Mar4Filed under: Commentary; Tagged as: Al Jefferson, Andrei Kirilenko, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright, C.J. Watson, Corey Maggette, Don Nelson, Jamal Crawford, Jermareo Davidson, Kevin McHale, Marco Belinelli, Mehmet Okur, Monta Ellis, Paul Millsap, Ronny Turiaf, Stephen Jackson
By Geoff Lepper
These days, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves – coached in an ever-more-bizarre manner by Kevin McHale in the absence of lone star Al Jefferson – falls somewhere on the degree-of-difficulty scale between “clubbing baby seals to death” and “blasting .300 Win Mag rounds into wolves from a helicopter.”
But just because this was a game the Warriors should have won doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be rewarded for actually, you know, winning it.
Their 42 defensive rebounds were a season-high, a mark made more impressive by the fact that the Timberwolves (with Jefferson at least) are a top-10 team in terms of their offensive rebounding. Minnesota grabbed a combined 37 offensive boards in two earlier meetings with the Warriors this year; last night, that number was 12.
Golden State should get extra credit for that, because even though Minnesota plumped up the Warriors’ DREB opportunities by shooting 35.9 percent, a large chunk of those misses (almost a third — 19 out of 59) came off of 3-pointers, which generate the long bounces that become prime OREB territory.
The Sit-The-Veterans Experiment schedule was thrown off when Ronny Turiaf came up legitimately unable to play due to illness, so Corey Maggette did not get a night of rest and instead came off the bench to make sure the Warriors’ didn’t threaten their season best for turnovers (six in 28 minutes; the rest of the team had combined totals of five in 212).
By Geoff Lepper
The NBA’s All-Star break does not come at the halfway point of its season, of course. So instead of 41 games remaining to right the ship, the Warriors have only 28 contests left – not nearly enough time to transform their 19-35 record into anything resembling a playoff contender’s mark.
What, then, can we take away from the first two-thirds of Golden State’s 2008-09 season? And what can we look forward to as the final weeks tick away? Here are the assessments of one observer:
MID-TERM GRADE: B.
WORK TO DATE: His rebounding ability at power forward shored up the Warriors’ small-ball lineup, and ranking third in the league in 3-point percentage (46.2) was a great bonus. Still has too much of a propensity to not see open teammates, but he is showing improvement there, with an AST/TO ratio since Jan. 1 of 1.64. (Prior to that this season, he was at 1.12; in his previous two NBA seasons, he was at 1.06).
GOALS FOR APRIL 15: Prove that his shooting from distance is something the Warriors can count on long-term, and not just an aberration.
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — It looked like a bad right ankle sprain for Warriors center Andris Biedrins when he suffered it on Friday in Golden State’s 115-105 loss to Phoenix, and that fear was realized Saturday. A team spokesman said that Biedrins will probably miss at least three games, not to return until Golden State’s first game after the All-Star break, at the earliest.
If that holds true, Biedrins – who has only missed seven games over the last 2 1/2 seasons, six due to an emergency appendectomy last year and one because of a sprained wrist last month – will be absent against Utah on Sunday, New York on Tuesday and Portland on Thursday. The Warriors’ post-All-Star opener is set for Feb. 18 against the Lakers.
Warriors coach Don Nelson said the team will start Ronny Turiaf in Biedrins’ place, and dropped enough hints that it seems clear his first option off the bench will be Rob Kurz, with Jermareo Davidson next.
Nelson said that while Anthony Randolph has not been placed back “on ice,” he’s not considered a 5 by the coaching staff – so don’t hold your breath waiting for a big uptick in the rookie’s minutes.
** The talk for more than a few days has been about Warriors guard Anthony Morrow making the 3-point contest, but Don Nelson doesn’t think he should limited to just that portion of All-Star weekend. The coach is pushing for Morrow to take part in the Rookie Challenge as well.
“Well, I think that he should make the rookie team. For me, that would be a bigger honor than shooting in the 3-point contest,” Nelson said. “It would be nice to be represented by somebody. What he’s done as a rookie, I don’t know there’s 12 better rookies in the league than Anthony Morrow. . . . He is leading the league in 3-point shooting, and he is having an awful good year for a rookie. Especially when you guys say I don’t play rookies. It must be unbelievable, huh?”
Despite Nelson’s glowing recommendation, Morrow’s chances would seem to be fairly slim. The nine-player roster is made up of four guards, four forward/centers and one wildcard entry, so there will be at most five guards.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Memphis’ O.J. Mayo and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook are three guards with guaranteed spots. That leaves Morrow fighting with Portland’s Rudy Fernandez and Miami’s Mario Chalmers for the last guard spot and the wildcard position. (Morrow may be helped there by Fernandez’s inclusion in the dunk contest; although the Rookie Challenge is set for Feb. 13 and the dunk competition isn’t until the next day, Fernandez may want to concentrate on not getting blown out by Dwight Howard.)
** Jamal Crawford (right hamstring contusion) took part in the Warriors’ light practice on Monday (mostly shooting drills), but how he does on Tuesday will determine whether he can play Wednesday in Dallas.
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND — Andris Biedrins, the Warriors’ final iron-man candidate, will not make an appearance in all 82 games this season.
Biedrins, who hadn’t missed any of Golden State’s first 42 contests, will sit out Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a sprained left wrist, Warriors coach Don Nelson said.
“We never want to come out here knowing (Biedrins) is not going to be on our bench,” Stephen Jackson said. “That’s (12.0) rebounds we’ve got to account for.”
Biedrins suffered the injury in Golden State’s 119-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday, although he wasn’t certain of when specifically it happened, a team spokesman said. Biedrins was not available for comment at shootaround Wednesday morning.
Most teammates didn’t realize Biedrins had been hurt until he complained of pain at practice on Tuesday.
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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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