December 22, 2009

GSW @ MEM 12/22/09: PostThoughts

An Occam's razor game here: pretty evenly played from an execution standpoint, but the Grizzlies outrebounded us by eight and had a 72-48 edge on points in the paint. That's not to criticize any Warrior player or coach... we just didn't have the horses tonight. But let this game be a reminder that in this league, size does tend to prevail.

As such, we should do what we can to keep Chris Hunter around. He is neither a great player nor a good player... he may not even be a decent player, and on many NBA teams he'd serve no real purpose. But he's the only guy we can currently slap a jersey on who's comfortable hanging and banging down low. He played a spectacular game tonight. And if there's any justice in this world (which I doubt), he'll be Biedrins's primary backup going forward, with Randolph and Turiaf splitting the power forward duties. Really fun to see a nice, hardworking, unheralded kid make as big of an impact as Hunter did tonight.

There's not much to say about the other individual performances, as they most fit neatly into the wheelhouses of the players that gave them. Maggette was excellent and efficient; Monta was both impressive and maddening (every offensive foul he was whistled for was deserved); Randolph did some great stuff while often looking totally overmatched; Curry looked great with less-than-great results. CJ was a bit less effective than usual, but on the plus side, Morrow looks to be waking up a bit. And Vlad played a very smart game. Warriors fans should applaud every three-point shot he takes; if he's going to play starter's minutes for us, he had better be letting it rain from out there. He didn't convert much, but he focused on threes and drives and worked hard on D. That's all we can ask for from a limited player like him.

The brightest spot here, by far, was a second straight defensible coaching performance from Nellie. He looked fully engaged on the bench, which is a positive... we also played with teamwork and fire, two things which have not been series regulars with Nellie at the helm. We had at least one big man on the floor at all times, and more often than not, we had two; that wouldn't be cause for celebration on most teams, but here, that merits in-the-Chuck-E.-Cheese-ball-pit-on-mushrooms-level glee. And as Fitz pointed out with awe, Nellie played Corey Maggette at small forward. (What a quirky, unconventional idea! This Don Nelson is a madman genius, I tell you!) If we have the man's full attention, things might pan out okay.

Not a loss that should provoke despair; as currently constituted, we're just not going to beat bigger teams in their buildings. A bad team loses this game by exactly 13 points, so we were right on schedule here. Onto New Orleans. Our goal should basically be to avoid embarrassment, so we can hit the ground running when Biedrins and Turiaf come back on Saturday (so excited) (dear god i hope you aren't rushing them) (but mainly excited).

The glass-half-full spin on the current state of affairs: it doesn't feel like we're hitting new lows so much as scraping laterally along a very low floor. We will dip farther below .500 than this (all of our next six opponents were winning teams last year), but we've pretty much maxed out on grimness and despair. The players still seem to enjoy themselves and each other, so this is far from our most depressing season.

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