Game No. 57 — Clippers 118, Warriors 105: Eric Gordon illustrates the Warriors’ agonizingly slow learning curve
By Geoff Lepper
Baron Davis going off for 25 points against his most recent former team is shockingly predictable.
Eric Gordon going off for 27 points against the same squad is just plain shocking.
The Warriors’ 118-105 loss to the Clippers on Monday was, to my recollection, one of the Warriors’ worst performances of the season in terms of simply losing vision and letting guys run free on the perimeter. Rock-bottom in that category for Golden State was the 119-114 loss in Utah on Dec. 5, when Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles just kept slipping away from the Warriors’ Club Fed-style defensive presence and scoring uncontested layups.
When Davis hits a step-back 26-footer, or banks in a triple, there isn’t much to be done about that. You shrug your shoulders and move on. But what Gordon did to the Warriors – 27 points, five assists, seven rebounds – can’t be so casually explained away.
Many people are working their best to create an adequate metric to measure individual defense in the NBA, and I keep hoping someone will spring for the manpower needed to chart a defensive box score, providing the reverse of what we read every morning in our metro newspapers (OK, what folks over 35 read in our metro newspapers – the rest of you young’uns read it on the Internets).
Here’s what a defensive box score would have revealed about the several different Warriors who tried their hand at stopping Gordon last night, either by design or necessity.
To say that C.J. Watson was a failure at trying to stop Gordon would be an understatement of the highest order. Check out the play-by-play chronology of how Gordon got his 27 points, especially in the fourth quarter:
I understand the logic behind Marco Belinelli getting yanked for failing to perform due diligence as the last man back early in the third quarter, a lapse that allowed Mardy Collins to streak in uncontested. But to keep him nailed to the bench for the final 21:39 of the game while Watson was time and again torched for even worse defensive infractions was just plain asinine. (I’ve looked at the Collins play multiple times, and I think that, even if he had reacted as soon as Crawford went up for the shot, Belinelli still wouldn’t have caught Collins.)
We’ve had this discussion several times already, mostly in the context of Anthony Randolph, but it bears repeating: It’s not accountability if it’s selectively applied to one player but not another. That’s a head game.
[Sidebar: The truly ridiculous thing was that the Clippers never once made a point of getting Gordon the ball in the final 5 minutes, despite the swath of destruction he was cutting through Golden State’s D. That’s life with Baron, though. Enjoy, Mike D.!]
On other fronts: Andris Biedrins looked rusty in his first game back from the sprained ankle. One hopes that’s all it is, because going minus-16 in just 16 minutes of play is a powerfully bad statement. . . . The ball stoppage when it reached Corey Maggette’s hands was as nails-on-a-chalkboard painful as any game in the first two months of the season.
22 Responses to “Game No. 57 — Clippers 118, Warriors 105: Eric Gordon illustrates the Warriors’ agonizingly slow learning curve”
Outside of needing a Power Foward and a true Point Guard, What are the options for this franchise?
Lep, do you envision a major move in the off-season?
Do you hear and grumblings at 1011 Broadway?
After watching last night’s debacle, I would say that the best thing the Warriors have going for them heading into next season is that they’re supposed have new uniforms. Maybe some sort of new school play off the ‘ol city jersey’s. That’s it. That is all. Check back in eleven years to see if they have recovered from Nellie’s second implosion.
Very interesting breakdown, Geoff. Your analysis of the Warriors is at the top of the heap this season, especially when you work off actual data. Between you, Adam and Marcus I have the coverage I need.
[...] game in February. . . 48minutes found someone to blame last night: C.J. Watson. After checking out some of the stats Geoff Lepper has on those who “defended” Eric Gordon last night, pretty hard not to [...]
the only explanation I have that Watson was able to stay on the floor is because Nellie likes his offense… Don Nelson is a joke. This franchise is a joke.
Anyone know how Cohan’s pile of money is fairing in this economy?
Is there any chance he’ll need to sell this franchise to “put food on his family”?
We need a new owner or 2nd franchise based in San Jose.
Any word on Maggette? I read he got x-rays after the game.
I love your timeline breakdowns you often do to prove a point, Thank you
You don’t mess with the Leppert!
Lucious February 25th, 2009 at 8:49 am
Too bad Nelson is a stubborn old goat and wont change his ways. Even though “Nellie” says he’s gonna play his bench more. Mmm hmm.
Geoff Lepper February 25th, 2009 at 9:25 am
Bob: X-rays were negative. I expect he’ll practice today and play Friday.
Fantastic analysis, Geoff, thanks for your work. Much better analysis than the team does of itself, I’m sure. And your conclusion about Bellinelli’s “punishment” being a Nelson “head game” is so true. Don’t the fans deserve to see the players play?
KennySeagle February 25th, 2009 at 10:01 am
geof: ur right that wuz 1 of the WORST games kenny has ever saw…. when GSW went on that run little more then 1/2way in the 1stQ, kenny thought, “oh good a old fashion butt whoopin, in yo face LaBaron.”…. but it wuz not 2 be…. 2 lose 2 a team with even LESS talent up & down the roster sucks like electroluxs lined up from here 2 uranus….. & camby & the etonian zac randolph ilustrate so hard how the GSWs need a true 4….
I agree with your points, Geoff, as this game was truly hard to watch. It was so bad it makes me question the “progress” of the last few weeks.
Geoff, do you see this team ever playing even decent defense, either with this squad or another? Is is Nellie? If Nellie were handed a team of great individual investors (which this team does not have) would that team defend?
I’m an eternal Warriors optimist but as a basketball fan I recognize that this team has no chance of ever being any good if they don’t play some D (not to mention limiting the careless turnovers). I think our biggest problem is we have 3 guards in the rotation who play some of the worst defense I’ve seen - Monta Ellis, CJ Watson and Jamal Crawford. Geoff, do you think these 3 are anything but lousy defenders?
Nice analysis, Geoff. But anyone paying attention has seen all year that Watson just may be the NBA’s worst defender — and we’ve seen plenty of Jamal and Monta, too. Doesn’t make any difference to Nelson, though: not only is he peculiarly clueless as to defense (he STILL refuses to guard the in-bound pass late in the game), he couldn’t care less.
Now, maybe you might try an analysis of Jack’s (1) turnovers (he DOES lead the league, of course) and/or (2) failures to get back on D (often while arguing a ref’s non-call) and allowing the other team to make seemingly endless easy buckets. As you note, Jack can play any way he likes — including throwing it up from anywhere on the floor — and Nelson won’t sit him. Playing favorites (which destroys “team” morale) is what Nelson does best. Actual coaching (e.g. rotations, teaching, end-game strategy) is what he does worst. He’s been a true disaster.
But Rowell’s made it clear that money, not great basketball, is his and Cohan’s goal, so we’re stuck in the mud with the Fat Man for the foreseeable future. True basketball fans lose out, though Oracle ticket buyers — who are like a herd of contented cows mooing appreciation for bad basketball and horrendous coaching — don’t seem to mind a bit, which suits Rowell and Cohan just fine. It could only happen here: this group (i.e. Nelson-Rowell-Cohan) would be run out of town on a rail were they on the East Coast. Too bad the Oracle crowd is so oblivious.
commish February 25th, 2009 at 8:32 pm
My guess is the agents for Monta, Wright, Randolph and Belinelli will do whatever they can to get their young guys out of Oakland and away from the stumbling, bumbling Nelson. And of course Nelson would love to see these gone for really good vets like Jax and Maggette, not to mention Rowell salivating over getting rid of Ellis’ contract. I’m getting so sick of continuing to write this garbage on blogs but it is the only way to express my anger and frustration at Nelson and Rowell for destroying what had been a franchise on the way up.
Deep Thought: The Warriors horrible defense is Keith Smart’s fault for not teaching the players how to defend.
I wish I could catch this one. I’m intrigued by the latest Larry Brown quick change squad and how it will look on the Gimmick’s home court.
We should have hired Larry Brown.
Wonder if Rod Higgins ever suggested it before he was shipped to be a figurehead for the Jordan Empire.
saltwatertaffy March 2nd, 2009 at 9:08 am
Geoff, where are you?
Jr Honda March 2nd, 2009 at 11:03 am
Nelson must be sitting Lepper.
Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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