure to the Knicks’ high pick-and-roll — which David Lee rode to a career-high 37 points and 21 rebounds — was enough to render a Warriors fan nonsensical with rage.

    The Warriors consistently tried to stop Duhon (or Anthony Roberson) by having the big man step out on him, either to switch fully, or merely to impede his progress momentarily. But one of two things would happen:

    New York Knicks forward/center David Lee in a familiar pose from Saturday: Readying himself for a two-handed jam (AP photo/Frank Franklin II)

    New York Knicks forward/center David Lee in a familiar pose from Saturday: Readying himself for a two-handed jam (AP photo/Frank Franklin II)

    A) The smaller defender would fail to properly cover Lee on the roll, providing an engraved invitation for Duhon to find Lee immediately with a pass for a two-handed dunk;

    or B) Duhon would sail right around…

  • Nov

    Marcus Thompson is reporting that Warriors captain Stephen Jackson is sitting out Saturday’s game with a sprained left hand. Assuming that’s true, I’ll be fascinated to see who sucks up Jackson’s 18 shots per game.

    I’m betting half go to Jamal Crawford, trying to stick it to Mike D’Antoni, with another 5-6 going to Marco Belinelli, who’s starting in place of Jackson.

    Also, the Warriors have shown fairly conclusively that they don’t have good enough wing play right now to make smallball work in their favor. Taking Jackson out would dilute that talent even more. Will Nelson still try to outgun the Knicks?

    Lastly, if the Warriors come out with spectacular ball movement tonight, how much will that fuel the fire set by Jackson’s “I know it ain’t me” quotes from last night?

    BTW, I forgot to add: Belinelli starting? Can you say “showcase”?

    – Geoff

  • Nov

    (Today’s installment of your faithful reporter’s quest to prognosticate all 1,230 NBA regular-season games this season comes as he has finally hit the .500 mark for the first time in weeks.)

    Warriors (5-11) at Knicks (7-8), 4:35 p.m.
    Pick: Knicks +1.5

    It flies in the face of reason, given the Knicks’ tank job, but I just can’t bring myself to pick a team that seems to be on the edge of a potential meltdown.

    Pacers (6-9) at Magic (12-4), 4:05 p.m.
    Pick: Pacers +7.5

    Mickael Pietrus is one of those guys who just can’t seem to stay healthy, unfortunately.

    Hawks (9-6) at Wizards (2-11), 4:05 p.m.
    Pick: Hawks +1.5

    Andray Blatche is all, “When do we get to play the Warriors again?”

    Celtics (15-2) at Bobcats (5-10), 4:05 p.m.
    Pick: Bobcats +9

    Charlotte still doesn’t have a winning streak this season. Unfortunately, this game is not going to fill that void.

    Nuggets (10-6) at Timberwolves (4-10), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Nuggets -5.5

    Hey, J.R. Smith hasn’t done anything truly knuckleheaded for at least a few weeks. That might be Chauncey Billups’ biggest contribution of all.

    Thunder (1-16) at Grizzlies (4-12), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Grizzlies -8

    Any team that runs its entire offense off of Chris Wilcox on the left block — as OKC did on Friday against Minnesota — is doomed to failure.

    Spurs (9-6) at Rockets (10-6), 5:35 p.m.
    Pick: Spurs +2.5

    If San Antonio doesn’t ever slip, how will they “luck” into their next great big man?

    Cavaliers (13-3) at Bucks (7-11), 6:05 p.m.
    Pick: Cavaliers -7

    If it comes to this in the spring: I like my crow served medium-rare, with lots of salt and pepper.

    Nets (7-7) at Jazz (11-6), 6:05 p.m.
    Pick: Jazz -8

    I can’t tell which stat is more astounding: That the grinding, take-no-prisoners Jazz are 14th in the league in defensive efficiency, or that the Nets are 29th and still employ Lawrence Frank.

    Mavericks (7-8) at Kings (5-13), 7:05 p.m.
    Pick: Mavericks -4.5

    Do the Kings still get home-court advantage as they play in front of thousands of empty seats?

    Heat (8-8) at Clippers (2-13), 7:35 p.m.
    Pick: Heat -2.5

    Honestly, the Clippers started off as 1.5-point favorites? Can’t believe I missed that.

    Yesterday: 7-4
    Season record: 116-116-3

    – Geoff

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  • Nov

    By Geoff Lepper

    When the Golden State Warriors put together Stephen Jackson with Matt Barnes and Baron Davis almost two years ago, skeptics wondered how long it would take before three players with those kind of combustible on-court personalities totally lost it in an emotional outburst.

    As it turned out, the triumvirate worked surprisingly well. Certainly, there were hiccups in the playoffs — the ejections in Dallas, the bitter ending in Salt Lake City — but in general, when one of the three started to have his blood boil because of a blown call or a cheap shot, the other two were there to turn that fire into constructive motivation, rather than destructive rage.

    Sixteen games into the 2008-09 Warriors season, it’s becoming clear: Jackson needs an equal to provide him the leadership he’s being asked to give the rest of the team. There is no calming factor in place when Jackson starts to get his dander up, and that helps neither him nor the Warriors.

    Without someone to talk in Jackson’s ear and focus his indignation, it seems like whenever he feels wronged by the referees, the next possession is practically guaranteed to come down to him going mano y mano, as if to say to the officiating crew, “You think I didn’t get fouled last time? How about now?”

    The Warriors’ 112-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday gave us yet another example.

    With the Warriors holding a 38-34 lead, Jackson dribbled into traffic, created contact but didn’t get a call. The next time down the floor, Jackson went on what I described in my notes as “a frustration drive,” although this time it worked out in his favor, with a foul called on Anderson Varejao.

    It didn’t stop there. Jackson dominated the next possession, posting up Mo Williams and drawing another foul. The next time down, he posted up but found Corey Maggette for a 3-pointer. (Maggette promptly airballed it, but that’s a whole other topic.)

    Finally, Jackson posted up Daniel Gibson and, while working with his back to the basket, had the ball stolen by LeBron James, who went coast-to-coast for the dunk.

    After Andris Biedrins missed in the lane, Jackson deliberately hacked James. Then he yapped at a referee (I believe it was Tom Washington, but can’t be sure) on his way to the bench after being pulled for Jamal Crawford.

    I can empathize with Jackson’s frustration. I don’t think this isn’t just about…