Game 5, The Wrapup: Remembering when the Warriors never quit
By Geoff Lepper
My first paying gig as a sportswriter, as an intern at the late, lamented Peninsula Times Tribune, found me covering the 1992-93 Warriors. I haven’t saved a lot of the press materials I’ve used over the years, but I kept the media guide from that season as a remembrance.
I pulled out that media guide this morning because of the cover, which features a stylized illustration from local artist and graphic designer Larry Hausen (who would later provide the Warriors with their current logo). In Hausen’s composition, you can see some of the tools of a journalists’ trade — the corner of an old Mac keyboard, an NBA press release, a Styrofoam cup of Diet Coke and a few of the blank notebooks the Warriors were giving out that year, featuring images of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway and Billy Owens on the cover.
There is a point to this whole shaggy-dog story, so just hold on. . . . Right in the center of the frame, one of the notebooks is flipped open, and you can read the reporter’s notes, presumably from Don Nelson’s latest postgame press conference. Here’s how it reads:
NELLIE: WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT OUR EFFORT TONIGHT? OUR GUYS NEVER QUIT!
Our guys never quit. Heh.
If you watched either of the Warriors’ last two games — back-to-back thrashings at the hands of the Clippers (at home on Friday) and the Kings (in Arco on Sunday) — then you know why that fictitious quote stuck out in my mind.
The play that summed up the whole weekend took place with a little more than 4 minutes left in the third quarter last night. Donte Greene jacked up a 3-pointer in front of some listless Warriors defense but missed.
When the ball hit iron, there wasn’t a King within 16 feet of the basket. There were four Warriors stationed around the edge of the paint.
And yet somehow, Corey Maggette walks within 6 feet of the basket for no good reason, the ball unsurprisingly ricochets over his head (long shot = long rebound is not exactly quantum physics) and Ime Udoka picks up the gift, eventually finding Grene for a layup.
Our guys never quit.
It’s just so typical of what the Warriors have shown in their 1-4 start: No energy. No drive. On offense, everybody (with the possible exception of Stephen Curry) plays for their own stats. On defense, nobody plays at all.
In the third quarter against the Clippers, the Warriors were outscored 34-16. Sunday, they managed to give up only eight points to the Kings (31-23), which is good until you realize Sacramento also had a 10-point advantage in the second period (35-25).
Basically, the Warriors can stay in a game based on sheer talent, but when things start to go wrong, they have no reserves to call on, no impetus to recover that lost ground and make a game of it.
Open a 10-point lead on these guys, at any point, and it’s over.
Our guys never quit.
I’m not going to be out in Oakland this evening, so unfortunately, I can’t ask Don Nelson this question:
Why didn’t you get run from one of these last two games, pick up two technicals and go out in a blaze of passionate glory? Sure, it would have been a pointless gesture from the perspective that it wouldn’t change any of the calls going against you, but still, wouldn’t it have sent a message to your players (and fans) that you never quit?
People can’t help but notice that Keith Smart is running entire timeouts. They can’t help but notice a lack of reaction by Nelson to some of the more egregiously lazy displays from his players.
(I actually had an NBA executive ask me recently if it was true that Nelson’s out playing Frisbee with his dog Lucky on the roof of the Warriors’ facility while practice is ongoing. I said no, not to my knowledge, but the fact that the story is making the rounds speaks volumes about the assumptions out there.)
After this evening, Golden State is facing a five-game road trip. They’ve historically not fared well on those long East Coast swings, been even worse on the butt end of all-road back-to-backs (of which there are two) and generally just stink like fish on ice right now.
I don’t mean to be too much of a pessimist, but if the Warriors don’t beat Minnesota tonight, this team easily could be looking at 1-10 before they get back to Oracle.
Our guys never quit.
Too bad the same thing couldn’t be said for this year’s team.
6 Responses to “Game 5, The Wrapup: Remembering when the Warriors never quit”
[...] » Blog Archive » Game 5, The Wrapup: Remembering when the Warriors never quit 48minutes.net/2009/11/09/game-5-the-wrapup – view page – cached Game 5, The Wrapup: Remembering when the Warriors never quit Filed under: Commentary, The Wrapup; Tagged as: Billy Owens, Chris Mullin, Corey Maggette, Don Nelson, Donte Greene, Ime Udoka, Keith… Read moreGame 5, The Wrapup: Remembering when the Warriors never quit Filed under: Commentary, The Wrapup; Tagged as: Billy Owens, Chris Mullin, Corey Maggette, Don Nelson, Donte Greene, Ime Udoka, Keith Smart, Stephen Curry, Tim Hardaway By Geoff Lepper Read less [...]
This is very sad. Even during some of the darker days over the last 20 years, fans generally got the sense that the Warriors were at least playing hard. They’re unwatchable now, simply because you can see that the effort just isn’t there from too many players.
you brought back good memories with the Times Tribune reference, besides yourself there were quite a lot of great sportswriters/columnists with that paper.
Even with a Nelson firing/quitting how much better will it be with Keith Smart, if he is in charge of the defense, that has not been to impressive either, I’m sure that because Nelson is there the decision making is strange but a complete makeover is necessary or getting rid of some of these selfish players for players who are willing to sacrifice for the team(aka vincent akews, mario elies, tom tolberts). Nelson/Riley/Rowell have constructed a team full of me first players which I don’t see improving until some or all are moved.
Geoff also what is the worst start in the Cohan era? My feeling is if they go 1-10 than he would be more tempted to pay Nelson off than watch attendance continue to dwindle even though they are giving seats away.
Geoff, you’ve been with this team a long time. Obviously there have been a lot of terrible years during your tenure. Do you ever remember a team quiting on its coach 4 games into the season? I’ve been a fan sicne the ‘91 season and I personally can’t. Heck, I can’t think of any team that quit on it’s coach and it’s fan that early except for the Raiders. I is absolutley pathetic.
The worst part is that you know management will do nothing. They can’t. They made their bed with these guys and they’re stuck with them. Kawakami said it last week. If this was a real organization, Nellie would be fired. Too bad we’re stuck w/ him through next year. It may take that long for him to get his win record.
The NBA is going to lose the Bay Area. We have a generation of fans turned off by the GSW and the dysfunctional and cheap owner.
Nelson’s collecting a paycheck which I think is horrible role model. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stern is watching the coach and his coaching, possibly looking for behavior so bad it could be seen as throwing games and insubordination.
Nelson has a responsibility to the NBA that I am not sure he’l lmeet on this long road trip.
I say 0-10. The team tunes him out and there’s a revolt.
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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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