First Eyewitness Report from Oakland

This comes from Eric who was at the Golden State game.  There will be another one from this game tomorrow.  

If you're attending the Minnesota game e-mail me your impressions and I'll post as many of them as I can.

Many thanks, Eric!

--Dave

I suppose this was the Blazer team I was expecting to see, not the one that did wonderful things in Seattle. This early in the season, the players, coaches and refs are still feeling their way around, but if this game is any sort of indicator, it could be a long season for the "Association."  

Excuse my ramblings and my lack of supporting evidence for the next few bullet points, but here's my quick breakdown of what I saw, in no particular order of importance:

-- The reffing was very tight, and there were so many whistles on both sides that the game lacked flow, except the stretches when the W's went on a few runs, and Nate didn't call time out. Lots of traveling calls, palming, offensive clearouts, etc.  I'm guessing the Blazers had 10 offensive fouls called on them. In one stretch of the 4th, I think Zach was called on 3 consecutive possessions for offensive fouls when he was trying to clear some space for himself. Ticky tack, but the refs were consistent. Literally, from my vantage point, Zach was raising his arms to call for the ball, he would get tangled with Murphy's arm, he'd shake it loose, and tweet! Foul. If Shaq gets these refs, he will be fouled out in 5 minutes.

-- The Warriors were just quicker to the ball, especially getting offensive rebounds. And they continually beat their man off the dribble.  Whoever Nellie decided to give the ball to, that person would just drive around their Blazer defender, dish to a cutter and  dunk. I'm guessing that the Warriors got 75% of their baskets on dunks or layups.

-- Magloire is a stiff. Not sure why Nate played him so much, but he wasn't aggressive, didn't hustle back on D, couldn't handle inside passes, and probably could have passed for ... Ha Seung-Jin or Greg Kite or Larue Martin.

-- On the flip side, I thought Joel played well. He was blocking shots, hustling after rebounds, yet hardly played. I think the Blazers did better with Joel in there than with Magloire. He's not an  offensive threat, but in a way that's good if Zach new how to play with someone like that.

-- Speaking of Zach. He started the game hoisting jumpers, and didn't do much. It wasn't until he started pounding inside that he did his damage. Then, the Warriors started doubling him every time he got the ball, and with no one to really space things out, the ball would go around the horn, but nobody could consistently do damage, until Martell got in the game late. But Zach had a good rebounding game, and his touch inside is uncanny.

--The turning point in the game:  Blazers down 6, after whittling a down a 14-15 point deficit.  They stop the W's, have a fast break, and Zach being a little slow of foot, gets run down.  He has to take a pressured layup, he misses, he gets his own rebound and misses the put back.  Warriors go back down, score, and Zach fouls. Then Magloire bobbles an inside pass that would have been a sure dunk, and Warriors go back and score again. Instead of maybe being down 2 or tied, they are back down by 10 or 12.

-- The Warriors confused the Blazers with the 2-3 zone and their match up zones. Blazers didn't know how to attack. And when they drove inside, they constantly got the ball stolen.

-- After the Blazers got off to a hot start by passing the ball around, everyone got trigger happy, hoisting up shots after zero or one pass. This is what got the W's back in the game.

-- One guy that didn't have problems getting the lane was Roy. This kid is good, the real deal. He can take over a game already. Unfortunately his usually deadly floaters weren't falling, but otherwise, just give him the ball.

-- JJ has a way to go. It's true, he can't handle pressure that well yet. He's got talent, and he could progress like Terry Porter. Porter  
wasn't lightening fast or quick, couldn't jump, but was strong and heady, and really developed his jumper.

-- Martell is a serious shooter. Once his back heals, he's our 3. The kid has a great release, and reminds me a little of Walter Davis. His  
stroke was nothing but net.

-- Travis got called for 3-4 offensive fouls, so didn't get to see much of him. He's got such tools, it'd be a shame if he didn't get a chance to somehow grow into his raw talent.

--Overall, they played hard, but just couldn't adjust to the doubles or zones. On defense, they were just slower to the ball than the Warriors. When the Warriors doubled, their rotations were all set.

--Blazers didn't seem to have any contingency if anyone got beat off the dribble. And several times they got burned on transition defense after a made basket.

--I think Zach and Roy will be consistent performers, but they can't win without that other guy stepping up. Again, doesn't have to be the same guy, but if someone, like Dixon on  
Wednesday, can step up, they can win 30-35, but today, no one did, and they get dominated.

--Nate tried to go small ball, and it just doesn't work with this group. In fact, on several occasions, it was the Warriors "small" line up that over-powered ours...Nellie finding the right mismatch to exploit. Several times Nate had Zach, Graham, Udoka, and some combo of JJ/Roy/Dixon, and they just cannot defend or rebound. BAD move.

I can't wait to see Aldridge in action. He's probably better than Magloire already. Anyhow, growing pains, but I think in 30-40 games, we'll see more consistent performances.


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