Recap: Warriors 85, Pistons 97 + The Message
The Pistons (21-3) handed the Warriors (14-13) their 4th loss in a row on Friday night. The Warriors are now in 4th place in the Pacific division and clinging onto the 8th seed in the West playoff hunt by 1 game.
For the past 11 years the list of teams the Warriors were supposed to beat was smaller than the Jr. Jam Squad (by the way- they're off the hook!). Thankfully this year things have changed and the list has grown exponentially. However, there are 3 teams, provided they are fully healthy, that the Warriors have a slim to none chance of beating on any given night: the San Antonio Spurs, the Detroit Pistons, and the Miami Heat.
Think about it- the Warriors got 2 double-doubles (Baron with 14 points and 10 assists and Troy with 11 points and 11 boards), 27 points from rookie Ike Diogu on a sizzling hot 13-15 shooting, nearly another double-double and solid effort from JRich despite some poor shooting (14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals), and they STILL lost by 12. If they put out this type of effort against most of the other squads in the league, they would be coming back with a W. Let's show some respect. The Pistons are a great team. This isn't a loss to be ashamed about or overly worried about.
For Warriors fans the game was actually exciting to watch because of Ike's coming out party. Imagine how good the Warriors could be if they had anything resembling an inside presence who can catch the ball and throw it down (ahem, Foyle), work hard and hustle (ahem, Dunleavy), and play defense without fouling (ahem, Biendrins). Last night Ike gave Warriors fans an early Christmas present, showcasing a dazzling array of spin moves, post ups, and throw downs. For the doubters who think Ike's big night (27-7) was a fluke, think about this- it doesn't get any tougher than scoring on the Wallace brothers. Rasheed and Benny Wallace are excellent defenders who will eat you up and spit you out while embarrassing you with swats, thefts and adding to their collection of defensive player of the year trophies. If Ike can play big against the Pistons down low, he can take anyone to school down low. Let's hope Ike keeps playing big in the paint, so we can nickname him Dutch Boy (great paint since 1907 becomes great post play since 2005!).
Coach Montgomery deserves some serious props for taking a stand and benching both Foyle and Dunleavy in the 4th quarter. Both of them need wake up calls. Too often the Warriors have been playing 3 on 5 with their starting 5. Dunleavy and Foyle have contributed very little this season while Baron, Jason, and Troy continue to bring it every night. Mike has done nothing to prove that he deserves to start and Adonal (who admittedly, we are very slow to criticize here at the BLOG) is more suited to come off the bench and provide a defensive spark for 10-15 minutes a game. Both players have horrible contracts and it wouldn't be a big surprise if management was trying to cover up their mistakes by ordering Monty to start Dunleavy and Foyle.
The Warriors are coming off their easiest part of their 2005-2006 schedule with 4 straight losses and are only 1 game over .500. It's going be harder and harder to collect wins. At this rate, the Warriors are lottery bound... AGAIN!
It's time for the Warriors to listen up like they did to all of the Golden State Warriors BLOG readers when it came to drafting Ike Diogu (see Thanks Chris!):
A message to the Warriors management
You've made some horrible mistakes for the past decade plus. You've even made some horrendous "what in the name of Scott Layden?!" mistakes recently (i.e. contracts and extensions for Foyle, Dunleavy, and Fisher). BUT it's time to move on. Charles Barkley always says on Inside the NBA that in order to win, players and teams need to realize that it's not about who's getting paid the most, it's about who are the best players and who will help you pick up the W's. Cohan and company- in case you didn't know your 9 best players right now are NOT named Mike Dunleavy and Adonal Foyle. Force feeding minutes to Dunleavy and Foyle is going to make it nearly impossible to get to the playoffs. Admit your mistake and move on like the Pacers did with Austin Croshere. Croshere makes more than Artest, but Donnie Walsh, Larry Bird, and crew don't force feed playing time to him to try to make themselves look better. They play to win. Warriors fans want to see their team win. They don't want to watch players stink it up because they are paid a lot of money.
A message to the Warriors Coaching Staff
Don't listen to what management tells you. Don't exacerbate the mistakes of management by handing out playing time and too many minutes to people who don't deserve to be playing. Play to win, not to make management happy. Don't be their scapegoat when things go wrong. The players will get your back and respect you. You'll get fired if you lose playing the players management has paid insane dollars to, but you can reach the playoffs if you ignore what they say and play Pietrus (when he comes back), Ike, Biendrins, Taft, and maybe even Zarko over Dunleavy and Foyle. How bad would the Warriors management look if they fired the coaching staff after the team made the playoffs for the first time since Chris Webber was a rook?
Feel free to drop your messages to the Warriors management and coaching staff in the comments section.
Ikechukwa Somotochukwa Diogu. The man not only needs more minutes, but needs to go by his real name. It's nice! Let's hope it's just a sign of things to come from the big Ikechukwa.