Thoughts on Game No. 13: 76ers 89, Warriors 81Filed under: News; Tagged as: Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Baron Davis, Brandan Wright, C.J. Watson, Corey Maggette, Jamal Crawford, Kelenna Azubuike, Louis Williams, Mickael Pietrus, Ronny Turiaf, Samuel Dalembert, Stephen Jackson, Thaddeus Young, Troy Murphy, Willie Green
By Geoff Lepper
Like Goldilocks, the Warriors tried three different types of lineups Sunday. Only one was just right — but it wasn’t the one that ended up on the floor in the final minutes of Golden State’s 89-81 loss to the 76ers.
The small ball attack that Don Nelson has been favoring lately — starring Corey Maggette at power forward — fell behind by eight points in as many minutes. The group one step up, with either Ronny Turiaf or Anthony Randolph on the floor as a legitimate power forward, couldn’t keep the Warriors from falling 17 points back.
But when Nelson put together a frontcourt consisting of Turiaf at 5, Brandan Wright at 4 and Randolph at 3, with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter, he had finally found a group that was capable of putting together defensive stops in bunches. That trio — along with Stephen Jackson and (mostly) Anthony Morrow — took over what had been a 72-58 deficit and turned it into an 80-78 game with 4:26 left.
Even Maggette admitted it after the game: “I think we should have gone bigger earlier.”
The largest group made a difference through its defense; the 76ers, who were on pace to score 102 points before Golden State went tall, shot 3-for-18 during that stretch.
Turiaf’s ability to jump the pick-and-rolls that had been plaguing the Warriors earlier in the game was a huge benefit, as was the shot-blocking of Turiaf (who had two of his five in this stretch) and Wright (who had two but was only credited with one). And Randolph’s long arms turned Andre Iguodala’s jumpers into adventures.
“It’s good because we all have long arms, and we all like to box out and play defense,” Turiaf said. “I think the other guys know that. We’re trying to protect the paint.”
That the protection didn’t extend to the final stretch was due in part to the youngsters’ mistakes at the other end of the floor. Randolph and Wright combined for three turnovers in their last six possessions together. That included a wildly optimistic one-handed, 50-foot skip pass from Randolph that skittered out of bounds, and a travel on Wright with 4:26 remaining when he was caught by 76ers point guard Andre Miller and forced into a travel while trying to push the ball upcourt.
Nelson brought Kelenna Azubuike back in at that point, replacing Randolph. The 76ers went 3-for-5 the rest of the way for a 9-3 run that cemented the outcome.
In all, here are the numbers:
Lineup Time on Floor Score
Small (Maggette at 4) 13:50 26-21, PHI
Medium (Turiaf/Randolph/Wright at 4) 21:15 50-36, PHI
Big (Randolph at 3, Wright at 4, Turiaf/Biedrins at 5) 12:55 24-13, GSW
** Jackson still looks like he’s pushing the envelope too hard at times as he tries to shoulder the burden of being the Warriors’ only playmaker; he had back-to-back possessions early in the third quarter where he unsuccessfully tried to jam home ill-advised passes.
First, he tried to thread a lead pass roughly 40 feet through two defenders to Azubuike in the frontcourt, leading to a steal for Thaddeus Young. On the next trip down, Jackson tried to fire the ball from the right elbow to Azubuike under the hoop, only to see Andre Miller get a hand on it and eventually take it away.
Helping to lessen that playmaking load needs to be No. 1 on Jamal Crawford’s to-do list come Tuesday.
** Little mistakes keep hurting the Warriors. Three examples:
1) The 76ers managed to force a turnover in the first quarter by applying a small bit of pressure as C.J. Watson was trying to inbound the ball from the sidelines. Jackson, the intended recipient, wound up touching the ball while Watson was still holding it out of bounds.
2) Watson simply stopped paying attention on defense while his cover, Willie Green, walked in and took a pass from Miller for an open layup.
3) With the Warriors down 80-78 in the fourth, a fresh-off-the-bench Azubuike stood and watched rather than putting a body on 76ers center Samuel Dalembert, who rammed home a putback jam to kick off a 9-3 run to finish the game.
** The Warriors’ 13 blocks were their most since Nov. 29, 2006, when Golden State swatted 15 shots by the Pacers. (Baron Davis, Troy Murphy and Mickael Pietrus all had three to lead the way in that game.)
Nelson doesn’t normally like high numbers of blocked shots, because it often represents either an earlier breakdown along the perimeter that requires a shot-blocker’s help or leads to big men being pulled out of position, rebounding-wise.
But when your alternative is letting Young or Green or Louis Williams roll all the way to the rim, uncontested, 13 blocks has to be better.
** Not to knock 76ers diehards, but I can’t remember ever hearing as much court chatter caught on a broadcast as there was on the one out of Philadelphia on Sunday. The boxscore claimed 13,556 were in attendance; if that’s so, they were some of the quietest 13,556 folks in all of Pennsylvania.
18 Responses to “Thoughts on Game No. 13: 76ers 89, Warriors 81”
Great post, Geoff. Thanks for the stats and updates.
Any idea on how Crawford will get worked into the games on this road trip? For instance, will he immediately usurp CJ’s role as starting PG? Or will he share minutes until they get back to Oakland? Thanks for the inside track, btw.
This is the best post-game site analysis for the Warriors, I really enjoy reading it, congratulations!
David E November 24th, 2008 at 7:10 am
Good post. Very useful.
Son of Ahmed November 24th, 2008 at 8:57 am
Nice job with the numbers. Is there a way to track those kind of stats over a few games? I’d be interested to see how the Warriors do over the long run when they play big line-ups.
saltwatertaffy November 24th, 2008 at 9:38 am
Geoff, in regards to your third point, and in a bit of defense towards Kelenna his knee still seems to be bugging him. Marcus Thompson II writes, “Azubuike said his knee was “well enough” to play. He added that the brace he’s wearing helps and he feels pretty mobile, with just some pain.”
Also, Stephen Jackson seems to extremely exhausted. Another article by Marcus Thompson II Jackson saying, “I can’t take too much more, I’ll tell you that. I am 30 years old. I’m going to continue to work with these young guys and support them and give all I can for this team and this organization. But at the same time, I’m human. You know.”
I really don’t think Jackson should be playing 40+ minutes a game… AND my biggest frustration yesterday was CJ Watson… In the 2nd quarter between the 6 and 4 minute mark Iguadala hit two 3’s and then Young hit a 3 and Watson just couldn’t contest the shots… Not just that sequence, but his inability to lead the fast breaks, etc..etc.. I really hope Crawford can add some much needed ball handling skills to this team.
Longyear November 24th, 2008 at 9:46 am
Geoff I’ve grown to check your site regularly for your Warriors tidbits, and I appreciate the effort you put in. Good stuff overall.
I’m beginning to wonder if Nelson is the right man for this team. I don’t mind offensive creativity and gimmicks now and again, but he is at least underutilizing our frontcourt assests. I get the feeling getting Crawford will only make that worse.
Geoff Lepper November 24th, 2008 at 10:51 am
BB: I’m not in D.C., so I can’t ask, but I’ve got to think Crawford will start and play 35-plus minutes. Certainly he’ll get time over C.J. — don’t forget, Nellie said on KNBR just last week that C.J.’s natural position is “backup point guard”
Gaucho, David: Thanks.
SOA: I’m going to go back and do some breakdowns for the earlier games, because I’m interested in finding out whether this trend has been there all year. And I’m going to keep track going forward as well.
Taffy: I don’t doubt that Azubuike is still hurting, and that’s why I’m trying not to bash him when he misses a 3-pointer, because I know how hard it is to try and elevate from 25 feet when your knee is barking at you. That being said, all he needed to do was give Dalembert a hip check 10 feet from the hoop to save a critical bucket. And the lack of boxing out is a problem that plenty of guys have on this team — and many other NBA squads, for that matter.
As for Jack, I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but I wrote in the first week of training camp about the potential for burning him out. Nellie’s riding him for all he’s worth, so he’s tired and he’s going to be tired until Monta comes back — and maybe even after that.
Regarding C.J. . . . no, he doesn’t have the court vision that you would want from a PG. And I don’t think he’s ever going to develop it. As for those 3-pointers, I would point out in his defense that the W’s were in a 2-3 zone (trying to stop Brand) which they abandoned soon after that little barrage by the 76ers.
Longyear: I think it’s a fair question. And I do think Crawford will help the small ball lineup, which means that Nellie will probably use it more often.
JustPuked November 24th, 2008 at 10:58 am
Great post Geoff, thanks for highlighting Nellie’s reasoning for not being enamored of blocked shots. I posted a similar argument on Adam’s Fastbreak a few weeks ago.
Unlike last year, Nellie actually does have a deep roster this year, especially if he’s giving Wright and Randolph minutes. That only means every game will be a new adventure in line-up shuffle. It’s like 3 point shooting, live by the match-up, and die by the match-up. Here’s hoping Nellie can mix-in-match more successfully as he gets to know his players better and as the youth matures.
Despite the current disappointing play, there’s still a ton of upside with this team. The roster turnover from last year was pretty massive, so there’s still a bit of get to know you going on. The addition of Crawford and Monta, as well as the (hopefully) steady improvement of Wright, Randolph, Morrow and Watson should lead to a heck of a surge at the end of the year. Will it be enough to make the playoffs? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing it all develop.
JustPuked November 24th, 2008 at 11:01 am
As Nellie learns to trust the new and young players that constitute his deep roster, hopefully he’ll start trusting them enough to cut Jax’s minutes down to the 32-38 minute range instead of the 40+ minutes he’s been playing.
CO_dubsfan November 24th, 2008 at 11:35 am
Nice job Geoff. Love the Small, Medium, Big breakdown.
I think, if it were not for the blundering turnovers from Randolph and Wright, Nelly would have given the Big line-up a chance to win the game for Warriors. Coach typically makes comments like, “.. they got is back in the game so they deserve a chance to win it for us…” Those critical mistakes were just too much for him to forgive.
I’m really looking forward to Crawford providing much needed help with the ball handling and turnover situation.
Thanks for the notes Geoff….didnt get a chance to listen or watch the game….Much appreciated.
The PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING!!!! Go Big or go home….the kids make things happen….Blocked shots lead to transition buckets which hopefully will be converted at a better rate when JCraw and Monta start playing.
I think the fans realize that the playoffs may be out of reach…and who wants to play the LakeShow as an 8 seed. I’d rather let the youngstas get the experience and be ready to start jelling when Monta gets back…
Good stuff on Randolph….he just thinks he is better on offense than he really is. Almost wish he would have more of a KG defensive mentality as opposed to his jaded view of his offensive skills. I fear that he may piss off Monta when he tries to take it coast to coast instead of passing, running the court and then get rewarded with an easy bucket in transition….good to hear that BW got some burn and was effective.
As much as I fear the SmallBall, the last 2 games, Nellie has played the youngstas…He is never going to give them major minutes, but every little bit helps….
saltwatertaffy November 24th, 2008 at 1:00 pm
I appreciate your prompt responses. Keep up the good work. I’ve followed your articles from your newspaper days. Thanks again!!
Co-signing what Gaucho said. Tim K and Geoff’s blogs are the only ones I read regularly. I still subscribe to Adam and Marcus’ blogs, but only to glance at the headlines.
Son of Ahmed November 24th, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Thanks, Geoff! I look forward to seeing how that trend develops. I’m hoping you get a large sampling.
Warrick November 24th, 2008 at 7:19 pm
Thanks Geoff. Hope you continue updating us on the Dubs!
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