Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Warriors - Opening Night

Yesterday, I was very excited to watch the Warriors play the Utah Jazz on opening night. I don't get to see too many Warriors games, since I don't live in the Bay Area anymore, but this was going to be a nationally televised game on TNT...except that it wasn't. When I checked the listings, the TNT games were Portland/San Antonio  and Lakers/Rockets. I was very disappointed.

Well, for some reason, I decided to flip over to the Fox Sports Bay Area channel, just in case they were showing the game. There would be no good reason for me to have the game though since a) I don't live in the Bay Area and b) I changed my DirecTv package so that even if I lived in the Bay Area, I wouldn't have the game.

But when I changed the channel, I was NOT greeted by a black screen with the 'call 1-800-something-or-the-other to request this channel' message. There was an actual commercial! And after the commercial, there were Warriors! Playing basketball! I was so excited! I was going to get to see my game!

When I started watching, the Warriors were up by 3. That was the highlight of the game for me. It all went downhill from there. But at least I got to see it! The Warriors didn't look so good, but there were some bright spots.

Here's the good:

1) Baron Davis looked good. He got to the rim a lot, gave a bunch of assists, and drew a lot of fouls. He also played some good defense as well. On one fast break, he sensed his defender was right behind him, so he suddenly stopped and pulled up for 3. The defender ran into him, and Baron proceeded to sink the 3 free throws. He had a few sneaky plays like that.

2) Pietrus actually did a good job. He did the things that he's good at and avoided things that he's not good at. For a while, he was the only Warrior providing any offense. And he actually snagged a few rebounds as well. When he got the ball, he either took the open shot if it was there (3/5 from 3 point) or he passed it to someone who can dribble the ball without turning it over.

3) Monta Ellis had a stretch where he drew 3 quick fouls on Deron Williams. Monta is very quick and had some very nice moves to the basket. Williams couldn't keep up with Monta's speed.

4) Patrick O'Bryant only got in during garbage time, but he looks like he has the potential to be really good. He has really long arms. I think it's possible that he could guard guys like Boozer just because he is so tall and long. Boozer had trouble getting his shot of against him. And when POB was able to get in good position, his long arms helped him to get some rebound. He was much more aggressive than last year and looked like he was really trying hard on the boards. He also has a nice jump hook that is very difficult to defend.

5) Azibuike looked pretty good. He's got some development to do, but he can do things at the 2 position that Richardson couldn't do. He's better on defense, and he can actually drive to the basket.

6) Belinelli looks like he can shoot the ball pretty well.

7) Harrington looks like he's trying harder to get rebounds.

Now here's the bad:

1) Baron made it to the line a lot, but he missed a lot of free throws. Actually, a bunch of the Warriors missed their free throws. If they keep leaving that many points at the line, they're going to lose some close games.

2) Barnes was bad. You know how I said that Pietrus did what he was good at and didn't do what he was bad at? Barnes was the opposite. Horrible shot selection. Not much rebounding. Not very good.

3) Biedrins was not very effective. Boozer scored on him at will and easily outrebounded him.

4) Monta could not guard Deron Williams. The only Warrior who could stay with Williams was Baron.

5) Troy Hudson was a horrible backup point guard. He looks for his own shot way too much. And then misses them. If we wanted that, we would've kept Derek Fisher.

6) Too many missed open shots. Monta, Harrington, and Baron all had a lot of good open looks that they just missed. If the Warriors can't make their open 3's, it will be hard for them to win, especially without a good low post option. Also, when they're not making their shots, the defense can sag off of their man and swarm to Baron when he gets in the lane.

7) When they get outrebounded as badly as they did last night, it is hard for them to start their break. This really slows their offence down and takes them out of their game.

8) Monta is not a good point guard. He's got a long ways to go. He turns the ball over way too much to be an effective point guard right now.

9) They really need Steven Jackson back. I think they're much scrappier when he's in the game. That leads to them getting more loose balls, forcing more turnovers, and making the other team do things that they're not so comfortable doing. He also provides leadership when Baron is off the court.

10) It is hard for Brandon Wright to replace Jason Richardson's offense when he's sitting in a chair on the bench wearing a suit.

So yeah, the game was ugly, but it was fun to be able to see the Warriors again. I still have a bunch of the playoff games from last year on my Tivo. Hopefully the Warriors will get things figured out soon. I think right now, they're just trying to survive until Steven Jackson's 7 game suspension is over. If they go 3-4 over that stretch, that wouldn't be so bad. If they can start hitting some more of their open shots, get a few more rebounds, and start harassing people on defense, I think like they'll start to look like the team that no one wanted to play last year at the end of the season.

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