Inasmuch as a loss can be considered enjoyable, I actually enjoyed this game. In the preview I said our biggest enemy would be an emotional letdown from Friday's game. There was none. It's rapidly becoming apparent that the Warriors are a team we relish playing. (I'd like to see more passion and effort against teams we don't relish playing, but that's another recap entirely.)
The game really came down to a few key defensive plays in which our inexperience showed. I don't mean this in any of the grand, philosophical, season-spanning ways we've been talking about. I mean simply a couple of guys got caught in positions they shouldn't have been in because they weren't seeing ahead enough not to. Those weren't the only mistakes we made, to be sure, but they were the critical ones late. For this team that's an honest way to lose and I can handle that. This is far better than slack effort or wonky shot selection.
Since I watched the game on Tivo and got to use my laptop to make notes I'm going to do something a little different and give you quarter-by-quarter impressions. This won't be as coherent as my usual topical organization style but it might give you a better sense of how I watch the game and flow with its ups and downs. If you don't like it, don't worry. I won't do it often.
--We're starting out this game shooting jumpers, which was a bad plan. The Warriors are too, but any scheme that matches offenses with them is doomed to fail. They get up so many more shots than you do they're bound to win. And indeed Golden State had no conscience at all early on. They are perfectly content to hoist.
--Joel Przybilla came out of the chute strong. I think his eyes light up when he sees those orange uniforms.
--We're giving up way too many offensive rebounds in the early going.
--Lamarcus has had some nifty moves in the post BUT our entire offense is one pass and then let a guy operate. There are no down picks and precious few high screens. We're making ourselves very easy to guard and making Golden State look like a defensive squad. That's bad.
--Brandan Wright looks like he could be a really nice pick-up.
--Channing Frye tried to make things happen as soon as he entered the game. Considering the playing time he's been getting lately that's a good plan.
--How bad is our interior defense with Outlaw and Frye in together? For that matter our exterior defense is no great shakes either.
--Travis is torching the nets with his one-on-one jumpers but as with Lamarcus posting in the first there's a cost. The spacing is so flat when Travis gets the ball. Everybody immediately runs away from him in order to create room for him to operate. We end up with three guys flat on the baseline which completely takes away the possibility of passing or rebounding and puts us behind the play if the ball bounces long. Fortunately he's hitting. But then this "standing mode" bleeds over into non-Travis possessions too, which is not cool.
--Golden State misses are shrugged off. Ours are hurting us.
--The Blazers have started to push the tempo now. I love it when they refuse to walk it up, even against Golden State.
--Blake is uncharacteristically loose with the ball in this quarter.
--Now the ball movement is starting! There was a REALLY pretty Roy-Aldridge two-man play where Brandon entered it into the post and then got it back for a short jumper. Why don't we see more of this? Once Lamarcus develops some post moves it could be unstoppable. Pick your poison.
--Brandon is also posting now. I like this. When we become a playoff team this is a matchup problem we'll have to exploit heavily in a seven-game series.
--Lamarcus scores much better with his back to the basket when he spins into the middle of the lane rather than towards the baseline. It gives him more mobility advantage.
--It's amazing how little help we give Joel in the paint sometimes. It's not like we're running out and breaking either. We just don't have the instinct to go and get that ball.
--We work so hard for good looks in our offense it just kills us every time someone passes one up. It's like an NFL team working to get a wide receiver open and then throwing an incomplete pass. You don't get the chance back again.
--The tempo has become more deliberate. We're also not settling for jumpers as much.
--Steve Blake is LIGHTING IT UP now. Not just off of jumpers either.
--Travis Outlaw is getting into the spirit of the evening by being truly remorseless. He's shooting everything he touches.
--Brandon Roy is amazing. Flat out amazing.
--Jarrett Jack is having another game when he's both aggressive and under control. He becomes really dangerous when he plays like that.
--Ohhhhh...we're starting to let the Warriors run out. We're wasting all of the hard work we put in during the third quarter.
--Travis has an annoying habit of taking 2-3 seconds to set up his move even when there's an immediate opening.
--Does anyone else hate Baron Davis' beard?
--There are many more screens and passes in our offense now. It's clicking too.
--At the end of the game Lamarcus is getting outworked and just ripped apart. He does do a decent job when he gets stuck guarding the perimeter though.
--Roy is a TOUGH GUY driving. I love that quality in him and in Jack. Once Brandon becomes a "made man" in the league he could easily shoot 9-10 free throws per night.
--This is anyone's game.
--Ooops! Those Golden State guards are tough.
--We're making everyone look better by not grabbing rebounds again.
--I guess tonight "anyone" is Golden State. Good effort though. The only chronic problems were the 21 points we gave up off of turnovers and the 11-point fast-break deficit. But that's par for the course for Warrior opponents.
--What can I say about Brandon Roy that I haven't said 100 times? I love almost everything he does, particularly on offense. 26 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. Raise your hand if he's not your favorite Blazer in a long time. If your hand's up, here's your padded cell.
--Lamarcus started out pretty aggressively but wore down as the game went on. He got manhandled in the last few minutes, and not just on that obvious rebound rip-away. I'm looking forward to him adding strength and conditioning. 15 points on 6-13 shooting isn't bad but he was trying to be a focal point and those numbers are a little short. 7 rebounds is better than we've seen lately, though some of that may have to do with Golden State attempting 90 shots. 4 assists is great. 4 turnovers not so much.
--I loved Joel's game tonight again. He was really playing his heart out every minute on the court. He's probably the unsung hero of this game.
--Steve Blake had a masterful third quarter on offense. I swear, sometimes something gets into him and burns the place to the ground. If he could Hulk out a little more often people wouldn't be thinking of him as a bland, safe choice at point guard. 11 points on 50% shooting and 6 assists.
--Martell was MIA tonight. 16 minutes, one hit, 2 points. The rest of his time and shots got gobbled by James Jones and Travis.
--Speaking of, is Travis some kind of wacked-out scorer or what? He's one of the only guys I know who actually shoots better when covered. If he could get to the rim even 3 times a game, though, he'd score 20. It's all amazing jumper though. 8-15, 17 points.
--I thought Jack had another really solid game, especially since other players were far more prominent on offense. His shots were smart, he turned the ball over only twice, and he had 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
--James Jones makes a ton of points off of very few shots. Tonight he hit 5-5 from the free throw line, which is nice to see out of a perimeter shooter. 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks (!) to counterbalance his 3 turnovers. It is SO NICE to have a shooter out there!
One-Sentence Game Summary:
Better shooting...more free throws...more rebounds... if it weren't for the turnover disparity we win this game.