Tough game that it seemed we could have been in more, but you'd expect some like that to roll our way.
--Obviously the tendency is to be down on everything, but when we were aware and set we did some good things on offense and defense tonight. Where the game really got away from us was in those "tweener" categories: rebounding, turnovers, transition. The Warriors simply gave more effort and had more spring in their step than we did and the farther we got behind the worse it got. Partly this is to be expected of a young team. Positive feedback goes a long way towards producing positive results. When it's lacking it's hard for them to find their way. But that's not all of it. Once again we were much better in these areas early in the game than we were in the middle and late parts. Mark my words: somewhere, sometime before this season ends the coaching staff is going to utter the words, "At the beginning of the season we were dealing with some conditioning problems."
--We started having massive offensive problems the minute the Warriors threw a zone defense against us. We didn't know how to combat it. Our first instinct was to take quick, one-on-one jumpers. When that failed we passed the ball but only around the perimeter. There was no penetration of ball or feet. That's when the offense stalled and that's why we ended up taking deep shot after deep shot. We've had problems dealing with zones for years now. Obviously getting better shooters isn't the only answer.
--We also saw trouble late in the game when the Warriors took away both our first and second options on our plays (mostly Zach in the post and whoever was entering the ball to him). We aren't able to think many steps ahead yet.
--This year's mantra: When we start winning the rebounding battle we start winning the game. We ended up basically even statistically but that was somewhat illusionary. When Golden State made their runs they were pounding us on the boards.
--The Warriors ended up shooting 49%, they shot 31 free throws to our 19, and with three minutes left in the game they flashed a points in the paint stat that said G.S. 52 POR 24. As advertised, that meant a definitive loss.
--Despite what Baron Davis ended up doing, I thought Jack had a marginally better game. He still had a little trouble setting the offense and he did have 4 turnovers, but his individual defense looked sharper (a couple of lapses, but better), he shot pretty well, he had 10 assists, and he got his 3 steals again. He seemed more into it tonight.
--Roy had another fantastic game for a rookie. His shooting wasn't great but he was the only one penetrating with regularity and he drew a ton of foul shots. He filled up the stat line too (19 points, 6 boards, 5 assists). Plus his defensive reactions, whether individual or help, are so dead on it's not even funny. This guy just doesn't look like a rookie. You ALWAYS notice him out there on the floor.
--I don't know what to say about Z-Bo's game. On the one hand he was our most consistent offensive option and rebounder. Along with Roy he carried us. On the other hand there was a little bit of that shoulder-shrugging Zach in evidence tonight. He was slow getting up and down the court a lot. He didn't particularly concentrate on getting inside or drawing fouls. (The difference between his 30 last night and his 22 tonight was solely the charity stripe.) The Warriors were so guard and transition oriented that it's hard to fault Zach's defense too much, but let's just say it was often less than alert. There was just no fire. The best analysis is probably: good statistical game, not an inspiring or winning game.
--Maybe it's just me, but 5 rebounds in 10 minutes aside, Travis Outlaw makes a pretty crappy power forward even in the running game. Tonight it was tons of fouls, tons of turnovers, weird shots, and poor defense. Something's just not right there. Keep him on the wing and let him operate down low occasionally, but I still don't see this "4" thing working out.
--In a similar vein, Magloire had 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but don't pass him the ball, don't let him pass the ball, and don't expect him to guard anybody or anything straight up. Come to think of it, his help rotations were pretty weak also. To be fair all of the big guys Golden State brought in tonight were pretty fast, and Jamaal doesn't do fast that well. Still, I love the boards, we need the boards, but can't there be something else alongside them?
--A couple candidates for the "Wha Hoppen?" file. Joel Przybilla came out of the chutes with three blocks and four rebounds in single-digit minutes and then basically never saw the light of day again. Granted he had a couple turnovers and a couple quick fouls, but that's nothing that Magloire didn't also do. And Joel was a lot more active defensively. This was Nate's pattern last year also. Somehow I thought that might change with the new contract and the feel-good summer of recruitment. Still, it's there in black and white: Joel 11 minutes, Jamaal 28. Second, is Martell Webster still hurting? He was the first guy off the bench tonight but only ended up playing 16 total minutes, some in garbage time. He shot very well on a night when we were begging for outside jumpers to fall. Dixon got the same amount of minutes. Steven Graham got three more than that. Neither one had all that great of a game. If this is a back issue, though, why is Martell playing at all?
--I think Pietrus, Monta, and Diogu are going to be a nice core for Golden State in the future. If I were the Warriors I'd want more time and attention given to them. Baron Davis is good, but he's not going to get any better nor lead you anyplace better. Those three might.
--Remember in the first quarter when we were shooting lights out? It brought flashbacks from the last couple of seasons of what it's like having two guards that don't play defense. Except thankfully this time it was the opposition with the problem. That really scuttles your defense. Everybody has to scramble so much to help that practically any 2 or 3 passes lead to an open shot. Thank heavens (and Roy, Jack, and Pritchard/Patterson) we're not still in that situation.
--Eyewitness reports should come in later tonight and tomorrow, so check back.
Chins up everybody...another game tomorrow. And the good guys get to wear white this time.