Recap: Warriors 93, Clippers 96
This has to be the worst loss of the year. With a 19 point lead late in the third quarter, the Warriors let the Clippers back into the game by allowing a late run to end the 3rd quarter. They started out extremely hot shooting 60% in the first half. They came out smoking in the 3rd quarter too with a bunch of fast breaks and playing uptempo style of ball. And then everything fell apart. The Clippers tightened up on defense and slowed down the attack by not allowing any easy buckets. In the end, poor free throw shooting finally caught up to them. Actually poor isn't the right adjective. Horrendous and Shaq-like are probably better suited to describe the 11-23 (47%) free throw performance. I cannot fathom why these free throws problems continue throughout the season. All you have to do is practice. Sit at the free throw line at practice and shoot a couple hundred everyday. Or bring in Rick Barry during his offtime at KNBR and have them all learn to shoot underhand free throws. Do something about this problem. Making free throws is all mental, so the more practice and confidence you get, the better you can bring that to the real game.
I swear I kept hearing "My precious..." everytime Gollum, I mean Sam Cassell, had the ball in his hands. Seriously though, Cassell was the difference in the game. He hit some HUGE shots in the 4th to bring the Clippers all the way back. 13 of his 24 points came in the final period. At one point it seemed like he couldn't miss, even with a hand in his face, he would knock down jumpers. He also got to the line a bunch of times in the 4th on his pump fakes and flops. He knows how to work the officials and get to the line where he shoots 87%.
As for the Warriors? It was good to see the adjustments the team made from the last game as they played much better in the post. After getting manhandled in the paint the game before, the Warriors outrebounded the Clippers 51-37 and limited the points in the paint to about even with better interior defense.
Murphy played much better defensively in the 3rd quarter on Brand by denying him the ball in the post. He also grabbed an alarming 20 rebounds to go with his 16 points. He's not a great defender, but he played extremely hard tonight to limit Brand's domination in the post. You may look at the numbers and say Murphy didn't play well as Brand poured in 28, but tonight it was the defense of the perimeter that cost the Warriors the game.
Not sure what to say about Baron. When the Warriors were winning he was driving to the hole, and not settling for that 3. When the Warriors began to lose the lead, he launched 3's and hit none of them. He needed to keep pushing the ball, keep attacking the bucket. He ended with 10 assists but he had 8 in the first two and half quarters. So over the last 15 or so minutes, he had 2 assists. It wasn't that he played bad defense on Cassell in the final period, but it was his man who went off and that cannot happen if the Warriors want to win. He's got to play better D on Cassell if they want to win this game. Great players take over the game and get their team to win. Cassell was able to do that, Baron not able to. I don't rip Baron much but when the man you're guarding takes over the game, you have to take responsibility. Sure it's a team game but Baron's defense has to improve. For as strong, quick, and athletic as he is, there's no reason to play the type of defense he does.
As a side note, Shaun Livingston is going to be very nice. The numbers don't show it, but he looks like he's going to be a very good player in the future. Just 19 years old and he is so smooth out there on the court. He's a 6-7 point guard with nice handles, quickness and a nice jumper. I was impressed with what I saw. Compare him to our 20 year old Biedrins, and Livingston is much farther ahead in his progress. If he's able to stay away from injuries Livingston will be a star.
By the way, Ike plays 3 minutes, Pietrus 10. Atma thinks there's a trade happening soon since they're not playing these guys. I think Monty has no idea what he's doing. Maybe we're both right.
Warrior Wonder - JRich
He was the only one they could count on tonight to consistently score. He scored 30 on 11-20 shooting, 4-6 from 3, and 4-5 from the line. In fact, I don't know why they didn't go to him more considering he had the hot hand in the 4th.